Choose the article you wish to read:

    1. SingalongaPriory With grateful thanks to Bishop Fitzgerald, Bernard Melling and Eddie Mulraney
    2. Mr Heath's Choir by Christopher Carabine
    3. The Purchase of Broome Hall by the late Oliver Reed, with grateful thanks to Charlie McCarthy (Broome Hall 1948 -53)

With great thanks to Bishop Fitzgerald, Bernard Melling and Eddie Mulraney.Rutherglen. October 19 and 20, 1996.
Compiled by Eugene MacBride

Here are a few songs once popular at Bishops Waltham and elsewhere written-up as an (inspired) idea of Joe Tierney last year at Preston. The compilation is not exhaustive. There are more. Have you any to add? (Contact Paul West)

Sung by Anzacs 1939-45; popularised at the Priory by Dessie Fitzmaurice

In an old Australian homestead, with roses 'round the door
A girl received a letter from a far and distant shore.
With her mother's arms around her, she gave way to sobs and sighs
And as she read the missive, the poor young thing she cried:
Why do I weep - below the bed without a shirt?
Why do I cry - below the bed without a shirt?
My love's asleep - below the bed without a shirt
So far away - below the bed without a shirt
We had to part - below the bed without a shirt
My love and I - below the bed without a shirt
I lost my love - below the bed without a shirt
On Suvla Ba-a-a-a-y . . .

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Sung as the bus took off down the Priory Hill at the start of holidays

I've got sixpence, jolly, jolly sixpence
I've got sixpence to last me all my life
I've got tuppence to spend and tuppence to lend
And tuppence to take home to my wife.
No cares have I to grieve me
No pretty little girl to deceive me
I'm as happy as a king believe me
As I go rollin' home. Rollin' home! Rollin' home!
By the light of the silvery moon
Happy we will be when we leave the Priory
And we go rollin' home! Rollin' home!

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Attributed to Seamus Browne WF

Oh, Jemima, just look at your Uncle Jim,
All there in the duck pond a-learnin' to swim
He first tries the backstroke, he then tries the side
But he's now underwater, aswim 'gainst the tide.
Tooraloo, tooralee, O how would you, how would you like to be me?
Oh, the oul' barn door was the table we had
And the table we had was the oul' barn door
And the oul' barn door was the table we had
Yes the table we had was the oul' barn door, Tooraloo, Tooralee...
When I was out walking with my brother Jim
Somebody threw a tomato at him.
Now tomatoes are soft when they're inside a skin
But this big tomato was inside a tin.
Tooraloo, tooralee...

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Sung by Seamus at the post Midnight Mass reveillant in the Priory ref, Christmas 1950

In an underground garret down three flights of stairs
Next door to a blacksmith selling apples and pears
There dwelt a young maiden, her cheeks like the rose
She had corner square eyes and she winked with her nose.
She had an old father I hear people say
Who never spent more than threepence of his pay.
He lay all day in bed, boring holes in the clothes,
And twiddling his eyebrows with the nails of his toes.
Alas, my poor darling, she fell very ill
On a leaf of tobacco she wrote down her will.
When she said, "Oh, my darling! I'm nearing to death!"
With a rusty old penknife, I drew her last breath.
On the day of the funeral, it was a great sight
They ran off with her bier in the dead of the night
So we laid her in the graveyard six feet underground
In a broken wheelbarrow with the wheel going around.

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Sung by the boys of St Boswell's at dinner to celebrate the jubilees to the Priesthood of Frs Walsh (25) and Bouniol (50)
Wednesday 8 March 1950, and for Bp Kiwanuka 5/5/50)

Where have you been all day, Henry my son?
Where have you been all day, my pretty one?
Woods, dear mother, woods, dear mother,
Oh, mother, come quick for I'm feeling very sick
And I want to lay me down and die.
What did you in those woods, Henry, my son?
What did you in those woods, my pretty one?
Ate, dear mother, ate, dear mother,
Oh mother, come quick, for I'm feeling very sick,
And r want to lay me down and die.
What ate you in those woods, Henry, my son?
What ate you in those woods, my pretty one?
Eels, dear mother, eels, dear mother,
Oh mother, come quick, for I'm feeling very sick
And I want to lay me down and die.
What colour were those eels, Henry, my son?
What colour were those eels, my pretty one?
Green and yellow, green and yellow,
Oh mother, come quick, for I'm feeling very sick
And I want to lay me down and die.
Ah but those eels were snakes, Henry my son
Ah but those eels were snakes, my pretty one
Oh, dear mother! Oh, dear mother!
Oh mother come quick, for I'm feeling very sick,
And I want to lay me down and die!
What flowers would you like, Henry, my son?
What flowers would you like, my pretty one?
Green and yellow, green and yellow,
Oh mother come quick for I'm feeling very sick
And I want to lay me down and die!

