Fairport Convention - Red And Gold Lyrics

Red and Gold are royal colours
Peasant colours are green and brown
Green is the corn in the brown earth when it's growing
Red and gold when the harvest is cut down

Through Cropredy in Oxfordshire the Cherwell takes its course
And the willows weep into its waters clear
My name it is Will Tims and it's here that I was born
And raised in faith my King and God to fear

In 1644 the King in Oxford Town did dwell
Though we'd heard that Cromwell's army was nearby
It did not occur to me that little Cropredy
Could be witness to the meeting of both sides

On June the 29th that year I was about my work
Cutting hedges in the meadow by the stream
My blade slipped, I cut my hand and my own dear blood did flow
Upon the brown earth and the corn still green

Now it did distress me so to watch my own blood flow
And quickly soak into the greedy ground
In red and gold my colours swam and sweat broke on my brow
And faint I knew that I must lay me down

At first I thought the thundering was just inside my head
So I raised myself above the hedge to see
And I watched as in a dream as the armies fought downstream
The Battle for the Bridge at Cropredy

Now the King's men fought in red and gold though Cromwell's men were plainer
The blood they spilled was coloured just the same
Through the hedgerow's fragile cover I saw brother killing brother
And all of this was done in Jesus' name

All that day and all the next the battle it was raging
Though when darkness came I slipped away
But the crying of the dying kept me wakeful and just lying
In my bed until the dawning of the day

And the dreams I had were red and gold
And the little stream became a flood
From all my brothers killing one another
Till waking I realized it was all my own dear blood

Some were buried in the church and some just where they fell
With no markers to declare their place of rest
But the poppies they do grow where they were never sown
And to my mind they do declare it best

And each year when the green corn once again turns into gold
And the poppies in the field again remind me
Like the scar upon my hand and the blood spilled on this land
And the hungry earth so eager to confine me

For read and gold they are the colours
One is blood and one is power
Though I may find my rest in Cropredy Church
In golden fields forever will spring the poppy flower

By Cropredy the Cherwell is still bidden to keep flowing
And the willows by its side still gently weep
But still in restless dreams by this most peaceful stream
The poppies wake me from my rightful sleep

And the dreams I have are red and gold
And the little stream becomes a flood
From all my brothers killing one another
Till waking I realize it's all my own dear blood

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Fairport Convention Red And Gold Comments
  1. jubelyon

    Simon Nicol is a great singer

  2. whatever9642

    Awesome Song - Heard it recently on a Public Radio Station.

  3. rothwellss

    It is an amazing song. Went to the village and was so 'in a dream' amazing.

  4. Rory Bowskill

    I loved hearing this at the Cropready festival a few years back, the only festival I've been to where there was no 'backstage bar' no matter who you were if you wanted a drink you queued up with the rest, chatting to someone while waiting to get a pint and later they're on stage, you'd never get that at Glastonbury.

  5. Chris Dansey

    There were probably three Timms brothers living in Cropredy at the time of the battle:

    Thomas Timms, b. 10 Dec 1620, Cropredy, d. date unknown.
    John Timms, b. 1614, Cropredy, d. date unknown.
    George Timms, b. 1616, Cropredy, d. date unknown.

    No Will, though.


    Very interesting - thanks a lot ;-)

    Artistic license on Ralph's part perhaps? 
    Maybe it just sounded better?  ;-)

    Chris Dansey

    @Bjowolf2 I reckon so. The father of the brothers was named William, but he was dead by 1644.

  6. Teddyb1939

    Fairport and McTell,Beautiful.

  7. Bjowolf2

    Ok, thank you - will try that ;-)

    I also managed to fit in an Em7 - come to think of it
    ( a special version because of the dropped D tuning : 2(T) 2 2 0 3 0 ).

  8. Terence McDonald

    I play it using five chords: there's a couple of Bm's plus, more interestingly, an F#m at the end of the third line.

  9. Bjowolf2

    Yes, that is also the story that I have been told by some Ralph experts ;-)

  10. gaspode18

    Will Timms could well have been a real person. The Timms family has lived in Cropredy since at least the 1500s. Chances are that Ralph got the name from a gravestone in the churchyard.

  11. Bjowolf2

    Great ;-)

    I just hope, it doesn't harm your cycling skils - we wouldn't want any more victims LOL It's one of those tunes that you really get on your brain, isn't it? - one you will begin humming or whistling, when you least expect it.

    Yes, good acoustics around Birmingham, it seems ;-)

  12. Bjowolf2

    Yes, true - it didn't sound nearly as good, when they first played it alongside Ralph in 1987 ( there is a recording of that ;-) ).
    I am now finally able to play it fairly well on guitar (dropped D). Only 3 chords but they come in various shapes & versions - sounds really good. Still working on the singing, but it's getting better, now that I am able to focus more on it, as the picking works on auto pilot now ;-)
    Also a long song with lots of lyrics to remember bec. of the rather long lines.

  13. teed58

    A wonderful performance by all concerned. Only those who have tried, understand how difficult this beautiful and haunting song is to sing and play with such feeling....... Thank you.

  14. Bjowolf2


    Ahaaa, hehe - great! I knew we would make a decent person out of you some day LOL

    Tak for en god (hi)storie ;-)

  15. Bjowolf2


    Yes, I agree 100 %. Did you ever hear Ralph's "original" version?

    He didn't record it in a studio until much later, but there is a stunning live version,
    that does that to me - so moving and haunting the way he sings it and his voice.

    Please feel free to send me a message, if you want more info ;-)

    I have finally figured out how to play this wonderful song and it's beginning to work really
    well along with my "singing", but here are many verses to remember LOL

  16. Del Phillips

    Brother killing brother..All war is terrible, but there is something even more tragic about civil war, wherever it takes place.. I bought this when it first came out...this track always make me shiver

  17. Bjowolf2


    And how does your Dad get into the picture? ;-)

  18. Bjowolf2


    I can't disagree with you on that one - one of those songs you get on your brain
    and begin to hum spontaneously ;-)

    I have even figured out how to play it now. (guitar)

  19. Bjowolf2


    Yes, thank you - it's near the top of my wish list. I have English friends who go to the Cropredy Festival on
    a regular basis, and who often mention it and recommend it a lot.

    Så[so] jeg [yaigh] vil komme over der (there) en dag.
    Hav en go(o)d dag [day(gh)] ;-)

    PS. So sorry about that slight sync problem btw.

    Singing here:
    "And each year when the green corn once agan turns into gold ... lalalala" ( I love that line :o) )

  20. rothwellss

    said it before we all went to Oxford to see our daughter and so had to Cropredy whilst there. great historical village Church and surrounds You must go Imagine the times gone by

  21. Bjowolf2


    Well, I was editing it anyway, so I might as well get it done LOL

    Yes, will see what I can do - need to locate it first.

  22. Bjowolf2


    Yes ;-)