New Singers

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Saturday, 22 July 2017

Local Group Report – Chichester – Thursday 20th July 2017

We enjoyed a very pleasant evening singing in the Chichester Inn last Thursday and were pleased to welcome two newcomers who had heard about SDFS via a recent singing workshop.  We started off the evening with On Sussex Hills and then reprised Valients All, The Stedham Oysterman’s Donkey (which we hope might be included in the regular song list) and Saucy Sailor that had been sung at the Tullecombe event near Midhurst on Tuesday. All three songs had been collected in the Midhurst area.  We thought we’d practice some of the songs on the list for Bateman’s and so sang Home, Lads, Home, The Ladies Goes Dancing at Whitsun, Follow Me ’Ome, All Things are Quite Silent and Ha’nacker Mill. The Sussex Wedding Song and Jim, the Carter Lad were then requested which we all enjoyed singing, and rounded the evening off with a rousing Rolling Home as usual.

Friday, 21 July 2017

WW1 Battle of Passchendaele Remembrance, Sunday 6th August 2017

Bateman's, Burwash

This will be the third year that we join the volunteer re-enactors in remembering the fallen of WW1.

Starting on the 31st July and continuing till the 6th November, echoing the Somme Battle of the previous year, the Battle of Passchendaele (officially known as the Third Battle of Ypres) claimed 325,000 Allied casualties, mainly British and Canadian, and 260,000 German casualties for an advance of hardly 5 miles, over a limited salient.

I will be at the entrance kiosk from 10.00am to tick off the names of the up to 40 volunteer Singers for entry on the day [editor's note: this means a maximum of 40 singers, NOT singers up to 40 years of age!], who reserve a place by email to by the 1st August. I hope to abandon that position before 11.00am to grab a coffee.

If you have N.T. membership cards please bring them to be registered as it helps the site to bid for extra funds from the central N.T. pot.

Please bring friends and family if you wish, but their entry will be at normal rates if they cannot use membership cards.

Timing of the two song sets will be agreed on Saturday with the re-enactors, to not clash with any noisier activities on the adjacent encampment field. They will be either side of lunch at similar times to last year. If you have a poppy left over from last November please wear it together with any general green, blue, cream/yellow garments you fancy wearing.

Let's hope the weather favours us again, we brought the sun out last year with our singing.


1st Set:
  1. Country Life
  2. Pleasant & Delightful
  3. The Magpie
  4. Thousands Or More
  5. Home Lads Home
  6. Dancing At Whitsun
  7. A Smuggler’s Song
  8. Rosebuds In June
  9. Oak, Ash & Thorn
  10. Twanky Dillo
  11. Jolly Good Song

2nd Set:
  1. Fathom The Bowl
  2. Ha’nacker Mill
  3. On Sussex Hills
  4. Life Of A Man
  5. All Things Are Quite Silent
  6. Ale Glorious Ale
  7. Follow Me ’Ome
  8. The Nightingale
  9. West Sussex Drinking Song
  10. Sussex By The Sea
  11. Jolly Good Song

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Local Group Report – Lewes – Tuesday 18th July 2017

We had another uplifting evening singing in The John Harvey Tavern, with seven men and only four women. Tina is very busy at work and so hadn’t had time to prepare any new songs, but that didn’t matter as we have so many others that we don’t often sing. As we don’t have a confirmed set list for Bateman’s, Tina guessed likely candidates and threw in a few more.

Old Adam, Ladies Go Dancing, Hard Times, Fathom the Bowl, Home Lads Home, My Boy Jack, Eileen Aroon, All Things Are Quite Silent and Follow Me ’Ome were all worked through before the break, and then we sang The Magpie, The Nightingale, Green Grow the Laurel, On Sussex Hills, Oak, Ash & Thorn, Run of the Downs (more for the words than the tune as we haven’t got a replacement for the Floral Dance yet), A Smuggler’s Song and They Won’t Let Us Go To Sea Any More.

Staying with the East Sussex theme, we finished with a request for Adrian to sing his East Sussex Drinking Song and the rest of us joined in the chorus… “Put another barrel on Landlord and pull a pint for me, the ale in the east of Sussex is the best we all agree, put another barrel on Landlord, let’s raise a mighty cheer and we’ll drink to the health, success and wealth of all who sup in here.”

We then all left feeling a lot happier for singing jolly good songs and in good company, before travelling home to witness those fantastic electrical storms.

