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Santa Origins: The lad with his trousers on (13) Origins: The lad with his trousers on 01 Jan 08

As sung by the Winterset on their latest CD, in a set of fragments from the North East.

"The lad with his trousers on
he says he will not have me."

Had this been a folk song, then getting said trousers off would have sorted the matter out fairly quickly. However, as presumably this is from a music-hall song, it is likelier to be marriage that the lad is refusing.

But what is this song telling us, about a sub-culture in 19th(?) century Tyneside where some lads have trousers and others, by default, do not? What did this sub-class wear instead? Is it that the singer is not good enough for the lad rich enough to wear trousers?

Has anyone any helpful information about the origins and meanings of this song? A few extra words might help, or does it only exist in fragmentary form?

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