Mrs. Edwards

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MRS. EDWARDS. Irish, Planxty. F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. Composed by Irish harper Turlough O'Carolan (1670–1738). O'Sullivan (1958) finds the only Mrs. Edwards in the counties that O'Carolan frequented was Margaret Gunning of County Roscommon, daughter of Bryan Gunning of Castle Coote. She married a Dublin attorney named John Edwards. He died at the Four Courts when he received a report—which turned out to be false—of a fire in the building, presumably when he jumped out a window. The widow soon remarried—several times, in fact, as she kept outliving her husbands. Finally, she wed Theobald, 6th Viscount Mayo, becoming his second wife. This Lord Mayo was a friend of O'Carolan's.

O'Sullivan outlines a connection with the celebrated Gunning sisters, who married into wealth and position in England. Lord Mayo's youngest daughter (by his first marriage), Bridget, married a son of Bryan Gunning, making Mayo's second wife, Margaret ('Mrs. Edwards'), both step-mother and sister-in-law to the girl. Bridget was only a small child, remarks O'Sullivan, when the harper Murphy composed his great air "Tigheaerna Mhuigheó" (Lord Mayo), "and she is the 'Miss Bitty, pearl of the golden hair' in the song." It was Bridget's daughters who were the beautiful Gunning sisters.

Source for notated version: Samuel, Ann and Peter Thompson's Hibernian Muse: A Collection of Irish Airs, including the Most Favourite Compositions of Carolan, the Celebrated Irish Bard (London, c. 1786) [O'Sullivan].

Printed sources: Complete Collection of Carolan's Irish Tunes, 1985; No. 45, p. 48. O'Sullivan (Carolan: The Life, Times and Music of an Irish Harper), 1958; No. 45.

Recorded sources:




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