Parks of Yester (The)

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PARKS OF YESTER, THE. Scottish, English; Jig (9/8 time). England, Northumberland. D Major (Gow): G Major (Bruce & Stokoe, Peacock). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Gow): AABB (Peacock, Bruce & Stokoe). The title refers to the grounds at Yester House, Haddingtonshire. Yester is the name of a parish originally known as St Bothans or St. Bathans. Yester is the ancient name of the of the Marquis of Tweeddale’s estate, and appears to be derived from the Cambro-British word Ystrad or Yestred, signifying a 'strath' or 'vale'. This describes the terrain, which forms a strath on the banks of a stream called Gifford water, a tributary of the Tyne. The Gows dedicated their Third Collection (1792) to the Marquis of Tweeddale, resident of Yester House, which was built by James Smith in the early years of the 18th century. The Saloon, by architects William, John and Robert Adam, was described by painter Gavin Hamilton as “the finest room at least in Scotland.” Ellen Emma Guthrie's book Old Scottish Customs, Local and General () records:

The tenure by which the Marquis of Tweeddale holds his feus in Gifford, parish of Yester, is as follows—"Each feuar should attend the Marquis of Tweeddale the space of two days yearly sufficiently mounted with horse and arms, upon his own proper charges and expenses, wen he shall be desired to do the samed;" also that he should attend other two days at the Marquis's expenses, "should ride at two fairs yearly at Gifford," and perform a day or days work yeraly for winnowing of hay in the parks of Yester. ... [p. 85].

The tune was entered into the large 1840 music manuscript collection of multi-instrumentalist John Rook, of Waverton, Cumbria.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 4), 1796; No. 68, p. 28. Bruce & Stokoe (Northumbrian Minstrelsy), 1882; p. 162. Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 369. Gow (3rd Collection of Niel Gow's Reels), 1792; p. 1 (3rd ed.). Kinnaird (The Lothian Collection), 1995. Peacock (Favorite Collection of Tunes with Variations), c. 1805; No. 36, p. 15.

Recorded sources:




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