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People and Places in Playford

A study of the people after whom dances were named in John Playford's Dancing Master (eighteen editions published from 1651 to ca. 1728) yields insight into 17th century British interests, events, and knowledge.

Many tunes are named after individuals amongst the 535 dances published over the eighteen editions of this first dance book published in the English language. They range from political and military figures to entertainers, royalty, and figues from classical mythology.

Below is a list dances named after people, divided by the edition in which they are first mentioned, with brief biographical notes for each who could be identified. The unidentified have been group together at the the end of each edition's list.

1651 Edition 1

Adsons Saraband – John Adson (1587 – 1640) composed music for Jacobian masques, as well as being both a musician and actor (Sabol)

Blue Cap - one of the politer English nicknames for Scotsmen

Confesse his tune – Mr. Confesse was dancing master to the court. Choreographed The Lords Masque in 1613, which was part of the celebration of the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and the Elector Palatine. (Sabol)

Daphne - the Greek nymph who was saved from Apollo's pursuit by being transformed into a Laurel tree.

Doves Figary – Possibly the almanac-writer mentioned in "When the King Enjoys His Own Again", ca. 1643

Jack a Lent – mentioned as a deceitful idiot in Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor (Brewer)

Kemps Jig - Noted comic actor Will Kemp, for whom Shakespeare wrote some of his funniest roles (e.g. Falstaff) before Shakespeare fired Kemp for ad-libbing too much. In a piece of self-promotion worthy of Geraldo, in 1600 he published Kemps Nine Daies Wonder about his experiences dancing a "Morrice" from London to Norwich – roughly one hundred miles. He died in London during the Plague of 1607.

Lavena – Lavinia? According to Virgil, she was daughter of Latinus. According to Shakespeare, daughter of Titus Andronicus in the play of the same name. Also, old name for Italy.

Lord of Carnarvans Jig – Robert Dormer was created the first Earl of Carnarvon in 1628. He was killed fighting on the roayalist side at the Firdt Battle of Newbury in 1646. His son, Charles, was the second earl until 1709. The Lord Carnarvon who sponsored Carter's excavation of King Tut's tomb was descended from a different family, which acquired the Earldom in 1714.

Prince Ruperts March – Rupert (1619 – 1682) grandson of James VI and I. It was Rupert's father King Frederick V that was forced to flee Bohemia after the Battle of White Mountain in 1620. Raised in the Netherlands, he began his military service for the Dutch 1633. By 1635, he was serving in the Prince of Orange's Bodyguard. He first met his uncle, Charles I, on a visit to England in 1636. Fighting for the Dutch again in 1637 – 38, he was taken prisoner at Vlotho, and held for three years. He returned to England in July 1642 when the Civil War broke out. Charles immediately made him General of Horse. He was one of the most important commanders in the First (or third, depending on how you count) Civil War. He was made General of the Army in 1644, having thus far only suffered a single defeat. He was released from service (one might say laid off) after Naseby and his surrender of Bristol in 1645. He went to France, where he commanded English troops until being wounded in battle in 1647. Their relationship having mended in the meantime, Charles gave Rupert command of a fleet, which cruised the Mediterranean, as well as the Carribean until 1653, on a mildly profitable campaign. He then spent six years (1654 – 1660) in Germany. Upon the Restoration in 1660 , Charles II made him a member of the Privy Council. The king made him Admiral, and he served brilliantly in the Dutch Wars. In a nice tie-in to the American fur trade, from 1670 Rupert was the first governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, which is why a huge piece of what is now Canada was called Rupert's Land until the later 19th century. He invented mezzotinting, as well as the first bullet-proof glass, a modified brass known as prince's metal, and experimented with manufacture of cannon, powder, and shot. This march was first published in the 1640s in the Netherlands.

Tom Tinker – stock character of brawny but slow blacksmith (Brewer)

Dull Sir John, Half Hannikin, Lady Spellor/Spillers, Millisons Jig, Mundesse, My Lady Cullen, Parsons Farewell, Spanish Gipsy, Staines Morris - unidentified

1652 Edition 2

Solomons Jig - Old Testament King. James VI and I was called the "English Solomon".

Mr Webs Fancy, Parsons upon Dorothy, Winifrids Knot

[1657] and 1665 Edition 3

Althea - Althaea, minor figure in Greek mythology, mother of Meleager, in Ovid's Metamorphoses (Brewer)

Devils Dream

Duke of Lorraines March – Lorraine was an independent duchy from its creation by the Treaty of Verdun (843) until its eventual annexation by France in 1683. The particular duke commemerated by this piece most likely is Charles IV (1604 – 75), who was expelled by King Louis XIII in 1633. He spent the rest of his life in exile, apart from a short while in 1641, in which he cotrolled Lorraine, and 1663, holding it until 1670. It was during this later reconquest that this piece first appears in Playford.

