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Herefordshire Breakdown (Tunes from Beatrice Hill)

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Alternative title: (Fanny Frail)

Source: Folktracks 45-115
Performer: Hill, Beatrice
Place Collected: Bromsberrow Heath
Date collected: 13 October 1952
Collector: Kennedy, Peter

Russell Wortley encountered Beatrice Hill at Bromsberrow Heath, a village in Gloucestershire but with an address outside the County because of the location of the nearest Postal Sorting Office. Beatrice Hill’s father, who came originally from Gloucester, kept the Bell public house in Bromsberrow Heath and was the Morris “King”; her sister Emily Bishop was a fine singer and can be heard singing and talking about the Morris Dancing on Country Songs and Carols (Folktrax FTX-129). Russell Wortley’s recordings of Beatrice Hill and Emily Bishop are available for listening, by appointment, at the British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB. See

Peter Kennedy also recorded three of Beatrice Hill’s tunes, including this one, when he was working for the BBC. He issued them on Folktracks 45-115, A Nutting We will Go.

Mrs Hill played for Peter Kennedy in F. The tunes recorded by Russell Wortley are in E. The difference could be due to different tape speeds. Thanks to Rob Gowing, Mrs Hill’s grandson, we have examined her melodeon, and found that it is in F.

In the linked abc file this is tune number X:2

Herefordshire Breakdown is a version of the B music of Fanny Frail, the tune used for the Evesham Stick Dance and Abingdon Morris Squire’s Dance, while it also resembles the Cliff Hornpipe. (Thanks to Philip Heath-Coleman for pointing out the latter. He also pointed out that the name may have been devised by Peter Kennedy.)

Notes by Paul Burgess and Charles Menteith


Media & Downloads

Hear the song/tune as collected (mp3 stream):

See the song/tune as collected (PDF file)
Hear the song/tune (midi file)
Version to sing (PDF file)
Song/tune as collected (abc file)
Version to sing (abc file)