I am the Duke of Norfolk

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I AM THE DUKE OF NORFOLK. AKA and see "Dumb Dumb Dumb," "Paul's Steeple." English, Country Dance Air (cut time). G Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The original ballad has been lost though references to it exist in literature, states Chappell (1859), who also records a curious ritual attached to the tune that was current (or in living memory) in Suffolk at the time he was writing. At harvest festivals in that county it was customary to sing a song beginning—

I am the Duke of Norfolk
Newly come to Suffolk, (etc.)

and one of the gathered group would be crowned with a pillow or cushion, while another kneeled before him and presented him with a jug of ale. The one so crowned was required to then drink off the ale without spilling it or letting the cushion fall. The editor of the "Suffolk Garland" (1818, pg. 402) says that "this custom has most probably some allusion to the homage formerly paid to the Lords of Norfolk, the possessors of immense domains in the country." Whether or not this was the origin, the term "to serve the Duke of Norfolk" entered tradition as equivalent to making merry, and Chappell finds references to it in literature as early as 1617; Shakespeare's Falstaff also makes reference to using a cushion as a crown.

See also note for "John Anderson My Jo."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Times), vol. 1, 1859; pp. 282 283.

Recorded sources:




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