Bells of Osley (The)

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X:1 T:Bells of Osley, The M:2/4 L:1/8 B:Thompson's Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 3 (London, 1773) Z:Transcribed and edited by Fynn Titford-Mock, 2007 Z:abc's:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:A a|gfed|cBAd|cABG|A2 Ea|gfed|cBAd|cABG|A3:| |:E|AcBd|cedf|ecGA|BGEE|AcBd|cfed|cBAG|A3:||



BELLS OF OSLEY. English, Country Dance Tune (2/4 time). A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Osley = perhaps Ousley. The melody was first published in Charles and Samuel Thompson's Compleat Collection vol. 3) (London, 1773). It was entered into the 1840 music copybook of Cumbrian musician John Rook, along with several other tunes from the Thompson's 1773 collection (see "Knights of the Garter").

The spelling of the name 'Osley' seems to have shifted over the years. Sir John Hawkins mentioned them in his writings: 'The bells of Osney Abbey were very famous: their several names were Douce, Clement, Aus'In, Hautecter, Gabriel, and John. Near old Windsor is a public-house, vulgarly called The Bells of Bosely; this house was originally built for the accommodation of bargemen, and others, navigating the river Thames between London and Oxford. It has a sign of six bells, i.e., the bells of Osney"[1]. William Chappell, writing in the mid-19th century remarks: "I am told that the sign is now altered to The Five Bells of Ouseley, and that the house is famous for its excellent ale."

"The Great Bells of Oesney," is one of the rounds for three voices in 'Deuteromelia (1609).


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Thompson (Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 3), 1773; No. 156.






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  1. Hawkins, History, 8vo. p 615.
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