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Polly Put The Kettle On (Tune from Charles Baldwin)

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Source: Copy of C. Sharp ms no. 2506 in Vaughan Williams Memorial Library
Performer: Baldwin, Charles
Place Collected: Newent
Date collected: 1909 (12 Aug)
Collector: Sharp, Cecil

Cecil Sharp noted tunes from Charles Baldwin, known as “Charlie”, in 1910 when he was in Newent workhouse. However, Sharp got the name wrong, so Charles is called “George” in Sharp’s manuscripts.
Charles Baldwin was born in 1827 at Gorsley Common on the Gloucestershire-Herefordshire border. This was a wild and untamed place; the vicar who took the details of his birth took nearly 2 years to pass them to the vicar of Newent! Gorsley was a known stopping place for travellers, notably the Locke family from whom Sharp collected many fine tunes. One of these may have the “Fiddler Lock”, also from Gorsley, with whom Charles was known to have played. He was at one time a charcoal burner in Newent woods and played for Cliffords Mesne morris. He died at Newent Almshouses in 1910.

In the linked abc file this is tune number X:5

Polly Put the Kettle on was a country dance, the chief figure of which was “Diament” i.e. “swing corners”. Sharp was unsure as to whether the B and C parts were in the correct order


Notes by Charles Menteith and Paul Burgess