Back to Oswestry Wake
OSWESTRY WAKE. AKA and see "Gwylnos Croesoswallt." English, Jig. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCC. The tune and country dance directions ("Longways for as many as will") were first published in John Young's third edition of The Second Book of the Dancing Master  (London, 1718), and in Walshy & Hare's Second Book of the Compleat Country Dancing-Master (London, 1719). The tune is attributed to musician and dancing master Nathaniel Kynaston (in Bye-Gones, Aug. 10, 1898, p. 440, by "T.H.J"), where it appears in one of three volumes entitled Twenty-Four New Country Dances for the years 1711, 1716 and 1718 (British Museum) respectively, "With proper New Tunes and Figures...by Natl. Kynaston." Kynaston lived in the vicinity of Oswestry, near the border with Wales ("Oswestry New Bells" is another Kynaston dance and tune). There is a Welsh dance to the tune called Dawns Croesoswallt, published in Eddie Jones' Dawnsie Twmpath ("Welsh Barn Dance").
Oswestry Wake was originally the celebration of the Feast of Dedication (Assumption of the Virgin Mary), the 15th of August. After more and more "irregularities and licentiouness" crept into individual parish church feast day celebrations, Henry VIII regulated them, declaring the same feast day for all churches, the first Sunday in October, along with the Saint's-day to which the church was dedicated.
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Callaghan (Hardcore English), 2007; p. 74. Hamilton (Blodau'r Grug: 100 Popular Welsh Folk Dance Tunes), 1992; No. 27, p. 17 (as "Gwylnos Croesoswallt").
Recorded sources: Fellside Recordings FECD161, Spiers & Boden - "Through and Through" (2001).