“Lord Thomas and Fair Annet”

Alternate titles: “Lord Thomas and Fair Ellen”; “Thomas and Ellen”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1677 (broadside, Bodleian Douce Ballads 1(120b))
Keywords: marriage poverty death courting jealousy homicide suicide wedding
Found in: Britain(Scotland(Aber),England(All)) US(Ap,MA,MW,NE,Ro,SE,So) Canada(Mar,Newf) Ireland

Description

(Lord Thomas) asks his mother to help him decide between (Fair Annet) and the "Brown Girl." The mother prefers the wealthy Brown Girl. Thomas consents, inviting Annet to the wedding, where the jealous brown girl stabs her; (Thomas kills her and himself)

Notes

According to Bertrand Bronson, this is second only to Barbara Allen in popularity among the Child ballads. He notes that the Scottish tunes, though they are few, seem related to "Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight," also among the most popular of the ballads.

Grieg/Keith see this as much the same ballad as Child #74, and Bronson sees similarities in the tunes, but concludes that the melodies, like the texts, justify separating them. - RBW

[Lloyd dates this to no later than the] late 17th century (broadside in reign of Charles II).

[Silber & Silber mis-identify] this as Child 295, which is actually "Brown Girl (I)." - PJS

The broadside Lloyd mentions appears to be mentioned also by Belden; he believes that it is the ancestor of all American versions, plus most recent British versions. But he believes the original was Scottish, and preceded the broadside. - RBW

A number of the Bodleian broadsides have as subtitle "with the downfall of the brown girl." - BS

