To Be A Pilgrim (Songs From The Way To Walsingham)

by Hayward and Parsons

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about

In April 2015 we walked for two weeks and two hundred miles from London to Norfolk, Willesden to Walsingham, seeking holy (wholesome/holistic/healthy) places.

Wherever we found such a place, we recorded a song there. Our ‘studios’ were tiny chapels, vast cathedrals, holy wells and springs, bridges, caves, castles, war memorials…all the way to the top of a wind turbine.

The songs we sing are devotional and traditional, from a broadly British tradition with European and American twists. Each track was chosen as having resonance with the area it was recorded in, and each has its own pilgrimage story to tell.

We also recorded the sound-track to our journey between songs, to present the landscape encountered on pilgrimage.

This is a new form of album, and we hope you will enjoy walking and singing with us on the way to Walsingham.

credits

released May 5, 2015

All Tracks Trad. Arr. Hayward and Parsons

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Hayward and Parsons are singing pilgrims, on a musical quest to bring back pilgrimage to Britain.

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Track Name: Maria Durch Ein Dornwald Ging (Live in Willesden St Marys Church)
This song to Mary opened our pilgrimage. We sang it in St. Mary's church, Willesden, London, with a Black Madonna shrine, a holy well and a food bank.

The poem tells of Mary carrying Jesus ‘under her heart’ (in her womb), and how as they walk together through the woods, the thorns all bloom as roses.

Lyrics:
Was trug Maria unter ihrem Herzen,
Kyrie Eleison.
Ein kleines Kindlein ohne Schmerzen,
das trug Maria unter ihrem herzen,
Jesus und Maria.

Die Rosen haben dornen getragen,
Kyrie Eleison,
als das Kindlein durch den Wald getragen,
die Rosen haben Dornen getragen,
Jesus und Maria.
Track Name: Daddy Fox (Live on Griffin Hole Holy Well)
Pilgrimage is not just for people. This song tells of Daddy Fox and his long journey to the holy place of his family’s supper. Like all good pilgrims, Daddy Fox finds more than he seeks, and despite the distance and obstacles, returns home to share the boon.

We recorded this on top of Griffin Hole Holy Well, Hertfordshire, during our second day of pilgrimage. The well was pilgrim-proofed by a heavy iron grille, so though we couldn’t drink or bathe, we could sort-of walk on the water…

The Griffin is a mythic double king - both lion and eagle – with a reputation for guarding great treasure. Daddy Fox is the rogue pilgrim prince of the British hedgerows...

Lyrics:
Daddy Fox he went out on a chilly chilly night,
And he prayed to the moon for to give him light.
For he had many many miles to go that night,
before he came to his den-o.

Den-o, den-o...for he had many many miles to go that night,
before he came to his den-o.

Then he grabbed the grey goose by the neck,
and he flung a duck all upon his back.
And he heeded not their quivvy quivvy quacks,
nor the legs all dangling down-o.

Down-o, down-o...and he heeded not their quivvy quivvy quacks,
nor the legs all dangling down-o.

Then old mother Twiddle-Twaddle jumped out of bed,
And out of the window she stuck her little head.
Saying: "Oh John, oh, but the grey goose is dead,
And the fox is away to his den-o".

Den-o, den-o...saying “Oh John, oh, but the grey goose is dead,
and the fox is away to his den-o.”

Then John went up to the top of his hill,
He blew his little horn both loud and shrill.
"Play on" says Reynard "with your music still,
While I trot away to my den-o.

Den-o, den-o..."Play on" says Reynard "with your music still,
While I trot away to my den-o".

Then old daddy Fox and his cubs and his wife,
they cut up the goosey without any knife,
saying "I've never ever had such a supper in my life,
And the cubs they can chew on the bones-o".

