Shuter's Hornpipe

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X:1 T:Shuttler's Hornpipe--by Morgan M:C| L:1/8 R:Hornpipe B:William Vickers' 1770 Northumbrian music manuscript (p. 103) N:http://www.farnearchive.com/show_images.asp?id=R0310304&image=1 Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:A A2A2 ABcd|ecdB AcBA|B2B2 Bdfe|dcBA GB GE| A2A2 ABcd|ecdB Aagf|gbge fafd|e2 e2 e4:| |:B2B2B2 cd|ecBA GBGE|e2e2e2 fg|afed cecA| f2d2 dfaf|e2c2 eae|fdec dBAG|A2A2 A4:|]



SHUT(T)ER'S HORNPIPE. AKA – “Shooter’s Hornpipe,” “Shutter’s Hornpipe,” “Suitor’s Hornpipe.” English, Hornpipe. England; Northumberland, Yorkshire. A Major (Merryweather & Seattle, Seattle/Vickers): G Major (Bewick, Orford, O’Neill). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The tune is attributed to “Morgan” in William Vickers' 1770 Northumbrian music manuscript; it is one of four tunes in his large manuscript collection attributed to him[1]. However, the tune is not attributed to Morgan in any other manuscript or publication. This hornpipe was, according to Merryweather and Seattle (1994), once quite well-known--indeed, it is found in a number of collections--though is not heard often today. The editors suggest it was named after the 18th century comic actor, Ned Shuter (1728-1776). An article in the volume English Actors: From Shakespeare to Macready (Henry Hold and Co., New York. 1879) has this to say of Ned:

Garrick pronounced Ned Shuter to be the greatest comic genius he had ever known. He was the original Old Hardcastle and Sir Anthony Absolute, Papillon in The Liar, and Justice Woodcock in Love in a Village. Strange to say, he was a follower of Whitefield’s, a constant attendant at the Tottenham Court Road Chapel, and divided his time pretty equally between drinking, playing, and praying; when drunk he could scarcely be restrained from going into the fields and preaching upon original sin and regeneration. Tate Wilkinson, who was a hanger-on upon Shuter, relates how he used to accompany him on Sunday mornings at six to the Tottenham Court Road Chapel; at ten to another meeting-house in Long Acre; at eleven back to Whitefield’s chapel; at three to some other; and in the evening to Moorfields. He was very liberal to the Whitefieldites, and it is said that Whitefield himself, although a bitter denouncer of all persons and things dramatic, on the occasion of Shuter’s benefit recommended the congregation to attend the theatre for once, on that night only.

His first appearance was at Covent Garden in 1745, as The Schoolboy, for the benefit of an actor named Chapman, and he was so young that he was announced in the bills as ‘Master Shuter’, as he was in those of Drury Lane a twelvemonth afterwards. He died November 1st, 1776. His last performance was Falstaff, for his own benefit, in the preceding May; but between the bottle and the tabernacle his faculties were nearly gone. “He was more bewildered in his brain,” says Wilkinson, “by wishing to acquire imaginary grace than by all his drinking; like Mawworm he believed he had a call.” In his reasonable moments he was a lively, shrewd companion, full of originality, whim and humor; all he said an did was his own, for it was with difficulty he could read his parts, and he could just sign his name and no more; but he was the delight of all who knew him on or off the stage. John Taylor relates how he and his father dined and passed an evening with him at the “Blue Posts” Tavern in Russell Street, and how all the people in the neighboring boxes could do nothing but listen to his comic stories and bon-mots. Another time they were at some gardens, when the people gathered together in such crowds to hear his humorous sallies, that the waiters could not move about to serve. “No person thought of retiring while Shuter remained, and I remember seeing him in the midst of his friends, as if he were the monarch of merriment.”

He was equally a favourite with the most distinguished people in the realm. It is related that One night two of the royal princes came behind the scenes to have a chat with him. Their presence was anything but welcome on that occasion, as Shuter desired to study his part. “By Jove,” he said suddenly, “the prompter has got my book; I must fetch it. Will your Royal Highness,” addressing one of his visitors, “be so obliging as to hold my skull-cap to the fire?” “Oh, certainly, Shuter,” replied the Prince. “And perhaps you, your Royal Highness,” turning to the other, “will condescend to air my breeches while I am gone?” The second request was as cheerfully complied with as the first. Returning presently with another actor, and peeping through the keyhole, he saw his two visitors still engaged as he had left them, patiently awaiting his return.

The melody is contained in an extraordinary number of 19th century musicians’ manuscripts, including: John Clare (Helpstone, Northants), George Spencer (Leeds, west Yorkshire, 1831), William Thomas Green (Northumberland, 1851), James Biggins (Leeds, west Yorkshire, 1779), William Winter (West Bagborough, Somerset), James Winter (Stanton, Gloucestershire,1833), John Miller (Perth, Scotland, 1799), Joshua Jackson (Harrogate, north Yorkshire, 1798), John Hall (Northumberland, 1833), Tiller, W. Cock’s (a Northumbrian collection with various dates) and the Wolsnoume manuscript (Lancashire, c. 1798). See also the published manuscripts of William Vickers (Northumberland, 1770) and Lawrence Leadley (Helperby, Yorkshire), as noted below. In Ireland, a version was entered as an untitled hornpipe in Book 3 of the large c. 1883 music manuscript collection of County Leitrim fiddler and piper Stephen Grier.


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - copied from Wilson’s Companion to the Ballroom (1816) [O’Neill]; Lawrence Leadley (Helperby, Yorkshire) [Merryweather & Seattle]; William Vickers' 1770 music manuscript (Northumberland) [Seattle].

Printed sources : - Bewick's Pipe Tunes, 1986; No. 44. Laybourn (Köhler’s Violin Repository vol. 2), 1881-1885; p. 157. Merryweather & Seattle (The Fiddler of Helperby), 1994; No. 8, p. 29. O’Neill (Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody), 1922; No. 317. Orford (John of the Greeny Cheshire Way), 1985; p. 95. Seattle (Great Northern/William Vickers), 1987, Part 2; No. 379.






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  1. Matt Seattle [1]