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A great Priory Bus favourite.

HP died 1960. Harry was a Bolshie, one of Lenin's lads,
Till he was foully murdered by reactionary cads,
By reactionary cads, by reactionary cads,
Till he was foully murdered by reactionary cads.
Harry went to Heaven with loudly-knocking knees,
"Oh can I speak to Comrade God, I'm Harry Pollit, please."
"Who art thou, Harry Pollit, that standest in my sight?"
"I'm a friend of Winston Churchill" "Oh, that will be all right.
They put him in the choir singing hymns he didn't like,
So he organised the angels and he brought them out on strike.
One day as God was walking among the heavenly state,
Whom should he see but Harry chalking slogans on the gate.
They put him up on trial before the Holy Ghost,
For spreading disaffection among the Heavenly Host.
The verdict it was guilty; said Harry:
"That is swell," So he wrapped his nightie round his knees and floated down to Hell.
Harry is in Hell now and doing very well,
They've made him People's Commissar for all the Soviet Hell.
The morale to my story which I hope you won't have missed:
If you want to go to Heaven, do not be a Communist.

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I think this is a song from Yale or Harvard, one that good old Jimmy Tolmie taught us 1951-53.

O merry, heartwhole boyhood days, I mourn thy joys departed
I tread no more the golden ways, so free and lightsome hearted
The fire that filled my veins of yore, shall stir this saddened heart no more,
O ierum, ierum, ierum, O quae mutatio rerum!
The student cap and dusty gown, they fill my soul with longing
Like shadows o'er the dear old town, strange memories are thronging,
And echoes from the past I hear, a burst of song, a ringing cheer
O ierum, ierum, ierum, O quae mutatio rerum!

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Another firm Priory Bus favourite.

There were rats, rats, as big as blinking cats,
In the store, in the store... In the QuarterMaster's store.
My eyes are dim I cannot see, I have not brought my specs with me (bis).
There were fleas, fleas, with kilts and hairy knees . . .
There was cheese, cheese, marching on the breeze . . .
There was ham, ham, mixed-up with the jam . . .
There were kippers, kippers, wearing carpet slippers . . .

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No longer P.C. but we did sing it.

Chorus: Old folks, young folks, everybody come,
Join the darkie Sunday School.
Bring a stick of chewing gum and stick it on the floor,
And we'll tell you Bible stories that you never heard before!
Moses was the leader of the Israelite flock,
When he wanted water he just had to strike a rock,
When he struck the rock, there rose a mighty cheer,
Instead of flowing water, flowed the best of Tennant's beer.
David was a shepherd and a scrappy little cuss,
Along came big Goliath just a-spoilin' for a muss,
Now David didn't want to fight but thought he must or bust,
So he picked up a cobblestone and busted in his crust.
Jonah was an immigrant, so runs the Bible tale,
He took a steerage passage in a transatlantic whale,
Now Jonah in the belly of the whale was quite compressed,
So Jonah pressed the button and the whale he did the rest.
Esau was a cowboy of the wild and woolly make,
Half the farm belonged to him and half to brother Jake,
Now Esau thought his title to the farm was none too clear,
So he sold it to his brother for a sandwich and a beer.
Samson was a strong man, he fed on fish and chips,
He hung around the Gallowgate, pickin' up the nips,
Samson had a brother, and this is what they tell,
Samson went to Heaven and his brother went as well.

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Needs no introduction..

There was an ole man who lived in Jerusalem,
Glory halleluia, ole Rajah Rhum!
He wore a hookadook and a muffler round his neckeum,
Glory halleluia, ole Rajah Rhum! Ole Rajah Rhum, Ole Rajah Rhum,
Skinnymalinkadoodlum down in old Jerusalem,
Glory halleluia, ole Rajah Rhum.
A poor man came asking, looking for a steakeum,
Glory halleluia, ole Rajah Rhum,
The rich man ejected 'im, big kick up the arseum,
Glory halleluia, ole Rajah Rhum!
The rich man died and straight down to helleum,
Glory halleluia, ole Rajah Rhum!
He asked his friend the devil for a whisky and a sodeum,
Glory halleluia, ole Rajah Rhum!
The devil handed over him a shovel and some coaleum,
Glory halleluia, ole Rajah Rhum,
The poor man died and went straight up to heaveneum,
Glory halleluia, ole Rajah Rhum!