Bones-o, bones-o...saying "I've never ever had such a supper in my life,
And the cubs they can chew on the bones-o".
Track Name: To Be A Pilgrim (Live in Little Munden All Saints Church)
At Little Munden stands a holy hill, with both a church and school crowded onto its sacred crest, even though the nearest village is half a mile away. The village is full of musicians, who all encouraged us to sing at the church. So we did – our manifesto song.

John Bunyan wrote this poem in a post-pilgrimage British landscape. But his portrayal of the pilgrim’s challenges - and rewards – still ring true today.

Come wind or weather, a pilgrim stays constant to his purpose. Discouragement from others, often telling dismal stories about pilgrimage, spurs the pilgrim on with even more strength. A pilgrim cultivates fearlessness, refusing to be daunted by lions, giants, hobgoblins and foul fiends. The labour of walking, living outside and travelling slowly, allows you to inherit life, to truly claim your birthright as a living human. Pilgrimage really is the good stuff.

Lyrics:
Who would true valour see,
Let them come hither.
One here will constant be,
Come wind come weather.
There's no discouragement,
Shall make him once relent,
His first avowed intent,
To be a Pilgrim.

Who so beset him round,
With dismal stories,
Do but themselves confound,
His strength the more is.
No Lion can him fright,
He'll with a giant fight,
But he will have the right
To be a Pilgrim.

No hobgoblin nor foul fiend
Can daunt his spirit.
He knows he at the end
Shall life inherit.
Then fancies fly away,
He'll fear not what men say,
He'll labour night and day
To be a Pilgrim.
Track Name: What Wondrous Love (Live in Royston Cave)
At the meeting point of two ancient paths, the Icknield Way and Ermine Street, stands a Rosy Stone, and around it a town: Royston.

We arrived here on day four of our pilgrimage, and took breakfast by the stone, the heart of the town. But to our disgust the stone’s hollow – its font – was full of chicken bones and cigarette butts, in foul gloopy water. So using our perfect toolkit of a milk carton (to scoop out the liquids), a plastic cereal inner packet (a glove to remove debris) and a cardboard cereal box (a bin for the foulness) – we were able to clean the Rosy Stone, and refill it with fresh clean spring water.

Immediately, all around us, nothing really changed.

“What the f**k are you doing” one chap asked. We explained thoroughly.

Royston, an ancient place of people passing through, proved kind to us in its coy way. Deep under its main road lies a secret chamber, a chalk cave carved with images of Gods and legends. Popular local tradition claims it an initiation chamber for the Knights Templar. It is also allegedly a meeting point for two great ley-lines – the Michael and Mary line. Whatever the details, it is clearly a holy place, deserving of song. Singing here was unsettlingly vast and awesome. We could feel our song more than hear it.

‘What Wondrous Love’ is from the American Southern harmony traditions, but like a true pilgrim song it adapts to fit in wherever it goes…

Lyrics:
What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,
What wondrous love is this, O my soul.
What wondrous love is this, that caused the Lord of Bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down.
When I was sinking down, beneath God's mighty frown,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul.

Ye winged seraphs fly, bear the news, bear the news,
Ye winged Seraphs fly, bear the news,
Ye winged Seraphs fly, like comets in the sky,
Fill vast eternity with the news, with the news,
Fill vast eternity with the news.
Track Name: Bold Fisherman (Live at Nine Wells near Cambridge)
This is the tale of a fisherman, a lord and lover. One could see this as a common tale of a Lord meeting, and proposing to, a fair maid, or as a higher tale of The Lord offering guidance and safe crossing.

We recorded this song at Nine Wells, a small ancient Beech grove with nine chalk springheads that feed Hobson's Conduit, the old drinking water source for Cambridge. This was perhaps the only patch of ancient growth woodland we encountered in two weeks walking. It stands beside the newly sprawling Addenbrookes bio-medical complex, which approaches ever closer.

We dipped in the cold clear water, filled our bottles with the chalky goodness and recorded this song.

