Steve Roud

Steve Roud (/rd/; born 1949)[1] is the creator of the Roud Folk Song Index and an expert on folklore and superstition. He was formerly Local Studies Librarian for the London Borough of Croydon and Honorary Librarian of the Folklore Society.[citation needed]

Steve Roud, creator of the Roud Folksong Index, speaking about The Full English website at Clare College, Cambridge in March 2014.

Roud Folk Song IndexEdit

The Roud Folk Song Index is a database of over 240,000[2] references to songs that Roud has collected from oral tradition in the English language from all over the world. It began in around 1970 as a personal project, listing the source singer (if known), their locality, the date of noting the song, the publisher (book or recorded source), plus other fields, and crucially assigning a number to each song, including all variants (now known as the 'Roud number'). The system initially used 3x5-inch filing cards in shoeboxes.[3] In 1993, Roud implemented his record system on a computer database, which he continues to expand and maintain and which is now hosted on the website of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.[4][5]

In the past few years the numbers have been widely accepted in academic circles.[citation needed]

Life and careerEdit

Personal lifeEdit

Roud resides and works with his wife in Somersham, Cambridgeshire, England.[6]


In 2004 Steve Roud was the winner of the Folklore Society's Katharine Briggs Folklore Award for The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland.[7]

In 2009, Steve Roud was one of five people to be awarded the Gold Badge of the English Folk Dance and Song Society.[8] This award recognises "unique or outstanding contributions to folk music, dance or song, distinguished service to the Society and/or exceptional contributions to the Society’s work".

In 2014 Steve Roud was given the Walford Award by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professional's Information Services Group. His book, The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, had won the Reference Award the year before.[9]


  • (with Jacqueline Simpson) A Dictionary of English Folklore. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2000. ISBN 019210019X.
  • (with Eddie Cass) Room, Room, Ladies and Gentlemen: an introduction to the English Mummers' play. London: English Folk Dance and Song Society/Folklore Society. 2002. ISBN 9780854181858.
  • The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland. London: Penguin. 2003. ISBN 0141006730.
  • A Pocket Guide to Superstitions of the British Isles. London: Penguin. 2004. ISBN 9780140515497.
  • The English Year: a month-by-month guide to the nation's customs and festivals, from May Day to Mischief Night. London: Penguin. 2006. ISBN 9780140515541.
  • London Lore: the legends and traditions of the world's most vibrant city. London: Random House. 2008. ISBN 9781847945112.[10]
  • Monday's Child is Fair of Face: ... and other traditional beliefs about babies and motherhood. London: Random House. 2008. ISBN 9781905211524.
  • The Lore of the Playground : one hundred years of children's games, rhymes and traditions. London: Random House. 2010. ISBN 9781905211517.
  • (with Julia Bishop) The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs. London: Penguin Classics. 2012. ISBN 9780141194615.[11]
  • Folksong in England. London: Faber. 2017. ISBN 9780571309719.
  • (with David Atkinson) Street Literature of the Long Nineteenth Century. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars. 2017. ISBN 9781443894999.[12]


  1. ^ Challenges of Designing the Roud Folk Song Index, Library of Congress, YouTube, 3:40
  2. ^ Faulkner, Kate. "From shoeboxes to the World Wide Web: the enthusiast as indexer". The Indexer. 34 (3): 99–103.
  3. ^ Challenges of Designing the Roud Folk Song Index, Library of Congress, YouTube
  4. ^ "Vaughan Williams Memorial Library". English Folk Dance and Song Society. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Roud Folksong Index search page". Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  6. ^ "What is folk music, exactly? An interview with Steve Roud". Grizzly Folk. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  7. ^ "The Katharine Briggs Folklore Award | The Folklore Society". Retrieved 2017-10-25.
  8. ^ EFDSS Gold Badge Award Holders Archived 2010-12-30 at the Wayback Machine from the website of the English Folk Dance and Song Society
  9. ^ "The Walford Award 2014". referisg. 2014-10-16. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
  10. ^ Review in the Guardian Archived July 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Cumming, Tim (29 June 2012). "The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, Edited by Steve Roud and Julia Bishop". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  12. ^ "Cambridge Scholars Publishing".