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George Butterworth

George Butterworth

George Sainton Kaye Butterworth (1885-1916)

One of England's most distinctive composers, George Butterworth was born on 12 July 1885 in London, the only child of Sir Alexander Kaye Butterworth (1854-1946), a solicitor and later general manager of the North Eastern Railway Company. George first attended school in Yorkshire before entering Eton College as a King's scholar in 1899. His aptitude for music was nurtured there as well as with Christian Padel in York. From 1904 to 1908 he was in residence at Trinity College, Oxford, where he managed a third class in the honour school of literae humaniores and was active in musical circles, holding the presidency of the university musical club from October 1906 to March 1907.

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GB George Butterworth Collection

 

George Butterworth Collection

George Butterworth Manuscript Collection (GB)
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GB/1 Volume 1: Folk Dance  

 

Volume 1: Folk Dance

George Butterworth Manuscript Collection (GB/1)
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GB/2 Volume 2 Folk Tunes D264-282  

 

Volume 2 Folk Tunes D264-282

George Butterworth Manuscript Collection (GB/2)
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GB/3 Volume 3: Folk Dances D282-D316  

 

Volume 3: Folk Dances D282-D316

George Butterworth Manuscript Collection (GB/3)
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GB/4 Volume 4 Folk Song 187-333  

 

Volume 4 Folk Song 187-333

George Butterworth Manuscript Collection (GB/4)
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GB/5 Volume 5: Folk Songs  

 

Volume 5: Folk Songs

George Butterworth Manuscript Collection (GB/5)
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GB/6a Volume 6a: Folk Song Tunes  

 

Volume 6a: Folk Song Tunes

George Butterworth Manuscript Collection (GB/6a)
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GB/6b Volume 6b: Folk Song  

 

Volume 6b: Folk Song

George Butterworth Manuscript Collection (GB/6b)
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GB/7a Volume 7a: Folk Songs  

 

Volume 7a: Folk Songs

George Butterworth Manuscript Collection (GB/7a)
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GB/7b Volume 7b: Folk Song Tunes  

 

Volume 7b: Folk Song Tunes

George Butterworth Manuscript Collection (GB/7b)
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GB/7c Volume 7c: Folk Song Tunes  

 

Volume 7c: Folk Song Tunes

George Butterworth Manuscript Collection (GB/7c)
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GB/7d Volume 7d: Folk Song Tunes and Morris Dances  

 

Volume 7d: Folk Song Tunes and Morris Dances

George Butterworth Manuscript Collection (GB/7d)
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GB/7e Vol 7e: Folk Song Tunes and Playford Dance Tunes  

 

Vol 7e: Folk Song Tunes and Playford Dance Tunes

George Butterworth Manuscript Collection (GB/7e)
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GB/8a Volume 8a: Dances from Playford's 'Dancing Master' Realised by George Butterworth  

 

Volume 8a: Dances from Playford's 'Dancing Master' Realised by George Butterworth

George Butterworth Manuscript Collection (GB/8a)
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GB/8b Volume 8b: Playford's Dancing Master: Duplicate Dances  

 

Volume 8b: Playford's Dancing Master: Duplicate Dances

George Butterworth Manuscript Collection (GB/8b)
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GB/9 Volume 9: Playford Dancing Master Transcriptions D101-D203

 

Volume 9: Playford Dancing Master Transcriptions D101-D203

George Butterworth Manuscript Collection (GB/9)
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GB/10 Volume 10: Diary of Morris Dance Hunting

 

Volume 10: Diary of Morris Dance Hunting

George Butterworth Manuscript Collection (GB/10)
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Performer: Cartwright, William | Cartwright, Joe | Pole, Joe | Cato, Mr. | Rolfe, Will | Coles, John | Coles, Charles | Pearman, Caroline | Pearman, Buttery
Date: 1912
Place: England : Oxfordshire : Bucknell | England : Gloucestershire : Bledington | England : Oxfordshire : Kirtlington | England : Northamptonshire : King's Sutton | England : Gloucestershire : Bledington | England : Oxfordshire : Deddington | England : Oxfordshire : Launton | England : Oxfordshire : Stoke Lyne | England : Oxfordshire : Bicester | England : Oxfordshire : Weston-on-the-Green | England : Oxfordshire : Kirdlington [Kirtlington] | England : Oxfordshire : Middleton Stoney | England : Oxfordshire : Bletchingdon
Collector: Butterworth, George
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Shirbutin Ballads     Clarendon Press

contains 16th century ballads - mostly

dateable - nothing folk

Modern Street Ballads  Ashton -

[Chath & Windsor ] - 18th & 19th century

[hack-poems]

p 147 The Crocodile

 

Diary of Morris-dance hunting

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Correction [ ? ]  [note on left-hand page]

Sat. April 13th 1912
Bicester- Seems a good place to start a hunt from! Came here because trains seemed better than on the Banbury line: another chance lost by the GWR. Arrived at 5 after halting journey from Portishead, and put up at the Kings' Arms.
Data. Traces of Morris to be expected at Bucknell, Kirdlington, King's Sutton, and Deddington.

 

[following four lines are notes on left-hand page]

Bucknell  see later
Kirdlington  only bits left

King's Sutton ?  probably from Bucknell

Deddington ?


Also Lennard at Lower Heyford is making enquiries for me.
Sharp has heard that W. Rolfe, ex-leader at Bucknell, is alive, and I do not know yet whether he has been there. *
* I soon found out he had not [note on left-hand page]

After substantial tea decided to start out on bicycle at random, leaving Bucknell till after hearing from Sharp.
Went into the Fox and Hounds at Lawnton, and got into conversation with William Cartwright, aged about 70.

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[top of left-hand page] Lawnton

[right-hand page]

3.