Lyrics:
As I roved out one May morning
Down by the riverside,
There I beheld a bold fisherman
Come rowing by the tide,

Come rowing by the tide;
There I beheld a bold fisherman
Come rowing by the tide.

I stepped up to this bold fisherman,
“How come you are fishing here?”
“I've come a-fishing for your sweet sake
All by the river clear,

All by the river clear;
I've come a-fishing for your sweet sake
All by the river clear.”

He drew his boat up to the bank
And tied it to a stake,
He stepped up to this fair, pretty maid,
Her lily-white hand to take,

Her lily-white hand to take;
He stepped up to this fair, pretty maid,
Her lily-white hand to take.

He drew his cloak from off his back
And gently laid her down,
There she beheld three chains of gold
Hang dangling three times round,

Hang dangling three times round;
There she beheld three chains of gold
Hang dangling three times round.

She fell down on her bended knee
For mercy she implored,
“In calling you a bold fisherman
When I fear you are some lord,

When I fear you are some lord;
In calling you a bold fisherman
When I fear you are some lord.”

“Rise up, rise up, my sweet pretty maid,
From off your bended knee.
There’s not a word that you have said
Has least offended me,

Has least offended me;
There’s not a word that you have said
Has least offended me.”

He took her by the lily-white hand,
Saying, “Married we shall be,
Then you will have a bold fisherman
To row you on the sea,

To row you on the sea;
Then you will have a bold fisherman
To row you on the sea.”
Track Name: Turtle Dove (Live in Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge)
Turtle Doves have been symbols of faithfulness for thousands of years. Like pilgrims, they often leave their lovers behind – but while they have life, they always return.

This is one of the most popular British folk songs. We recorded it under the marbled ears of intellectual giants - Newton, Tennyson, Bacon etc. – in the sumptuous acoustic of Trinity College Antechapel, Cambridge, a vast room of pure marble. Recording this song here was a homecoming for Guy, because he first got to know ‘The Turtle Dove’ by singing the solo in Vaughan Williams’ choral arrangement of the melody as a choral scholar of Trinity College Chapel Choir.

For Will, singing here was a pilgrimatic irony, as Trinity College was built by Henry VIII out of money he took from the monasteries at Reformation, when British pilgrimage was banned. Nevertheless, releasing a song into such a space soon undoes any such thoughtful wrangling. It is unquestionably a holy place.

Lyrics:
Fare you well, my dear, I must be gone,
And leave you for a while;
If I roam away I'll come back again,
Though I roam ten thousand miles, my dear,
Though I roam ten thousand miles.

So fair thou art, my bonny lass,
So deep in love am I;
And I never will prove false to the bonny lass I love,
Till the stars fall from the sky, my dear,
Till the stars fall from the sky.

The sea will never run dry, my dear,
Nor the rocks melt with the sun,
And I never will prove false to the bonny lass I love,
Till all these things be done, my dear,
Till all these things be done.

O yonder doth sit that little turtle dove,
He doth sit on yonder high tree,
A-making a moan for the loss of his love,
As I will do for thee, my dear,
As I will do for thee.
Track Name: My Boy Jack (Live at Lode War Memorial)
Rudyard Kipling sent his only son away to war, using his high connections to overturn a decision that his eyesight was a hindrance to front-line combat.

When his only son died, in the mud, gas and metal of the Trenches, Kipling struggled to reconcile his ideas of Empire, Just War and Sacrifice with his feelings of horror. This poem was part of his effort to come to terms with his loss.

We sing it at most war memorials we pass. This one, in Lode, Cambridgeshire, was built in a semi-circular niche, providing incredible natural amplification.

Lyrics:
“O have you news of my boy Jack?”
Not this tide.
“O when do you think that he’ll come back?”
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Has any one else had word of him?”
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”
None this tide, Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind —
Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide, and every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!
Track Name: The Skewbald (Live under Moulton Pack Horse Bridge near Newmarket)
This is the tale of a racehorse called Skewbald brought to Ireland to compete in a long-distance race. The locals laughed at the horse and rider, but they soon lost their grins…and their purses.

