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The New Vaudeville Band – Winchester Cathedral lyrics

Winchester Cathedral
You're bringing me down
You stood and you watched as
My baby left town

You could have done something
But you didn't try
You didn't do nothing
You let her walk by

Now everyone knows just how much I needed that gal
She wouldn't have gone far away
If only you'd started ringing your bell

Winchester Cathedral
You're bringing me down
You stood and you watched as
My baby left town

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    I've heard this song criticized as silly for telling a church it didn't stop the singer's girlfriend from leaving town. Silly, sure; it is a novelty song. But I've come across something that makes a bit of sense out of that for me. This is a British song, and for a British listener the idea of a church stopping someone from leaving isn't a new idea.

    Have you heard of "the sound of Bow bells"? The church of St. Mary-le-Bow is in the center of London, and to be born within the sound of the "Bow Bells" is said to make one a true Cockney. According to legend, young Dick Wittington was called back to medieval London by the sound of the bells of St. Mary-le-Bow as he was climbing Highgate Hill, trudging back home toward Gloucestershire in discouragement. Believing the bells were sending him a message, he turned back to the city to try again and eventually became a great success as a merchant and as four-time Lord Mayor of London. The adventures of Dick Whittington are partly legendary, but he was a real person of great importance and popularity.

    So the idea of church bells calling someone back and stopping them from leaving would not be a novel thought for a Brit.

    But Winchester Cathedral didn't even try; it just stood there. :)

    (Winchester, and its cathedral, is about 60 miles sw of London. Gloucestershire is about 80 miles W of London.).
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