He told me the following:-
There used to be a first-rate side at L. L. and Bucknell were the best sides of the district, and there was great competition between them, which sometimes ended in blows if the rival sides happened to foregather at the same place. Morris at L. stopped about 50 years back & all the dancers are dead. Cartwright when a boy often accompanied the dancers as one of the fools, of whom there were two or three. They dresses like the dancers, and carried tambourines, which they beat with cows' tails, to put the company in good humour. The fiddler was a man called Bannister, now dead. Cartwright also mentioned another fiddler, Joe Cartwright (of Bicester) [note on left-hand page 'no good'] but said he never knew the Lawnton Morris tunes.
C. could not remember any of the tunes, or even the names of the dances, but he spoke of the Morris with great enthusiasm; it was dropped, he said, owing to the lack

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5

of interest shown by the younger men. He never heard of any Morris except at L. and B.
Cartwright is a splendid type of the old English peasant, and is full of life. Apart from the decline of dance and song, he does not seem to regret modern changes very much. He told me he was nearly starved to death during the Crimean War, and that scores of children were : bread was then a shilling a loaf. He also spoke of the barbarity of old times. His grandfather
won his bride by fighting for her on the green at Islip, and this was quite a common custom.
After C. left the pub, I got into converstaion with a half-drunken man, who volunteered the following information, which is probably not worth much:-
Remembered M. within the last 30 years at Bucknell, Weston on the Green, Stoke Lane, Bletchingdon, Kirdlington, Kidlington.
[note on left-hand page] all nonsense

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[top of left-hand page]

 

all nonsense

7.
Bletchingdon  dancers still alive
Freddy Collett
Caleb Coolin
William Young
Brigham Young ?

Kirdlington -     Harry ?
 George ?
Joe Rednap (now keeps a pub at Bear's Hill)

Returned to Bicester, and went into one of the smaller pubs, where there were two men, of whom the older knew all about the Bucknell Morris.
Says it stopped about 20 years ago. Mentioned the following dancers still alive:-
Will Rolfe, & other Rolfes
?(John) Henry Coles - now at Bicester
Charles Coles - now at Middleton.
The musician was Joe Pole: now living at Hawkeswell Farm (1 1/2 mile from B.), who played the pipe and tabor. This sounds
exciting. My informant whistled a bit of Shepherd's Hey, & tried to show the hand-clapping, which

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9
seemed similar to that in None so Pretty.
Retired to bed "three parts gone", on the whole pleased with first day's work (only 5 hours) but more than ever astonished
at the state of mind of our "cultured" folk of 40 years ago.
Sunday. April 14th.
Bicycled over to Lower Heyford, & lunched with the Lennards. They very kindly pressed me to stay with them then and there, but I thought it better to stick to Bicester for the moment; as being nearer Bucknell.
Interviewed Mr Cato (?) who said he used to dance in the Kirdlington side. They danced Princess Royal as a handclapping jig. He tried to whistle the tune, but it turned out to be Shepherd's Hey, so I don't fancy him much as an authority. He was very
vague in all his information. Said

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11
there were plenty of young Morris dancers in Kirdlington, but they wanted an older man to lead. Seemed to think he was the oldest surviving dancer. On one occasion he danced with the Bucknell men!
I gathered that I should find plenty of Morris at Kirdlington, but in a decayed form-
[notes on left-hand page] Caroline Pearman [Pearman] for old customs  "Buttery" knows a few bits.

C. gave the following references:-
    "Buttery" Pierman }
    Will Pierman            }  Kirdlington
    Caroline Pierman   }
*  Tom Hall (Pipe & tabor)        Moke [?]
[note on left-hand page] * dead
He told me also that the dancers were preceeded by a "Lord" & "Lady", the former carrying the "Forest Feather", a framework of sticks decked with ribbons; which were detachable & afterwards used by girls in a "set" dance. ??!
Lennard & self next interviewed Mr Dew, the Registrar, who talked a lot & referred me to

Tom Wakenall, *        Bucknell
[note on left-hand page] * dead
 & Tom Green,        Bletchingdon

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13
He also gave me permission to use his name as an introduction to Mr Parks, master of Bicester Workhouse.
I then left Lennard, & returned to Bicester, on the way calling on Mr Charles Coles at Middleton Stoney. (age 72)
Said he was a mentor of the Bucknell side for 12 years.

[note on left-hand page] has a weak heart, & can't dance now.

Led them for 2 years. Seemed willing enough to help, but his wife was an impediment. She thought married men had no right
to concern themselves with such things: possessed a pair of her husband's old bells, but was keeping them for the grandchildren, presumably a case of "young people, a warning taken by me."
Under the circumstances, I lay low, especially as it was Sunday, determining to catch him alone some day. He referred me to Joe Pole, the pipe-player, who played for the side many years, and danced as well.
So after tea at Bicester, I rode out to see the latter at Hawkwell Farm. He showed me his pipe & drum,

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15
of which he was very proud, having recently refused a sovereign for them. Said he would not play very well now, but tried one or two tunes, including Maid of the Mill & Shepherd's Hey. Unfortunately the notes were uncertain, that I could not
write anything down, but he promised to practise for me. Showed me the handclapping in Shepherd's Hey, which he
did as follows

[4 bars of clapping notation]
||2nd part of tune
cl-xx|cl-xx|cl.cl.cl.cl.|cl.cl.cl.
i.e. clap, then rt. hand touches left instep twice|
clap, -- lt. -------. rt. --------|
clap, clap under left leg}
  "         "            "   right  " } i.e. as in None so Pretty
clap, clap behind, clap. }
He said the dance (a jig) was danced without anything in the hands.
He referred me to the Rolfes at Bucknell, especially Eli Rolfe, & John Coles at Bicester.
Rode back to Bicester, & called at John Coles' house: saw his son, &

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17

arranged to call in the morning.

Next found out Joe Cartwright the fiddler. Said he used to play dances of all kinds, including Waltzes & Morris dances for the Bucknell men. Had not played anything for 20 years. Said the clubs had killed dancing in the pubs.

Did not think he could remember any tunes now.

Prospects not so good to-day - Apparently getting tunes will be the great difficulty. Pipe & tabor very interesting & picturesque, but requires good playing to be intelligible.

 

Monday April 15th

Spent the day trying to get the tunes to the Bucknell Morris. As usual the unexpected turned up trumps. *

[on left-hand page]* this did not turn out correct

I had been very suspicoius of Joe Pole, the pipe-player, because the Rolfes said he only knew a few tunes, and when up a tree always drifted into 'Maid of the Mill.'

