Hoodening Songs

Here is a list of some of the songs the Hoodeners have performed over time. Almost all have well known tunes, but in most cases the lyrics were written (and re-written) by ourselves, particularly Martin Beale, Ben Jones and Annette Paul. Several songs / verses are missing at present — in recent years we've done 2-3 new songs per year — they may be added later. Songs *about* hoodening (but not performed by ourselves) are shown at the foot of this page.

The song "Three Jolly Hoodening Boys" (or four, five, etc.) now has its own page: the Jolly Hoodening song

We also sing carols at the end of every performance: here is a PDF of our own carol sheet — including 'alternative' words to the Twelve Days of Christmas, depending on whether we're at a Shepherd Neame or Wantsum Brewery establishment. The words of no. 4 may also change depending on how slow the host is in delivering our beer…

Songs only performed in one particular year (words etc. normally included in script as linked on the Hoodening History 1966-2016 or Hoodening History 2017- pages).

There was a plan to sing a song called the 'Folkestone Murder(er)' in 1978, but it was in fact never performed.

There was also a 'Hoodening Rap' in 1994 which is not included in the script:

[…] Our voices might be a load of crap,
But that don't mean that we can't rap!

Yo, man! we're the Hoodening Posse,
That there's Molly, she was a bit bossy,
When we visited the houses of St Nichol-…-as
She got real mean and went to sweep ass.
You didn't show respect, didn't treat her right?
You'd get no relief for the rest of the night.
The hoss is Dobbin, a really cool dude,
The only hoss I know with attitude;
You ask him to work, and you will not see him move,
But get a filly close and watch him groove!
So adios, amigos from the Hoodening Crew,
I'm gonna get on down with some MasterBrew!

The next section consists of songs often performed, and unique to the Hoodeners ('cos we wrote 'em!).


This was adapted from the Two Ronnies' song "Bold Sir John".

We are St Nicholas Hoodeners with our custom very old
We represent a ploughing team
Who celebrate an ancient theme
Our solstice rights aren't what they seem
Peace offerings so we're told

[Alternative first verse in 1986 & 2002]
We are St Nicholas Hoodeners who come round at Christmas time,
We sing you songs and Christmas hymns,
Request your money for Pilgrims'
Hospice; and it's all done while we're…
A-prattling on in rhyme

Now I have started fishing, hoping trout will be my catch
You stand so still your wellies steam
Awaiting fish your way to teem
Your flies float gently on the stream
Its different moods to match

Now our old Moll is getting old, she isn't what she were
She's scrawny now, she ain't a tart
No longer has the urge to start
Big bust-ups with us on the cart
So doff your hat to her

Our Dobbin's unpredictable, he's calm or can annoy
We never know what he's about
He, while we pat him on the snout,
Gets tough and starts a-kicking out
Or scrapping with the boy

Now Sam enjoys the harvest time, he'll do it all year round
The summer sun, the lunchtime ale
Will sometimes cause his strength to fail
Half-heartedly he lifts a bale
That's mellowing on the ground

Our Boy is hardly muscle-bound, he's thin as thin can be
If he were a horse we'd have him shot
Each year you'll see him, oft as not
Drop dead upon the ground; oh what…
A puny lad is he
[refrain: twice last time]

WE ARE ST NICHOLAS HOODENERS — 1983 Lincolnshire Poacher version (MIDI file)

We are St Nicholas Hood'ners who come round at Christmas time,
We are just simple country folk who always talk in rhyme,
If you've enjoyed our show a half as much as we have too,
Then it stands to reason we've enjoyed it twice as much as you.

Well over there is Molly, looking tired and drawn and low,
She had a lovely baby girl just 16(/17/18/19) days ago,
D'you notice how the strain has made her look and feel quite bad,
Well it really is amazing 'cos she is the baby's Dad.

Now there is Joe the Wagoner, bedecked in smart top 'at,
He's having trouble singing 'cos he's getting far too fat,
He'll bellow out the songs until he hits the highest note
And an overloaded beergut rips a button off his coat.

Old Sam is on the scrounge all year — no thing he has is his.
We think he's got some money, but we don't know where it is.
His pants he borrowed from old Joe; his smock was once a sheet;
his hat he found in an old dung mound, which is why he smells so sweet.

The boy and our musician have been working on the land.
As workers go they're willing, but things don't turn out as planned.
They hoed a field of young spring greens as clean as a new pin,
But they left the weeds between the rows and hoed the seedlings in.

