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Lumps of Plum Pudding

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Performer: Mason, John
Place Collected: Stow-on-the-Wold
Date collected: Cecil Sharp: 1907 (2 Aug); Clive Carey: 1912 (22 June)
Collector: Carey, Clive

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.

Lumps of Plum Pudding In addition to CJS, who collected John Mason’s other tunes, this was also noted by Clive Carey, who stated that Mason “Played C♯ almost all through.” Sharp noted “Sherbourne [sic] Jig” with this tune, showing that it was a jig performed by the Sherborne Dancers and not to be confused with the dance My Lord Of Sherborne’s Jig.

“Lumps of plum pudding and pieces of pie
My mother gave me for telling a lie (jumping so high).”
Lumps of plum pudding is a country term for bruises, while pieces of pie is rhyming slang for a black eye.