the battle of the field

the albion country band
the battle of the field
Albion Sunrise
Morris Medley
I Was A Young Man
New St. George/La Rotta
Gallant Poacher
Cheshire Rounds/The Old Lancashire Hornpipe
Hanged I Shall Be
Reaphook and Sickle
Battle Of The Somme
A Little Music or The Delights of Harmony
Stroll On
Notes and Things
The Back Cover

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England
-William Shakespeare

Engineered and produced by John Wood
Recorded at Sound Techniques Studio and Island Studio, St. Peter's Square, London
Album cover by Ian Logan Associates
Photography by Keith Morris

Martin Carthy, vocals, acoustic guitar;
Sue Harris, vocals, oboe, hammered dulcimer;
Ashley Hutchings, vocals, electric bass guitar;
John Kirkpatrick, vocals, anglo-concertina, button accordion, melodeon, electric piano;
Simon Nicol, vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, electric dulcimer, synthesiser;
Roger Swallow, drums, percussion
Dave Mattacks, percussion on Reaphook and Sickle;
Martin Nicholls, John Iveson, Colin Sheen and Paul Beer, sackbuts on Gallant Poacher

Albion Country Band on this recording

 the never-to-be-duplicated Albion line-up of
Simon Nicol,
Martin Carthy, Roger Swallow,
Sue Harris and John Kirkpatrick.
Ashley Hutchings missing in action

Remembering The Land


The census of Britain taken in 1851 showed a total population of 20.9 persons, where 10 3/4 million had been counted in 1801 ; in the intervening years, the population had almost doubled and the country had become the largest manufacturer of industrial products in western Europe. Of this population, some 1 3/4 million were engaged in the cultivation of the soil, in the rearing of animals and the care of woods. Those employed on the land were, infact, already a minority of the British people, representing only about one -fifth of the total occupied persons, or one-quarter of the males over twenty years of age. Thus for every adult male engaged in agriculture or forestry, there were three others working in trade, domestic service, or in the professions....The Battle of the Field was already joined.......

The system of appropriating common land as private property. The changing of open field systems to enclosed fields began in the 14th century and became widespread later, resulting in poverty, starvation, homelessness, and rural depopulation. The first laws were passed in 1515, and there were revolts in 1536, 1569, and 1607, and many government measures to prevent depopulation were introduced 1489-1640, including the first Enclosure Act [1603] but these were sabotaged at a local level by land-owning magistrates. There were many popular riots against the enclosures, such as those led by John Reynolds, alias Captain Pouch, in Northamptonshire in 1607. The government passed Enclosure Acts in response to a petition which had been signed by 80% of the owners of the land. Tenants, who rented their land, had no rights in this respect. A new wave of enclosures by Acts of Parliament 1760-1820 during which period about 3500 acts were passed reduced the small land-owning farmers to agricultural labourers, or forced them to leave the land entirely. The Enclosure Acts applied to about 25% of the land in England, and about 17 million acres were enclosed without any parliamentary act. Under the Enclosure Acts, the enclosers had an obligation to create a road-way past the newly enclosed meadows. In most cases, the Enclosure Acts specified the width of enclosure roads as 40 ft. From 1876 the enclosure of common land in Britain was limited by statute. The last major Enclosure Act was in 1903.

The Prospect Before Us

The Battle of the Field.  [click for larger image]
Island Records HELP 25 (LP, UK, 1976 (recorded 1973))

 Albion Sunrise

Morris Medley
* Mouresque
* London Pride
* So Selfish Runs The Hare
* Maid Of The Mill
* Sheriff's Ride

I Was A Young Man

New St George / La Rotta

Gallant Poacher

Cheshire Rounds / The Old Lancashire Hornpipe

Hangèd I Shall Be

Reaphook And Sickle

back cover [click for larger image]
Island Records HELP 25 (LP, UK, 1976 (recorded 1973))

Flora Thompson 1876-1947

related internet links

our webpage on this
truly wonderful author
and chronicler of a vanished
way of life.
the page was later expanded
to a full website, a link to which
can be found through
the above picture of
Flora Thompson

a truly fascinating insight
into an area of southern England
in the 17th century

an annotated version of
Oliver Goldsmith's famous poem,
with associated articles
and illustrations

Musical Traditions

massive thanks go out to
 coramunroe for the you tube video feeds
to be found on this site
the battle of the field website
is © 2005/2006/2007/2008/2009/2010
all rights reserved