Cross references

Broadsides

Recordings

References

  1. Child 73, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (10 texts)
  2. Bronson 73, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (147 versions+4 in addenda, though 2 versions are relegated to an appendix for no evident reason; many of the other texts are also fragmentary and might belong elsewhere)
  3. Leather, pp. 200-202, "Lord Thomas and Fair Elinor" (1 slightly compoosite text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #39}
  4. BarryEckstormSmyth pp. 128-134, "Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor" (2 texts plus 1 fragment, 1 tune) {Bronson's #110}
  5. Percy/Wheatley III, pp. 82-85, "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor"; pp. 234-238, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (2 texts)
  6. Belden, pp. 37-48, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (3 full texts, fragments of 4 others, 1 tune, and listing of 5 unprinted versions) {Bronson's #109}
  7. Randolph 15, "The Brown Girl" (8 texts plus 2 fragments, 5 tunes) {A=Bronson's #51, F=#147, G=#4, H=#124, J=#26}
  8. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 31-34, "The Brown Girl" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 15H) {Bronson's #124}
  9. Eddy 11, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (2 texts plus 2 fragments, 1 tune) {Bronson's #140}
  10. Flanders/Brown, pp. 209-213, "Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #97}
  11. Flanders-Ancient2, pp. 89-121, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (10 texts plus two fragments, 8 tunes) {A=Bronson's #97, F=#98}
  12. Gardner/Chickering 4, "Lord Thomas" (1 text plus an excerpt, 2 tunes) {Bronson's #54, #100}
  13. Davis-Ballads 18, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (17 texts plus a fragment, 7 tunes entitled "Lord Thomas and Fair Elenor," "Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor," "Fair Ellen," "Lord Thomas and the Brown Girl," "The Brown Girl, or Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender," "Lord Thomas and Fair Elinor," "Fair Ellender, or Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor"; 17 more versions mentioned in Appendix A) {Bronson's #31, #81, #120, #36, #37, #60, #144}
  14. Davis-More 18, pp. 123-137, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (6 texts plus some excerpts, 5 tunes)
  15. BrownII 19, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (4 texts plus 6 excerpts and mention of 4 more)
  16. Chappell-FSRA 9, "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellen" (1 text)
  17. Hudson 10, pp. 78-87, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (5 texts)
  18. Fuson, pp. 49-51, "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellendar" (1 text)
  19. Cambiaire, pp. 34-36, "Lord Thomas"; pp. 115-116, "The Brown Girl" (2 texts)
  20. MHenry-Appalachians, pp. 41-44, "The Brown Girl" (1 text)
  21. Scarborough-SongCatcher, pp. 105-114, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet," with individual titles "The Brown Girl," "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellen," "Lord Thomas,"Lord Thomas," "Fair Ellender," "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellendar" (5 texts plus a fragment; the "A" text has lost the ending; 4 tunes on pp. 391-393) {Bronson's #74, #14, #73, #57}
  22. Brewster 10, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (6 text plus 2 fragments)
  23. SharpAp 19 "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor" (8 texts plus 20 fragments, 31 tunes){Sharp's A=Bronson's #103, Aa=#38, B=#,122 Bb=#35, C=#104, Cc=#32, D=#102, Dd=#6, E=#5, Ee=#71, F=#43, G=#101, H=#60, I=#96, J=#117, K=#119, L=#15, M=#145, N=#134, O=#133, P=#3, Q=#42, R=#127, S=#130, T=#46, U=#47, V=#72, W=#88, X=#89, Y=#92, Z=#91}
  24. Sharp-100E 28, "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #99}
  25. Creighton/Senior, pp. 40-41, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #136}
  26. Creighton-Maritime, pp. 9-10, "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor" (1 text, 1 tune)
  27. Creighton-NovaScotia 4, "Lord Thomas and Fair Elinor" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #34}
  28. Greenleaf/Mansfield 8, "Lord Thomas" (1 text)
  29. Peacock, pp. 617-619, "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor" (1 text, 2 tunes)
  30. Mackenzie 6, "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor" (1 text); "Lord Thomas" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #128}
  31. Leach, pp. 239-246, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (3 texts plus a translated Danish text)
  32. OBB 54, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (1 text)
  33. Friedman, p. 84, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (1 text)
  34. Wyman-Brockway II, p. 14, "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellendor (or, The Brown Bride)" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #132}
  35. Warner 140, "Lord Thomas" (1 text+1 fragment, 2 tunes)
  36. PBB 39, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (1 text)
  37. McNeil-SFB1, pp. 137-139, "Three Lovers" (1 text, 1 tune)
  38. Niles 28, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (4 texts, 3 tunes)
  39. Gummere, pp. 231-235+353, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (1 text)
  40. Sharp/Karpeles-80E 15, "Lord Thomas and Fair Elinore" (1 text, 1 tune -- a composite version) {Bronson's #145}
  41. Sandburg, pp. 156-157, "The Brown Girl or Fair Eleanor" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #85}
  42. Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, pp. 62-63, "Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #76}
  43. Ritchie-SingFam, pp. 17-20, "[Fair Ellender]" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #126; note that the tune is slightly different, and the text noticeably different, from the Ritchie-Southern version}
  44. Ritchie-Southern, pp. 60-61, "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender" (1 text, 1 tune) {note that the tune is slightly different, and the text noticeably different, from the Ritchie-SingFam version}
  45. Cohen/Seeger/Wood, p. 57, "Lord Thomas" (1 text, 1 tune)
  46. Hodgart, p. 122, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (1 text)
  47. LPound-ABS, 12, pp. 27-31, "Lord Thomas" (1 text)
  48. JHCox 10, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (9 texts plus mention of 2 more)
  49. TBB 15, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (1 text)
  50. HarvClass-EP1, pp. 61-65, "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" (1 text)
  51. Abrahams/Foss, pp. 46-47, "Three Lovers" (1 text, 1 tune)
  52. Silber-FSWB, p. 222, "Fair Ellender" (1 text)
  53. BBI, ZN173, "Amongst the Forresters of old"; ZN1719, "Lord Thomas he was a bold Forrester"
  54. DT 73, BROWNGRL BRWNGRL2*
  55. Roud #4
  56. BI, C073