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MALL PEATLY. AKA - "Moll Peatly," "Moll Pately." AKA and see "Gillean of Croydon," "Old Marinett (The)," ." English, Country Dance Tune (6/8 time). A Minor (Chappell): D Minor (Barnes, Sharp). Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Chappell): ABB (Sharp): AABB (Barnes). 'Mall' is the old nickname for Mary. The air appears in Bellerophon, of Lust tot Wyshed (Amsterdam, 1622, with the second strain in triple meter), and in John Playford's Dancing Master  (1665) and his Apollo's Banquet. Playford gives the tune as "Old marrinet or Moll Peatly (the new way)". Frank Kidson, writing in Groves (1911, "Country Dance", p. 624), remarks that it a few other country dances contained some odd movements:
In 'The Cobbler's Jigg,' for instance, some of the performers are directed to 'act the cobbler,' and in 'Mall Peatly the new way,' you are to 'hit your right elbows together and then your left, and turn with your left hands behind and your right hands before, and turn twice roudn, and then your left elbows together, and turn as before, and so on to the next'. The present writer remembers to have seen traditional survivals of these old country dances performed in a cottage on the remote Yorkshire moors, and in these such embellishments occurred.
Thomas D'Urfey used the air for a song called "Gilliam of Croydon" ("Words made to the Tune of a Country Dnace, call'd Mall Peatly", Wit and Mirth, 1719, pp. 46-47) and it appears under this title in several ballad operas of the 1730's, including The Fashionable Lady, or Harlequin's Opera (1730), Sylvia, or the Country Burial (1731), The Jealous Clown (1730) and others. D'Urfey's song begins:
One holiday last summer, From four to seven by Croydon chimes;
Three lasses toping rummers
Were set a-prating of the times.
A wife called Joan of the Mill
and a maid they called brown Nell;
Take off your glass, said Gillian of Croydon,
A health to our master Will.
John Gay used the title "Moll Peatly" for his ballad opera Achilles.
William Chappell records:
In 'Round about our coal-fire, or Christmas Entertainments' (7th edit., 1784) it is said, in allusion to Christmas, "This time of year being cold and frosty, generally speaking, or when Jack-Frost commonly takes us by the nose, the diversions are within doors, either in exercise or by the fire-side. Dancing is one of the chief exercises-- 'Moll Peatly' is never fortot;--this dance stirs the blood and gives the males and females a fellow-feeling for each other's activity, ability, and agility: Cupid always sits in the corner of the room where these diversions are transacting, and shoots quivers full of arrows at the dancers, and makes his own game of them.
"Moll Peatly" was mentioned in the satirical newspaper The Spectator (1711-1712) in an article on country dancing, purportedly in a letter written by a country squire outraged at the spectacle of seeing his sixteen-year-old daughter dancing in public for the first time:
As the best institutions' are liable to corruption, so, sir, I must acquaint you that very great abuses are crept into this entertainment. I was amazed to see my girl handed by and handing young fellows with so much familiarity, and I could not have thought it had been my child. They very often made use of a most impudent and lascivious step called setting to partners, which I know not how to describe to you but by telling you that it is the very reverse of back to back.
At last an impudent young Dog bid the Fidlers play a Dance called Mol Patley, and after having mad two or three Capers, ran to his Partner, locked his Arms in hers, and whisked her round cleverly above Ground in such manner, that I who sat upon one of the lowest Benches, saw further above her Shoe than I can think fit to acquaint you with. I could no longer endure these Enormities; wherefore just as my Girl was going to be made a Whirligig, I ran in, seized the Child, and carried her home.