Gelding of the Devil

Lady Banburys Hornpipe – unidentified, butBanbury is near Oxford

Simple Simon – stock character represented as a simpleton (Brewer)

Sellingers round, Smiths Rant, Iantha (?)

[1657] Edition 3A

Dours Catastrophe (changed to Doves Catastrophe in edition 3B) – see Doves Figary ed 1

Lady Frances Nevills Delight – unidentified, but the Nevilles were one of the most powerful families in Northern England for several centuries, often fighting the Scots.

Lord Monks March - George Monk/Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle (1608-1670). Professional soldier. Served in the 1625 English expedition against Cadiz, Spain, the 1627 attack against the Île de Ré, then spent 1629 - 1637 in an Engish regiment in Holland. Commissioned a Lt. Col. by Charles I to subdue the Scots, then fought against the Irish in their rising of 1642 and 1643. In January 1644, while fighting on the Royalist side, he was captured at Nantwich, and spent two years in the Tower. After the murder of Charles I, Cromwell created a regiment - renamed the Coldstream Guards (England's oldest regiment) after the Restoration - for Monk in 1650 to attack Scotland, which he subdued by 1652. He was then appointed a general of the sea, successfully defeating the Dutch in 1653. He was then commander in chief of Scotland from 1654 to 1660, during which this dance was published. With the self-destructon of the Protectorate imminant, Monk was fundamental in bringing about the bloodless Restoration of Charles II, amongst the rewards for which he received his dukedom, was made Knight of the Garter, recieved a £7000 annual pension, was made master of the horse, lord lievtenant of Ireland, and captain general for life. He occasionally commanded the fleet during the 1665-67 Dutch war. He stayed in London during the great plague and fire, during which he helped save many people. The nickname the soldiers under his command gave him was "Black George". (EB)

Mad Dick – see Mad Tom, ed 4

Mardike (possibly Marduk, chief Babylonian god)

Molsons Jig (changed to Motsons Jig ed 4), Porters Dream, Porters Lamentation, Washingtons March - unidentifed.

1665 Edition 3B

Amaryllis – a common name for a pastoral sweetheart in 17th c. poetry

Duke of Yorks March - this office is generally held by the second son of the reigning monarch. There were only two dukes of York in the 17th century - Charles Stuart (1600 - 1649, who received the title in 1604, but became king in 1625 (as Charles I) due to his elder brother Henry having died in 1612) or Charles' son James Stuart (1633 – 1701), who received the title in 1644. James became king in 1685 as James VII and II, but never actually took the Scottish coronation oath. He was expelled by William and Mary in 1688 – 90. James was a military man in the 1650s on behalf of France. He succesfully led the English fleet against the Dutch in 1665, and held the title Duke of York when this piece was printed. See also Duke of Yorks Delight, ed. 6A.

Freemans Dance – apprentices below the rank of journeyman; fairly notorious party animals

Parthenia - One of Athena's nicknames; hence, the Parthenon.

Black Jack, Coxes Dance Moll Peatly Simerons Dance, Singletons Slip - unidentified

1670 Edition 4

Don Pedro – Spanish king helped to throne by the Black Prince in the 14th centruy, or perhaps a reference to Pedro Rezio in Don Quixote.

Lord Chamberlains Delight – the second-ranking member of court, by definition a member of both the privy council and the cabinet. This official also had authority over theatres; Lord Chamberlain's Men was the name of Shakespeare's troupe until 1603, when they became the King's Men.

Mad Tom – generic term for an inmate or half-cured (at best) former inmate of Bethlem Hospital, which itself is where we get the term Bedlam. (Brewer)

Merry Andrew – either Andrew Borde, physician to Henry VIII, noted for his wit, or a generic name for a manservant. (Brewer)

Parthenia - a different tune than the above-mentioned dance

Lady Murrays Delight, Shepherds Daughter, Sir Nicholas Culley - unidentified

1675 Edition 5 – no new music

1679 Edition 6- no new music

1679 Edition 6A

Duke of Yorks Delight - see Duke of Yorks March, ed 3B.

Mr Staggins Jig, Nobodys Jig, Old Simon the King - unidenified

1686 Edition 7

Prince George - presumably the Prince George of Denmark who had married Anne in 1683, and become consort when Anne was crowned Queen of England in 1702. See also Prince Georges March, ed 7A

Millers Jig - unidentifeid

[1687] Edition 7A

Duke of Graftons March - Henry Fitzroy (1663 - 1690) illegitimate son of Charles II and Barbara Villiers, Countess of Castlemain and Duchess of Cleveland, was created the first Duke of Grafton just before his twelfth birthday in 1675. He was brought up a sailor, and saw service at the siege of Luxemburg in 1684. Was Lord High Constable for James II's coronation in 1685. Commanded Royalist troops during his half-brother Monmouth's Rebellion in 1685, but shortly thereafter joined William against James, dying from a wound received at Cork in 1690.

