Probably more than any other song we sing, this Frank Mansell poem represents what we are trying to put across in our music. The poem was put to music by Chris Wood on his album, Trespasser. We have adapted Chris’s version and brought back some of the original words that illustrate for us where this defiant but compassionate cottager is coming from.
The Cottagers Reply
Five hundred thousand English pounds for this old house and a piece of ground,
You and your wife have always planned to settle down in Cotswold land.
Well you’d best come in, you’d best sit down it’s such a long drive from London town
Would you like some tea now while I tell the reasons why I will not sell.
Refrain (after each verse)
You’d best come in and you’d best sit down
It’s such a long drive from London town
This stone built house that you call nice was gained at far too high a price,
For me to gaily sign away what others toiled for night and day.
They hammered bluestone by the yard and they found the rent when times where hard,
And they lived and died beneath the sun tending the fields you’re gazing on.
Well they’re all gone, but as for me the wild hare still runs as free,
And at dusk the badger travels still ancestral highways on the hill.
I am as Cotswold bred as these and I still need these field and trees,
And I need the soil that bore my race and holds their bones beneath this place.
Enough for me this cot of stone, a might of land to call my own
A friend to drink with, wife to smile and Cotswold country by the mile
So take your cup and drain it down you would be peasant from the town
Go on your journey let me bide content in my own countryside
Frank Mansell/Chris Wood