Gilsland Hornpipe (2)

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GILSLAND HORNPIPE [2]. English; Hornpipe. England; Northumberland, Lake District. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCCDDEEFF. Gilsland, notes Graham Dixon (1995), is a town in Northumberland located near the border with Cumberland, on the banks of the River Irthing, famous for its spa. Reg Hall (1998) says the tune has been credited to Northumbrian musician Jock Davidson, reputed to have been a superb fiddler, a contemporary of Northumbrian musician Ned Pearson (b. 1875). Davidson's nickname was 'Kielder Jock', which Hall says points to his origins in the ancient civil parish of Kielder, Northumberland, directly on the border with Scotland. However, according to Dixon (1995), George Hepple, whose grandfather was taught to dance by Northumbrian fiddler and composer, teacher and dancing master Robert Whinham (1814-1893), claimed it was one of Whinham's compositions. The melody appears in the music manuscript collection of Lake District musician William Irwin (1822-1889), dated 1838, a contemporary of Whinham's. Although the tune appears in several collections, a solid attribution remains elusive, but the fact that it appears in Irwin's 1838 manuscript indicates that Jock Davidson was not involved in the composition of the hornpipe. The tune also appears in the music manuscript collection of John Robson (Spithead, Northumberland), dated 1874.

Source for notated version: Jock Davidson's early 20th century manuscript, at the Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum [Dixon].

Printed sources: Dixon (Remember Me), 1995; p. 66 (variations by Keilder Jock).

Recorded sources: Topic 12TS283, Tom Hunter & Billy Ballantine - "Holey Ha'Penny." Topic TSCD 669, Tom Hunter & Billy Balentine (et al) - "Ranting and Reeling: Dance Music of the north of England" (1998. Fiddle and piccolo players recorded 1954 in a byre near Ashley Grove near Bewcastle, Cumberland).

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