Joseph Mather

The Songs of Joseph Mather

Ray Hearne performs songs by the Sheffield file cutter and balladeer. In the late 18th century, Joseph Mather was a famous entertainer. He would sing at large scale public events like races and hangings, sometimes from the back of a horse or a bull.

Mather’s songs have survived in print, with a new edition on the way, but many of them haven’t been heard in 200 years. This project brings them back to life and gives us a unique new perspective on a fascinating period in Sheffield’s history.


Ray Hearne is a folk singer, poet and Chair of Grimm & Co, Yorkshire’s fantastical experience destination for children.

Literary critic Dr Jack Windle is working with the publisher Steven Kay to produce a new edition of The Songs of Joseph Mather. Jack will talk about the songs, with Ray, after the performance.