We owe our knowledge of this folk carol to Ralph Vaughan Williams who transcribed and popularised it. He got it from Ella Leather, a collector of folk music who had transcribed it from a folk singer named William Jenkins. I think it’s a survival from what was known as "gallery music" which was music written for performance by the choirs and congregations of provincial parish churches and chapels. Its text deals with the Fall from Paradise and and the promise of redemption to be fulfilled by Jesus’ coming. Enjoy :-).
The Herefordshire Carol – The King’s Singers
Performers: The King’s Singers
Text: The Herefordshire Carol
This is the truth sent from above,
The truth of God, the God of love:
Therefore don’t turn me from your door,
But hearken all, both rich and poor.
The first thing which I do relate
Is that God did man create,
The next thing which to you I’ll tell,
Woman was made with man to dwell.
Thus we were heirs to endless woes,
Till God the Lord did interpose,
And so a promise soon did run,
That he would redeem us by his Son.
And at this season of the year
Our blest Redeemer did appear,
And here did live, and here did preach,
and many thousands he did teach.
Thus he in love to us behaved,
To show us how we must be saved;
And if you want to know the way,
Be pleased to hear what he did say.