Whitehaven Volunteers

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WHITEHAVEN VOLUNTEERS. AKA - "March of the Whitehaven Volunteers." English, March or Country Dance Tune (2/4 time). England, Cumbria. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The melody is in a similar vein to “Petronella.” The melody was entered into the 1840 music manuscript collection of Waverly, Cumbria, musician John Rook. The Whitehaven Volunteers were probably a local militia unit raised during the Napoleonic Wars, from Whitehaven, Cumbria, England, although Barry Callaghan says they were raised for the American War of Independence in 1778. A racing purse in the name of the Whitehaven Volunteers (‘The Whitehaven Volunteers’ Plate’) survived until at least until the mid-1860’s when winners for the Whitehaven racecourse were announced in the racing calendars.

"Whitehaven Volunteers" is a maleable tune and is sometimes played as a hornpipe, schottische or barndance, depending on the amount of “swing” or dotted rhythms are employed.

Source for notated version: the music manuscript collection of William Docker (Newby Head, Cumbria) [Callaghan, Knowles].

Printed sources: Callaghan (Hardcore English), 2007; p. 54. Kirkpatrick (John Kirkpatrick's English Choice), 2003; p. 7. Knowles (A Northern Lass), 1995; p. 15.

Recorded sources: Harbourtown Records HARCD 047, The Boat Band – “A Trip to the Lakes” (2006). Ed and Fiona Heslam - "Music of Cumberland and Westmorland" (2016).

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