The Fallibroome Collection
What is Fallibroome? It's a collection of six books of dances, but not in the same way as Playford, Thompson or Johnson, which were original collections published at the time. The Fallibroome collection contains modern interpretations of 18th century dances from various sources. The interpretations are by Bernard Bentley who lived in a village in Cheshire called Fallibroome. So someone may say “That's a Fallibroome dance”, someone else may say “No, it's from the Dancing Master”, and they're both right! One thing the dances are not
, is Playford; John and Henry Playford were both dead by then and the Dancing Master was being published by John Young. (Actually there is
one published by Henry Playford in 1686 — “Westmorland” — though Bernard Bentley found it in John Young's edition of 1721.) These are mainly 18th century dances, a few from the early nineteenth century and one square written by Bernard Bentley himself. This, “Saint Andrew's Assembly”, is totally out of character because it is
Playford-style — a set dance of three figures, using the Up a double, Siding and Arming introductions.
Bernard Bentley, who died in 1993, was a Mancunian and a founder member of the Manchester Morris Men. He was an authority on North-west Morris, as well as a noted interpreter of English country dances.
The 18th century was the heyday of the triple minor dance. Bernard Bentley wisely converted many of them to duple minor or three-couple sets. His explanations mainly use the same terms as Cecil Sharp (except the unexplained “Foot it
”), but he isn't so good at indicating the timing of the movements; his descriptions can be a bit vague. On the other hand he's very honest about the changes he's made to the dances, either to convert them to three couple sets or because the original instructions didn't seem to make sense or fit the music. In some cases I've dropped his changes and gone back to something closer to the original; in one or two cases I've made changes myself (and I will tell you so when I'm calling the dances).
There are 102 Fallibroome dances, and many of these don't appeal to me (at least on paper) because I don't feel there's enough to them. They may be partly redeemed by good tunes; I don't know. Bernard Bentley certainly had an ear for a good tune — often an unusual tune — and some musicians say that there's very definitely a “Fallibroome” style, different from a “Playford” style. And having said that many of them are too simple for me, I still struggle to call “Duchess of Grafton” with its 10-bar A
-music and 11-bar B
When I started dancing, Fallibroome was a collection that nobody knew; they'd met “Miss Sayers' Allemande” or “Chelmsford Assembly” but that was as far as it went. Wild Thyme made Fallibroome something of a speciality and produced two albums — “Wild Thyme plays Fallibroome” and “The Beau's Retreat” — containing what they believed were the best dances and tunes. Why not try some of them out and see if you can discover the Fallibroome magic. EFDSS republished the series in one book in 2009, complete with facsimiles of the originals, plus “A Fallibroome Garden” — twelve dances composed by Bernard Bentley in eighteenth-century style to a set of Contretänze by Beethoven — and I hope this will make the Fallibroome dances more popular.
And for the people who won't be satisfied with anything less than a complete list in alphabetical order…
|2||As Quick As You Please|
|5||Assembly of Lovers|
|4||Beaus of the Park|
|3||Captain Catton's Maggot|
|6||Cock Ey'd Brown|
|4||Doll Tearsheet's Rant|
|6||Duchess of Grafton|
|1||Hambleton's Round O|
|2||I Often For My Jenny Strove|
|1||In the Fields of Frost and Snow|
|2||John the Madman|
|5||Johnny Cock Thy Beaver|
|6||Joy After Sorrow|
|6||Kings Arms Assembly|
|3||Lord Anson For Ever|
|6||Love and Beauty|
|2||Love and a Bottle|
|4||Mars and Venus|
|3||Merry Girls of Maidstone|
|4||Miss Barrett's Waltz|
|3||Miss Nancy's Delight|
|1||Miss Sayers' Allemande|
|6||Miss Silvie's Delight|
|3||Miss Sparks's Maggot|
|1||Monk's March with the Wanders|
|1||Mrs. Hill's Dance|
|1||Mrs. Savage's Whim|
|3||New Year's Day in the Morning|
|4||Pinks and Lillies|
|6||Prince Frederick's Hornpipe|
|2||Put In All|
|4||Rakes of Rochester|
|6||Saint Andrews Assembly|
|4||Saint Giles's Pound|
|3||Saint James's Beauties|
|1||Saint Margaret's Hill|
|5||Sprigs of Laurel|
|2||Three Coney Walk|
|4||Top and Bottom|
|2||Trip o'er Tweed|
|3||Trip to Virginia|
|2||Zephyrs and Flora|
On Wednesday, January 31, 2007, Don Curtis from Brighton wrote:
Thanks for your Fallibroome page. I enjoyed it. Very lively, opinionated and forthright as I would expect from you Colin.
Your page was linked to me by Peta Webb and Elaine Bradtke when I was enquiring about the origin of Huntington's Maggot.
Elaine has excellent hunches she says
'I can't find any solid information on where it came from, but I have some hunches. It is very Baroque in style, possibly French'
She also says
'The word Maggot, from the French _Magot_, means a whim, or a fancy. I suspect it was written in the french style by an English composer. Pepys mentions the Huntington Waits in 1667, so the title could refer to this band of musicians. Or, as it sounds to me, it could be originally from some sort of theatrical work a masque or revel. There are a body of plays from Elizabethan theatre based on the story of Robert, the Earl of Huntington, also known as Robin Hood. It is also known that Playford took many of his tunes and dances from courtly sources such as masques and revels. I haven't been able to find the missing link - which exact play/revel/masque was the source. So this is merely supposition on my part.'
But no one is quite certain. If you can add anything to the above very helpful information I would be delighted and surprised.