The website for Dr Martin Shaw OBE FRCM (1875 –1958)

"Old Woman, Old Woman, let the Cuckoo out..."

 Heffle Cuckoo Fair


sheet music at the top of which explains: Spring begins in Southern England on April the fourteenth, on which date the Old Woman lets the cuckoo out of her basket at Heathfield Fair - locally known as Heffle Cuckoo Fair. To be played and sung 'lightly'.


24:  Heffle Cuckoo Fair

Recording Artists: Iain Burnside & Andrew Kennedy

Rudyard Kipling would have been familiar with the tradition at Heathfield Fair as he lived in the area. The Fair has been revived in recent years.


Madame Blanche Marchesi

The song dedication is To Blanche Marchesi, (1863 - 1940) a noted singer and teacher of Italian-German descent, who made her home in London after 1902. She was one of the first professional singers to sing Shaw’s songs, from 1903 or possibly earlier.

see article: Singing Shaw...


Rudyard Kipling, from Songs from Books 1913. Poem first published 1909 in Pearson’s Weekly Curwen 1919 in print