Old Dobbin has it in his head that racing's in his blood.
He thinks about it every day while hobbling through the mud.
He feels that up at Ascot he would have the others beat,
But how can you win the Derby when you've only got three feet!


[Most verses were rewritten each year from 1979-1981 as shown below]


Oh the Hoodeners are we
And next year again you'll see
Our disgusting masquerade
At St Nicholas-at-Wade

If ye the Hooden Horse do feed
Throughout the year ye shall not need

This old woman is our Molly
She looks rather melancholy
And as you may now have guessed
She would fail any sex test

This old woman is our Molly
She is feeling rather jolly
She is hoping for an ale
And to meet a rich young male

This old woman is our Moll
She's a non-too-happy soul
For she was just too effective
As an equine contraceptive

Now the man in the top hat
Who is getting rather fat
What he does we do not know
But his name, we think, is Joe

This man here is known as Joe
We're afraid he's rather slow
Tends to sink us in the mire
For his schemes always misfire

Now old Joe thinks he's the boss
When we're handling the 'hoss'
As he tells us all the way
We ignore each word he'll say


This lad here, his name is Sam
Often gets us in a jam
Spends his time a-catching rabbits
And collecting nasty habits

This lad here his name is Sam
Never give him sprouts and ham
For they never seem to fail
To produce a force nine gale!

This lad here we call our boy
Each of us he does annoy:
Every time we think he'd dead
He gets up and rubs his head

Over here we have our boy
Each of us he does annoy:
He is looking rather queer:
He dies sixteen times a year

[1981; sung before 'Sam' verse]
Once again the boy is here
And he didn't 'die' this year
But we're not sure he'll pull through
Hoodening 1982

Now we come to our musician
Who, according to tradition
Plays the music on the fiddle
After that he has a piddle

The musician in the middle
Who is playing on the fiddle
Oh, he thinks he looks so cute -
Used his curtains for a suit

There's our clever second horse
What has vanished now, of course
She's disguised out in the middle
As the bloke what plays the fiddle

We've a Wagoner called Clive
He's the latest to arrive
On his boots he has manure
So he smells just like a sewer

Last of all this is our horse
We're afraid he's rather coarse
And wherever we have sung
He will leave a pile of dung

[1980 as 1979]

Last of all, old Dobbin's snorting
Now he's finished his cavorting
And wherever he has sung
He will leave a pile of dung


Singing songs gives us a thirst
And we're nearly fit to burst
If you want to sing a carol
You must first bring out a barrel.


Based on a Rugby song (If I were the marrying kind), to a tune similar to One Man went to Mow

If I were the Hoodening kind — which thank the Lord I'm not, sir
The kind of Hood'ner I would be, would be a…

Wagoner: Wagoner sir! [Team: Why sir?]
Wagoner: 'cause I'd crack whips, and you'd crack whips
Team: we'd all crack whips together
we'd be alright in the middle of the night
cracking whips together

Sam: Farm hand sir! […] 'cause I'd sow seeds […]
Molly: Molly sir! […] 'cause I'd dress in drag […]
Little Willy: Jockey sir! […] 'cause I'd mount up […]
Big Bill: Big Bill sir! […] 'cause I'd have a baby […]
Musician: Musician sir! […] 'cause I'd have a fiddle […]
Dobbin: Hooden Horse sir! […] 'cause I'd be hung like a donkey […]

KARMA'S SONG (MIDI file; same as 'Threshing Machine' below)

Old Dobbin had trouble with long shiny things
With galloping gut rot and all that it brings
But Molly's new hoover worked well, there's no doubt
Cos a suck — not a blow — job soon sorted him out!

So we'll sing you a song while we're all gathered here
We'll relieve you of cash while we have us some beer!
And before we depart there's one thing left to say
That we wish you a Merry Christmas the old-fashioned way

And Sam doesn't know how new infants are made
We thought he'd struck gold, and got himself laid
But it seems he was lying — it came as a shock
When we saw what was hidden up Karma's big frock!

And George has equipment — his own GPS
It doesn't work well and he's in a right mess
He doesn't quite know if he's here or he's there
He'll soon disappear up his own derriere!

It transpires that Molly thinks old Sam's quite fit
We just never knew that she fancied a bit
But she's really quite fickle — a right flighty job!
Cos her head was soon turned when she saw Karma's knob!

THE HOODENERS' SONG (MIDI file; based on The Ash Grove)

If ye the horse do feed
through the year you'll not need,
so give us some cash and
an ale or two please
… an ale or two please.