Singing at Tullecombe, Tuesday 18th July 2017

On a warm, sunny Tuesday lunchtime ten of us met up with enthusiastic song collector Stephen A at the Forestry Commission car park at Tullecombe, just north of Rogate. As you can see from the photos, we chose a pretty piece of the common to sing to a group of walkers who were on an officially organised hike along this section of the Serpent Trail. Whilst they sat and rested, Stephen told them all about the songs he’s been researching, which were once sung by local villagers in this small corner of Sussex. We sang four songs: the Saucy Sailor, Valiants All, the Stedham Oysterman’s Donkey and as an encore Pleasant and Delightful.

Singing at Danny Park 300th Anniversary Cricket Match, Sunday 9th July 2017

To celebrate 300 years of cricket at Danny House, the beautiful Elizabethan country house set in lovely grounds, there was a friendly cricket match, in full period costume, played out between the Danny Park residents and Hurstpierpoint village.

It was a great day, full of fun, with Chanctonbury Morris dancing and the South Downs Folk Singers offering their singing of local folk songs, some from the same period. Spit roast lamb was consumed, ale flowed, games commenced and the onlookers were treated to an exciting match with those dropping the ball sent to the stocks for a good soaking.

Great fun for all and did the sun shine!

A message from Richard Burrows, the organiser of the event:

"Dear John,

I wanted to thank Emily and all the fabulous singers who entertained us so well on Sunday and played a big part in making it such a pleasurable and memorable day.

I hope we can find another occasion to invite you all back to Danny."

Thanks to David Broadhead and Damon Hart for the photos below.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Local Group Report – Worthing – Wednesday 5th July 2017

After brief reminder notices about our July events, we considered and agreed with Emily’s suggestion that we spend time on trying some new or newish (to us) songs. We warmed up our voices with an old favourite, Rolling in the Dew, before singing, with Emily’s guidance, The Stedham Oyster Man’s Donkey (minus a couple of its many verses!) and The Saucy Sailor. Both songs were originally sourced from the Midhurst area and they have been sung a few times in the SDFS Chichester group’s sessions. Emily then described discussions which have begun with the organisers of an event we have been invited to in the autumn at Sullington Church. We sang through a few of the songs that could be appropriate to the occasion (yet to be confirmed). The Woodcutters Song brought an autumnal touch to a warm July evening before The Farmers Toast brought us back to a more summery mood. The Brisk Young Ploughboy is another option and we were all pleased to sing it again, although use of this song at the event will be subject to its adoption into our ‘official’ repertoire if our Lewes and Chichester colleagues also favour it. Lastly we tried Hares on the Mountain, a south country song from Cecil Sharp’s collection, which some had heard when it was presented at an extra workshop run by Emily and Chris H. back in February. We hope to spend more time on all these songs in future sessions. Thank you Emily and all for a varied and enjoyable evening.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Davy Lowston

Here's a link to download the recording of Davy Lowston made at Emily's workshop on Saturday 10th June.

Davy Lowston.mp3

Note: This link are provided here for convenience, but for the moment the future relationship between South Downs Folk Singers and the Secret Shore project is undecided.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Heathlands Reunited Project: Singing at Tullecombe on Tuesday 18th July

For everybody interested in this event, here is further information provided by Stephen A by email. Stephen provided three files with this email and links have been added to enable downloading of these.
I would like to sing Valiants All, Saucy Sailor and The Stedham Oysterman’s Donkey and, if they are gagging for more, Pleasant and delightful.

I have included Bruce’s programme. I reckon if we meet at say 12.45 we will get a chance to go through the songs before the walkers arrive.

The meeting place is the Forestry Commission car park at Tullecombe, (see map). If you head north from the crossroads in Rogate and take a right at the cross roads (signposted Chithurst) it’s on the left after a couple of hundred yards.

If anyone is interested it’s not far to the Flying Bull in Rake afterwards.

Any questions get back to me.

Here are links for downloading lyrics to three songs that you may not already have:
Valiants All
The Stedham Oysterman’s Donkey
Saucy Sailor can be found in this collection.

Earlier information was provided for this event on this page.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Danny Park 300th Anniversary Cricket Match, Sunday 9th July 2017

Update 8th July: The meeting place at 12.45pm will be outside the Lunch Marquee. The contact number for the day is 07751 479383.
Update 5th July: For anybody needing help locating Danny House, the postcode is BN6 9BB and you will be able to find the location of the property by searching for this postcode using your favourite online mapping website.