Rather uncannily, we came across the grave of the Goldolphin Arabian at Wandlebury, near Cambridge. All British thoroughbreds descend from this magnificent horse, who was brought over from a far-off land (probably Syria), and who was also initially viewed as inferior, just like Skewbald…

We recorded this under the middle arch of the renowned late-medieval Moulton Packhorse bridge, just outside the famous horseracing town of Newmarket.

Lyrics:
You gallant sportsmen all, come listen to my story
Of the bold Skewbald, that noble racing pony.
Arthur Marvel was the man, who brought the Skewbald over,
He's a diamond in the land and he rolls around in clover.

These horses were brought out with saddle, whip and bridle,
And the gentlemen did shout when they saw the noble rider
There's some did shout hooray as the air was thick with curses
On the grey Griselda sportsmen laid their purses.

Trumpet it did sound, they shot off like an arrow,
Scarcely touched the ground where the going it was narrow.
Then Griselda passed him by as the gentlemen did holler,
“Oh, the grey will win the day and the Skewbald he will follow.”

But halfway round the track up spoke the noble rider,
“I fear we must fall back for she's going like a tiger.”
Up spoke the noble horse, “Ride on, ride on, my master,
For we're halfway round the track and it's now we'll see who's faster.”

So swiftly o'er the grass Skewbald flew like lightning
So swiftly o'er the grass that the grey mare she was taken
“Ride on, my noble horse, for the good two hundred guineas.
Oh your saddle’ll be of gold when we pick up our winnings.”

Way past the winning post, Skewbald flew so handy
Horse and rider both called for sherry, wine and brandy.
And it's there they drank the health of the gallant Miss Griselda
And all who lost their money on the sporting plains of Kildare.
Track Name: The Green Blade Rises (Live in St Edmundsbury Cathedral)
Our Walsingham pilgrimage started four days after Easter, and this is a nature-inspired Easter song.

We noticed that in many holy ruins we stopped at, where devotion had been suppressed, the unstoppable force of life still pushes green blades through the soil amongst the broken stone structures. A little shoot of grass is growing up out of Bury right now: the East Anglia Pilgrimage Network – we wish them well. And, of course, the new beautiful stone tower of St Edmundsbury Cathedral, under which we made this recording, found its way pushing out into the sky only ten years ago!

The track ends with our pilgrim staffs, cut from blackthorn and hazel, tapping the stone floors of the Cathedral cloisters - a sound that the monks of old would have known well, but will be heard again…

Lyrics:
Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain,
Wheat that in the dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love will come again, like wheat that springeth green.

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Thy touch can call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts, that dead and bare have been:
Love will come again, like wheat that springeth green.
Track Name: The Life Of Man (Live in Wordwell All Saints Church)
The seasons of our lives are as natural as those of a leaf on a tree.

On pilgrimage we visited countless parish churches, which are inevitably places of death as well as life – indeed, we knew this intimately by sleeping in various churchyards along the way. At Wordwell church, where we made this recording, we sang ‘The Life of Man’ for a group of local folk. The landlord had just died, and our audience were ill and facing their own mortality, so the performance had particular poignancy. Later, the church caretaker Bob showed us where he would eventually be buried in the churchyard.

We also sang ‘The Life of Man’ at the centre of Saffron turf maze, having walked the 1.5km labyrinth, a microcosm of our pilgrimage and life itself, a journey to the sacred centre where birth and death are one.

The ten bell tolls at the end of the track were recorded from our sleeping bags at 10pm in West Stow’s church porch.

Lyrics:
As I was a-walking one morning at ease
A-viewing the leaves as they hung from the trees
They were all in full motion, or appearing to be
And the leaves that were withered, they fell from the trees.

