George Butterworth, who was killed in action in 1916, was one of a group of early collectors noting down folk songs before the aural tradition died out through encroaching urbanisation. Butterworth collected nearly 300 songs in England between 1906 and 1913, sometimes accompanied by Ralph Vaughan Williams or Francis Jekyll. Few songs from the collection were published during Butterworth's lifetime either because they were similar to other versions of the same song already published or because they were considered too earthy for Edwardian taste. Fortunately the manuscripts of Butterworth's folk songs survived unlike those of many of his own compositions, which he destroyed on enlisting in 1914. This collection contains the melody line and full word for 30 of these previously unpublished songs. The book is enhanced by photographs of people and places connected with Butterworth from the collection held in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library and line drawings illustrating the subject matter. Each song includes the name of the singer from whom it was collected together with the date where known.
More detailed notes on the songs are included at the end of the book for those requiring more information.