Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Stanley Godman

Letter No.: 
VWL2967
Jan 14 1955

From R. Vaughan Williams,
10, Hanover Terrace,
Regents Park,
London, N.W.1.

Dear Mr Godman

Thank you very much for your letter and interesting interesting account of Burstow.1 He was not I think really a folk singer in the technical sense of the word (like my Mr Verrall2 or the landlord of the Inn at Rusper who sang “Turtle Dove”3) he was much more a collector like you and me & judged the matter rather from the outside - but he had a wonderful store of songs. I have in my M.S. book several more of Burstow’s songs - unfortunately I have deposited them in the EFDS library4 & the Librarian is away. I cannot remember what happened to the records (they were of course phonograph cylinders not Gramophone discs) - many of them have perished - what were worth keeping are also in the EFD library.
Thank you for your interesting account of Ham Fair.
I expect you know the excellent account of her uncle5 by Miss Lucy Broadwood in her Traditional songs & carols (Boosey).6
- A dictionary is no use unless its facts are correct - If it is wrong about John Broadwood it may be equally wrong about Joh Bach!
Are you any relation to the Godmans of Merstham ? - one of them married my cousin Tom Harrison who was killed in the 1914 war (he was a sailor).
Yrs sinc

R. Vaughan Williams


1.  Godman had sent VW a copy of his article 'Henry Burstow: the Horsham singer and bellringer', The Sussex County Magazine, xxviii (1954), pp. 519-522 [see MS Mus. 1714/1/2, ff.143-151-154].  On Burstow see also Kennedy, Catalogue of Works, p.261.
2.  Peter Verrall of Monk's Gate and later Horsham. See Catalogue of Works, p.267 etc.
3.  Mr Penfold, landlord of the Plough Inn, who sang this tune to VW on 4 May 1906. See Catalogue of Works, p.281.
4.  English Folk Dance Society. VW's folksong notebooks are now in the British Library (Add. MSS 54187-91, 59535-6, and 57294 D,F).
5.  The Rev. John Broadwood, to some extent the founder of the English folksong revival.
6.  English traditional songs & carols, 1908.

Subjects:

Location of original letter:

Location of copy:

Shelfmark of copy: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/2, ff.143-145
Format: 
Letter
Citation: 
Cobbe 643
Original database number: 
550114