King of Poland - Stephen Bathory 1576 - 86, Sigismund III Vasa 1587 - 1632, Vladislaus IV Vasa 1632 - 48, Jan Kazimierz Vasa 1648 - 1668, Michael Korybut Wisniowiecki 1669 - 73, John III Sobieski 1674 - 96 are the likely candidates. The three Vasa kings were from the same family as Gustave Adolph Vasa, and claimed the crown of Sweden as well as that of Poland - hence the numerous Swedish-Polish War of the 17th century. The most likely candidate for which king this tune commemmorates is the last on the list - John III Sobieski, who had just (12Sept1683) become an international hero as a result of having defeated the Turks at the Battle of Vienna. The Turks started being pushed from central Europe at this point, and haven't bothered Europe much since.

Lady Catherine Ogle – unknown (the title means young Catherine) but written by famous Irish harper Rory Dall O'Cahan, who spent most of his professional career – from roughly 1600 to his death in 1653 - in Scotland

Mad Robin – see Mad Tom, ed 4

Prince Georges March - see Prince George, ed 7

Hayns Jig, Johnsons Jig Millers daughter, Miss Nelly, Sir Foplin

[1688] Edition 7B

Bonny Dundee – John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee (1650 – 1689). Having gained military experience in France and Holland, Claverhouse (pronounced "clavers") he became a lievtenant, then captain of a troop in Monmouth's regiment shortly after his return to Britain in 1677. Fought against the Covenanters in their revolt from 1679, where he gained a reputation of ruthlessness. ("Bloody Clavers"). After James VII's expulsion, he led the first Jacobite army – starting out from Dundee with only fifty dragoons. Raising thousands of Highlanders, he was victorious against Gen. Hugh MacKay at Killiecrankie 1689, but was gutshot by a ball that missed his breastplate. He died that the later that evening. Numerous songs still exist about Dundee and Killiecrankie. (EB)

Cupids Garden – aka Amor, the Roman god of love; that annoying fellow with the bow and arrows

[1689] Edition 7C – no new music

1690 Edition 8

Emperor of the Moon – the man got a promotion

Welcome Home, Old Rowley – a nickname of Charles II, after his favourtite racehorse. Part of Newmarket's race course is still called Rowley Mile, after the horse. (Brewer)

Pools Hole - unidentified

1695 Edition 9

Duke of Luxemburghs March - Most likely, this refers to François Henri de Montmercy-Bouteville (1628 - 1695), a French Count who became Duke of Luxemburg in 1661 upon marrying the greatest heiress in France - Madeleine de Luxembourg-Piney, princesse de Tingry and heiress of the Duchy of Luxembourg. A very successful military officer, he fought against the Dutch, having a string of victories from 1672 to 1693 against the Prince of Orange, and King Wiliam III of England. He was made captain of the gardes du corps (1674) and Marshall of France (1675). He died in January of 1695, just before this piece was published.

Pope Joan - a ficticious female pope who purportedly reigned in the 9th century. Proven to be a fabrication by protestant historian David Blondel (1590 - 1655). Regardless, this was a popular story, first documented in the 13th century, which was later taken up by protestants as a useful bit of Catholic-bashing. Many of you have played the gambling game named after said tale available from MacGregor Games.

Roger of Coverly - Purportedly George Washington's favourite dance, this was referred to as "the finishing dance" in the early 19th century, as it was expected to be the last dance of the evening. This dance is the direct ancestor of the Virginia Reel - the only major change being the replacement of one figure by the strip the willow - which has been done to a multitude of tunes since the mid-19th century.

Mr Beveridges Ground, Mr Beveridges Maggot, Daniel Cowper, Huntingtons Maggot, Mr Isaccs Maggot, Jacob Halls Jig, Mr Lanes Maggot, Mr Lanes Minuet, Of Noble Race was Shinkin, Old Bachelor, Sancho Pancho,Whitneys Farewell - unidentified

1696 Edition 9A

Black Bess - no idea, but it is a very popular horse name from at least the 18th century.

Bishop of Chesters Jig – which bishop would be the question

Mr Eaglesfields new Hornpipe, Geud Man of Ballangigh, Hobbs Wedding, Mr Lanes Trumpet Minuet to be danc'd with the mnuet step, Mr Youngs Delight - unidentified

1698 Edition 9B

De'il Take the Wars - I don't suppose any of you folks don't know the devil...