The Hoodeners they call us,
and strange things befall us,
so we'll sing you a chorus
about some of these
… about some of these.

This lad here called Sam
is a dirty old man,
and if you hear a noise
then it's probably him
… it's definitely him.

You won't hear him shouting
of that there's no doubting
but feed him purple sprouting
and he'll make a din
… when he's got the wind.

Old Dobbin's gone bandy
through drinking mild shandy
which makes him feel randy
as randy as Hell
… as randy as Hell.

Last year with Black Beauty
a pint made him fruity,
so he did his duty
just outside the Bell
… right outside the Bell.

That reckless liaison
on that festive occasion
has, after gestation,
resulted in that!
… so ugly and fat.

Our Moll rues the day
that the foal came her way,
'cos it rolled in the hay
and squashed her pet cat
… Moll's moggie went splat!

Joe once came a cropper
when he told a girl he'd got a whopper,
He was taking about his topper
but she didn't know
… no she didn't know.

She looked cold as ice
as she kneed him somewhere not too nice,
now he wears a device
to keep his voice low
… it keeps his voice low.

Our Boy's getting older
and now is much bolder,
He met a young girl last week
just up the road
… only just up the road.

A walk round the houses
her passion arouses
so she poked her hand inside his trousers
and found his pet toad
… and found his pet toad?!
Yes, she poked her hand inside his trousers
and there ends our ode.


I am the Hoodeners' wagoner; my friends here call me Joe
They'd like to meet more like me; they often tell me so (cries of 'Rubbish' etc.)
I know this is the case 'cos to my orders they reply
Some words that I've been told may mean 'go forth and multiply'

The Hoodeners are here, as Christmas time draws near;
We'll tell you more about us while you pour out the beer.
We hope we've not offended with our little Hoodening play
But if we have, give us the beer and we will go away.

Old Moll has never been renowned for following the arts;
She chatters loud at concerts and at string quartets she… laughs
A conductor once had had enough of her disturbing fuss,
So he told her what he thought of her — and chucked her off the bus.

In summer, Sam had watched the athletes hurdling in the sun
He thought it looked quite easy, so he went out for a run
Went twice around the village with scarce a moment's rest
On leaping 'cross a five-bar gate — he smashed his personal best.

Now here we have our fiddler; he's fiddled all his life
He fiddled with his income tax and someone else's wife
He fiddled with his restaurant bill when he went out to dine
Now he fiddles for a living and to pay a hefty fine.

Our Boy is being taught by us; he feeds the animals
He's learned to plant the Brussels and to chat up all the girls
But still he isn't happy; of that we have no doubts;
For an early frost had caught him out and withered up his sprouts.

Our old Boy plays the organ; he plays it very well
And yet he disappoints the girls; why? he can never tell
They seem to be excited when he says in tones devout
'Now you sit there and watch me while I get my organ out.'

Now Dobbin's hyperactive; he roots around all day
Some say it was the seaweed that made him go that way
We all have our suspicions; we just don't know the score
But someone's painted 'Acid House' upon his stable door.

Last chorus:
The Hoodeners are here, as Christmas time draws near;
We'll tell you more about us while you pour out the beer.
We hope we've not offended you 'cos we like coming here
So we wish you Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year
Oh, we wish you Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year

HOODENING HERE IN KENT (1981-2: see below for original) (MIDI file)

Now Christmas is a-coming,
the Hoodeners are here.
We're only going Hoodening
for a mince pie and a beer.
Chorus: for a beer or two, beer or two, beer a beer or two

[Special verse for each performance; e.g.]
Now on the Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday evening
At the Solomons/Sun/Bonds/Sarre House/Treveils we will perform
We'll stretch out our performance
In order to keep warm, with…

You don't need all your money,
so put some in our pot,
We'll use it for a worthy cause
and will not spend a jot, on…

When Christmas time is over,
the Hoodening is all through;
it's back to work from dawn to dusk
to earn a pound or two,

Till next year, it's all through.
No more Hoodening shall we do,


('HOPPING HERE IN KENT' revised by the Hoodeners in 1980) — deleted text is the original version.)

Now hopping ploughing's just beginning,
We've got our time to spend.
We're only going ploughing,
To earn a quid if we can.
With a T.I.A., T.I.A., T.I.E.I.A. With an oo ar ay, oo ar ay, oo ar oo ar ay.

Now early Monday morning,
The measurer he'll come round The master's never late,
Saying, 'Pick your hops all ready Saying, 'Get these horses going
And pick them off the ground'. And shift them through that gate'.

