Cloth of Gold

(Words and music by and © Talis Kimberley, 2011)

Length – 3:11

Limestone grows a good good bone
On England’s Southern hills
Half our country’s income once
And so the coffer fills
Warm cloaks for the Roman folks
To a flock ten thousand strong
And limestone grows a good good bone
Where the Cotswold sheep belong:

Here’s your three bags full, my lords, here’s treasure bought and sold
Here’s vestments for your kings and priests and here’s your Cloth of Gold, oh
Here’s your three bags full, my lords, here’s treasure bought and sold
Here’s vestments for your kings and priests and here’s your Cloth of Gold.

Here find of ‘the whitest kind
The staple thick and deep’
Dayton wrote of the Cotswold Lion
And Dayton knew his sheep
The staple thick and deep, he said
And through to ‘the very grain’
And ‘It most strongly keepeth out
The violentest rain’

Here’s your three bags full, my lords, here’s treasure bought and sold
Here’s vestments for your kings and priests and here’s your Cloth of Gold, oh
Here’s your three bags full, my lords, here’s treasure bought and sold
Here’s vestments for your kings and priests and here’s your Cloth of Gold.

Corn grows, so the farmer knows
Where thrives the golden hoof
Husband well your Cotswold flock
And you’ll prosper, that’s the truth
A hardy sheep and docile / hardy, docile, winters well
Long-lived, and good to lamb,
Husband well your Cotswold flock
Your wethers, ewes and ram!

Here’s your three bags full, my lords, here’s treasure bought and sold
Here’s vestments for your kings and priests and here’s your Cloth of Gold, oh
Here’s your three bags full, my lords, here’s treasure bought and sold
Here’s vestments for your kings and priests and here’s your Cloth of Gold.


A Little Bit About 'Cloth of Gold'...

I was privileged to meet the very wonderful Alfie Purl, a Cotswold wether of reknown, and a friend of mine. He gave his name to the flock and the wool and fleece business of my dear friend Emma; his story and hers, and how they saved each others’ lives, is told in many places, but a good starting point is here:

As I got to know Alfie and his flock, I became increasingly interested in the history and folklore of the Cotswold breed, and this song soon resulted. I had been singing it for a little while when I visited the flock one day, and as I was walking across the field to meet the sheep, the instrumental tune popped into my head. That land grows music as well as fine beasts.

I’m very glad we got to sing for Alfie’s birthday party one year. He was a very special sheep indeed.

(For the hardcore songwriting geek here: when I went to collect this lyric from the songwriting file, I found the set of notes I’d made while reading a book about the Cotswold breed; this is the grammarless stream-of-consciousness set of notions and phrases I jotted down. Some of them made it in, and others didn’t.

“They clothed the Roman legions, And Europe paid for the crusades, Shuttles clack, running through and back, From the market to the spinner, After carding , Threads of gold all woven in, Golden Fleece sheep, The sheep gave their name to the hills Before the hills gave their name to the sheep, Limestone hills – cotes = sheepfolds, wolds = open hillsides, Ancestors brought by romans – corinium 1st c ad, shivering southern European mercs needed woollen clothes, 14th c Tuscan merchant: dearest wool was Cotswolds – norleccio / northleach, boriforte / burford Mediaeval Flemish weavers sang ‘in Europe the best wool is English, in England the best wool is Cotswold, Shepherds rarely spent time writing descriptions of their sheep, Stone sheep corbel at bibury church, The clatter of the shuttles in the valleys round stroud , 1910 under 400 ewes Large lean lamb, good clip of wool, excellent mothering, milk well., Uniforms for the roman legions, paid for the crusades, clothed 18 c Europe with west of England broadcloth, The toast rang out: long live the mighty Cotswold!”)


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