Annotation:Nampwich Fair

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X:1 T:Nampwich Fair M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig S:John Young - The Dancing Master, vol. 3, 2nd edition (1726) K:D d|d2A A2d|d2A A2e|fgf efd|(e3 e2)A| B2B BAG|A2A AGF|GAG FED|(E3 E2):| |:A|A2E EFG|F2D D2d|d2A AB=c|(B3 B2)f| g2f efd|cde A2A|Bcd ecA|(d3 d2):|]

NAMPWICH FAIR. AKA - "Namptwich Fair (1)," "Nantwich Fiar." English, Jig (6/8 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. "Nampwich Fair" appears first in John Young's The Dancing Master, volume 3, 2nd edition (London, 1726, p. 117) as a longways dance, and subsequently in John Walsh's New Country Dancing Master, 3rd Book (London, 1728) and son John Walsh's Compleat Country Dancing Master, volume the Third (London, c. 1749). John Johnson prints a "Namptwich Fair (2)" in 9/8 time in his Two Hundred Favourite Country Dances, vol. 8 (London, c. 1758), but it is a different tune.

Nantwich Fair (note spelling) was held in Nantwich, Cheshire, a market town set beside the River Weaver with a medieval street pattern. There were three fairs of some antiquity[1] held during the year: the March Fair (March 26th), the Christmas Fair (December 4th), and, the largest, Bartholomew Fair (August 24th or Sept. 4th, tied to the feast of St. Bartholomew) also known as Old Fair, Great Fair or September Fair. As with many such events the fairs were an admixture of entertainment and business, where livestock and goods would be sold and laborers and servants hired, while at the same time food and delicacies could be had, and street entertainment (jugglers, musicians and clowns) enjoyed. In addition there were "bull, bear and badger-baitings; cock-fighting; sack-racing; bolting hot porridge or dumplings (barm-balls, or barm-baws, as Nantwich people called them); swarming greasy poles, and grinning through horse-collars”[2] for further amusement.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes, vol. 2), 2005; p. 91. Knowles (Northern Frisk), 1988; No. 32. Offord (John of the Green: Ye Cheshire Way), 1985; p. 103.

See also listing at :
Hear/see an accordion version on [1]

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  1. There is recorded mention of a fair at Nantwich in the 13th century.
  2. James Hall, "A History of the Town and Parish of Nantwich", 1883.