“Taffy Was a Welshman (I)”


"Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief, Taffy came to my house And stole a piece of beef." Taffy and the singer engage in a campaign of theft against each other -- e.g. Taffy takes a bone; the singer finds it and beats Taffy with it


"Taffy" is an English twisting of the Welsh pronunciation of "David" (Daffyd), the patron saint of Wales.

The English of course had a habit of baiting the Welsh, especially on Saint David's day. And the analogy here is rather exact: When it came to a war of raids, the English -- who had the English law on their side -- could do more damage. Taffy could steal, but the Englishman could not only steal but beat Taffy.

It's not clear to me that this is a folk *song*, but the notes in Brown connect it with "Napper," which is, so I thought it had better go in the Index for reference. - RBW

See the following broadside on the same theme:

Bodleian, Harding B 11(3724), "The Welshman" ("Taffy came out of the border of Wales"), unknown, n.d.)

See the following reworked broadside "signed" by J.W. Ebsworth March 1, 1895:

Bodleian, Harding B 11(3724), "Taffy Up To Date," unknown, 1895 - BS

Cross references

  • cf. "Napper" (floating lyrics)


  1. Opie-Oxford2 494, "Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief" (2 texts)
  2. Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #67, pp. 72-73, "(Taffy was a Welshman)"
  4. BI, OOxf494


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1842 (Halliwell, according to Opie-Oxford2)
Keywords: abuse food theft
Found in: Britain