"his most favourite tunes, were Old Sir Simon the King, St. George he was for England, Bobbing Joan, and some others"
Title page of the 1st edition of The Dancing Master (1651)
Public DomainTitle page of the 1st edition of The Dancing Master (1651) - Credit: John Playford

The music listened to by commoners and country folk was far removed from that of the English court.  Early printed collections were put together in the 1600s by individuals such as John Playford (The English Dancing Master, 1651), Samuel Pepys, and Robert Harley (the Roxburghe Ballads).  By the 18th century there were increasing numbers of collections of what was beginning to be defined as "folk" music, including Thomas D’Urfey’s Wit and Mirth: or, Pills to Purge Melancholy (1719–20) and Bishop Thomas Percy’s Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765). 

Songs like Old Sir Simon celebrated drinking and carousing, while poking fun at the politics and manners of the day.