X:1 T:Ratcliff Cross M:3/2 L:1/8 N:”Longways for as many as will.” B:John Walsh – Complete Country Dancing-Master, Volume the Fourth B: (London, 1740, No. 49) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:F f2c4Bc A2F2|d2 Bd GB DF E2C2|EG BA GFED C2c2| AF(EF) CF (EG)F4::(cf) af (ba)(gf) e2c2|(Bd) gd (gf)(ed) c2B2| (Ac) fc fedc B2c2|A(FEF) CFEG F4::f2c2 _egf_e d(B AB)| g2d2 fagf ec (=Bc)|a2e2 fagf edcB|A(FE)F CFEG F4:| |:afcf Ac fa d2B2|bg dg Bd gb e2c2|dB GB DF Bd E2c2|A(FEF) CF(EG) F4:||
RATCLIFT CROSS. AKA - "Ratcliff Cross." English, “Old” or Triple Hornpipe (3/2 time). F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCC. The melody was first published (with dance directions, "Longways for as many as will") by London publisher John Young in the Third Volume of the Dancing Master , 2nd edition, 1726. It also appears in John Walsh’s third collection of Lancashire tunes (Lancashire Jiggs, Hornpipes, Joaks, etc.) published in London about the year 1730, and in editions of his The Compleat Country Dancing-Master (1731, 1754).
Ratcliff was a former hamlet on the north bank of the River Thames, now absorbed into greater London (located south of Stepney). At the time John Playford published the tune Ratcliff was the site of site for shipbuilding and low establishments catering to sailors and other transients. It was so associated with seafaring that it was once called "Sailor Town." Ratcliff Cross was a landing place on the Thames at the wetern end of what is now Narrow St. The cross was removed some time after 1732, but there is today a stone slipway at Ratcliff Cross stairs that still marks the location of the quay. By the 19th century it was a notorious slum, despite that half of the town was destroyed in a fire in 1794.