“The Manchester Angel”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1825 (broadside, Bodleian Harding Harding B 28(14))
Keywords: courting sex army parting dialog soldier
Found in: Britain(England(South,North))


The singer meets a girl in Manchester and promises to marry her. She sleeps with him; his regiment prepares to march. She begs to go with him; he refuses. She offers to buy his discharge; he refuses. She vows to enter a nunnery until he returns.


[According to A.L. Lloyd,] "The Angel Inn is said to have stood in the Market Place adjoining Market Sted Lane, Manchester."

Given the large number of ballads with this plot, I was tempted to lump this with one of the others. However, it has enough unique elements, in my judgment, to warrant a separate listing. -PJS

Although most of the elements of this song are duplicated elsewhere, the combination is unique. So is the (frequently Dorian) tune. So I agree with Paul: This piece is unique. There is another song with this title in Sam Henry, but it is distinct (and fragmentary). - RBW

Cross references




  1. Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, pp. 66-67, "The Manchester Angel" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Roud #2741
  4. BI, VWL066