Anna Maria, Dunmore Kate, Lord Mayors Delight, Young Sir Solomon - unidentified

[1698] Edition 9C

Mad Moll - Possibly a reference to English Queen Mary, who allegedly suffered from mental illness.

My Lord Byrons Delight - perhaps John Byron (ca.1600 - 1652). He was MP for Nottingham (first the town, then the county) from 1624 to 1629. King Charles made him Lievtenant of the Tower in 1641, but he was more or less forced to resign by Parliament in 1642 He was made Baron Byron in 1643 by King Charles I in gratitude for his help in the Civil War, in which he fought on the Royalist side throughout. He was made governor of Chester by Prince Rupert in 1644. He was one of only seven persons exempted by Parliament from all pardon in 1648, but he had already escaped to France, where he later died. He had no heir, so one of his brothers - all five of whom also fought on the Royalist side - became 2nd Baron Byron. This brother, Richard (1605 -1679), is the great great great grandfather of Lord Byron, the poet. See also My Lord Byrons Maggot, ed 11.

Shores Trumpet Tune - unidentified

[1698] Edition 9D

A New Spanish Entrée, and Saraband danced by Monsieur L'Abbe before His Masjesty at Kensington, etc.

Dr. Popes Jig (renamed the Popes Jig in ed 12) - unidentified

1698 Edition 10- no new people

1701 Edition 11

Bishop of Bangors Jig – Bangor is in NW Wales; there were eight (Anglican) bishops in the 17th century

Catch Club – this would be a group who sing part-songs

Czar of Muscovy - Peter the Great of Russia (1672 - 1725) traveled through Western Europe in 1697 and 1698 in an (unsuccesful) endeavor to gain allies against the Turks. In order to learn about English shipbuilding techniques, he lived at Deptford for some time visiting the Royal Naval Dockyard established there in 1513 by Henry VIII. This piece likely commemorates this royal visit.

Dainty Davy – The Rev. David Williamson, Covenanter, 2nd half of 17th c.

Duke of Gloucesters March - After having used the title since infancy, Henry Stuart (1639 - 1660), brother of Charles II, was formally granted this title in 1659. While sharing the Stuart exile in France during the Protectorate, Henry fought amongst the Spaniards at Dunkirk in 1658. Also, William (1689 - 1700), son of Queen Anne, was called Duke of Gloucester his entire brief life, but it was never made official.

French Ambassador (see Count Tallard, ed 13)

Georges Maggot – see Prince George, ed 7

The Lord Phoppington – a fop from Vanbrugh's The Relapse, first performed in 1696

My Lord Byrons Maggot - see My Lord Byrons Delight above, ed.9C

Akeroydes Pad, The Beautiful Scrabbmag by G. B., Black Nell, Bufords March, Carpenters Maggot, Carys Maggot, Hills Maggot, Mother Browns Cat, Reeves Maggot, Wells Humour, Wooley and Georgey - unidentified

1702 Edition 11A

Old Abigails Delight – generic term for gentlewoman in waithing (Brewer)

Old Nolls Jig - Old Noll was a Royalist nickname of Oliver Cromwell who, contrary to popular belief, was rather fond of both music and dancing. Sir Roger L'Estrange (1616 – 1704) was known as Old Noll's Fiddler for once having entertained Cromwell. (Brewer)

Virgin Queen – Queen Elizabeth I

Dicks Maggot, Jacks Maggot, My Lady Fosters Delight - unidentified

1703 Edition 12

Nobes Maggot - unidentified

1706 Edition 13

Count Tallard – Camille, Marquis de le Baume-d'Hostun, Baron d'Arlanc, Comte de Tallard (1652 – 1728), was a french diplomat, as well as a general and Marshall of France. He served as Louis XIV's ambassador etraordinary to England 1697 - 1700 (see also the French Ambassador, ed 11)

Barkers Maggot, Drapers Maggot - unidentified

1709 Edition 14

French Kings Mistake – the 17th c kings of France were Henry IV (the first of the House of Bourbon, reigned 1589-1610), his son Louis XIII (1610 – 1643), and the latter's son Louis XIV (1643 – 1715)

1713 Edition 15 - no new music

1716 Edition 16- no new music

1721 Edition 17

King James March - first published in ed. 7B, where it is called the Garter. This would be James VII and II, who reigned 1685-1689. This march is believed to have been played at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Also known as James the Second's March

c.1728 Edition 18 - no new music


Barlow, Jeremy, ed. The Complete Country Dance Tunes from Playford's Dancing Master (1651 – ca.1728). 1985.

Brewer, E. Cobham. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1898.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 1960 edition.

Sabol, Andrew J. ed. Four Hundred Songs and Dances from the Stuart Masque. Brown University Press 1982.

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