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Mr Heath's Choir
by Christopher Carabine
Taken from The Pelican 1962 (Jubilee Number)

On the first Saturday after the arrival of the new recruits from St. Columba's, you will notice a stranger, well to the new boys anyway, who will come and test your voices. That is Mr. Heath and he is in charge of one of the school choirs. Mr. Heath chooses some sopranos and altos from among the new boys and adds them to the tenors and basses of the year before.

You will probably want to know the function of Mr. Heath's choir. At Christmas Mr. Heath always has a choir ready to go down to Bishop's Waltham Youth Club to sing carols for the old age pensioners. Out of all the choirs that partake in the carol service: the Congregationalist, the Methodist and the Priory choirs, the Priorians always seem to produce the best. Mr. Heath's choir also always manages to produce a four-voice Mass for the Easter Vigil.

As it will be the Golden Jubilee of the Priory this year, Mr. Heath's choir are preparing to sing Hiawatha's Wedding Feast in four voices at the celebrations on July 16th. I would like to say on behalf of the choir that Mr. Heath deserves a lot of praise for what he does for the Priory in the way of singing.

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Extracts From The Autobiography of Oliver Reed
The Purchase of Broome Hall

Source: Charlie McCarthy, Broome Hall 1948 — 1953

. . . . But after a couple more Gold Tops and more pondering, I was worried that even a field with a cottage might still be difficult to find. I crossed the road again-no No. 93 bus this time which I thought was a bit of a shame because I had become quite fond of them — and told the estate agent that I didn't mind if the empty field that now had a cottage now had a house instead.

Looking for a way of getting rid of me once and for all, the estate agent reached under his desk, brought out a book bound in morocco leather and presented me with-it. I asked why he was giving me a Bible as it wasn't a Sunday but he said it wasn't a Bible, it was a house.

I read all about Broome Hall, in the Dog and Fox, surrounded by dead Gold Top bottles, and was delighted to see that it had a field — if you can call sixty-five acres a field. It also had more bedrooms than a medium-sized hotel and eight hundred radiators. It was more than a house, it was a monastery owned by the White Fathers, an African missionary order who wanted to sell out and move up to Liverpool, all 120 of them presumably because there was more call for them there than in very White Surrey.

While I was looking at the book, the landlord of the pub came over and also mistaking it for the Bible, asked me if I was thinking of going to church. I told him it wasn't a church, it was a house and I was thinking of buying it. The landlord, a great friend of mine, picked up the book and started to read it, Then he roared with laughter. I asked him what was so funny but this only made him laugh all the more. It seemed that the idea of tearaway Oliver Reed moving up with the aristocracy was the biggest joke he'd heard for years. 'Sod you!' I said and stalked out of his pub, marched across the road — still no No. 93 bus which made me feel sure they had altered the route, probably because too many drivers had complained of the trouble they were having passing the Dog and Fox — and once again confronted the estate agent.

'Yes, Mr Reed, what can I do for you this time?' he said in a terribly bored tone.

'I'd like to buy this house,' I said, and plonked the Bible down in front of him.

He blinked at me, trying to make up his mind if I was being serious and finally deciding that I was, immediately had a minor coronary. When he had recovered, he mopped his face with his handkerchief to demonstrate what a hell of a life it was being an estate agent and said he would pick me up the following day and take me to see it.

Next morning, I was driven down to Dorking with an enormous hangover, legacy of the Gold Tops. But as soon as I set eyes on Broome Hall, I fell in love with it and decided to buy it there and then. It wasn't that my hangover clouded my judgment because I make my best decisions when I am suffering from the night before. A lot of people, including my father, tried to get me to change my mind but I wouldn't listen to them. Later, I found out that at the precise moment I was buying the place, another potential buyer was on his way across London with a fat cheque in his hand. But I had a fatter wad of crispies so I beat him to it.