And early Tuesday morning,
The bookie he'll come round
With a bag of money,
He'll flop it on the ground.

Saying, 'Do you want some money?'
'Oo, yes sir, if you please,
To buy a hock of bacon pint of bitter
And a roll of mouldy cheese'.

Now ploughing is all over.
Our money is all spent.
I wish to God I'd never done
No ploughing here in Kent

I say one, I say two,
No more ploughing shall I do.


Based on the 'tradition' of using the latest hits, this was a parody of the number one hit that Christmas, Paul McCartney's 'Rupert & the Frog Song' ('We'll all stand together').

Hoodeners we
Are, you see
Here just to keep you how you want to be;
Feeling right
Through tonight
We'll all drink together!


(tune taken from the Drunkard's Song; see below)

I once knew a farmer I knew him quite well,
And he had a daughter, her name it were Nell,
Although she were only the age of sixteen,
She wanted to see my old threshing machine.

I had her, I had her, I had her, I aye! (3 times)
And I ups and I shows her the old Kentish way.

The barn door lay open so we stepped inside,
And there in the corner some hay I espied,
So while she worked the throttle and I worked the steam,
Together we worked my old threshing machine.

Oh farmer, oh farmer! I've come to confess,
I've left your young Nell in a hell of a mess,
Her clothes are all torn and her … are all bare,
And there's something inside her that shouldn't be there.

Three months have gone by and the truth's but to tell,
There's something the matter with our little Nell,
For under her apron can clearly be seen,
She's got too much chaff from my threshing machine.

Nine months later and all's going well,
A son has been born unto our little Nell,
And under his nappy can clearly be seen,
A brand new two cylinder threshing machine.

(The last two verses were seldom sung:)

The lad he grew up and his name it were Jim,
Then somebody threw a tomato at him.
Now tomatoes are soft and they don't hurt the skin;
But this bugger did — it were still in the tin!

Now Mary, the milkmaid, was milking the cow.
She was trying so hard but she didn't know how.
Along came the farmer and gave her the sack,
So she turned the cow over and poured the milk back!


Another one taken from the latest 'pop' hit, i.e. 'Day Trip to Bangor' by Fiddler's Dram)

Didn't we have a horrible time the day we went to Margate?
What a helluva fuss when we got on the bus
And Dobbin bit the bus conductor…
When we got there, we sampled the air, and very nearly fainted,
With the sewage, the sea and the fish & chip tea,
We all felt bad.

We went to a pub and tucked into some grub that tasted really awful.
It was winkles and bread; Moll had cockles instead…
And was sick all over Joe, and so we
Ordered an ale; it smelt very stale — we left it on the table,
And countered the odour with whisky and soda,
And all felt bad.

We staggered along Marine Terrace prom and bumped into a couple of skinheads.
They looked very cross, but a glance at our horse
Got them running away in the other direction.
When we got back, we all hit the sack, so thankful the day was all over.
Were it not for the beer, we'd all go next year;
It weren't that bad.


Didn't we have a horrible time the day we went to Ramsgate?
Got caught in the rain while awaiting a train,
And Dobbin caught a dose of pneumonia.
Moll was a bore, her throat had got sore, 'twas due to constant nagging.
She strictly forbade us to play Space Invaders.
We all felt bad.

We went for some shelter in a helter skelter, the heavens had just opened.
We climbed to the top (what a helluva drop)
And Sam slipped over, base over apex…
Went round and round till he got to the ground, he thought he was a goner.
Then a candy floss stick made him violently sick.
We all felt bad.

We walked round the harbour and what a palaver, Moll slipped up on the jetty.
The silly old goat fell onto a boat,
Sustained a broken jaw or something.
Since she came to grief, it's been a relief, we haven't heard her nagging.
I suppose we must say that it weren't a bad day.
No, it weren't that bad.


This was rediscovered in 2002 and was later sung to this tune although it is possible the different tune identified by George Frampton (see below) was the original.

We are the Acol Boys
We like to share our joys
We know our manners
And we spend our tanners
We are respected wherever we go
When we're walking down the street
The doors and windows open wide
Then you hear the landlord shout
'Put those stinking woodbines out!'
We are the Acol Boys
We like to share our joys

Apparently the Acol Hoodeners also sang the well-known song, 'The Farmer's Boy', starting 'The sun had set beyond yon hill', for which there are various tunes. We tried it once or twice, both with this tune from Mudcat and with Ye Sons of Albion.

