Miss Baker's Hornpipe (1)
X:1 T:Miss Baker  M:C L:1/8 B:Thompson’s Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 3 (London, 1773) Z:Transcribed and edited by Fynn Titford-Mock, 2007 Z:abc’s:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:F cB|A2 (F2 F)AGF|EG (B2 B)dcB|Acde fcdB|A2 (F2F2):| |:(3cde|fcAc fagf|gece gbag|afge|fdgf|e2 (c2 c2) fc| (3def (3ABc B2 ba|gfed (cc) BA|(3Bcd (3EFG FdcB|A2F2F2:||
MISS BAKER'S . AKA and see “Admiral Nelson,” "Mrs. Baker's Hornpipe," "Miss Bacon's Hornpipe,” “Miss Barker’s Hornpipe." Irish, English, Scottish; Hornpipe. G Major (Hardings): F Major (most versions). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. A stage hornpipe tune which attained some popularity, composed for Miss/Mrs. Baker who performed a solo character dance in the late 18th century when the "sailor's hornpipe" type of dance became fashionable entertainment. Frank Kidson records in his entry on hornpipes in Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians: “About 1760 the hornpipe underwent a radical change, for it was turned into common time and was altered in character. Miss Anne Catley, Mrs. Baker, Nancy Dawson, and other stage dancers, introduced it into the theatrre, and they have given their names to hornpipes which are even now popular.” The Thespian Dictionary: or, Dramatic Biography of the 18th Century (1802) records that Miss Baker was “an eminent dancer belonging to Drury Lane Theatre,” who married in 1767 dramatist and actor Thomas King (1730-1805). The entry on King in the Dictionary of national biography (volume 31, page 158) gives:
On his reappearance at Drury Lane he was accompanied by Miss Baker, who then made her first appearance at Drury Lane. He married her in 1766, and she retired from the stage 9 May, 1772.
Thomas met Mary Baker, and established hornpipe dancer, in Dublin, where he performed in the late 1750's, and brought her home with him to England in 1759. Her fame transferred to the London stage, and she was an esteemed dancer at Drury Lane by the mid 1760's; "an eminent dancer of the Drury-lane company" states The Dublin Magazine (vol. 68, p. 273). Dancer and choreographer Simon Slingsby made his first appearance at London's Drury Lane Theater in September 1764. The Dictionary of national biography (volume 14, p. 112) records that Slingsby was accompanied by Miss Baker and that the duo performed a "tambourin dance." In April, 1765, he and Baker "offered their tambourin and a new pantomime dance called 'The Metamorphosis'." As Mrs. King she performed in 1767 with dance partner Mr. Fisher, according to Grimaldi's memoirs. Mary outlived Thomas by some years, and, as he died in poverty (he reputedly gambled away his money), the theatrical profession held a benefit for her, "which brought a respectable addition to a limited income."
Alexander McGlashan prints the tune in his Collection of Scots Measures (c. 1780, p. 37) under the title “A Hornpipe Danc’d by Aldridge,” a reference to Irish-born Robert Aldridge, a stage dancer and pantomimist popular in the 1760’s and 1770’s. It is probably the "Miss Baker's Hornpipe" that is one of the "missing tunes" in William Vickers' 1770 Northumbrian dance tune manuscript. Kidson (1890) finds it first printed in Straight & Skillern’s Country Dances for 1772 , while in Charles and Samuel Thompson’s Collection of 120 Hornpipes (c. 1775) it is entitled “Mrs. Baker’s Hornpipe.” The Thompson’s also published it in their Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 3 (1773), and later in their instrumental tutors. James Aird prints it in the third volume of his Selections of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs (1788). It is in Straight and Skillern’s Two Hundred & Four Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1 (London, 1775) as well. “Miss Baker’s” can be found in the numerous English musician’s manuscripts, including William Mittel (New Romney, Kent, 1799, where it appears twice), William Higgott (Cumbria?, c. 1800), the Tiller manuscript, J. Moore (Tyneside, 1841), Joshua Jackson (Harrogate, north Yorkshire, 1798), John Fife (Perth, Scotland, c. 1780), William Tildesley (Swinton, Lancashire, c. 1860), Thomas Watts (Peak Forest, Derbyshire, late 18th century), William Clarke (Feltwell, Norfolk, 1858), William Clarke (Lincoln, 1770), and G. Huddeswell (Leeds, west Yorkshire). The John Clare manuscript (Helpstone, Northants, c. 1820) includes it under the slightly distorted title “Bacon’s Hornpipe.” Bride’s Favourite Collection of 200 Country Dances, Cotillons and Allemands (1776) contains an unrelated tune called “Mrs. Baker’s Fancy.” Canadian versions (Cape Breton, PEI) appear under the title “Miss Barker’s,” the title by which the tune can be found in Ryan’s Mammoth Collection/Cole’s 1000, and presumably Canadian versions derive from those printed sources. As “Admiral Nelson” the melody is attributed to Perthshire fiddler-composer Niel Gow (1727-1807) by Hunter. In the Swedish tradition of Engleska playing, the melody is called “Skuggespelet.”