English Curse

Album: England Keep My Bones (2011)

Songfacts®:

  • William II (c.1056 – 2 August 1100) was the third son of William I of England (better known as William the Conqueror - the Norman King who invaded England in 1066). In the aftermath of the Norman invasion, many people had their land confiscated by the crown and turned into royal hunting grounds. This unsurprisingly caused a lot of resentment. William succeeded his father to the throne in 1087 and thirteen years later he was killed in a hunting accident in one of these new hunting grounds, The New Forest. There is a legend, which claims that the king died because locals had placed a curse on him for stealing their land. English singer-songwriter Frank Turner told Drankin' and Smokin' why he penned a song for his fourth album England Keep My Bones about the incident. He explained: "I'm from near the New Forest, that's kind of where I grew up and, because I'm literally the coolest person you've ever met, I was reading up on some books about local folk lore and myths and legend and that kind of thing and I found this story about 'The Blacksmith's Curse' and the death of King William II. It was just one of those things that the minute I read it I was just like 'man, I am going to use that in a song'. Then it just sort of came together, so, there it is."
  • The historical a cappella sounds like a traditional song - but isn't. Turner told Drankin' and Smokin': "Stylistically, it's very much written to sound like a traditional. But it isn't one – I wrote the melody myself. But then, at the same time, it's using a scale that a lot of traditional English songs do use, and then just little things like repeating the first verse at the end like pretty much all traditional songs use. It's kind of written to sound like that."

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