The English Folk Dance and Song Society websites use cookies.
You can read more about cookies and how we use them here.
Continued use of this site implies that you agree to our use of cookies.  
At the heart of English folk
Subscribe & feedback

Tell us what you think...

Your comments have been sent, and we will be back in contact with you shortly.

Abroad for Pleasure

Abroad for Pleasure

Alternative titles: Pratty Flowers or The Holmfirth Anthem

A popular chorus song, this is associated strongly with the old West Riding of Yorkshire, though it has been collected widely throughout England. It is a pastoral love song set against the backdrop of a soldier or sailor about to head off to war against foreign enemies. This is a very common theme in English folk song. Often known as the Holmfirth Anthem, it has strong links with the Holm Valley, and was a favourite of hunt suppers (events following a day’s fox hunting) where it would be led by a noted singer with the rest of the audience joining in on the repeated phrases. It’s place in these kind of communal environments has led to it turning p in sessions of traditional Christmas carols, where secular songs often form part of a program later in the afternoon. The adoption of these models of social singing has led to this song being the now traditional closing song of the Whitby Folk Week, in august every year, where all the remaining attendees sign this song before claiming a piece of lucky heather from the garland to see them through to the next year.

Abroad for Pleasure is in The Full English Folk Chorus Songs Pack.  One type of song that has remained popular across English speaking traditions is the chorus song.  These are often led by one singer (in a pub, for example) with the community joining in with the repeated chorus, refrain or burden. This can be simple unison or improvised harmonies of varying levels of complexity. You can hear (and join in with) chorus songs in many folk clubs, singarounds, concerts and festivals.

The The Full English Folk Chorus Songs Pack is available from the PDF tab at the top of this panel, and contains some well-known chorus songs to provide some starting points for social singing from The Full English digital archive. Due to their popularity many of these songs are geographically widespread and may appear in many versions with all kinds of variation in words and melody. An Audio recording of this song is available for free download from the Audio tab at the top of the panel. It has been recorded by Ben Moss and Laurel Swift (www.benandlaurel.com).

 

The other songs in the pack are:

- The Barley Mow (Harry Albino Collection)

- The Sweet Nightingale (Sabine Baring Gould Collection)

- Fathom The Bowl (Clive Carey Collection)

- Young Banker (Percy Grainger/Frank Kidson Collections)

- Pleasant and Delightful (Collinson Collection)

- The Farmer’s Boy (Lucy Broadwood collection)

 

More videos

  • Audio 01: Abroad for Pleasure - Ben Moss and Laurel Swift

    Download: mp3(2.65MB) ogg(3.28MB)

Digital Archive records related to this item

Note that these links take you to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website which holds the full archival details of the material. Material on the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website is not censored or expurgated and may contain material considered offensive by modern standards.

Maps on the Full English site related to this item

Note that these links take you to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website which holds the full archival details of the material. Material on the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website is not censored or expurgated and may contain material considered offensive by modern standards.