Willie o Winsbury
Willie O Winsbury is Child Ballad #100, existing in several variants. It is a traditional Scottish ballad that dates from at least 1775, and is known under a number of different names, including Lord Thomas of Winesberry.
A king is away for a long time. His daughter becomes pregnant by the hero, William or Thomas. The king threatens to hang him, but is struck by his beauty and offers him the heroine and gold. The hero accepts the lady but declares that he has both gold and lands enough of his own.
In one variants, the lands are specifically described: he will be king when he returns to Scotland. It may, in fact, be based on James V's courtship of and marriage to Madeleine de Valois of France; James came to see the woman he was betrothed to in disguise, and went on to meet the princess, who fell in love with him.
Nowadays the song is often sung to the tune of "Fause Foodrage", rather than its own traditional tune.
This song was recorded by Sweeney's Men on their eponymous debut album in 1968. Andy Irvine performs the song. solo, accompanying himself on guitar. The tune is stated to be a wrong one chosen by mistake that happened to fit the words.
Barbara Dickson recorded this song as "Lord Thomas Of Winesberry And The King's Daughter" on her album "From The Beggar's Banquet ... Fringed With Gold", published 1970.
The Song "Farewell Farewell" recorded by Fairport Convention on Liege and Lief is actually new lyrics (written by Richard Thompson) set to the Fause Foodrage tune now commonly used for Willie O Winsbury. A recording of Willie O Winsbury played and sung by Thompson was included in his compilation boxset RT.
This song was sung by Connie Dover and is found on her 1994 album The Wishing Well.
Dick Gaughan performs this song on his 2002 release of Prentice Piece and originally on his 1978 Release "Gaughan".
Nathan Rogers recorded this song on his 2009 release "The Gauntlet".
Nic Jones sings "William of Winsbury" on "Unearthed".
Tony Rose sings "Tom the Barber" on "Bare Bones".
John Goodluck sings "Willie O'Winsbury" on "The Suffolk Miracle".
Frankie Armstrong sings "Thomas of Welshbury" on "The Garden of Love".
Tony Capstick sings "Sir Thomas of Winesberry" on "His Round" ("Stolen from Peter Wood").
Andy Irvine sings his version again on the album Abocurragh, released in 2010.
The song is included on the 2010 album "The View From a Hill" by The Owl Service (band).
- Francis James Child, English and Scottish Popular Ballads, "Willie o Winesberry"
- Francis James Child (1965) The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, v 2, p 377, Dover Publications, New York 1965
- Francis James Child, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, v 2, p 398-9, Dover Publications, New York 1965