“Widdicombe Fair (II)”


Singer goes to a fair at Widdicombe (or Coldingham, Ratcliffe or Monaghan). There he meets with a jolly beggar and his wife. The singer then lists all the pairs of beggars he's met at the fair


Variants of this song are used as the chorus for "Tom Pearce (Widdicombe Fair I)." It lacks, however, the plot about the horse, so I've separated them. - PJS

Looking at this, I can't help but think there is a cumulative version somewhere in its ancestry. But I haven't found it. Some of the versions, such as that of the McPeake family, also feel a bit like "Dame Durden."

Kathleen Hoagland, editor, One Thousand Years of Irish Poetry (New York, 1947), pp. 265-267, prints a piece, "The Humours of Donneybrook Fair" (listed as by Charles O'Flaherty), which looks as if it might be a recomposed version of this -- but it's much too wordy to be traditional. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Kennedy 289, "A-Going to the Fair" (1 text plus assorted fragments in appendices, 1 tune)
  2. Hayward-Ulster, pp. 28-29, "Craigbilly Fair" (1 text)
  4. Roud #666
  5. BI, K289


Alternate titles: “Widdliecombe Fair”; “The Beggars of Coldingham Fair”; “The Beggars of Ratcliffe Fair”; “Beggars of Coudingham Fair”; “Monaghan Fair”; “Widdliecombe Fair”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1826 (Tait's Magazine)
Found in: Britain(England(South,West)) Ireland