“The Jolly Miller (I)”


Singer, a miller, says "I care for nobody, no not I, and nobody cares for me." His back is bent with work; his mill has strange new machinery, but he's content with a drop of whisky. He has engaged with Dr. Ramsey, the landlord, and does his bidding


The Baring-Goulds report that this song, "a favorite of Sir Walter Scott's," was included in Bickersaffe's 1762 opera "Love in a Village." They also say that it may have been based on the owner of the Dee Mill in Chester, which dated back to around the Conquest but burned down in 1895.

All of these references, however, may be to "The Miller of Dee"; the Baring-Gould fragment is only a single stanza. See Ben Schwartz's note on "The Miller of Dee." - RBW

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Harding B 11(449), "Their [sic] was a jolly miller" [error in title, not in text], J.O. Bebbington (Manchester), c.1850; also Harding B 11(450), "Their [sic] was a jolly miller" [error in title, not in text]


  • John Strachan, "The Jolly Miller" (on FSB3)


  1. Belden, p. 271, "The Jolly Miller" (1 text)
  2. Linscott, pp. 220-221, "The Jolly Miller" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Kennedy 229, "The Jolly Miller" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Opie-Oxford2 352, "There was a jolly miller once" (1 text fragment)
  5. Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #124, p. 103, "(There was a jolly miller once)"
  7. Roud #503
  8. BI, K229M


Alternate titles: “The Miller o' Straloch”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1906 (Belden)
Found in: Britain(Scotland(Aber),England(North,Lond)) US(NE,So)