After a rather blank day, I visited

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19.

him in the evening, & found it was quite true that he could only play a few tunes: moreover he played those so badly that

they were impossible to note. But he remembered many tunes which he had never attempted to play, which he had picked up from Nelson, who used to play for the Bucknell men. He has a good memory, & hummed me several tunes (with some difficulty). *

[on left-hand page] * not reliable enough

In time I hope to recover several tunes from him in this way - and the Rolfes ought to be able to supply the steps between them.

General information

Bucknell Morris

The oldest survivor is Charles Rolfe, aged 75, now living at Chesterton. He was in the side when quite a boy for a year or two, but the dancing almost immediately lapsed.

He never danced again, and I don't think he remembers much about it.

About 9 years later the dances were revived, presumably without

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[on left-hand page halfway down]

Surviving Bucknell dancers, in approximate order of age

Charles Rolfe (75) now at Chesterton-for 2 years a member of the side which lapsed about 1863.

 

Eli Rolfe (72)

Charles Coles (72) now at Middleton

John Coles (?72)   [now at] Bicester

Will Rolfe (?70)

Joe Pole 69?

Alfred Rolfe ?60

 

[on right-hand page]

21

any appreciable break in the tradition.

This revival lasted a good many years, and consistent efforts have been made since to keep the dances alive, the last being actually in 1911, at the time of the coronation of George V. Both Eli and Will Rolfe danced in the revival, (frequently as leaders) & it is from them I hope to recover the steps. They left off about 25 years ago. Others who danced them are

Charles Coles, now at Middleton

John  [Coles, now at] Bicester.

and other younger men.

They all seemed very shaky about the tunes, and I fancy Joe Pole is the only hope there.

The original musician was one Nelson, of Steeple Aston, whom all agree to have been a magnificent player on the pipes. [Other equally famous players

were Philip Jim Timms of Bicester & his brother Ned of Kirdlington: there was also Tom Hall of Islip, whose instrument was

acquired by Pole. One of the Timms

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Ned Timms was buried with his 'drum and fife' beside him: Philip's Jim's instrument now belongs to Pole. There was

also one Hall, of Noke. All are dead ]

Nelson had one failing: he was sometimes so drunk that he could not play at all. It was in consequence of

these shortcomings that Pole undertook to learn the pipe. As before mentioned he succeeded only partially, but remembers

many tunes that he could never play.

Stoke

once a famous Morris place - Nelson played for them also -

Try  Levi James

     "Pratt" or James James

     Tom White.

Kirdlington try Simmons, Collett

Note Eli Rolfe has a photograph of the Bucknell side about 30 years ago.

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[on left-hand page]

Levi James said to have been a fine dancer.

[on right-hand page]

25

Tuesday, April 16th

Visited the workhouse nearly all the inmates are admitted under the head of 'senile decay', so there's not much to be got there. The old man mentioned having often seen the Stoke Morris: he also said Bucknell was a 'deadly' place for it.

Rode over to Stoke and interviewed Jay Cock (no good) and Levi James (too old). There remains James James and Tom White - I met the latter on the road hedging, & he hummed me a tune or two & promised to have an evening with me

at Stoke.

In the evening visited Joe Pole and Eli & Will Rolfe.

Pole is no good for the tunes, I'm afraid. He is too uncertain with nearly all of them even when humming. I shall have to

trust to getting a few from the Rolfes.

I also expect to find out a good deal from them about the dances: Will Rolfe was

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27

at one time foreman and explains the figures fairly clearly. He is now not very good at stepping, but Eli is still quite active, though older.

So I hope to get Will to explain the dances, & Eli to  illustrate them - Made a start on those lines tonight - slow work.

[The wife of Levi James at Stoke Lyme told me the Stoke men started practising on May 1st & continued right up to the second week in July, when the village feast & dancing took place.

Levi said sometimes Ned Timms of Kirdlington, sometimes Nelson played for them. He showed me the tree where they used to tie Nelson up when he was too drunk to stand -]

Note Stoke & Bucknell sometimes interchanged dancers when there was a deficiency - they also had a common musician (Nelson) so it is probable the dances are very similar.

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Wednesday & Thursday, April 17th & 18th

I'm afraid after all the Bucknell Morris is no go. It was obviously at one time a fine tradition, but the dancers have clearly the way of never [ ? ] steps. Some of the steps are quite clear, others unintelligible, & the [joins] are bad. So I'm afraid its not good enough for publication, although I've a pretty clear idea of what the dances were like. The best chance is with the jigs, & I shall have another try with one or two of them.

Will Rolfe is all right for tunes, though his versions are not especially good, with one or two exceptions.

On Wednesday evening Joe Pole came over with his pipe & drum, & we had a grand gathering at the cross roads. It was the most pathetic sight to see the two old men going round, trying to get volunteers to make up a side: they succeeded at last, but the result, of course, was chaos. Their enthusiasm and patience

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31

all along has been splendid - Even now they would gladly take on the job of initiating recruits, if there were any forthcoming. My blessing on them both, but I'm afraid in any case they would not be equal to the task.

[Costume of Bucknell Morris - Bells like ours, broad sash round waist, red braces, trousers, pleated shirts, top hat bound round with coloured ribbons - handkerchiefs 'Squire' and ragman.)

Visited Tom White, of Stoke, again. He knows some tunes, but I don't think he can dance much. Am going to him again. [J James no good]

Further information -

[on left-hand page] no good --

Edward Heydon at Hethe (Stoke)

John Timms fiddler, Steeple Aston.

2 Eldridges, East Leach near Lechlede.

[on left-hand page] no good --

Somerton Morris Tom Green.

 

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Friday - April 19th

Decided not to do anything further at Bucknell until after seeing Sharp.

Here are the dances as near as I could get them.

  1. A. Double Dances

Constant Billy

Once to yourself - Jump.

Foot up to the drummer - Turn -

Foot up down and face front.

Side step & Half Hey.

Side step [ & Half Hey.]

Hands - across

Side step etc.

Back to Back.

Side step etc. Then either end with the Hey,

or Whole - Hey.

Steps etc  1

Hands |sb.  sf |sb sf | ? | ?

Feet     |r l   r r|l r   l l| ? | ? Jump

Side step  2

                                                                          --Hey--

                   tw.l. tw.l|sb. sf.|tw.r. twr.|sb.  sf| ? | ? | ? | ?  |

nos 1,3,6   l.r.      l.r.|l r    l l|r.l.        r.l |r.l.  rr|l.? | ? | ? |? j.|

 

  1. note. feet not crossed in side step. Twist doubtful. ? point.

