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Steve Roud

Steve Roud (/rd/) (born 1949[1]) is the creator of the Roud Folk Song Index and an expert on folklore and superstition, resident in Maresfield, East Sussex, England.[2] He was formerly Local Studies Librarian for the London Borough of Croydon and Honorary Librarian of the Folklore Society, whose Committee he later rejoined.[citation needed]

In 2009, Steve Roud was one of five people to be awarded the Gold Badge of the English Folk Dance and Song Society.[3] 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".

Roud Folk Song IndexEdit

The Roud Folk Song Index is a database of nearly 200,000 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.[4] 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.[5][6]

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


  • (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. [7]
  • 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. [8]
  • Folksong in England. 2017. ISBN 9780571309719. 


  1. ^ Challenges of Designing the Roud Folk Song Index, Library of Congress, YouTube, 3:40
  2. ^ Penguin Group (Canada) Archived May 12, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ EFDSS Gold Badge Award Holders from the website of the English Folk Dance and Song Society
  4. ^ Challenges of Designing the Roud Folk Song Index, Library of Congress, YouTube
  5. ^ "Vaughan Williams Memorial Library". English Folk Dance and Song Society. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "Roud Folksong Index search page". Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  7. ^ Review in the Guardian Archived July 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ 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.