Maiden Lane

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MAIDEN LANE. AKA - "Mayden Lane." English, Country Dance Tune (2/2 time). A Major ('A' and 'C' parts) & B Minor ('B' part). Standard tuning (fiddle). ABC (Sharp): AABBCC (Barnes, Raven). First published in by London publisher John Playford in his English Dancing Master [1] (1651, p. 62, as "Mayden Lane"). It was retained by the Playfords, father and son, in the long-running series through the 10th edition of 1698, albeit the title spelling changed to "Maiden Lane" with the 5th edition of 1675.

The Maiden Lane section of London, near Covent Garden and the River Thames, has been alternately a diminished, dissolute area, and one of high fashion-sometimes at the same time. Graham Christian (2015) says the name seems to date to the 1630's, "and may pertain to the ladies of the court of Charles I and Henrietta Maria (Henrietta Street abutted it to the north side)." In Playford's day it was the dowdy site of "mean houses," but by Georgian times, elegant properties were constructed whose garden walls outlined the lane, and formed the southern boundary of architect Inigo Jones's proposed Italianate Piazza. Voltaire lodged at the White Peruke on Maiden Lane in his 1726-28 stay in London, and the Bedford Head Coffee House and Cider Cellars tavern were located on the street. Gradually the area drew theaters (it was near Covent Garden), taverns and coffee houses, and disrepute began to set in again. Round Court, at the western end of the narrow alley, was described as "...one of the Rookeries, full of town-Pyrates and a hotbed of Robbers." The social set deserted the area and by the 19th century it was again the refuge of the lawless, although it still retained its entertainments. William Makepeace Thackery (1811-1863), who was a regular customer of the "cider cellars," a type of underground venue for musical theater, wrote: "Healthy country tradesmen and farmers in London for their business, came and recreated themselves with the jolly singing and suppers at the back kitchen, squads of young apprentices came here for fresh air doubtless...dashing young medical students, handsome guardsmen, and florid bucks." In the 1890's a murder took place at the stage door to the Adelphi Theatre, when melodramatic thespian William Terriss was stabbed by a crazed stagehand.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Barlow (The Complete Country Dances from Playford's Dancing Master), 1985; No. 58. Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes), 1986. Christian (A Playford Assembly), 2015; p. 65. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 43. Sharp (Country Dance Tunes), 1909; p. 32.

Recorded sources: Beautiful Jo Records BEJOCD 33, 1651 - "Cast a Bell" (2001). Big Chain BC 103, Cooper & Bolton -"The Savage Hornpipe." Maggie's Music, Hesperus - "Colonial America" (2003). Topic Records TSCD550, Brass Monkey - "Flame of Fire" (2004). Varrick VR-013, Bare Necessities - "English Country Dances" (1987).

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]




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