Roxburgh Castle Hornpipe

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X:1 T:Roxburgh Castle M:C L:1/8 R:reel Z:Philip Whittaker B:Calvert Collection, p. 6 K:A cB| AEAc ecec | d2 df ecBA | d2 fd c2 ec | B2 B2 B2 cB| AEAc ecec | dfdf ecBA | fgaf edcB | A2 A2 A2|| ef/2g/2 | aece Aece | aece Aece | dfdf cece | B2 B2 B2 cB| AEAc ecec | dfdf ecBA | fgaf edcB | A2 A2 A2||



ROXBOROUGH CASTLE. AKA and see "Blanchard's Hornpipe (1)," “Broken Hornpipe (The),” "Chester Castle (2)," “McCarthy's Hornpipe," "Marton's Hornpipe," "Mr. Marton’s Hornpipe.” AKA - "Roxburgh Castle." Scottish, Irish, English; Hornpipe and Reel. England, Northumberland. A Major (most versions): G Major (Miller, Rook). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Hunter, Rook): AABB (Miller, Raven, Sweet): AABB' (Brody). This popular hornpipe exists under several titles, including “Blanchard's Hornpipe (1),” “McCarthy's Hornpipe,” “Broken Hornpipe (The),” and “Chester Castle (2) Hornpipe,” as well as the alternate spelling “Roxburgh Hornpipe.” Ryan’s Mammoth Collection (1883) gives the “Blanchard” title, while “McCarthy’s” is from O’Niell’s Music of Ireland (1903).

One of the earliest appearances of the hornpipe appears in a printed collection dated 1799 by Thomas Calvert, a musician from Kelso, Scotland, and in the John Fife music manuscript book, begun c. 1780 (Perthshire). A note with the collection states that Calvert also supplied “a variety of music and instruments, instruments lent out, tun’d and repaired.” David Baptie (Musical Scotland, 1894, p. 65) attributed the tune to Kelso musician Alexander Given, "an excellent violinist and composer" who published a Collection of Reels, etc. (see also Given's "Teviot Bridge"). In addition, Roxburgh Castle is also the name of a not-particularly-common Scottish country dance. Ascribing a Borders provenance to the tune would seem appropriate, although there is nothing particularly Scottish about the character of the melody and it has long been popular in England, particularly Northumberland. Northumbrian piper Jack Armstrong (who in 1948 he became official piper to the Duke of Northumberland) played the tune as "Marton's Hornpipe," a title that was printed as "Mr. Marton’s Hornpipe" in Köhlers’ Violin Repository Part 3 (c. 1885). “Roxborough Castle Hornpipe” is occasionally employed by morris dance musicians as a vehicle for steps in various regions of England. For example, it is one of four tunes (along with “Drops of Brandy,” “Wonder Hornpipe” and “Smash the Windows”) traditionally played for the Grenoside Sword Dance, performed in the village of Grenoside, near Sheffield, on Boxing Day. The second strain melodic material forms the second part of the American minstrel tune "Jordan is (am) a Hard Road to Travel," while Missouri fiddler Gene Goforth’s “Devil's Hornpipe” (on his “Emminence Breakdown” album) is a related tune.

Although Roxborough Castle is the name of a manor in Moy, County Tyrone, northern Ireland, dating from 1738 (since vanished) it is likely this tune refers to Roxborough Castle in the Borders area of Scotland at the confluence of the rivers Teviot and Tweed, near Kelso. Shakespeare employed the fortress as a setting in his play Edward III.


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Graham Townsend (Canada) [Brody].

Printed sources : - Gow & Shepherd: (Mrs. Elliot's (Tiviotbank) Reel and Mr. Douglas of Springwood Park's Strathspey), ca.1810; p. 2. Brody (Fiddler’s Fakebook), 1983; pp. 237-238. Hunter (Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 316 (appears as "Roxburgh Castle"). Karpeles (A Selection of 100 English Folk Dance Airs), 1951; p. 7 (appears as "Roxburgh Castle"). Kennedy (Fiddlers Tune Book, vol. 1), 1951; No. 22, p. 11 (appears as "Roxburgh Castle"). Miller (Fiddler’s Throne), 2004; No. 308, p. 182. Milne (Middleton’s Selection of Strathspeys, Reels &c. for the Violin), 1870; p. 43. Neil (The Scots Fiddle vol. 2: Tunes, Tales & Traditions of the Lothians, Borders & Ayrshire), 2001; p. 83. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 188. Sweet (Fifer’s Delight), 1965/1981; p. 59.

Recorded sources : - Front Hall 08, Alister Anderson - "Traditional Tunes" (1976. Appears as "Roxburgh Castle"). Mawson & Wareham Music MWM 1033, Willie Taylor & Kathryn Tickell – “From Sewingshields to Glendale” (1986). Park Records PRKCD 42, Kathryn Tickell – “Northumberland Collection.” Rounder 7002, Graham Townsend - "Le Violin/ The Fiddle." Springthyme SPRCD 1044, "Tom Hughes & Friends: Traditional Fiddle Music of the Scottish Borders." Topic Records TSCD675, Geordie Armstrong - "Good Humour for the Rest of the Night" (Various artists. Field recordings made in 1954 by Peter Kennedy). Topic Records TSCL222, The Cheviot Ranters - "The Cheviot Hills."

See also listing at :
Alan Snyder’s Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index [1]
Jane Keefer’s Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Alan Ng’s Irishtune.info [3]
Hear Jack Armstrong play the tune on the Northumbrian small pipes [4]



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