Billingsgate

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BILLINGSGATE. AKA - "Billings-Gate." English, Country Dance Tune (cut time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The tune was published in all four editions of John Young's Second Volume of the Dancing Master (1710-1728), and in rival publishers Walsh and Randall's The New Country Dancing Master, Second Book (1710), and Walsh and Hare's Second Book of the Compleat Country Dancing-Master (1719).

Billingsgate c. 1734

Billingsgate [1] is an area in London on the banks of the Thames River. It was the site of a raucous fish market in the early 18th century, and, according to E. Cobham Brewer (Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1898), the derivation of the name is Gate = quay, and bellan is to bawl or bellow. The market was notorious for the vulgarity of the language heard there; it was so infamous that 'billingsgate' was used as a synonym for vulgarity, as in "That's billingsgate" (to talk vulgarly), or "You are no better than a Billingsgate fish-fag," i.e. you are as rude and ill-mannered as the women of Billingsgate fish-market [Brewer].

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Young (Second Volume of the Dancing Master, 1st edition), 1710; p. 139.

Recorded sources:




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