I have a fascination about Victorian times, not that I think all of that era was marvellous, especially if you happened to he poor, but some of it was quite astonishing. That is why I like living in a Victorian house surrounded by Victorian furniture and Victorian wallpaper. As I have said, I've spent nine years restoring Broome Hall and replanting and landscaping its gardens. I have to work hard to keep it in the manner in which it should be accustomed.

The Spottiswoodes and the Browns, Victorian shipbuilders, built Broome Hall as it now stands. There has been a house on the site since the eleventh century but the oldest remaining part is dated 1740. Then it was added to substantially in 1880. The cellars, however, were already there and predictably, that is where I am. often to he found. I have a little dim hole down there which is really my private bar. I keep two special glasses in it. One is the Thorhill Class which holds the equivalent of a bottle of port and must be swigged in one. The other is a glass that hasn't been washed since the day I moved in and is now a mouldy green. Part of the tradition of coming to my house is to drink out of both the Thorhill Class and the Penicillin Glass.

The Thorhill Glass is a hangover, and I suppose that's the right word, from my previous house in Ellerton Road, Wimbledon, where I formed a little known Bacchanalian society, The Portley Club, with my younger brother Simon. Either Simon or myself could summon all members to a gargantuan feast at any time of the day or night. Without question they had to leave whatever they were doing, and sometimes it was very interesting, and attend the orgiastic revels. No women were allowed. The initiation ceremony was so secret that I’m not too sure that I am at liberty to tell what it was all about. Simon may not like it. I have to watch him these days. The last time we met, I had arrived home for a break in the making of Lion in the Desert with Anthony Quinn and took Simon on a roly poly around my locals. I introduced him as the baby brother I had taught to box. He immediately challenged me to knuckles — a game where you hold your clenched fist against your opponent's and see if you can manage to smash the back of his fist before he can pull his hand away. Perhaps he was trying to tell me something, because by the time I got back to the desert, I couldn't even shake hands with the director. Simon, who was my publicity agent, is now on television and the only memory of The Portley Club is the name. Every spring when the daffodils come up at the corner to the front drive, they spell 'Portley'.

The club is not Broome Hall's only link with my old stamping ground. Years before Wimbledon became the Mecca of first-class tennis, some of the best exponents of the racquet scorched many a forehand drive across Broome Hall's manicured lawns. Queen Victoria and Disraeli were among the visitors who came to applaud them. The old tennis court at Broome Hall has long disappeared. Yet not quite. For each spring, when the new grass starts to grow, and it is greener and lusher than at any other time of the year, the old tram lines appear as if by the wave of a fairy's wand, and then become invisible again until the next spring with the season's cut. It is a breathtaking glimpse of the past.

In the last war, Broome Hall was one of those hush-hush places taken over by the Canadians. The Sherwood Foresters, stationed at nearby Leith Hill, had great fun firing at its tall chimneys to make the soot fall down on our Commonwealth Cousins inside. You can still see the bullet holes in the chimneys and you can still see Cookies Wall, the parapet of the bridge that spanned the stream. It was being damaged by the large modern tractors that work the farm so I placed it beneath the flagpole as a monument. I call it Cookies Wall because the names of those long-way-away-from-home soldiers decorate it. The most prominent name is COOK, J. R. 1940. Every Poppy Day, I salute the Canadians and pour a bottle of whisky over the stone. If any of them remember the wall where they carved their initials and hearts, and maybe made love, I still salute them and ask them to share my whisky if ever they pass by.

After the war, the White Fathers bought the Hall and the last civilians to live in Broome Hall were the Piggott-Browns, the famous horse breeding family.

In the days when it took me all my time to raise a week's rent for a one-roomed flat in Earl's Court I used to visit a club in Notting Hill Gate and place bets with a bookie's runner. I once won a lot of money off him on a horse called Knuckleduster , owned and ridden by Sir William Piggott-Brown, little knowing that I would one day be the owner of his country seat and breed my own horses, which are a cross between the heavy horse and the thoroughbred. My stables are full of horses, my lake is full of fish, my estate is full of bluebell woods and wild flowers. I plant trees, train wisteria to climb walls and throw weekend parties where villains and Hooray Henries appear and throw each other into the lake.

Some villagers would prefer that I kept it all gentle and peaceful and shared a pot of fish paste with the grocer and patted babies and was nice to old ladies. But most of them get enough of that from the vicar . . . .

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