X:1 % T:Ritchard [sic] Snary M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig S:William Vickers’ Northumbrian music manuscript copybook, (1770, p. 90) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Bb B3 dcB|g2e d2c|B3 dcB|c2F c2F| B3 dcB|g2e d2c|def c2f|d3 B2:| |:B3 dcB|b2B b2B|d3 dcB|c2F A2F| B3 dcB|g2e def|bfe dcB|c3 B3:|]
RICHARD SNARY. English, Jig. England, Northumberland. B Flat Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The melody appears in the 1770 music manuscripts of Northumbrian musician William Vickers, about whom unfortunately very little is known. The melody earlier appeared in Walsh’s Caledonian Country Dances, Second Book, 3rd ed., 1735, p. 20), along with the attribution: “Compos’d by Mr. Bristow Doughty.” It also appears in J. Johnson’s Choice Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 3, 1744, p. 64) and the Thomas Hammersley music manuscript copybook (c. 1790, p. 37B). The latter is now housed in the British Library.
The title of the tune appears to have been a kind of joke or rhyming slang, for Francis Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1811) gives the following: “Richard snary. A dictionary. A country lad, having been reproved for calling persons by their Christian names, being sent by his master to borrow a dictionary, thought to shew his breeding by asking for a Richard Snary.”