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CJ Sharp met 72-year old John Mason in Stow-on-the-Wold Workhouse. Mason had played fiddle for the Sherborne Morris set (and possibly others) and, as well as providing Sharp with a number of tunes, he volunteered the address of William Hathaway in Cheltenham, the location of Sherborne Morris’s George Simpson near Didcot and gave other leads towards participants in the Longborough, Bledington and Oddington morris sets. Many of the tunes which Mason described as “Morris Dance” are not generally known as such. Mason came from Icomb and as well as fiddle played clarinet, flute and concertina. He was visited by Mary Neal and Clive Carey shortly before he died and they noted several of the tunes he had previously played for Sharp.
Heel and Toe John Mason’s tune is Belle Isles March (qv). His title may have been a reference to the Sherborne morris dance (Monk’s March) which used a heel and toe step and this tune. Stephen Baldwin’s tune of this name is the more usually encountered “Sultan’s Polka” or “1, 2, 3, 4, 5” by Charles d’Albert. (See also “Bonnie Dundee Quadrille”.)