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Broadside ballad entitled 'Country Hirings'


Verse 1: 'Come all you blooming country lads and listen unto me, / And if I do but tell the truth I know you will agree; / It's of the jolly farmers who servants want to have, / For to maintain them in their pride and be to them a slave.' There are no publication details given on this broadside.

'Country Hirings' is highly critical of the changing attitudes it perceives farmers to have towards their hired staff. Traditional mixed farms were very dependent on labourers, who were taken on for six months at a time. It was common practice for the labourers, who often lived communally in bothies, to take meals with the farmer's family. In the nineteenth century, specialised farming, where farmers cultivated only one type of livestock, or one or two crops, meant that labourers were less in demand, and mechanised machinery increased this trend. As farmers could earn more and pay out less, the gulf in social status widened.

Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.

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Probable period of publication: 1880-1900   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(44a)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Country Hirings'
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