Although it is nowhere near as ancient as "Greensleeves
" for example, "Widdicombe Fair" is one of the most recognizable of English folk songs and by far the most famous emanating from the West Country. Even most English speakers who have not heard or heard of the song will be familiar with the phrase it bequeathed the English language: "And Uncle Tom Cobley and all", which is often used as an expression of contempt.
In the song, the singer asks a man named Tom Pearse if he will lend him his horse to go to Widdicombe Fair with a group of men including Uncle Tom Cobley. Tom Pearse does so, but the animal ends up dead, probably because it was carrying the weight of eight men! The twist in the tale is that in the manner of the Flying Dutchman, the grey mare can be seen riding the skies of a moonlit Devon night groaning under its heavy load.