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Tunes from Bledington

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Place Collected: Bledington

Bledington is a village on the border with Oxfordshire. Charles Benfield was the main informant for the  tunes, most of which were noted by Cecil Sharp at Benfield’s house at Bould (Oxon), a hamlet in Idbury parish about a mile from Bledington (Glos). William and Nancy was also collected by George Butterworth, who is our only source for Trunkles and Ladies of Pleasure, the latter played by Ted Gibbs.
The Travelling Morris visited Bledington in 1923 and danced, first to John Hitchman and later to Charles Benfield, several of the dances that had been collected from them and published by Cecil Sharp, Herbert Macilwaine and George Butterworth. This visit led to the collection of a number of dances not published in The Morris Book, some of which, marked RKS in the index below,  were published by R Kenworthy Schofield, (1934) Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society Vol 1 (3)  pp 147-151, Morris Dances from Bledington.
Hey Away was noted by AL Peck from (George?) Hathaway in 1929.
C. Sharp also obtained Old Woman Tossed up from Richard Bond at Icomb.

Index of tunes from Bledington

Title Musi-
abc № Page №
Balance the Straw CB RKS 1 1
Balancy Straw CB CJS 2 1
Bonnets so Blue CB CJS 3 2
Gallant Huzzar CB CJS 4 2
Glorisher CB CJS 5 3
Hey Away GH ALP 6 4
Highland Mary CB RKS 7 4
Ladies of Pleasure CB GB 8 5
Lumps of Plum Pudding TG GB 9 6
Maid of the Mill CB CJS 10 6
Monk’s March CB CJS 11 7
Old Woman Tossed up RB CJS 12 7
Over the Water to Charlie CB RKS 13 8
Saturday Night CB CJS 14 8
Sherborne Jig CB CJS 15 9
Trunkles CB GB 16 9
William and Nancy CB GB 17 10
Willie and Nancy CB CJS 17 10
Young Collin CB CJS 18 11
Young Collins RB/JH RKS 18 11


AJP   Arthur L Peck
CB     Charles Benfield
CJS   Cecil J Sharp
GB    George Butterworth
GH   (George?) Hathaway
JH    John Hickman
RB    Richard Bond
RKS R Kenworthy Schofield
TG    Ted Gibbs

Apart from the tunes listed above, a number of others are known, of which I have not been able to consult the sources. The following are mentioned in L. Bacon, Handbook of Morris Dancing:
Billy Boy (Constant Billy)
Idbury Hill
Morning Star
Flowers of Edinburgh
The Cuckoo’s Nest
Princess Royal
Jockie to the Fair
Shepherd’s Hey
There are also further versions of some of the tunes above.

note by Charles Menteith