Feniton link to Devon folk song Widecombe Fair

PUBLISHED: 18:00 19 September 2019

Dr Todd Gray's book on the well-known song, Picture: Dr Todd Gray

Dr Todd Gray's book on the well-known song, Picture: Dr Todd Gray

Dr Todd Gray

The old Devon folk song Widecombe Fair has always been linked to the Dartmoor town that bears its name, but it may not have originated in that part of Devon.

Research by an Exeter University historian has found many other versions of the song, which have been sung all over the country and around the world.

Dr Todd Gray has found that a version of the song, telling the story of a trip to 'Hoodycock Fair', was performed at the Feniton Inn 21 years before the 'official' lyrics were published in a book called Songs of the West in 1890.

In a presentation to the Feniton History Group, he said the song has been adapted many times, sometimes with a humorous or political angle.

During World War One, servicemen sang versions containing references to the Kaiser.

Dr Gray has written a book about his research called Uncle Tom Cobley and All, and has giving a series of talks around Devon during September.

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