What’s the life of a man any more than a leaf?
A man has his seasons, so why should we grieve?
Although in this life we appear fine and gay,
Like the leaves we must wither and soon fade away

If you’d seen the leaves just a few days ago
They were all in full motion and appearing to grow.
A frost came upon them and withered them all,
And the rain came upon them and down they did fall.

Go down yonder churchyard, many names there you’ll see
All have fallen from this world like the leaves from the tree.
When age and affliction upon us do call,
Like the leaves we must wither and down we must fall.

What’s the life of a man any more than a leaf?
A man has his seasons, so why should we grieve?
Although in this life we appear fine and gay,
Like the leaves we must wither and soon fade away.
Track Name: All Things Are Quite Silent (Live in Santon Downham All Saints Church)
A traditional British song about the impact of the Press Gangs on a woman's life, who from 1644-1814 could force any man with seafaring experience (back then most people) to go to sea. Her sweetheart was taken from her bed and forced to join the Royal Navy, and she has not seen him again.

The track ends with the sound of birdsong, representing the larks, blackbirds and thrushes she remembers hearing with her love in the meadows and valleys.

We recorded this at the small church of Santon Downham on the border of Suffolk and Norfolk, the county where Admiral Nelson was born, under whom many would have suffered this fate.

Lyrics:
All things are quite silent, each mortal at rest,
When me and my true love were snug in one nest,
And a set of bold ruffians broke into our cave,
And they forced my dear jewel to plough the salt wave.

I begged hard for my darling, as I would for my life.
But they would not heed me, although a fond wife,
Saying, “The king must have sailors, to the wars he must go.”
And they left me lamenting in sorrow and woe.

In green fields and meadows oft times we have walked,
And of fond recollections together have talked,
Where the lark and the blackbird so sweetly do sing,
And the lovely thrushes' voices made the valley to ring.

Now though I’m forsaken I won’t be cast down.
Who knows but my true love may one day return?
And he’ll make me amends for my trouble and strife,
And me and my jewel will be happy for life.
Track Name: Scarborough Fair (Live in Swaffham Wind Turbine)
We recorded this song at the top of the only accessible wind turbine in the world, 67 metres up in the air. We regarded the turbine a green holy place, in the sense of making the world whole again. The Green Britain Centre in Swaffham that runs the turbine shared a connection with the song in that saving our environment is potentially an impossible task, at least politically speaking, yet nothing the power of love cannot overcome.

We learnt ‘Scarborough Fair’ in its original land, walking from Whitby to Scarborough over four days for a BBC Radio 4 'Soul Music' documentary about the song.

The mill sounds at the beginning and end of the track come from the grinding of the two stones of Swaffham Prior traditional windmill. These sounds merge into the newer turbine’s clanking and milling; thus, the two Swaffham windmills (two counties apart), old and new, both have their place in the modern world, like the merging of traditional aspects of pilgrimage - wooden staves - with the modern - smartphone navigation.

Lyrics:
Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
Remember me to one who lives there,
For once she was a true love of mine.

Tell her to make me a cambric shirt,
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
Without any seam or needlework,
And then she'll be a true love of mine.

Tell her to wash it in yonder dry well,
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
Where water ne'er sprang nor drop of rain fell,
And then she’ll be a true love of mine.

Tell him to dry it on yonder thorn,
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
That never bore blossom since Adam was born,
And then she’ll be a true love of mine.

Will you find me an acre of land?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
Between the sea foam and the sea sand,
Or never be a true love of mine.

Will you plough it with a ram’s horn?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
And sow it all over with one peppercorn,
Or never be a true love of mine.

Will you reap it with a sickle of leather?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
And tie it all up with a peacock’s feather,
Or never be a true love of mine.

Now you’ve done and finished your work
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
You may come to me for your cambric shirt
And then you’ll be a true love of mine.
Track Name: Spring Is Come (Live in Castle Acre Motte and Bailey)
We made this pilgrimage in glorious weather, when the seed of summer had truly awakened.

