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Taylor, Henry (Longborough)

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Gender: Male

Henry “Harry” Taylor was 68 in 1910. He had led the Longborough morris. The last time that Taylor danced with a side was at the Jubilee of 1887. Cecil Sharp noted his dances with the tunes, which Taylor sang to him; he is said to have never learnt an instrument, though Kenworthy Schofield implies that he was a fiddler. Clive Carey also noted some of his tunes.

The first time C. Sharp met Taylor, on 2 May 1910, the latter had gone to Condicote, just over the hill from Longborough, for a “haystack thatching job”. There under the shelter of a haystack, using wisps of hay in lieu of the orthodox handkerchiefs, Mr Sharp and “Old Harry”, as he was called, danced a “Pas de Deux”, the ancient one whistling the tunes, of which, along with the steps, notes were taken and afterwards pieced together. The first dance gone through was Constant Billy, because of its possible relationship to the Campden dance, then Country Gardens (to the tune usually called Highland Mary), Taylor’s favourite tune for the sidestep dance, and onto Hey Diddle Dis, the processional.

Sharp was sometimes assisted by George Joynes (ca 1888-1964), a local fiddler who read music and played the tunes while Taylor demonstrated the steps. Joynes noted six more of Taylor’s tunes from his son, a fiddler, also called Henry, as part of his collection of morris tunes, which he later made available to the Travelling Morris. It was stolen before WW2. The tunes noted by Kenworthy Schofield were obtained from Joynes.

Tunes noted by George Joynes from Harry Taylor jr.
1. Banks of the Dee
2. The Old Woman Tossed up in a Blanket (also noted by Sharp)
3. Constant Billy (also noted by Sharp)
4. Jockie to the Fair
5. Old Trunkles (also noted by Sharp)
6. Cuckoo’s Nest

2. R. Kenworthy Schofield, (1930) Morris Dances from Longborough, The Journal of the English Folk Dance Society. 3 pp. 51-57