Sturbitch Fair

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X:1 T:Sturbitch Fair M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Country Dance B: Young – Second Volume of the Dancing Master, 1st edition (1710, p. 140) K:A A|e2e fed|e2A A2A|e2e f2g|a3-a2e| f>gf e>fe|d>ed c2c|d>ed c>dc|B>cB G2e| e>fe e>fe|f>gf f>ga|g>fe f f2|e3-e2:|| e|a3e3|fgf e2e|f>gf e>fe|d>ed c2e| a2a a_gf|e>f_g f>ga|a>_gf f>ed|d2f f>ed| c2e e>dc|B2e e>fe|f>gf g>fg|a2e f>ed| c>de c>BA|A2e a2e|c>de c>BA|A3-A2|]



STURBITCH FAIR. English, Country Dance Tune and Jig (6/8 time). A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The melody, with directions for a country dance, was printed in London by John Young in all four editions of his Second Volume of the Dancing Master [1] (1710-1728). It was also printed by rival London music publisher John Walsh in his Second Book of the Compleat Country Dancing-Master, edition of 1719, and his New Country Dancing Master (1710).

Sturbitch Fair, Cambridge, was once the largest and most famous fair in England in the 17th and 18th centuries, held in September for fourteen days. Merchants from all parts of the kingdom set up booths, arranged in streets. The fair derived its name from a small stream, a tributary of the Cam, called the Stour, which formed the eastern boundary of the fairground. The Gentlman's Magazine of 1798, printed this anecdote, penned a half-century before by a person connected with the University:

Cambridge, Oct., 18, 1750.
As I had never seen Sturbitch fair, I was resolved to enter as much as possible into the humours of it; and, to extend my enjoyment of it as far as I could, I privately put a very extraordinary puff into the London papers, by means of my bookseller there, to this effect:

That the fair would be proclaimed on the 7th of September, with great solemnity, by the vice-chancellor of the university and mayor of the town, accompanied by Lord Duplin and Mr. Cadogan, the representatives in parliament, the recorder, aldermen, &c. preceded by the red-coats and other officers on horseback, with musick playing before them; that it was expected there would be a greater concourse of people and a more flourishing trade than had been known for several years past, owing to the conduct of a set of gentlemen who were endeavouring to revive the reputation of a fair not many years ago the most considerable in Europe.

This puff had the desired effect; it brought a great multitude of people to the fair, and, consequently, a great increase of trade; at the same time that I secretly got this consession from several of the traders, I learned that there had not been so good a fair for the ten years past. If you are desireous to have an account of this celebrated fair, you will find a very good one in the Tour through Great Britain. My transactions and entertainment consisted of in regularly takin coach every afternoon at the Market hill with other gownsmen, walking about the fair, and drinking tea at the coffee-booth, where now and then we had the company of some very agreeable ladies of Cambridge town and education; and a fortnight was thus spent.



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