Back to London Gentlewoman
LONDON GENTLEWOMAN. AKA and see "Sun Has Loos'd His Weary Teams (The)," "Hemp Dressers (1) (The)," "London Maid," "Winchester Christening." English, Country Dance Tune (6/8 time). G Major (Raven, Vickers): C Major (Chappell). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Chappell): AABB (Raven, Vickers). The air was published by John Playford in English Dancing Master  (1650), and appears by alternate names in several publications and ballad operas of the latter 17th century and early 18th century. The alternate title "Winchester Christening" is the sequel to the popular ballad "Winchester Wedding." The tune was retained by Playford and his successors throughout the long-running Dancing Master series under one title or another. Chappell gives the beginning of the ballad, from a 1685 collection:
There was a London gentlewoman,
That loved a country man-a;
And she did desire his company,
A little now and then-a.
This man he was a hemp-dresser....
See also the related Scottish jig "De'il's Awa wi' the Exciseman (The)" with words by Robert Burns.
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Barlow (Complete Country Dances from Playford's Dancing Master), 1985; No. 54, p. 28. Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Time), vol. 1, 1859; p. 297. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 43. Seattle (Great Northern/William Vickers), 1987; No. 201 (appears as "The Hemp Dressers").