Point l. when beginning Hey

 

1 - The following 2 lines are in the form of a table

2 - The following 3 lines are in the form of a table

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35
Hands - Across & Back-to Back, steps
doubtful as in Foot-up.
At end of last Hey, music slows & they double-caper into Ring -
Thus:-
Hey  Slow
[music notation]
Double-capers the slow part.
= 2 big hops on each foot, the free foot swing loosely from the knee back & forward (?) - wave arms on each hop.

Similar Double-Dances
Maid of the Mill.
Cuckoo's Nest.
One or both of these ends with ordinary instead of double capers, & without slowing the music

P.T.O.

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37
Cross-corner dances
Queen's Delight (tune Dearest Dicky)
Foot up, up & down
Corners s.s. & foot through.
[table indicating steps]
Then either Hey, or Foot up   ??
Corners cross back with half capers
First bar ss as before
2nd bar doubtful
5 bars of 1/2 Capers i.e. r.l.r [upside down U]
l.r.l.[upside down U]   etc  [[upside down U] hardly noticeable -  ? arm-movements of half-capers]

last bar 2 Capers

Hands Across
Corners cross with Capers
1 bar SS
2nd bar ? Jump middle of bar. Then ordinary capers to places. Arms wave.
Back to Back
Corners cross back with Double Capers

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39
[dance notes crossed out]
[7 bars music notation with stepping notation underneath]
[4 bars music notation with stepping notation underneath]
i.e. side step: ? Jump
double capers, ordinary step, half-capers, 2 capers
Hey
Corners Cross with Uprights
Music as in preceding
[7 bars music notation with stepping notation underneath]

etc. or ? more kick-jumps
R.L. top. k. |. as follows
R.    left toe back
L.    step forward
top.    slight jump together
k.|.    Jump high, part legs sideways

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41
Then Hey or: Foot-up
(Probably the expression Foot-up here refers to the steps, the figure being the Hey)
Corners cross back with Uprights,
others joining in with the Quick music, and kick-in.
[On one occasion, W. Rolfe said end with Hey a whole Hey]

Similar Dance:
Old woman tossed up
Figures    Foot up.
        Foot across
        Hey
        Cross back with half-capers
        Hand's Across
        Cross with Capers
        Back to Back
        Cross back with Upright jumps.

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43
Saturday Night
apparently done in several ways - the following given by Charles Rolfe, of Chesterton.
Top-couple       foot-up
[Top-couple]    side-step & capers
[Top-couple]    side-step & double capers, turning on the latter & meeting 2nd couple.
These 2 couples now do it all again together. On the double capers they change places, tops going outside.
Then 2nd couple do it to the drummer, the others to each other.
And so on, till 1st couple get back to places.
Then whole-rounds with double capers & kick-in -
Side-step & caper so    [4 bars of stepping notation]
SS. & double caper
[7 barsof music notation with stepping notation underneath]
whole-rounds ??  slow all the way.

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45
Green-Garters        Round dance
Foot-up round - Then continue circle to places.  i.e. whole-rounds in 2 halves   ??
Then Hey
Double-capers round & kick-in


Trunkles
Like Headington, with more figures, including saluting, & uprights -

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47
Room for Cuckolds
ordinary double-dance, but clap instead of SS
Thus
Both hands touch lower chest
[Both hands touch] upper [chest]
clap
slap with opposite
Then Hey


Jigs
Shepherd's Hey
Foot-up
Clap
Foot-up  ad lib
Clap
Clapping   clap, clap,  rt. fingers touch left instep
                   [clap, clap,] lf.[fingers touch ] rt [instep]
clap, clap under left, clap
clap under right, etc as None so Pretty
Substitute knee, breast, etc up to head for instep.
Hitch handkerchief in braces when clapping

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49
Princess Royal
Foot-up 6 bars 4/3? then ?? Jump
        l.    r.     l. r.
Side step [several bars of clapping and stepping notation]
clap clap. clap under left, clap
[clap. clap under] right, [clap]
[or stamping |l.r.l. r.l.r.] can be substituted)
Then double capers round in a circle clockwise, until quick music returns, then as in side step
? end of dance
Side step not repeated.
Similar Jig  Little Highland Mary.

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51
other Jigs

Lumps of Pudding
Jockey
Johnny long gone to the fair
Bonnet so blue
Double dance with hand-clapping Old Black Joe
Try     Blue eyed Stranger
Molly Oxford
Dances of which tunes forgotten
Lads a Bunchum
Rodney
Down in the meadows

After deciding to abandon Bucknell for the present, I took the train to Towcester, via Banbury, having heard rumours of Morris there within recent years. A futile expedition: found nothing - Slept at the Pomfret Arms

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53
Saturday, April 20th
Rode back westwards to Deddington, sending bag onto Lower Heyford. Lovely day, in fact perfect weather all week.
Went through Wappenham, Helundon, Farthinghoe, Charlton and Aynho.
At Farthinghoe heard of Morris done there 30 or 40 years back by dancers from Hinton near Brackley.
Beautiful country, especially round Charlton & Aynho. Wappenham & oher places very remote.
On arrival at Deddington put up at Crown & tubs (?)-
Rode out to North Aston - Morris used to be done there & at Duns Tew, but all dead - Piper was Woods of Deddington.

Sunday, April 21st Rode through Somerton, Sheldon and Hethe to Bicester.
Put up at Kings Arms.

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55
Worked various clues without finding anything important.
Monday - Wednesday April 22-24
Stayed with the Lennards at Lower Heyford. Worked all the places round. Amusing expedition to Kirtlington.
Lively old lady aged 83, Caroline Pierman, and Dickens-like tailor, Hawks, aged 85, both full of information about the old
Morris and Lamb Ale.
Wednesday April 24th returned to London, after lunching with Tiddy at Oxford

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57
[unreadable, crossed out]
Review of information obtained
Launton    see p.3.            no good
Bucknell    pp 7,13,17,25,29,33.
            Eli & Will Rolfe the best.
Stoke Lyne - dancers living
        Levi James            } [at Stoke]
        Pratt James          } [at Stoke]
        Jaycock (blacksmith)     } at Stoke
        Tom White            } [at Stoke]
        Ned Heydon              at Hethe
        ? Heydon, at Inkley Barrow (?) near
        Inkley (?), Leicestershire
        ? Heydon, at Chislehurst.
The two latter I have not tried. Of the others only Tom White is now of any use- & he seems to know very little - knows
a few tunes. Have no confidence -
See also pp. 25,27,
Towcester rumours of M. in neighbourhood within last 20 years. ? Kislingbury, near Northampton.