To see exactly where you leave the public highway to enter the driveway leading to Danny House, use one of these links:
Google Maps
Update 2nd July: The deadline for confirming participation at this event has been extended to the end of Thursday 6th July.
Richard Burrows has invited us to support this celebration:
"Dear SDFS

I have always been a fan of yours and regularly play your cd! I own Danny House which is the third largest grade 1 listed house in Sussex. On Sunday afternoon, 9th July we will be holding a cricket match in Danny Park to celebrate 300 years of cricket in the village. We believe we have the third oldest cricket ground in the world. Danny will be playing Hurstpierpoint Cricket Club and we will be wearing C18th costumes and trying to play to C18th rules. The match will be promoted to everyone free of charge as a community event."
Richard will kindly provide participating Singers only with a free lunch and free drinks. Singers are welcome to bring friends and families and picnics. There will be a pay bar and pay scouts bbq. Parking is free at the entrance to the park.

You are welcome to come dressed in any 18th century costume that you have tucked away in your closet or can beg, borrow or steal. Those of us without this facility please wear any blue/green or cream/yellow garments you feel are suitable.

The programme for the day:
12 noonJunior teams from Hurstpierpoint Cricket Club will be playing C18th cricket. The beer tent etc will be operational from 12 noon.
12.45pmSDFS gather for the first set.
1pmLunch for the teams (spit roast lamb etc and drinks) served in the marquee. The SDFS will sing their first possibly longer set (depending on tea arrangements on the day) to the gathered crowds from 1pm, the Chanctonbury Morris Men will then follow us.
2pmLunch for the SDF Singers in the marquee.
2pmCricket match between Danny House and Hurstpierpoint Cricket Club starts. There will be a tea interval at just before 4pm when we will sing our second set. The match will finish at 6pm but if you want to drift away after the tea set please feel free to do so.

Please gather for the first set by 12.45pm. The songs in the sets below are generally well known to us.

Please confirm by email: if you wish to take part, by Monday 3rd July the end of Thursday 6th July to enable advance notification to the organisers for catering numbers on the day.

Many thanks,

John C.

First Set:
  1. Country Life Ab
  2. Oak, Ash & Thorn E
  3. Pleasant & Delightful B
  4. A Smuggler’s Song C#
  5. West Sussex Drinking Song F
  6. Rosebuds In June B
  7. Rolling In The Dew F
  8. Twanky Dillo A
  9. Jolly Good Song

Second Set:
  1. The Turnip Hoer Bb
  2. On Sussex Hills A
  3. Fathom The Bowl D
  4. The Magpie C
  5. Ale, Glorious Ale E
  6. The Nightingale A
  7. Life Of A Man B
  8. Thousands Or More A
  9. Jolly Good Song

Monday, 26 June 2017

Ferring Open Gardens Performance, Sunday 2nd July

Here's a note from Emily about singing at Ferring Open Gardens:

Hello All,

As some of you already know, my parents-in-law are opening their garden as part of the Ferring Open Gardens day and have asked if we might come and sing a couple of sets to add to the general delight.

It will be to raise money for St Barnabas and last year they raised a considerable sum.

It will be a lovely day and loads of gardens are open and well worth a browse around, some serve teas and refreshments, some have music being performed, some have classic cars lined up in the driveway...

My in-laws' particular attraction, apart from a lovely garden, is an extensive model railway track that winds around the garden. There will be loads of trains chugging around, past stations, a water mill, a castle, and even across the pond on a bridge!

Well worth a look!

The open day is on Sunday 2nd July.

Their address is 2 Green Park, Ferring, which is just over the level crossing and beyond the Henty Arms on the same side of the road.

There is an entry fee of £3 for access to all the open gardens and this can be paid at whichever garden you choose to visit first. You will then receive a programme and map to show you what's happening and where.

We singers will meet either at 12.30pm on the green, which is just where the Coastliner 700 bus stops, or in the Henty Arms just after, to gather those singers who are already there enjoying a lunchtime pint.

We will be doing two sets, one at 1pm and one at 3pm, which allows time for strolling around other gardens in between and perhaps also singing at Patsy's daughters house! She and her family are also opening their garden, and I understand from Patsy that one of their special attractions is guinea pigs! Not to be missed! My daughters are hugely excited about that!

We will be doing two sets at 2 Green Park (and however many songs seem good at Patsy's daughter's place).

The sets will be:

  1. On Sussex Hills
  2. Pleasant and Delightful
  3. A Smuggler's song
  4. The Nightingale
  5. Ale, Glorious Ale
  6. Rosebuds in June
  7. Twanky Dillo

  1. Country Life
  2. Life of a Man
  3. West Sussex Drinking Song
  4. Rosebuds in June
  5. The Magpie
  6. Thousands Or More
  7. On Sussex Hills

Both sets are of course open to changing according to what feels comfortable for all singers present.

If there's any info I've left out or any questions do feel free to email me at

Look forward to seeing you there!

Em X