This is one of the most well-known of our traditional carols and one of the oldest, having been first printed in 1661. The ballad printer Samuel Harward published a set of words in Tewkesbury in the late 18th Century. Many versions have been collected in the West of England, particularly in Gloucestershire and the border counties. Until recent times it was sung at Christmas in various Gloucestershire villages.
Version 1 is from Charley Williams of Brockweir, recorded in 1977 by Bob Patten and Andrew Taylor. It can be heard here – British Library Sound Archive.
Contemporary version – Puzzlejug Puzzlejug Virgin Unspotted
Version 2 is from Mrs Elizabeth Smitherd of Tewkesbury, notated in 1908 by Cecil Sharp. The tune (MIDI) is here.
Song Manuscript As collected (singing copy with more verses is to be added later)
Version 3 is from Harold Boucher of Staunton, recorded in Churchdown in 1988 by Gwilym Davies. Harold Boucher – a Virgin Unspotted