The following section consists of three 'traditional' songs which were actually used by St Nicholas Hoodeners at the turn of the century, and were kindly rediscovered for us by one of the top modern researchers into Hoodening, George Frampton (pic).


The other night I journey'd with some dear old pals of mine
Into a little pub, a small harmonic club;
A fellow there who thought himself a singer, if you please,
Tried to sing 'The Anchor's Weighed' in thirteen different keys.
We cried 'Encore!' told him he was fine,
Just because he bought us lots of wine.
At half past twelve, a little bit insane,
Six hooden-ing boys made for home again.

All along the rails — what a lively gang!
Shouting out the Chorus of every song we sang.
We laughed, we chaffed, and told some fairy tales;
Playing the harp at two in the morning all along the rails.

I acted as the leader, for I thought I knew my way,
So shouted out with glee, 'Now, boys, you follow me.'
We came across a policeman who was having forty winks;
Tried to sneak his helmet and to make him toss for drinks.
We'd no gamps, so for nearly half an hour
We tramped and tramped all through a lovely shower —
When all at once I tumbled, I declare,
We walked fifteen times around a square.

I clutched hold of some railings that were painted overnight,
Got covered all serene with such a lovely green;
The servant girl was waiting up, the saucy little saint!
I cuddled her, and marked her cotton dress with spots of paint.
The wife found out, there was a row, of course —
Sacked our girl, and said she'd have divorce.
But afterwards I made it right. What ho!
And swore a swear that never more I'd go…


Maud had a sweetheart, an airman was he,
And she'd watch him fly all the day
Diff'rent stunts on the plane he would do
Loop the loop and some other tricks too
Isn't it wonderful she cried, in ecstacy,
And one night, placing her arms round his neck,
She said coaxingly:

Teach me how to fly, dear, in your aeroplane
Up to the clouds we'll go
All of a sudden we'll drop down again
It's so exhilarating, sailing towards the sky,
Hi! Joe, Joe, don't say no,
Teach me how to fly!

Oh! How exciting, to chase all the clouds,
There's not a game like it on earth,
When the rain's coming down pit-a-pat,
Think how soon we can fly above that!
When we are married, dear, what wondrous times there'll be,
We spend our weekends at Venus or Mars
Only you and me.

[A somewhat ruder third verse was written by Jamie May in 2001 and performed once, in the last performance at the Sun.]


A little hole
In the ground
And the green grass grew all around, all around,
And the green grass grew all around.

Now in this hole
There was a little tree
Oh, the cutest little tree
That you ever did see.
The tree in the hole
And the hole in the ground
And the green grass grew all around, all around,
And the green grass grew all around.

Now on this tree
There was a little branch
Oh, the cutest little branch
That you ever did see.
The branch on the tree
And the tree in the hole
And the hole in the ground
And the green grass grew all around

[Repeated with the following additions:]
Now on this branch, there was a little leaf…
Now on this leaf, there was a little fuzz…
Now on this fuzz, there was a little skeeter [mosquito]…
Now on this skeeter, there was a little wing…
Now on this wing, there was a little elephant…
Now on this elephant, there was a little trunk…
Now on this trunk, there was a little suit…
Now on this suit, there was a little button…

But there wasn't any button hole!
And the green grass grew all around, all around,
And the green grass grew all around.

The last section contains songs that we sing more or less regularly, but which do not have any specific relationship to Hoodening as far as we know.


Hail to the master and the mistress,
Here's to the household one and all,
Here we are keeping our old custom,
Once in the year we come to call.

Now on the Hoodener's night we beg for mistletoe gifts in house and hall.

If you have nothing you can give us,
Bid us be off upon our way,
Only a forfeit we will ask you,
Your oldest girl to take away.

Once in the year it isn't often, once in the year we come this day.

Hail to the master and the mistress,
Here's to the household one and all,
Here we are keeping our old custom,
Once in the year we come to call.


Come Landlord, fill the flowing bowl
Until it doth run over,
For tonight we'll merry, merry be,
Tomorrow we'll be sober.

The man that drinketh small beer,
And goes to bed right sober,
Fades as the leaves do fade,
That drop off in October.

But the man who drinketh strong beer,
And goes to bed right mellow,
Lives as he ought to live,
And dies a jolly good fellow.

The man who kisses a pretty girl,
And goes and tells his mother,
Ought to have his lips cut off,(3rd time: have his **** cut off)
And never kiss another.


