Fragments of Kelston Roundhill social history: Lindsay Smith; Nadia Cattouse

Two odd bits of social history: the human side of the old county council, and a link with a 1960s folk album. First a lovely story about Kelston Roundhill:

Lindsay Smith, an Avon County Council planner, fretted that all the trees would die at the same time since they were planted at the same time. When he died (much too young) his Council colleagues clubbed together to plant new trees that will replace the old ones in 50 years’ time – now that’s planning.

The Interwebs reveal nothing further about this. But Lindsay was right to be concerned, and we’re glad his colleagues took the action they did.

Searching in vain for that did turn up was the words to a Kelston Roundhill folk song. The Mudcat Cafe forum discusses it being performed by the folk singer Nadia Cattouse. Lyrics and more below:


Three trees stand on Kelston Round Hill
Sunlight gleams o’er fields so green
In those fields two young children play
Boy and girl together seen
And the trees stand tall o’er the boy and girl
And welcome the coming of spring.

Three trees stand on Kelston Round Hill
Robed in leaves ‘neath the summer sky
Lovers now, hand in hand, stroll together and
Kiss beneath the trees so high
And the trees stand tall, giving shade to all
Who rest from the summer sun.

Three trees stand on Kelston Round Hill
Richly bronzed in the autumn sun
He has gone far away, he’ll come back they say
When the battle’s lost or won
And the trees stand tall and the dead leaves fall
For the brave one’s gone to war.

Three trees stand on Kelston Round Hill
Clad in winter’s coat of snow
Far away he lies, can she realise
He is dead and she must go.
And the trees stand tall, and the wild winds call
In vain, for there’s none to hear.

Three trees stand on Kelston Round Hill
Seasons come and seasons go
People live, people die, still the trees reply
Man was made for joy and woe.
And the trees stand tall, and the shadows fall
As the sun sets behind the hill.

Thanks to Herga Kitty for those. Glad of any further information. It’s too esoteric for Spotify, but Last FM gets us a bit closer. It seems to be on her 1967 album Songs of Grief and Glory, one copy available for a small fortune on eBay.

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8 Responses to Fragments of Kelston Roundhill social history: Lindsay Smith; Nadia Cattouse

  1. Rachel says:

    Hello from down the hill in Weston! I just found your site today, and really enjoyed reading it. As for Nadia Cattouse’s song, you can now find it on youtube: I asked the fellow who had posted other songs from ‘Grief and Glory’ to post this one, and he was very quick to help us! Thanks for all the pointers in the right direction.

  2. Oh hurrah! Thanks Rachel. Good idea, well found and what a lovely song. Now let’s try to get Steve Henwood to play it at The Bell. – William

  3. Bob Lawe says:

    Wasn’t Kelston Round Hill written by Christopher Rowe based on his childhood memories as the son of a Methodist Minister. He along with Ian Clarke formed the Humber Lads and the song appears on a couple of their final LPs.

    • williamheath says:

      Did not know that Bob! Any pointers or links would be much appreciated. It does seem surprising (tho nice in a way) that a Caribbean singer should be the one to write about it.

      • boblawe says:

        The discography showsit on at least one
        disc httpsss://
        I was friends with Chris and Ian in the early 70 s and also knew Chris’s father. I remember Chris telling us the story behind the song of Kelston Round Hill and hinted that it was basically the Easter Story updated.
        Chris Died a few years ago but I saw Ian a few years ago at the reopening of a school he was a teacher at in Hull. (I believe he now lives in the Liverpool area)

  4. Brian Michael Stott says:

    hi, can anybody tell me anything about the tiny pond on the slope of roundhill facing bristol,there is a small tree growing there

    • William says:

      Regrettably not Brian. There were several ponds in Roundhill field, all now in disrepair. ACAIK water flows out from the limestone cap as it comes down to the impermeable Fullers earth layer, so there are springs.
      Is there a particular reason for asking? Always looking for volunteers to help with pond restoration 🙂

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