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Old Heddon of Forlay

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Alternative title: Idbury Hill/London Pride

Source: Copy of C. Sharp ms no. 1254 in Vaughan Williams Memorial Library
Performer: Mason, John
Place Collected: Stow-on-the-Wold
Date collected: 1907 (28 Aug)
Collector: Sharp, Cecil

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.

Old Heddon of Forlay  Thomas Edens, the pipe-and-tabor player, was probably connected with the dancers at Spelsbury, and was buried at Fawler on 26 June 1857, aged eighty-three, when John Mason was 22 years old. It may be that his version emanated from Edens.
Most versions of this tune are dorian, rather than mixolydian, as here, i.e. F would be natural, not sharp. Also known as Idbury Hill and London Pride, it is a variant of Boyne Water.