Traditional and contemporary folk from the British Isles

The LING FAMILY Singing Traditions of a Suffolk Family TSDL292

Most of the people in Blaxhall will tell you that there are two big families in the village, the Smiths and the Lings. The Smiths are known as good stepdancers and the Lings as good singers. lntermarriage and the relatively stable population of the village, now altered by an influx of newcomers, has made a complex web of relationships which are very difficult to disentangle. It seems, however, that most of the population are related in some degree, and that people define their own relationships with each other broadly on the basis of a “close” relationship or a “back” relationship. Close relatives are mothers, fathers, siblings, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and cousins; all others are “back” relatives. Confusions arise through marriage when names are changed, but awareness of family is strong and identity is kept. Lings can be traced in the genealogies of every other local family. The Lings split into factions whereby some Lings say that they are not related to other Lings because they have different historical or geographic origins. Ruby Ling in Snape, Percy Ling’s wife’s family, who were also Lings, and George and Basil Bennett whose mother was a Ling, all say that they are not related to the Blaxhall Lings. The Lings identify themselves into family groups, and it is in one of these particular groups that several singers are found.

1    Green Bushes  Geoff Ling
2    On Board the Leicester Castle  George Ling
3    The Lobster  Percy Ling
4    Died for Love  Geoff Ling
5    Little Ball of Yarn  Geoff Ling
6    The Lakes of Coolfin  George Ling
7    The Deserter  George Ling
8    Little Sweetheart  Percy Ling
9    Jolly Jack the Sailor  George Ling
10   A Group of Young Squaddies  Geoff Ling
11   On the Banks of the Clyde  Geoff Ling
12   Underneath Your Apron  Percy Ling
13   The Bonny Bunch of Roses  George Ling
14   Nancy of Yarmouth  George Ling
15   The Man all Tattered and Torn  Percy Ling
16   Fagin the Cobbler  Percy Ling

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