X:1 T:Oh Crowel, or Calder Fair M:C| L:1/8 S:John Rook music manuscript collection (Waverton, Cumbria, 1840, p. 211) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G f|(g>f)ed e<g B>c|d>edB d2 d/e/f|g>fed e/f/g B2|A>Bcd (e2e):| d|dgg>f g2 gf|eaag a2 ga|bagf gfed|(eg)(fa) g2 (ge)| dggg g2 gg|eaaa a2 ga|bagf gfed|e/f/g f/g/a g3||
CALDER FAIR. AKA and see "Cawdor Fair," "Do Boys Do," "Hawthorne Tree (The)," "Sing a Song of Sixpence" or "Song of Sixpence." Scottish, Irish, English; Reel or Highland Scottische. England; Lincolnshire, Shropshire. D Major (Kennedy, Raven): F Major (Hardings): G Major (Ashman, Howe, Kershaw). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (most versions): AABBCCAABB (Howe). Calder Fair was a cattle, hiring and settling market. Calder is the old name for Cawdor (see "Cawdor Fair"). Lady Nairne wrote lyrics, called "Bonnie ran the Burnie doon," set to the ancient tune of "Calder Fair," although the melody is better known in Scotland as "The Hawthorne Tree of Cawdor" (see note for that tune for more info.). John Glen (Early Scottish Melodies, 1900) maintains that the tune was carried across the border to England in the reign of Charles I, where it became popular. Both Glen (1900) and Chappell (1859) reference a song from the Ashmolean manuscript called "Ballad on a Scottish Courtship" the ballad being named "By the border side as I did pass." It is from Captain Ashmole who held a commission under Charles I in the English civil war, who noted it down from hearing it sung. Glen thought the words were "from his own pen, as it is evident no Scotsman would sing such nonsense to his lass..." Ashmole employed a variant of the melody, although in 6/8 time (see abc's below).
The melody is in the music manuscript collections of John Rook (Waverton, Cumbria, 1840), County Cork cleric and uilleann piper James Goodman (mid-19th cent.), and Thomas Sands (possibly from Lincolnshire), the latter dated March 12th, 1810, with the note:
If you had followed wisdom as I have followed care,
You'd never have lost your maidenhead by going to Calder Fair!