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59
Hinton in the Hedges used to be a Morris - ? the same as Brackley.
Deddington no traces there, but didn't explore much.
North Aston and Duns Tew - Morris stopped 50 years ago - last survivor dead.
Barton & Glympton - last survivor said to be Jervis, now at Oxford [8 Pensons [?] Garden, St Clements - not known - Mrs
Sidgwick making enquiries]  try Markham, Mid Aston
did not go to Glympton.
Tackley  no survivors.
Kirtlington no survivors of the old lot - Will Pearman, Lambourn, Jack Symonds know a bit, but not enough.
For information re old customs etc,
Mrs Caroline Pearman, Mr Hawks (tailor), also P. Manning Esq & - Willdridge Esq, the Nuttering, Kirtlington.

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61
Stonesfield M. said to be still going.
Chedlington try.

notes.
John Timms (73), Steeple Aston. native of Launton. dim memories of M. at Launton. plays fiddle, but no Morris tunes - a few Country Dances, some out of books.
[apparently in this district M. was never danced to the fiddle.]
Mrs Brayne (70?) native of Stoke Lyne, knows country dances - a bad informant.
Kirtlington club, Trinity Monday
Bletchingdon [club] Whit [Monday]
Sims, Jericho, Oxford, plays country dances in many villages round Oxford, including Kirtlington.

t = Transcribed

Transcription

See all of transcription

Shirbutin Ballads     Clarendon Press

contains 16th century ballads - mostly

dateable - nothing folk

Modern Street Ballads  Ashton -

[Chath & Windsor ] - 18th & 19th century

[hack-poems]

p 147 The Crocodile

 

Diary of Morris-dance hunting

Correction [ ? ]  [note on left-hand page]

Sat. April 13th 1912
Bicester- Seems a good place to start a hunt from! Came here because trains seemed better than on the Banbury line: another chance lost by the GWR. Arrived at 5 after halting journey from Portishead, and put up at the Kings' Arms.
Data. Traces of Morris to be expected at Bucknell, Kirdlington, King's Sutton, and Deddington.

 

[following four lines are notes on left-hand page]

Bucknell  see later
Kirdlington  only bits left

King's Sutton ?  probably from Bucknell

Deddington ?


Also Lennard at Lower Heyford is making enquiries for me.
Sharp has heard that W. Rolfe, ex-leader at Bucknell, is alive, and I do not know yet whether he has been there. *
* I soon found out he had not [note on left-hand page]

After substantial tea decided to start out on bicycle at random, leaving Bucknell till after hearing from Sharp.
Went into the Fox and Hounds at Lawnton, and got into conversation with William Cartwright, aged about 70.

[top of left-hand page] Lawnton

[right-hand page]

3.

He told me the following:-
There used to be a first-rate side at L. L. and Bucknell were the best sides of the district, and there was great competition between them, which sometimes ended in blows if the rival sides happened to foregather at the same place. Morris at L. stopped about 50 years back & all the dancers are dead. Cartwright when a boy often accompanied the dancers as one of the fools, of whom there were two or three. They dresses like the dancers, and carried tambourines, which they beat with cows' tails, to put the company in good humour. The fiddler was a man called Bannister, now dead. Cartwright also mentioned another fiddler, Joe Cartwright (of Bicester) [note on left-hand page 'no good'] but said he never knew the Lawnton Morris tunes.
C. could not remember any of the tunes, or even the names of the dances, but he spoke of the Morris with great enthusiasm; it was dropped, he said, owing to the lack

5

of interest shown by the younger men. He never heard of any Morris except at L. and B.
Cartwright is a splendid type of the old English peasant, and is full of life. Apart from the decline of dance and song, he does not seem to regret modern changes very much. He told me he was nearly starved to death during the Crimean War, and that scores of children were : bread was then a shilling a loaf. He also spoke of the barbarity of old times. His grandfather
won his bride by fighting for her on the green at Islip, and this was quite a common custom.
After C. left the pub, I got into converstaion with a half-drunken man, who volunteered the following information, which is probably not worth much:-
Remembered M. within the last 30 years at Bucknell, Weston on the Green, Stoke Lane, Bletchingdon, Kirdlington, Kidlington.
[note on left-hand page] all nonsense

[top of left-hand page]

 

all nonsense

7.
Bletchingdon  dancers still alive
Freddy Collett
Caleb Coolin
William Young
Brigham Young ?

Kirdlington -     Harry ?
 George ?
Joe Rednap (now keeps a pub at Bear's Hill)

Returned to Bicester, and went into one of the smaller pubs, where there were two men, of whom the older knew all about the Bucknell Morris.
Says it stopped about 20 years ago. Mentioned the following dancers still alive:-
Will Rolfe, & other Rolfes
?(John) Henry Coles - now at Bicester
Charles Coles - now at Middleton.
The musician was Joe Pole: now living at Hawkeswell Farm (1 1/2 mile from B.), who played the pipe and tabor. This sounds
exciting. My informant whistled a bit of Shepherd's Hey, & tried to show the hand-clapping, which

9
seemed similar to that in None so Pretty.
Retired to bed "three parts gone", on the whole pleased with first day's work (only 5 hours) but more than ever astonished
at the state of mind of our "cultured" folk of 40 years ago.
Sunday. April 14th.
Bicycled over to Lower Heyford, & lunched with the Lennards. They very kindly pressed me to stay with them then and there, but I thought it better to stick to Bicester for the moment; as being nearer Bucknell.
Interviewed Mr Cato (?) who said he used to dance in the Kirdlington side. They danced Princess Royal as a handclapping jig. He tried to whistle the tune, but it turned out to be Shepherd's Hey, so I don't fancy him much as an authority. He was very
vague in all his information. Said

11
there were plenty of young Morris dancers in Kirdlington, but they wanted an older man to lead. Seemed to think he was the oldest surviving dancer. On one occasion he danced with the Bucknell men!
I gathered that I should find plenty of Morris at Kirdlington, but in a decayed form-
[notes on left-hand page] Caroline Pearman [Pearman] for old customs  "Buttery" knows a few bits.

