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HUNSDON HOUSE. English, Country Dance Tune (6/8 time). C Major (Barnes, Karpeles, Raven, Sharp): D Major (Fleming-Williams). Standard tuning (fiddle). ABB (Karpeles & Raven): AABBBB (Barnes, Fleming-Williams, Sharp). The melody dates to 1657 when it was published in London by John Playford in his Dancing Master, third edition. It was subsequently published in each edition of the Dancing Master through the 18th and final edition of 1728. London publisher John Walsh also printed it in his The Compleat Country Dancing Master of 1718, and later editions of 1731 and 1754.
The Hertforshire Hunsdon House is much older, having begun as a brick tower in 1447 by Sir William Oldhall. King Henry VIII purchased Hunsdon House in 1525 and for the next decade greatly expanded the structure into a Tudor house of palatial proportions. Henry's children largely resided in the home, Edward (whose portrait, with the house in the backgroud, appears below), and Princess Mary and Elizabeth. It is said that Mary taught her younger sister Elizabeth how to play cards at Hunsdon House. When Mary became Queen she presented the house and the Lordship of Hunsdon to her maternal cousin, Henry Carey, in 1559, but it went into decline into the next century. Rebuilt in the early 19th century it was, by Victorian times, again in a ruinous state, and was yet again rebuilt in 1860 by the Calverts, albeit with horrible Victorianisms. Resoration work was completed in modern times in 1983, which revealed as much of the 15th century brickwork as possible, yet it is but a quarter of the size of Henry VIII's Tudor mansion and is probably based on one of its wings.
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes), 1986. Fleming-Williams & Shaw (English Dance Airs; Popular Selection, Book 1), 1965; p. 5. Karpeles & Schofield (A Selection of 100 English Folk Dance Airs), 1951; p. 15. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 26. Sharp (Country Dance Tunes), 1909; p. 29. Walsh (Complete Country Dancing-Master, Volume the Fourth), London, 1740; No. 61.