“Nottinghamshire Poacher, The ”


The poacher goes out with his dogs to hunt. (One of his dogs is wounded, but) he catches a deer and takes it to a butcher to skin. When he attempts to sell the meat, he is arrested and tried, but finally set free. He vows to continue poaching

Supplemental text

Nottinghamshire Poacher, The 
  Complete text(s)

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Thorneymoor Fields

From Mary O. Eddy, Ballads and Songs from Ohio, #53, pp. 154-155.
From Mrs. Robert Cox, Steubenville, Ohio.

1. Thornymoor Fields in Nottinghamshire,
      Fol-the dol-lay, sing rightful add-a-day,
   There there ranged some good fat deer,
      Fol-the-dol lar-a-lee,
   The keepers' houses stood three square,
      About a mile apart they were,
   And their orders were, to look after the deer,
      Fol-the-dol lar-a-lie-day.

2. Me and me dogs went out one night,
      The moon shone clear and the stars shone bright;
   Over hedges, ditches, gates, and stiles,
      With me two dogs close after me heels,
   To catch a fat buck in Thornymoor fields.

3. We roamed the woods and the groves that night,
      We roamed the woods till it broke daylight;
   The very first game I ever had found
      Was a good fat buck lying dead on the ground,
   Where one of me dogs gave him his death wound.

4. I out wi' me knife and I cut the buck's throat,
      I out wi' me knife and I cut the buck's throat;
   You'd laughed to see poor limpin' Jack,
      He going home with a buck on his back,
   For he carried it like a Yorkshireman's pack.

5. I hired a butcher to skin the game,
      I and another to sell the same;
   The very first game we offered for sale
      Was to an old woman who sold bad ale,
   And she lodged us three poor lads in jail.

6. The sessions are coming, and we're to be tried,
      The sessions are coming, and we're to be tried;
   The gentlemen laughed them all to scorn
      And said this old woman should be foresworn;
   I cried, "In pieces she ought to be torn!"

7. The sessions are over and we're all free,
      The sessions are over and we're all free;

                  (Released with reprimand.)


[MacColl and Seeger report that] "Thorneyhaugh-Moor Woods is in the Hundred of Newark, Nottinghamshire, and was once part of Sherwood Forest." - PJS

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Harding B 17(311b), "Thorney Moor Wood" ("In Thorney moor woods in Nottinghamshire"), J. Catnach (London), 1813-1838; also Harding B 11(3803), Firth c.19(58), "Thorney Moor Wood"; Harding B 25(1898), "Thorney-moor Woods"; Harding B 11(2692), Firth b.34(206), "The Lads of Thorney Moor Wood"; Johnson Ballads 887, Harding B 28(237), Firth c.19(57), "The Lads of Thorney Moor Woods"


  • Anne Briggs, "Thorneymoor Woods" (on Briggs2, Briggs3)
  • Jasper Smith, "Thornymoor Park" (on Voice18)


  1. Eddy 53, "Thornymuir Fields" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Kennedy 259, "The Old Fat Buck" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. MacSeegTrav 96, "Thornaby Woods" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. ST E053 (Full)
  5. Roud #222
  6. BI, E053


Alternate titles: “Thorny Woods”; “Thornymoor Woods”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1839 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 17(311b))
Found in: US(MW) Britain(England)