The setting of Six dukes went afishin'
was first performed at the 1906 Brigg Festival. In all Grainger made three distinct arrangements of this folk-melody and the version recorded here was collected by ear from the singing of George Couldthorpe of Barrow-on-Humber (North Lincolnshire) by Grainger on 4 September 1905. Subsequent Edison phonograph cylinder recordings were made of the tune with variants phonographed from Joseph Leaning on 4 August 1906, and these were to form the basis of Grainger’s two other settings, the voice and piano version published as BFMS No 11 and the third and final setting, for four voices and flute, which was composed in 1910. The final setting makes great demands on the singers to produce a Lincolnshire dialect whilst this first setting indicates only one alternative for the word ‘body’. The words of this song have a curious history. Miss Lucy E Broadwood, who had noted down two extra verses at Brigg on 7 May 1906 (subsequently used in Grainger’s 1910 setting), believes the words relate to William de la Pole, first Duke of Suffolk, whose murdered body was washed ashore near Dover in 1450.
from notes by Barry Peter Ould © 1996