I first heard The Witch of Westmoreland
together with Barrat's Privateers
and "White Collar Holler" being sung by Stan Rogers
on a Wally Whyton
folk-music programme broadcast by the British Forces Broadcasting Service, here in Germany, in July 1983. It was not however that I finally took into my repertoire in 2008 when looking for something to go together with Jeannie C.
which Caro Hilleckes learned in the same year. As for the song itself, is a wonderful piece about a wounded knight who can only be healed by the said witch. To find her he has to endure an Odessy through the Lake District accompanied by his faithful hound, good grey hawk and noble stallion. Great stuff which has to be sung slowly and deliberately in order to let the rapid moving ballad be absorbed by its listeners.
Since writing the above in the 2008, I have only recently (June, 2013) learned that The Witch of Westmoreland
is actually the work of Archie Fisher
and not, as I had presumed, that of Stan Rogers himself. It was probably first recorded by Barbara Dickson
in 1971 on her album From the Beggar's Mantle