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The Witch of the Westmorland

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Archie Fisher sang his own ballad The Witch of the West-Mer-Lands in 1976 on his Folk-Legacy album The Man With a Rhyme. He commented in his liner notes:

I have borrowed, for this song, the form of the narrative ballad. The ingredients are a mixture of legend, superstition, and ballad themes brought into focus by the Lakeland painter, Joni Turner. As far as I know, the female centaur is not a creature of mythology, and this role of witch disguise was suggested by the tales of antlered women with bodies of deer seen wading in the shallows of the lakes in the moonlight. There are many pleasant and hospitable inns in the Lake District.

Barbara Dickson sang Witch of the Westmorlands in 1971 on her album From the Beggar’s Mantle. Archie Fisher played guitar and concertina on this album, too.

Stan Rogers sang The Witch of the Westmorland in April 1979 live at The Groaning Board, Toronto. This concert was released in the same year on his album Between the Breaks… Live!. He commented in the liner notes:

I first heard this song on Archie Fisher’ beautiful album for Folk-Legacy Records, The Man With a Rhyme, where it is called The Witch of the West-Mer-Lands. In a recent letter, Archie referred to it as simply “Westmoreland”, and I’ve used that spelling here. We have edited three verses from the original, and modernised the language a little for the sake of having the story understood by the average North American listener at the first pass. I highly recommend Archie’s version to those of you who want all the verses.

Stan Rogers – The Witch of the Westmorland.


Archie Fisher - Witch of the West-Mer-Lands.


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