C. gave the following references:-
    "Buttery" Pierman }
    Will Pierman            }  Kirdlington
    Caroline Pierman   }
*  Tom Hall (Pipe & tabor)        Moke [?]
[note on left-hand page] * dead
He told me also that the dancers were preceeded by a "Lord" & "Lady", the former carrying the "Forest Feather", a framework of sticks decked with ribbons; which were detachable & afterwards used by girls in a "set" dance. ??!
Lennard & self next interviewed Mr Dew, the Registrar, who talked a lot & referred me to

Tom Wakenall, *        Bucknell
[note on left-hand page] * dead
 & Tom Green,        Bletchingdon

13
He also gave me permission to use his name as an introduction to Mr Parks, master of Bicester Workhouse.
I then left Lennard, & returned to Bicester, on the way calling on Mr Charles Coles at Middleton Stoney. (age 72)
Said he was a mentor of the Bucknell side for 12 years.

[note on left-hand page] has a weak heart, & can't dance now.

Led them for 2 years. Seemed willing enough to help, but his wife was an impediment. She thought married men had no right
to concern themselves with such things: possessed a pair of her husband's old bells, but was keeping them for the grandchildren, presumably a case of "young people, a warning taken by me."
Under the circumstances, I lay low, especially as it was Sunday, determining to catch him alone some day. He referred me to Joe Pole, the pipe-player, who played for the side many years, and danced as well.
So after tea at Bicester, I rode out to see the latter at Hawkwell Farm. He showed me his pipe & drum,

15
of which he was very proud, having recently refused a sovereign for them. Said he would not play very well now, but tried one or two tunes, including Maid of the Mill & Shepherd's Hey. Unfortunately the notes were uncertain, that I could not
write anything down, but he promised to practise for me. Showed me the handclapping in Shepherd's Hey, which he
did as follows

[4 bars of clapping notation]
||2nd part of tune
cl-xx|cl-xx|cl.cl.cl.cl.|cl.cl.cl.
i.e. clap, then rt. hand touches left instep twice|
clap, -- lt. -------. rt. --------|
clap, clap under left leg}
  "         "            "   right  " } i.e. as in None so Pretty
clap, clap behind, clap. }
He said the dance (a jig) was danced without anything in the hands.
He referred me to the Rolfes at Bucknell, especially Eli Rolfe, & John Coles at Bicester.
Rode back to Bicester, & called at John Coles' house: saw his son, &

17

arranged to call in the morning.

Next found out Joe Cartwright the fiddler. Said he used to play dances of all kinds, including Waltzes & Morris dances for the Bucknell men. Had not played anything for 20 years. Said the clubs had killed dancing in the pubs.

Did not think he could remember any tunes now.

Prospects not so good to-day - Apparently getting tunes will be the great difficulty. Pipe & tabor very interesting & picturesque, but requires good playing to be intelligible.

 

Monday April 15th

Spent the day trying to get the tunes to the Bucknell Morris. As usual the unexpected turned up trumps. *

[on left-hand page]* this did not turn out correct

I had been very suspicoius of Joe Pole, the pipe-player, because the Rolfes said he only knew a few tunes, and when up a tree always drifted into 'Maid of the Mill.'

After a rather blank day, I visited

19.

him in the evening, & found it was quite true that he could only play a few tunes: moreover he played those so badly that

they were impossible to note. But he remembered many tunes which he had never attempted to play, which he had picked up from Nelson, who used to play for the Bucknell men. He has a good memory, & hummed me several tunes (with some difficulty). *

[on left-hand page] * not reliable enough

In time I hope to recover several tunes from him in this way - and the Rolfes ought to be able to supply the steps between them.

General information

Bucknell Morris

The oldest survivor is Charles Rolfe, aged 75, now living at Chesterton. He was in the side when quite a boy for a year or two, but the dancing almost immediately lapsed.

He never danced again, and I don't think he remembers much about it.

About 9 years later the dances were revived, presumably without

[on left-hand page halfway down]

Surviving Bucknell dancers, in approximate order of age

Charles Rolfe (75) now at Chesterton-for 2 years a member of the side which lapsed about 1863.

 

Eli Rolfe (72)

Charles Coles (72) now at Middleton

John Coles (?72)   [now at] Bicester

Will Rolfe (?70)

Joe Pole 69?

Alfred Rolfe ?60

 

[on right-hand page]

21

any appreciable break in the tradition.

This revival lasted a good many years, and consistent efforts have been made since to keep the dances alive, the last being actually in 1911, at the time of the coronation of George V. Both Eli and Will Rolfe danced in the revival, (frequently as leaders) & it is from them I hope to recover the steps. They left off about 25 years ago. Others who danced them are

Charles Coles, now at Middleton

John  [Coles, now at] Bicester.

and other younger men.

They all seemed very shaky about the tunes, and I fancy Joe Pole is the only hope there.

The original musician was one Nelson, of Steeple Aston, whom all agree to have been a magnificent player on the pipes. [Other equally famous players

were Philip Jim Timms of Bicester & his brother Ned of Kirdlington: there was also Tom Hall of Islip, whose instrument was

acquired by Pole. One of the Timms

23

Ned Timms was buried with his 'drum and fife' beside him: Philip's Jim's instrument now belongs to Pole. There was

also one Hall, of Noke. All are dead ]

Nelson had one failing: he was sometimes so drunk that he could not play at all. It was in consequence of

these shortcomings that Pole undertook to learn the pipe. As before mentioned he succeeded only partially, but remembers

many tunes that he could never play.

Stoke

once a famous Morris place - Nelson played for them also -

Try  Levi James

     "Pratt" or James James

     Tom White.

Kirdlington try Simmons, Collett

Note Eli Rolfe has a photograph of the Bucknell side about 30 years ago.

[on left-hand page]

Levi James said to have been a fine dancer.