Oh it's old and it's cold and it's linkey lankey low,
He eateth all my hay and he spoileth all my stro',
O neither is he fit at all, all in my coat to bro',
So we'll sell him or swap him, chop him or let him hunting go:
Poor old horse let him die.

O once I lay in stable, free from cold and winter storm,
But now have no such usage, to keep me well and warm,
I'm forced to lie in the open field, in the cold winter wind,
And stay beside a prickly bush some shelter for to find.
Poor old horse, till I die.

My shoulders that were once so glossy and so round,
They now are very rotten, I'm not accounted sound,
So now that I grow old, my teeth go to decay,
My master frowns upon me, and I often hear him say,
Poor old horse, let him die.


Here's a health to the jolly blacksmith, the best of all fellows,
Who works at his anvil while the boy blows the bellows, which

makes my bright hammer to rise and to fall,
Here's to old Cole, and to young Cole, and to old Cole of all.
Twanky-dillo, twanky-dillo, twanky-dillo, dillo, dillo, dillo.
A roaring pair of bagpipes made of the green willow.

If a gentleman calls, his horse for to shoe,
He makes no denial of one pot or two, for it

Here's a health to King Charlie and also his queen,
And to all the royal little ones where'er they are seen, which


There was a young lady in our village
And in our village did dwell
She loved her husband dearly,
But another man twice as well.

With a cuddle me, fuddle me, cuddle me, hey!
Cuddle me every day.

2. She went to Dr Eddington
To see if she could find
Anything in the whole wide world
To make her old man blind

3. 'Oh take him sixteen marrow-bones
And make him eat 'em all;
And when he's finished he'll be so blind
He won't see you at all.'

[Verse 4 sometimes omitted]
4. The doctor he wrote a letter
And sealed it with his hand
And he sent it off to the old man
To make him understand

5. The old man being a crafty bugger
He knew it all before.
He ate them up and said, 'My dear,
I can't see you at all.'

6. Says she, 'We'll go to the Wantsum River
And there perhaps the air
Will help you to regain your sight.
Come on, I'll guide you there.

7. They walked along together
Till they came to the waterside.
So gently there she kissed him
And did creep away behind.

8. She ran and she ran behind him
And she tried to push him in.
But the old man was ready and jumped aside
And she went tumbling in.

9. Then loudly she did holler
And loud for mercy call.
But the old man said, 'I am so blind
I can't see you at all.'

10. She swam and she swam and she swam around
Till she come to the further brim;
But the old man got an old tree branch
And pushed her further in.


A West Country song introduced to us by Maurice (Moz) Walsh

'arf a pound of flour and lard
Makes a lovely batter
Just enough for you or I
Gor Bugger Jacker!
On the foc'sle us'll lie
'ave zum starry gazy pie
Will 'ee cum'n 'ave a pint of beer with I?
Gor Bugger Jacker!

Where be 'ee gointer Jacker?
Oi be gointer Looe
Well? Gor Bugger Jacker
Oi be goin there too
Where be yon blackbird to?
Oi know where 'ee be
'ee be in yon worzel bush
An' Oi be arter 'ee
Now 'ee minds Oi
An' Oi minds 'ee
An' 'ee minds Oi be arter 'ee
Wi'a bloody great stick Oi'll wallop 'is backside
Blackbird, Oi'll smite 'ee


Traditional Irish?

Now as I came home so drunk I couldn't see
O there I saw a [horse]; no [horse] should be there
I says unto my wife; tell this to me
O how comes that [horse] where no [horse] should be?
There you old fool, you silly fool, can't you plainly see?
O nothing but a [milk cow], my mother sent to me
O miles have I travelled, a thousand miles or more
A [saddle] on a [milk cow] I've never seen before

Repeated changing the words in [brackets] as follows:
boots — flower pot — laces
hat — chamber pot — sweatband
man — baby boy — whiskers

Longer version: 7 NIGHTS DRUNK

Oh as I came home on [Monday] night,
As drunk as drunk could be
I saw a [horse outside the door] where my old [horse] should be
So I called my wife and I said to her,
'Would you kindly tell to me
Who owns that [horse outside the door]
Where my old [horse] should be?

Oh you're drunk, you're drunk you silly old fool,
Till you canna see;
That's [a lovely sow] that my mother sent to me
Well it's many a day I travelled, a hundred miles or more
But a [saddle on] a [sow] sure I never saw before


… I saw a coat behind the door…
… That's a woollen blanket…
But buttons on a blanket sure I never saw before.

