Pool's Hole

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POOL'S HOLE. English, Country Dance Tune (2/2 time). D Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The melody dates to 1690 when it was published with country dance directions ("Longways for as many as will") in London by Henry Playford in the Dancing Master [1], eighth edition (p. 214). "Pool's Hole" was retained in the long-running Dancing Master series of volumes in all subsequent editions through the 18th and final edition of 1728 (then published by John Young, heir to the Playford publishing concerns).

A copperplate engraving of Pool's Hole, from a 1771 travel guide.

Pool's Hole [2] (or Poole's Cavern) is a large grotto whose entrance is at the base of a limestone hill near Buxton, Derbyshire. The name derives from an outlaw, Poole, who reputedly used the cave as a lair and a base to rob travelers in the fifteenth century. An mid-19th century resort guide remarks that it "is looked on by the Buxton folks as a great prodigy, though Rhodes says it 'has little in it to repay the trouble and inconvenience of a visit.' Various fanciful names have been given to the strange grotesque forms assumed by heaps of stalactites and stalagmites with which the interior is filled. One, called Mary Queen of Scots' pillar, is supposed to mark the exact extent to which she proceeded when she visited the cave. In several parts of it lie crystalline masses of great beauty."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes), 1986. Moffat (Dances of the Olden Time), 1922; p. 2. Sharp (Country Dance Tunes), 1909; p. 57.

Recorded sources:

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