Maria And Caroline (MacEdward Leach)

Come all young men and maidens,
come listen to my song,
I'll tell you of two pretty fair maids,
it won't delay you long;
In a lonesome spot near Folkestone
this dreadful deed was done,
Maria and sweet Caroline
were murdered by Alan Young.

He went unto their parents' house
at ten o'clock that night,
But little did sweet Caroline think
he held her in his spite;
Will you take a walk, sweet Caroline,
this villain he did say,
And she agreed to accompany him
all for a walk next day.

Said the mother to her daughter,
you'd better stay at home,
For it's not safe for you to walk
with that young man alone;
You'd better take your sister Maria
along with you,
And I'll have no objections,
dear daughter, you may go.

'Twas early the next morning,
just at the break of day,
Maria and sweet Caroline
far over the hills did stray;
In a lonesome spot near Folkestone
this villain drew his knife,
Maria and sweet Caroline
he took away their life.

He stripped the clothes all from their back
whilst underneath was found,
He kissed their tender pale cold lips
as they lay on the ground;
He bid farewell, sweet Caroline,
to this world I am undone,
Now I must die for murder
far from my happy home.

When the news it reached their parents' house
they cried what shall we do,
Maria she is murdered
and lovely Caroline too;
They wrung their hands and tore their hair
in sorrow and surprise,
The tears rolled down in torrents
all from their aged eyes.

'Twas early the next morning
their bodies they were found,
In a lonesome spot near Folkestone
lay bleeding on the ground;
If ever you chance to go that way,
in letters there you'll find,
So deep lies in the grass so green,
Maria and Caroline.

This villain he was taken,
his own life for to try,
He first was sent to London
and there condemned to die;
Now come all young men take warning
by this sad rant of mine,
And always do remember
Maria and Caroline.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of The Folkestone Murder first collected in 1905 by George B Gardiner from G Cole in Hampshire, England ....####

Collected in 1951 from Mrs Ambrose James (Bride) Coombs [1922-2003] of Biscay Bay NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

MacEdward Leach also collected a variant published as #11, Mary And Sweet Caroline, on p.50, in Folk Ballads And Songs Of The Lower Labrador Coast by the National Museum of Canada (Ottawa, 1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A variant was published as #61, Maria and Caroline, on p.125 in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1933; Folklore Associates, Hatboro, PA, 1968).

Notes: A spot called Steddy Hole, in the village of Capel Le Ferne, was the scene of a notorious murder when Dedea Redanies, a Serbian soldier serving with the British Army at nearby Shorncliffe, killed an 18-year-old Dover girl, Caroline Back, and her 16-year-old sister Maria.

Redanies had courted Caroline for some time and on Aug 3, 1856, her parents agreed to let her go with him to see his sister in Folkestone on condition that Maria went too. But it seems Caroline had given Redanies cause to suspect she was less serious about him than he was about her and when they reached Steddy Hole, according to his subsequent confession, he stabbed Caroline to death after Maria and then left their bodies there while he went on towards Canterbury, where he was arrested.

The crime caused quite a stir at the time, as did his trial at Maidstone Assizes. His execution on New Year's Day, 1857, was witnessed by a crowd of up to 5,000 people who filled the street in front of the scaffold, on top of the porter's lodge of Maidstone Prison. (Paraphrase from Historic Kent - Village of Capel Le Ferne.)


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