Vaughan's Ramble

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VAUGHAN’S RAMBLE. English, Country Dance Tune and (Slip) Jig (9/8 time). A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The melody was composed by dancing master Nathaniel Kynaston (1683-1757). Although very little is known about him, Kynaston appears to have been active from 1705 to about 1722 in the Shropshire/Wales border area. Walsh published some 120 of Kynaston’s tunes and dances over several publications; this tune is unique to Walsh's annual edition for 1711. The Selattyn parish register in Shropshire records that a “Nathanial Kynaston, gent., & Mrs. Elizabeth Davies, both of Oswestry” married on August 25th, 1719—although whether this was the dancing master is unknown. Kynaston appears to have been a not uncommon name in Shropshire, and the family includes Sir Humphrey Kynaston, a notorious 16th century highwayman and Robin Hood figure, who preyed on the wool merchants of Shrewsbury.

Graham Christian (2015) believes the title references John Vaughan [1] (1639-1713), 3rd Earl of Carberry, an English peer, politician and Governor of Jamaica from 1675-1678 during which time his deputy was the notorious privateer Sir Henry Morgan. He was in constant conflict with the deputy-governor who intrigued with buccaneers and endangered the peace with France and Spain, which Vaughan was instructed to preserve. Vaughan, however, was little better, for he was himself unpopular and corrupt, and it is even said that he sold his servants as slaves. After his return from Jamaica he was made President of the Royal Society, founded in 1660 to promote scientific knowledge and discovery, and he also joined the Kit-Cat Club. Vaughan was known for his love of the theatre and the pleasures of London; Samuel Pepys described him as 'one of the lewdest fellows of the age, worse than Sir Charles Sedley'.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes, vol. 2), 2005; p. 137. Christian (A Playford Assembly), 2015; p. 123.

Recorded sources: Wild Goose Records WGS 314, Belshazzar’s Feast – “Mr. Kynaston’s Famous Dance” (2003).




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