[on right-hand page]

25

Tuesday, April 16th

Visited the workhouse nearly all the inmates are admitted under the head of 'senile decay', so there's not much to be got there. The old man mentioned having often seen the Stoke Morris: he also said Bucknell was a 'deadly' place for it.

Rode over to Stoke and interviewed Jay Cock (no good) and Levi James (too old). There remains James James and Tom White - I met the latter on the road hedging, & he hummed me a tune or two & promised to have an evening with me

at Stoke.

In the evening visited Joe Pole and Eli & Will Rolfe.

Pole is no good for the tunes, I'm afraid. He is too uncertain with nearly all of them even when humming. I shall have to

trust to getting a few from the Rolfes.

I also expect to find out a good deal from them about the dances: Will Rolfe was

27

at one time foreman and explains the figures fairly clearly. He is now not very good at stepping, but Eli is still quite active, though older.

So I hope to get Will to explain the dances, & Eli to  illustrate them - Made a start on those lines tonight - slow work.

[The wife of Levi James at Stoke Lyme told me the Stoke men started practising on May 1st & continued right up to the second week in July, when the village feast & dancing took place.

Levi said sometimes Ned Timms of Kirdlington, sometimes Nelson played for them. He showed me the tree where they used to tie Nelson up when he was too drunk to stand -]

Note Stoke & Bucknell sometimes interchanged dancers when there was a deficiency - they also had a common musician (Nelson) so it is probable the dances are very similar.

29

Wednesday & Thursday, April 17th & 18th

I'm afraid after all the Bucknell Morris is no go. It was obviously at one time a fine tradition, but the dancers have clearly the way of never [ ? ] steps. Some of the steps are quite clear, others unintelligible, & the [joins] are bad. So I'm afraid its not good enough for publication, although I've a pretty clear idea of what the dances were like. The best chance is with the jigs, & I shall have another try with one or two of them.

Will Rolfe is all right for tunes, though his versions are not especially good, with one or two exceptions.

On Wednesday evening Joe Pole came over with his pipe & drum, & we had a grand gathering at the cross roads. It was the most pathetic sight to see the two old men going round, trying to get volunteers to make up a side: they succeeded at last, but the result, of course, was chaos. Their enthusiasm and patience

31

all along has been splendid - Even now they would gladly take on the job of initiating recruits, if there were any forthcoming. My blessing on them both, but I'm afraid in any case they would not be equal to the task.

[Costume of Bucknell Morris - Bells like ours, broad sash round waist, red braces, trousers, pleated shirts, top hat bound round with coloured ribbons - handkerchiefs 'Squire' and ragman.)

Visited Tom White, of Stoke, again. He knows some tunes, but I don't think he can dance much. Am going to him again. [J James no good]

Further information -

[on left-hand page] no good --

Edward Heydon at Hethe (Stoke)

John Timms fiddler, Steeple Aston.

2 Eldridges, East Leach near Lechlede.

[on left-hand page] no good --

Somerton Morris Tom Green.

 

33

Friday - April 19th

Decided not to do anything further at Bucknell until after seeing Sharp.

Here are the dances as near as I could get them.

  1. A. Double Dances

Constant Billy

Once to yourself - Jump.

Foot up to the drummer - Turn -

Foot up down and face front.

Side step & Half Hey.

Side step [ & Half Hey.]

Hands - across

Side step etc.

Back to Back.

Side step etc. Then either end with the Hey,

or Whole - Hey.

Steps etc  1

Hands |sb.  sf |sb sf | ? | ?

Feet     |r l   r r|l r   l l| ? | ? Jump

Side step  2

                                                                          --Hey--

                   tw.l. tw.l|sb. sf.|tw.r. twr.|sb.  sf| ? | ? | ? | ?  |

nos 1,3,6   l.r.      l.r.|l r    l l|r.l.        r.l |r.l.  rr|l.? | ? | ? |? j.|

 

  1. note. feet not crossed in side step. Twist doubtful. ? point.

Point l. when beginning Hey

 

1 - The following 2 lines are in the form of a table

2 - The following 3 lines are in the form of a table

35
Hands - Across & Back-to Back, steps
doubtful as in Foot-up.
At end of last Hey, music slows & they double-caper into Ring -
Thus:-
Hey  Slow
[music notation]
Double-capers the slow part.
= 2 big hops on each foot, the free foot swing loosely from the knee back & forward (?) - wave arms on each hop.

Similar Double-Dances
Maid of the Mill.
Cuckoo's Nest.
One or both of these ends with ordinary instead of double capers, & without slowing the music

P.T.O.

37
Cross-corner dances
Queen's Delight (tune Dearest Dicky)
Foot up, up & down
Corners s.s. & foot through.
[table indicating steps]
Then either Hey, or Foot up   ??
Corners cross back with half capers
First bar ss as before
2nd bar doubtful
5 bars of 1/2 Capers i.e. r.l.r [upside down U]
l.r.l.[upside down U]   etc  [[upside down U] hardly noticeable -  ? arm-movements of half-capers]

last bar 2 Capers

Hands Across
Corners cross with Capers
1 bar SS
2nd bar ? Jump middle of bar. Then ordinary capers to places. Arms wave.
Back to Back
Corners cross back with Double Capers

39
[dance notes crossed out]
[7 bars music notation with stepping notation underneath]
[4 bars music notation with stepping notation underneath]
i.e. side step: ? Jump
double capers, ordinary step, half-capers, 2 capers
Hey
Corners Cross with Uprights
Music as in preceding
[7 bars music notation with stepping notation underneath]

etc. or ? more kick-jumps
R.L. top. k. |. as follows
R.    left toe back
L.    step forward
top.    slight jump together
k.|.    Jump high, part legs sideways

41
Then Hey or: Foot-up
(Probably the expression Foot-up here refers to the steps, the figure being the Hey)
Corners cross back with Uprights,
others joining in with the Quick music, and kick-in.
[On one occasion, W. Rolfe said end with Hey a whole Hey]

Similar Dance:
Old woman tossed up
Figures    Foot up.
        Foot across
        Hey
        Cross back with half-capers
        Hand's Across
        Cross with Capers
        Back to Back
        Cross back with Upright jumps.

