Caught by the River

Thankful Villages Vol.2 #6

Darren Hayman | 19th June 2017

Darren Hayman is back, with a second volume of songs resulting from his Thankful Villages project. The sixth village is Woolley, Somerset.

Woolley, Somerset – Thankful Village #24 from Darren Hayman on Vimeo. With photographs by Imogen Griffiths.

Woolley sits underneath a flight path, but other than that its description matches perfectly of that written by Arthur Mee in 1936. Even the water taps are in place outside the houses.

The strange dome-roofed church had its own walled garden, and the gate whistled as we opened it. We shook the blossom from the tree. We saw a villager walk a tiny horse up the hill.

I plucked the nylon strings of ‘Pyewacket’ on the bench and used her back as a drum. The sky threatened but never delivered. I feel we should let Arthur Mee’s words guide us every now and then on these journeys. His lines are musical and easy to drape over music. Woolley, in fact, was the first Thankful Village Mee found.

The tune still lacked a chorus and a few months later a friend bought me a book of Somerset folk songs. ‘Rosebud in June’ was collected by Cecil Sharp from a farmer, William King, of West Hastree, Somerset. Versions of the song can be dated back to the early 18th Century.

One of the ideas of Thankful Villages is to allow randomness to help me create. Arthur Mee and the luck of World War I chose where I would go and fate handed me this song. I laid the words and tune of ‘Rosebud’ over the chords of my half-finished chorus and in between Arthur’s words.

Everything seemed to be where it was supposed to be.


Thankful Villages Vol.2 is out now on Rivertones. You can order a copy here.

Previous Thankful Villages posts on Caught by the River/Darren Hayman on Twitter