Edenside Rangers Slow March

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X:1 T:Edenside Rangers Slow March M:C L:1/8 R:March S:John Rook music manuscript collection (Waverton, Cumbria, 1840, p. 205) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:C e>f|g2 e>g g>fe>d|e2 c>c c2 d>d|e>e f>f g>ga>f|{e}d2 d>d d2 e>f| g2 e>g f>fe>d|e2 e>e ^f2 f>f|ga/b/ d'/c'/b/a/ g2 ^f2|g2 g>g g2:| |:g>g|g4 B3d|c4 d3f|egab c’gec|g2 g>g g2 B>B| c2f>f e2 a>a|g2 b>b c'2a2|g>Bc>f e2 Td2|c2 c>c c2:|]



EDENSIDE RANGERS SLOW MARCH. England, Slow March (whole time). C Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The Edenside Rangers were a military unit first raised in 1802 by country gentleman and antiquary Henry Howard (1757–1842), who had hoped for a military career. Educated in Catholic universities and on the Continent, Howard hoped for a commission as an officer in the British Army. This was denied him, however, until the Penal Laws against Catholics were rescinded in 1795. He was then appointed a Captain in the York Militia with whom he served a time in Ireland before returning home around the turn of the century. The Edenside Rangeres initially consisted of 220 effective men, to which were added a troop of cavalry, however, the unit had hardly began to be trained when the Peace of Amiens was signed. It was short-lived, however, and hostilities with Napoleon commenced in 1803. Howard decided to reform his troop and to expand it by soliciting men from other towns and boroughs in Cumbria, and substituting the name 'Edenside' with the more encompassing Cumberland Rangers.

The Edenside Rangers were the subject of a patriotic poem by John Stagg (1770–1823), the 'blind bard' of Cumberland, from his Miscellaneous Poems (1804), which alludes to the fears of invasion from France, and to the recently suppressed rebellion in Ireland, where a contingent of French troops working with the rebels had been contained and defeated. It begins:

From a nation where lately wild anarchy spread,
Pull away, pull away, innovation,
Disaffection had ventur'd to thrust forth her head,
And had threaten'd to enter our nation;
But the songs of Britannia had resolv'd to a man,
They'd ne'er be directed by strangers,
So each patriot turn'd out and old Cumbria began,
Pull away, pull away, pull away, I say,
To assemble her Edenside Rangers.

There was Howard, still forward in liberties cause,
Pull away, pull away, so clever,
Was foremost the laudable scheme to propose;
May success crown his projects for ever.
Adopting himself, what himself first design'd,
Uninfluenc'd by fears or by dangers,
And soon a brave host of young heroes combin'd
Pull away, pull away, pull away, I say,
The invincible Edenside Rangers.

The melody appears in the large 1840 music manuscript of multi-instrumentalist John Rook, of Waverton, near Wigton, Cumbria. This was the same locale that had been the home of poet Stagg, before he moved to Manchester. The Dictionary of National Biography notes that Stagg "frequently revisited his native county and spent much time among the peasantry, amusing them by performances on the fiddle, and gathering that intimate knowledge of their customs and dialect which enabled him in his poems and essays to give a graphic picture of his friends."


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