… I saw a pipe upon the chair…
… That's a lovely tin whistle…
But tobacco in a tin whistle sure I never saw before.

… I saw two boots beneath the bed…
… That's two lovely geranium pots…
But laces in geranium pots sure I never saw before.

… I saw a head inside the bed…
… That's a baby boy…
But a baby boy with whiskers on I never saw before.

… I saw a whip upon the floor…
… That's a lovely pet python…
But a python with nine tails sure I never saw before.

… I saw a bod upon my wife…
… That's a massage machine…
But a massage machine with buttocks on I never saw before.


(apparently sung by the gypsie brothers Frank and Bill ['Mousey'] Smith, both tambourine virtuosi, at Edenbridge in 1967; also by their kinsman Walter Smith at Horsmonden in 1962; similar to another called 'Villikins and his Dinah'; and adapted by us for 'Threshing Machine' as shown above.)

Now when I were a young man I took great delight,
Then I sat down a-drinking from morning till night;
I sat down a-drinking till I spent all my store,
So after I was spent out, how could I spend more?

Now as I rambl'd up the street I rambl'd down,
For I met my landlady dress'd in her silk gown,
For my jacket tore at elbows, my breeches from knees,
Lord, how my landlady she gazed at me.

[Now as I have a wife and six children small
Since I took to drinking I've ruin'd them all
But if I had been ruled by my wife at first
I'd have silver in my pocket and gold in my purse.]

You begone, you bold drunkard, you begone from me now,
If you call for the best ale, I'll bring you the dregs,
If you call for the best ale, I'll bring you the dregs,
There's landladies wear silks, and drunkards wear rags.

No longer could I stand it, up to her I went,
Do I owe you any money for what you reckon?
Do I pay you ready money, for my bacca and ale?
Or else I wouldn't go in this old ragged style.

HERE'S TO THE MAIDEN (MIDI file; written by Sheridan)

Here's to the maiden of bashful fifteen,
Now to the widow of fifty;
Here's to the flaunting extravagant queen,
And here's to the housewife that's thrifty.

Let the toast pass, drink to the lass,
I warrant she'll prove an excuse for the glass.

Here's to the charmer whose dimples we prize,
Now to the damsel with none sir,
Here's to the girl with a pair of blue eyes,
And now to the nymph with but one sir.

Here's to the maid with a bosom of snow,
Now to her that's as brown as a berry,
Here's to the wife with a face full of woe,
And here's to the damsel that's merry.

For let her be clumsy or let her be slim,
Young or ancient, I care not a feather;
So fill up a bumper, nay, fill to the brim,
And e'en let us toast 'em together.

MAIDS WHEN YOU'RE YOUNG (MIDI file) (alternative version found on the web)

1. Solo: Are there any young maids in here?
All: Hey dingadoorum down
Solo: Are there any young maids in here?
All: Hey doorum down
Solo: Are there any young maids in here?
I've a word for your ear;
Maids when you're young never wed an old man
Chorus: For they've got no faloorum, faliddle faloorum
They've got no faloorum, faliddle all day
They've got no faloorum, they've lost their dingdoorum!
Maids when you're young never wed an old man

2. An old man came courting her
Asked could he marry her

3. When they went to church
He left her in the lurch

4. When they went to bed
He lay like he was dead

5. So she threw her leg over him
Damn' well near smothered him

6. Solo: When he went to sleep
All: Hey dingadoorum down
Solo: When he went to sleep
All: Hey doorum down
Solo: When he went to sleep
Out of bed she did creep
Into the arms of a jolly (/charming) young man
Chorus: And he got her faloorum, faliddle faloorum
He got her faloorum, faliddle all day
He got her faloorum and she found his dingdoorum
Maids when you're young always wed a young man

['got'/'found' in the last chorus are sometimes reversed]

Additional verses by AJ for Boyden Gate, 1979:

Solo: Oh, once in this place Marshside,
All: Hey dingadoorum down
Solo: Oh, once in this place Marshside,
All: Hey doorum down
Solo: A shepherd went wand'ring wide,
You guess what he espied —
Two people having it o-off outside.

Chorus: Oh, they had some faloorum, faliddle faloorum
They had some faloorum, faliddle all day
They had some faloorum and they got some ding-dorum.
Maids when you're young never wed an old man.

Solo: Now that jolly couple there,
All: Hey dingadoorum down
Solo: Now that jolly couple there,
All: Hey doorum down
Solo: Who they were I don't care
But this much I will swear —
Each of those lovers had very grey hair.