43
Saturday Night
apparently done in several ways - the following given by Charles Rolfe, of Chesterton.
Top-couple       foot-up
[Top-couple]    side-step & capers
[Top-couple]    side-step & double capers, turning on the latter & meeting 2nd couple.
These 2 couples now do it all again together. On the double capers they change places, tops going outside.
Then 2nd couple do it to the drummer, the others to each other.
And so on, till 1st couple get back to places.
Then whole-rounds with double capers & kick-in -
Side-step & caper so    [4 bars of stepping notation]
SS. & double caper
[7 barsof music notation with stepping notation underneath]
whole-rounds ??  slow all the way.

45
Green-Garters        Round dance
Foot-up round - Then continue circle to places.  i.e. whole-rounds in 2 halves   ??
Then Hey
Double-capers round & kick-in


Trunkles
Like Headington, with more figures, including saluting, & uprights -

47
Room for Cuckolds
ordinary double-dance, but clap instead of SS
Thus
Both hands touch lower chest
[Both hands touch] upper [chest]
clap
slap with opposite
Then Hey


Jigs
Shepherd's Hey
Foot-up
Clap
Foot-up  ad lib
Clap
Clapping   clap, clap,  rt. fingers touch left instep
                   [clap, clap,] lf.[fingers touch ] rt [instep]
clap, clap under left, clap
clap under right, etc as None so Pretty
Substitute knee, breast, etc up to head for instep.
Hitch handkerchief in braces when clapping

49
Princess Royal
Foot-up 6 bars 4/3? then ?? Jump
        l.    r.     l. r.
Side step [several bars of clapping and stepping notation]
clap clap. clap under left, clap
[clap. clap under] right, [clap]
[or stamping |l.r.l. r.l.r.] can be substituted)
Then double capers round in a circle clockwise, until quick music returns, then as in side step
? end of dance
Side step not repeated.
Similar Jig  Little Highland Mary.

51
other Jigs

Lumps of Pudding
Jockey
Johnny long gone to the fair
Bonnet so blue
Double dance with hand-clapping Old Black Joe
Try     Blue eyed Stranger
Molly Oxford
Dances of which tunes forgotten
Lads a Bunchum
Rodney
Down in the meadows

After deciding to abandon Bucknell for the present, I took the train to Towcester, via Banbury, having heard rumours of Morris there within recent years. A futile expedition: found nothing - Slept at the Pomfret Arms

53
Saturday, April 20th
Rode back westwards to Deddington, sending bag onto Lower Heyford. Lovely day, in fact perfect weather all week.
Went through Wappenham, Helundon, Farthinghoe, Charlton and Aynho.
At Farthinghoe heard of Morris done there 30 or 40 years back by dancers from Hinton near Brackley.
Beautiful country, especially round Charlton & Aynho. Wappenham & oher places very remote.
On arrival at Deddington put up at Crown & tubs (?)-
Rode out to North Aston - Morris used to be done there & at Duns Tew, but all dead - Piper was Woods of Deddington.

Sunday, April 21st Rode through Somerton, Sheldon and Hethe to Bicester.
Put up at Kings Arms.

55
Worked various clues without finding anything important.
Monday - Wednesday April 22-24
Stayed with the Lennards at Lower Heyford. Worked all the places round. Amusing expedition to Kirtlington.
Lively old lady aged 83, Caroline Pierman, and Dickens-like tailor, Hawks, aged 85, both full of information about the old
Morris and Lamb Ale.
Wednesday April 24th returned to London, after lunching with Tiddy at Oxford

57
[unreadable, crossed out]
Review of information obtained
Launton    see p.3.            no good
Bucknell    pp 7,13,17,25,29,33.
            Eli & Will Rolfe the best.
Stoke Lyne - dancers living
        Levi James            } [at Stoke]
        Pratt James          } [at Stoke]
        Jaycock (blacksmith)     } at Stoke
        Tom White            } [at Stoke]
        Ned Heydon              at Hethe
        ? Heydon, at Inkley Barrow (?) near
        Inkley (?), Leicestershire
        ? Heydon, at Chislehurst.
The two latter I have not tried. Of the others only Tom White is now of any use- & he seems to know very little - knows
a few tunes. Have no confidence -
See also pp. 25,27,
Towcester rumours of M. in neighbourhood within last 20 years. ? Kislingbury, near Northampton.

59
Hinton in the Hedges used to be a Morris - ? the same as Brackley.
Deddington no traces there, but didn't explore much.
North Aston and Duns Tew - Morris stopped 50 years ago - last survivor dead.
Barton & Glympton - last survivor said to be Jervis, now at Oxford [8 Pensons [?] Garden, St Clements - not known - Mrs
Sidgwick making enquiries]  try Markham, Mid Aston
did not go to Glympton.
Tackley  no survivors.
Kirtlington no survivors of the old lot - Will Pearman, Lambourn, Jack Symonds know a bit, but not enough.
For information re old customs etc,
Mrs Caroline Pearman, Mr Hawks (tailor), also P. Manning Esq & - Willdridge Esq, the Nuttering, Kirtlington.

61
Stonesfield M. said to be still going.
Chedlington try.

notes.
John Timms (73), Steeple Aston. native of Launton. dim memories of M. at Launton. plays fiddle, but no Morris tunes - a few Country Dances, some out of books.
[apparently in this district M. was never danced to the fiddle.]
Mrs Brayne (70?) native of Stoke Lyne, knows country dances - a bad informant.
Kirtlington club, Trinity Monday
Bletchingdon [club] Whit [Monday]
Sims, Jericho, Oxford, plays country dances in many villages round Oxford, including Kirtlington.

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GB/11 Volume 11: Note Book Containing Index Of Folk Songs And Verses From Songs Of Travel by RLS

 

Volume 11: Note Book Containing Index Of Folk Songs And Verses From Songs Of Travel by RLS

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GB/12 Volume 12: Folk Songs and Dance Tunes  

 

Volume 12: Folk Songs and Dance Tunes

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GB/13 Volume 13: Index Of Words & Tunes Of Folksongs Collected By G.S.K. Butterworth

 

Volume 13: Index Of Words & Tunes Of Folksongs Collected By G.S.K. Butterworth

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GB/14 Volume 14: Index Of Folk Dances Collected by G.S.K. Butterworth

 

Volume 14: Index Of Folk Dances Collected by G.S.K. Butterworth

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