Posts Tagged With: Great Britain

Oxfordshire, England and the American Indian Trade in Blankets

A few years ago I had gone antiquing from where I was living in Oxford to the old market town of Witney, England, where I met a very knowledgeable proprietor of one of the many antique shops in town. Being from the US, I did not know the importance of Witney in the world-wide woolen industry, so I was excited to learn about the town’s leadership in making woolen trade blankets for Native Americans since ca. AD 1700, as British trade with the Creek Indians of Middle Georgia is one aspect of my research. This was the first I heard about the “pointing” (stitching) on one edge of the blankets and its meaning in the Indian trade. Plus I even got to see one of these blankets! I had not realized that this favorite object of many Indians and tribes across North America had such a deep history that stretched back so far on the loom of history.

It seems this trade originated with the French weavers in the mid-17th century, but that the weavers of Witney had become major competitors by the end of the century. Earlier variants of the blanket shown above would have been packed on horses by Charleston’s traders and taken – along with pots & pans, cloth, guns & flints, knives & scissors, glass trade beads, rum, and many other European-manufactured goods – along the many Indian trails like the Lower Creek Trading Path, Thom’s Path, & the Okfuskee Path to trading houses set up near major Indian villages throughout the Southeast. Indian hunters and warriors would have come to these trading posts and traded their deerskins and captured Indian slaves for whatever they wanted. A fascinating topic about which more can be read in the book shown above, and at this website – http://www.witneyblanketstory.org.uk/wbp.asp?navigationPage=North%20America

Categories: Artifacts, Colonization, England, Exploration, History, Indian Trails, United Kingdom | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Old Country: Another Take on Another Auld Song

Silly Wizard Wild and Beautiful (1981) LP Cover

I did not awake planning to write new words to another folk song today. Instead, I made some coffee and stirred the ashes of last night’s fire to get it going, and sat down with a book on hunter-gatherers! However, the playlist I chose this morning started off automatically with “Hame, Hame, Hame” – a gorgeous song recorded by the Scottish folk band Silly Wizard for their album Wild and Beautiful (1981). The haunting tune is borrowed from “Tha Mi Sgith” (I am Tired), also known as “Buain na Rainich” “(Cutting the Bracken), which is supposed to be a song of heartbreak by a fairy after being separated from his human girlfriend. The lyrics of Silly Wizard’s version made me consider how sometimes home is really not where you are from, but where the heart is. So here is my attempt to express those feelings in words set to this tune, and here is a link to Silly Wizard’s beautiful rendition of “Hame, Hame, Hame,” – should you like a sense of the tune I was thinking of when I made this new version this morning as the sun was rising – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RND2KMlgP-w.

The Old Country

Hame, home, hame

Home I long to be

Hame, home, hame

In the Old Country

Where the rose and the oak

And my bonnie Rowan tree

They are all blooming fair

In the Old Country

Hame, home, hame

Home I long to be

Hame, home, hame

In the Old Country

Where my Love and I did run

Through her forest new to me

Where my heart will ever remain

In the Old Country

Hame, home, hame

Home I long to be

Hame, home, hame

In the Old Country

Where my Love still remains

Among her mountains green

And I am far away

From the Old Country

Hame, home, hame

Home I long to be

Hame, home, hame

In the Old Country

For home is wherever she rests

O my bonnie Rowan tree

Though I am far away

In my own country

Hame, home, hame

Home I long to be

Hame, home, hame

In the Old Country

Categories: England, Folk Music, Love, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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