X:1 T:Sion House M:3/2 L:1/8 S:Sharp – Country Dance Tunes Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:F F2c2A2 GF c4 | f3e d2g2 e2 dc | f2c2d2 cB A2d2 | B2e d4 c4 | F2c2A2 GF c4 | f3e d2g2 e2dc | r2c2d2cB A2d2 | B2e2 d4 c4 || |: g3a g2fe d2e2 | f2e4d2 B2A2 | B3A B2c2 d2A2 | A6 G2 G4 | c2 A4 d2c2f2 | d2g4d2 e2 dc | f2 c4 b2a2g2 | g6 f2 f4 :|
SION HOUSE. English, Country Dance Tune (3/2 time). F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). ABB (Sharp): AABB (Barnes). The melody dates to the year 1686 when it appeared in the 7th edition of John Playford’s Dancing Master (p. 187). Syon House, Ilseworth, Middlesex, was a manor house built on the site of Bridgettine Syon Abbey, one of the last of the great monastic centers of England. It perished, along with its Father Confessor, for refusing to accede to Henry VIII’s insistence that the Church be subservient to secular power in the form of the monarch. The manor was one of the favorite residences of Queen Elizabeth, and was also the place where Jane Grey accepted the crown of England, which she bore but nine days (she was the daughter-in-law of the then-owner of the manor). Syon House eventually passed into the hands of the Earls of Northumberland, who hold it still. Graham Christian (writing in CDSS News, issue #184, May/June 2005) links the title with the Earl of Northumberland who was known for his neutrality during the English Civil War, and who acted as governor to the Duke of York. The Duke eventually became King James II (famous for sponsoring his edition of the Bible) who reigned briefly from 1685-1688. Christian suggests the appearance of the melody in Playford’s 1686 volume, published at the beginning of James’s reign, is meant in part to honor their relationship.