Back to Hexham Races
HEXHAM RACES. AKA and see "Clogher Cross," "Jude's Farewell," "Kenmore Lads," "Kenmure's Up and Awa'," "Pins and Needles," "Boys from the West (The)," "I Will if I Can (1)." Scottish, English; Jig (6/8 time). England, Northumberland. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Hexham is located outside of Newcastle, England. The title appears in Henry Robson's list of popular Northumbrian song and dance tunes ("The Northern Minstrel's Budget"), which he published c. 1800. "Hexham Races" is a variant of the Scottish "Kenmuir's/Kenmure's Up and Awa" that also has Irish variants ("Boys from the West (The)," "I Will if I Can (1)," "Jude's Farewell") as well. Hexham Races is a racecourse in Northumberland (the only one to survive). Horseracing in Hexham dates from at least the 1720's when matches were conducted on Tyne Green, although by the 1880's it had ceased from competition at other locations. It was restarted and reinvigorated in 1890 by a gentleman racing enthusiast from the local gentry, and became the seat of the Heart of All England Steeplechase (the winner is presented with the Heart of All England Cup), so called because of the story that King James I of England, while riding south to claim his crown, passed by near Hexham and, taken with the countryside, supposedly uttered, "verily, this is the heart of all England." The tune also appears in the music manuscript books of R. Hughes (Whitchurch, Shropshire, 1823), John W. Moore's (Tyneside, England, 1841), Tom Green  (1831, piper to the Duchess of Northumberland).
The jig is sometimes played as an accompaniment for Rapper sword dancing in Northeast England.
Source for notated version:
Kennedy (Fiddler's Tune-Book, vol. 1), 1951; No. 79, p. 39.
Kirkpatrick (John Kirkpatrick's English Choice), 2003; p. 19.
Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 104.
Recorded sources: HLR Records HLR01, High Level Ranters – "Bridging." Topic 12TS239. Topic TSCD 669, Will Atkinson (et al) – "Ranting and Reeling: Dance Music of the north of England" (1998. Will Atkinson (b. 1908), was a harmonica player who lived on Brook Hill Farm, near Alnwick, Northumberland, recorded in 1974.). The Yetties – "Rolling Home to England."