Chorus: Oh, they had some faloorum, faliddle faloorum
They had some faloorum, faliddle all day
They had some faloorum and they got some ding-dorum.
Maids when you're old, why not try an old man?


Number 1, number 1,
Now my song has just begun
Wi'a Rum-tum-taddle-um,
Ould John Braddleum
Hey, what country folks we be.

2: Some boots pinch, so gie I a shoe
3: Some likes coffee and some likes tea
4: Some says nowt but think the more
5: Ould folks die when they can't stop alive
6: Some use crutches when they can't use sticks
7: Some likes t'other place, gie I heaven
8: Some folks drink till they can't walk straight
9: Some drinks beer cos they can't get wine
10: There bean't no women where there bean't no men
11: Much about t'same as as number seven
12: If you wants any mowre you can sing it yourselves


Here we come a-wassailing, Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a-wandering, So fair to be seen.

Love and joy come to you, And to you your wassail too,
And God bless you and send you a happy New Year,
And God send you a happy New Year.

We are not daily beggars, That beg from door to door,
But we are neighbour's children, Whom you have seen before.

We have got a little purse of stretching leather skin;
We want a little of your money to line it well within.


Wassail, wassail, all over the town!
Our toast it is white, and our ale it is brown,
Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree,
With the wassailing bowl we'll drink to thee.

So here is to Cherry and to his right cheek,
Pray God send our master a good piece of beef,
And a good piece of beef that may we all see;
With the wassailing bowl we'll drink to thee.

And here is to Dobbin and to his right eye,
Pray God send our master a good Christmas pie,
And a good Christmas pie that may we all see;
With the wassailing bowl we'll drink to thee.

Come, butler, come fill us a bowl of the best
Then we hope that your soul in heaven may rest
But if you do draw us a bowl of the small
Then down shall go butler, bowl and all.

Then here's to the maid in the lily white smock,
Who tripped to the door and slipped back the lock!
Who tripped to the door and pulled back the pin,
For to let these jolly wassailers in.

(Cherry and Dobbin are horses)


Wassail and wassail, All over the town,
Our cup it is white and our ale it is brown,
The bowl it is made of the good ashen tree,
And it's joy be to you and a jolly wassail.

For it's your wassail, And it's our wassail,
And it's joy be to you and a jolly wassail.

The girt dog of Langport, He burnt his long tail,
And this is the night we go singing wassail.
O master and mistress, Now we must be gone,
Got bless all in this house till we do-o come again.

FIGGY PUDDING (a.k.a. "We…")

We wish you a Merry Christmas (x3)
And a Happy New Year

Good tidings we bring to you and your kin
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Now bring us some figgy pudding (3)
And bring some out here!

For we all like figgy pudding (3)
So bring some out here

And we won't go until we get some
So bring some out here
(Chorus — repeat last line)

Songs about Hoodening

A few 'proper' musicians have done songs about Hoodening, including the late Phil Martin (a.k.a. Drohne) who once did a radio sketch on the same theme. His "The Hooden Horse, An Dro" (An-Dro is a kind of Breton folk dance) can be heard in its studio version here on Bandcamp. and seen live in the YouTube video below:

The above site is an archived version, and his MySpace files also now seem inaccessible, but it is worth searching out his other music too where you can find it, including his English bagpipes and Gower wassailing song from the same St Nicholas-at-Wade church concert as above. The Hooden Horse is also found on a compilation CD, "Horses & Hangings, Homicide & Hellfire" (it says "Songs & Tunes From The Leigh Folk Festival 2010" but as far as we know, this is the same studio version as above, not live).

Deal Hoodeners had equine songs "Dead Horse Shanty" and "Donkey Riding" on their first CD, but the directly related "The Hoodeners Song" only appears on their second CD, "A Hoodening Year". They once performed it at St Nicholas:

According to George Frampton in Discordant Comicals, Bob Kenward wrote a song called "The Hoodener’s Rant" for the Whitstable team, which Frampton recorded in Tenterden in the 1990s, but they later dropped it from their repertoire in favour of "Hooden Horse" by Paula Jardine-Rose.

The folk-rock band Owl Service released a CD in 2008, Garland of Song (later reworked in 2012 as Garland Sessions), which includes a track "Hoodening", but it's purely instrumental, so there are no lyrics or detailed explanation of why the title was chosen.

Conversely, the poem "Broadstairs" by Clare Pollard has no music, but asks "What'll I do with the hooden horse… his snapping face… his knowing eye… his narrow nose…? This beast will make a song of me".