'Twas over the hills, 'twas over the hills
'Twas over the hills and the valleys
Where my true-love was kept from me
Quite out of spite and malice
I went down to her father's house
Enquiring for my jewel
They answered me: She's not at home
She's at her uncle's house keeping
So I went down to her uncle's house
Enquiring for my jewel
They answered me: She is not here
Which proved to my heart so cruel
This fair maid hearing of his voice
Put her head out of the window
She says: My dear, you're welcome here
But locks and blots do hinder
He stood a moment all in amaze
All in amaze and humour
Till at length he drew, in a passion flew
And the door he broke asunder
Her uncle's servant he being at home
Soon after him did follow
He said young man you must quit this room
Or in your own blood wallow
He took his true-love all by the hand
And his sword all in the other
He said: If you have more right than I
Take one and fight the other
So now this couple are in wedlock joined
They do adore each other
They oft'times think all on that day
When the door he broke asunder
Folksongs of Britain and Ireland - Peter Kennedy
A relatively widespread song; Sharp found it in both Somerset and Appalachia.
Peter Kennedy comments: "Although both Cecil Sharp and George Gardinder noted four versions each in Somerset and Hampshire respectively, no British Isles version had hitherto been published in printed collections or journals until our version was recorded from George Maynard in 1955. In the United States, on the other hand, versions have since appeared in numerous publications."
The Aberdeenshire song The Lass o' Bennochie (also known as The Back [or, Foot] o' Ben[n]achie, but not to be confused with another song also sometimes having that name, but also known as Gin I Were Where Gaudie Rins) has three distinct forms; one a simple love story; one involving the girl's imprisonment by her father; the third a tale of love's vicissitudes and eventual success. Ord (Bothy Songs and Ballads, 1930) gives examples of each, and quotes a newspaper account of 1789 relating the supposed "original" story, which appears mainly to apply to the third example. The second form is close to the English versions, and they do seem to be essentially the same song. On the face of it, it looks as if events from Locks and Bolts have been grafted onto a local story at some point, but it could also be that the Scottish form is the earlier; opinions seem to differ.
There is a broadside by Martin Parker (1635) sharing a refrain with this song; the situation described is much the same, though the hero simply moans about it at some length and doesn't actually do anything:The lovers joy and grief, or, A young-mans relation, in a pittiful fashion
. Printed between 1674 and 1679 for F. Cole [sic], T. Vere, J. Wright, and J. Clarke [Bodleian 4o Rawl. 566(208)].
The tune indicated, Young Men and Maids, was also known as Locks and Bolts do Hinder and, earlier, as Lulling Beyond Thee; some early forms of John Barleycorn were sung to it.
Ewan MacColl (Travellers' Songs from England and Scotland, 1977) points out that Locks and Bolts do Hinder may have become a stock phrase by that time, and refers to another broadside, The Constant Wife (c.1675, according to him; 1631 in Simpson's The British Broadside Ballad) which included the main elements of the story. He remarks that it has more in common with American than with Scottish versions (which might suggest that the English form is the older).
Martin Carthy, who included the song on his 'Crown of Horn' album notes:
Locks and Bolts comes from the repertoire of the woodcutter, hop-picker, poacher and marbles champion George Maynard. It was collected by Ken Stubbs and printed in the Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society (1963), whence I learnt it. At first glance it seems to be a Victorian song, but it is probably very much older, although not in this form.
Cecil Sharp's Appalachian version can be found at the Digital Tradition
There are 5 sets from the USA online at The Max Hunter Collection Locks and Bolts
Harrison Burnett, Fayetteville, Arkansas on August 18, 1960.They'll Fight for Each Other
Mr. Fred High, High, Arkansas on February 11, 1959.I Dream't Of My True Love Last Night
Mr. William Edens, Mont Ne, Arkansas on August 17, 1960.Rainbow Willow
Ollie Gilbert, Mountain View, Arkansas on May 26, 1969.Fender Fly
Joan O'Bryant, Wichita, Kansas. Summer, 1963.
There is also a certain amount of overlap with another song (Roud 539, Laws M15), known as The Iron Door; The Daughter in the Dungeon; The Young Servant Man; and, on broadsides (where the action is set in Ireland), The Cruel Father and Affectionate Lover; found mainly in England and Canada. A number of broadside editions of the 19th century can be seen at the Bodleian site.
(Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six