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NOTTINGHAM RACES. English Scottish; Reel or Scots Measure. D Major (McGlashan, Thompson): G Major (Aird). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCC. The reel appears in several publications on or about the year 1780, including the London publishing firms of Thompson and Skillern, and in the Scottish collections of James Aird and Alexander McGlashan.
Organized horse racing took place near Nottingham as early as 1689, when the grounds situated between a forest and the River Trent were used to stage matches. The races were a popular regional activity, visited by author Daniel Defoe, who wrote of them in his 1722 book The Whole Island of Great Britain, where he remarks:
...here they have the most pleasant plain to accommodate the gentlemen who assemble once a year at least, for the manly noble diversion of racings, and chiefly horse racing...the illustrious company at the Nottingham races was in my opinion, the glory of the day. For there we saw besides eleven or twelve noblemen, an infinite throng of gentlemen from all the countries round, nay even out of Scotland...Nor is the appearance of the ladies to be omitted, as fine and without comparison more bright and gay, tho' they might a little fall short in number of the many thousands of nobility and gentry of the other sex; in short, the train of coaches filled with the beauties of the north was not to be described...
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. II), 1785; No. 113, p. 41. McGlashan (Collection of Scots Measures), c. 1780; p. 23. Skillern (Compleat Collection of Two Hundred & Four Reels...Country Dances), 1780; p. 24. Thompson (Compleat Collection of 200 Country Dances, vol. 4), 1780; p. 97.