Indeed, spring so rested her soft touch on our sleeping that we only needed to use our tarps once at night in 2 weeks.

We sang this spring carol of renewal on the hillfort of Castle Acre. It's from the "Piae Cantiones", a collection of late mediaeval songs.

Lyrics:
Now the spring has come again,
Joy and warmth will follow;
Cold and wet are quite forgot,
Northward flies the swallow;
Over sea and land and air
Spring's soft touch is everywhere
And the world looks cleaner;
All our sinews feel new strung,
Hearts are light that once were wrung,
Youthful zests are keener.

All the woods are new in leaf,
All the fruit is budding,
Bees are humming round the hive,
Done with winter's brooding;
Seas are calm and blue again,
Clouds no more foretell the rain,
Winds are soft and tender;
High above, the kingly sun
Laughs once more his course to run,
Shines in all his splendour.
Track Name: Smugglers Song (Live at midnight in Sculthorpe Church Porch)
We smuggled this song onto the album at the stroke of midnight, past a rightfully vigilant villager who confronted us at Sculthorpe Church Porch, only a few miles from Walsingham. We sang it in honour of Peter Bellamy, who was a Norfolk folk singer of great repute and national importance, who went to grammar school in the nearby town of Fakenham.

With words by Rudyard Kipling and a traditional melody found by Peter Bellamy, this song captures the atmosphere of the smuggling tradition of Sussex. It provides a cold warning to a child not to let the side down. It makes clear how everyone in the community must be involved, to feel victorious against the state in the great crime of smuggling.

Lyrics:
If you wake at midnight, and hear the horses' feet,
Don't go drawing back the blind, nor looking in the street,
Them that asks no questions they isn't told a lie.
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

Five-and-twenty ponies, trotting through the dark—
With brandy for the Parson and 'baccy for the Clerk.
Laces for a lady and letters for a spy,
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

Running round the woodlump if you chance to find
Little barrels, roped and tarred, all full of brandy-wine;
Don't you call to come and look, nor use them for your play;
Put the brushwood back again,—and they'll be gone next day!

If you see a stable-door setting open wide;
If you see a tired horse lying down inside;
If your mother mends a coat, all cut about and tore;
If the lining's wet and warm—don't you ask no more!

If you see King George's men, dressed in blue and red,
You be careful what you say, and mindful what is said.
If they call you “pretty maid”, and chuck you 'neath the chin,
Don't you tell where no one is, nor yet where no one's been!

If you do as you've been told, likely there's a chance
You'll be give a dainty doll, all the way from France,
With a cap of Valenciennes, and a velvet hood—
A present from the Gentlemen, along o' being good!

Five-and-twenty ponies, trotting through the dark—
With brandy for the Parson, 'baccy for the Clerk.
Them that asks no questions isn't told a lie—
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
Track Name: The Queen of Walsingham (Live in Walsingham Abbey Crypt)
Our pilgrimage destination was Walsingham, a shrine built in 1061. Before the Reformation, Walsingham was the second most important and popular pilgrimage destination in Britain (after Canterbury).

This Walsingham ballad is both a lament for the loss of the shrine, after the forces of Reformation banned pilgrimage and destroyed the monasteries, and also a paean to Mary, the Queen of Walsingham.

We recorded this ballad in the Crypt of the wracked Walsingham Abbey, after it accompanied us mantra-like for every footstep of our final 5 miles through sleepy Norfolk lanes to Walsingham.

Lyrics:
In the wracks of Walsingham
Whom should I choose
But the Queen of Walsingham
to be my guide and muse.

Such were the worth of Walsingham
While she did stand,
Such are the wracks as now do show
Of that Holy Land.

Where were gates are no gates now,
The ways unknown
Where the press of peers did pass
While her fame was blown.

In the wracks of Walsingham
Whom should I choose
But the Queen of Walsingham
to be my guide and muse.