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Ruardean Sword Dance (Tune from Henry Allen)

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Source: Copy of C. Sharp ms no. 2323 in Vaughan Williams Memorial Library
Performer: Allen, Henry
Place Collected: Stratford-upon-Avon
Date collected: 1909 (27 Aug)
Collector: Sharp, Cecil

Henry Allen was originally from Ruardean and played for the Morris side there until 1871 when a meeting between rival sides on Plump Hill produced a fight and a fatality. When Sharp met him, he was living at Mere Street in Stratford-on-Avon and playing fiddle on the boats there. When Sharp later was collecting morris in the Forest of Dean, he asked people if they knew him. However, he got the name wrong, asking for “Anstis”, so of course people said they’d never heard of him.

In the linked abc file this is tune number X:7

Ruardean Sword Dance “Dance of the man who accompanied the morris dancers at Ruardean for whom Allen played until about 1871-2. He held the swords in his hands and manipulated them as he danced. It was very difficult. He did not place swords on the ground and dance over them.” See also Wild Morris which like this tune, is a version of When The King Enjoys His Own Again.

Notes by Charles Menteith and Paul Burgess