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1. William Irwin's 1838 MS

2. William Irwin’s c1850 Folio MS

3. Notes

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Go to combined PDF of transcription

1..William Irwin’s 1838 MS

This is a mid-20th century partial Transcription by Anne Geddes Gilchrist, filed with the Anne Geddes Gilchrist Manuscript Collection, AGG/2/137, Acc. No. QM 9732, Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, Cecil Sharp House, Regents Park, London.
The original Irwin MS has not been located.

Transcribed into ABC Music Notation (see above) for The Village Music Project, and these notes, by Chris Partington, 2005

The following are AGG’s notes accompanying her transcription.

(AGG’s notes in normal script, my comments are in italic script, and tunes transcribed to ABC are in bold. Tunes not in bold are absent from AGG's transcription.)

“Wm. Irwin’s MS
Oblong MS. 6 staves.
On title page “William Irwin’s Book Jan 2 1838”.
At least three different hands, and the book is made up from different MSS, some of the titles being cut across at the top, in cutting up for binding.
The name is written on the back of the first ruled page, which back is blank.
104 leaves. 312 tunes or pieces, chiefly dance music.
55 hornpipes, 33 reels, 17 strathspeys, 59 waltzes, 1 each cottilion, highland fling, minuet, gallop, jig. 2 quicksteps (ie marches.CGP) dances various 16, and a set of 24 for the year 1838 (this includes 5 waltzes) 12 sets quadrilles and the original Lancers.
9 vocal airs arranged sometimes for instruments, and about a dozen pieces. (presumably meaning “ concert pieces”.CGP)

“The first tune in the book is “A Hornpipe”[Lascelles], the second “Billey Pitt”, third “Flowers Of Edinburgh” called a “Duble Reel”. “I’ll go no more to yon town”, Green sleaves”[really Rushes O]

Then follow tunes:
Billey Pitt
Green Sleaves cf green grows in Kershaw’s MS
Reel cf green grows (K) & Polly put the kettle on
James Mc Kenney or Renney’s Hornpipe
“Steam Boat Hornpipe
Highland Lad (my love was born)
James McKenney’s is very Scotch. Is it a song?
Three Harrows HP
Astley’s Hornpipe and Ride
“Absent from collection: (presumably meaning there was an index.CGP)
 Paternally.The Triumph.Tekeli.Jean de Paris.Sir Roger de Coverley.John Peel.Haste to the Wedding(?).Caledonian Hunt=this is “This is no my ain lassie” as a Strathspey.The Wounded Hussar. Same tune as in MS TB (Thomas Bennet? See VMP, but Wounded Hussar not in it, and no record of any other TB. CGP) but rather different.”
Brampton Reel
North Tyne is the highland fling
The Wounded Hussar
Keswick Bonney Lasses Hornpipe
Liverpool Hornpipe
The Wind That Bloeth The Barley
“Another book, in the same hand, seems to begin here.
The Soldiers Joy
Rachil Ray – a reel
Fairey Dance (Gow’s)without the dots
Sheffield Hornpipe
“Twenty four dances for the year 1838’ are now transcribed:
Camilla(Paer).La Ega(quadrille).The Comus Dance.The Eclipse.The Ally.Lady Hamilton’s Favorite.Ivanhoe(this is the highland laddie).Dr Syntax.The Tickler.Waltz.La Clovis.Gioveneni.Lady Hamilton’s Waltz.Claudine.New King of Prussia’s Waltz.Queen Caroline’s Waltz.Sauteuse.The Tarter.Clonius.La Camire(quadrille).Argyl.The Tanney Waltz.Don Juan.

Cottage Hornpipe
Lea Riggs Hornpipe
Welcome to your feet again (!)
The Countess of St. Paul’s Strathspey composed by Matthew Henderson
The Marquis of Huntly’s Snuff Mill (Lassie would you love me?)
Roxburgh Castle by Alex Given(?)
Scotch Waltz (very Scotch snap-py)
Copenhagen Waltz
Tyrol Waltz (Pretty Little Polly Hopkins)
(Lander type) Waltz
Miss Dillon’s
‘Honourable Swiss Dollows Waltz’
Garland Dance (not the usual)
The Bears Advancing, a slow march
Queen Caroline
Queen caroline’s waltz (1838 waltz)
Jonney Cope
Tyrol Waltz
Waltz (another type)
Hugarian Waltz(when I was a Lady)(see the simpler form in MS 42)

“pretty little polly Hopkins how do you do-oo how do you do-oo
none the better, Mr Tomkins, for seeing you-oo, for seeing you-oo”
General Blucher’s Waltz
Bugal waltz
Jack Lattin (reel?)
Lady Caroline Lee’s Waltz
A Waltz titti|titti turn titti|titti turn (note various waltz types)
Maggie Lowther (halfway to the Lowther in another MS)
Brampton Waltz
“Brampton:The Devonshire march”
after this a Strauss waltz
Coolin with variations -An Irish Air(illegible) for ever Amen
The March and a highland battle. Descriptive piece, style of the Battle of Prague, with stage directions!
The Mountain Boy (Had I the wings of a dove)
The Canderllonly Rosue (sic)
Didelot’s dance in Virginia
A Waltz
Quadrille (Scotch Air?)
Ca Ira Is this of French origin?
Ladie’s Lips
Something Irish – Lumie Me Twaller[?]
The Old Langolee
Anglo Caledonian Air [commonplace]
Cherry Ripe
I’ve been ??ning
Di Tante Palpeti (!)[Le Garcon Volante]
Oh It’s Love
Le Petit Tambour
Bonny Prince Charlie [cam ye by ??]
Carlton House 6/8 (is this a health to Betty?)

“Ths is copied because it has the style of a Hunting Song. There may be words attached to the air.
This follows a quadrille without title “Vive Henri Quatrue(?)”

Seven of Strauss’s Most Celebrated Waltzes Arr. For Flute and Piano

Carlton House
Quadrille [Il Etait Une Bergue?]
Stybarrow Crag a hornpipe by Hamilton
The Loyalist’s Hornpipe

“?Jim a long Josey in the hornpipe stile(!) by W.Irwin
Due Mungoe [in Quarto book also]
Lord Fife’s Strathspey
Also Miss Elliot’s, both with elaborate variations (4 sets), triplets in a bar
Hope’s Hornpipe
The North Shore Hornpipe
The Ranger’s Hornpipe
Harding’s Hornpipe
Bannister’s Hornpipe
?Robinhood Waltzes
Lady Wellington’s Hornpipe
The Stony Steps Hp
Grand Reformation Hp
True Blue Hp
Last Hope

Colgarth Hornpipe
Banks Hornpipe
Lancashire Hornpipe
A Touch Under The Blankett – an old jig

“The following in the small neat music script with the queer staff'''
Kendal Hornpipe
Kendal Reel
Up and Follow Charlie
West Barns Brewery Strathspey
?Garrick’s Hornpipe
Robinson’s Hornpipe
McLeod’s Reel and Strathspey
Mac Ruth’s Reel
Donald’s Hornpipe
?Devent Castle Hornpipe [Derwent?]
Windermere Regatta
Ward’s Hornpipe
Hump ?Landlay  or Over The Dike Bellow
Durham Hornpipe
Brian O’Niel
Old Spedling’s Castle’s Ghost Dance (ommited from the Porteus Coll in W.Irwin folio coll)


It will be remembered that earlier AGG said there were 312 pieces in this collection, but I can only count approximately 150 (some are referred to and also transcribed, thus occuring twice in the above list) which are referred to by name, 40 of which have been transcribed by AGG (in Bold).

2..William Irwin’s c1850 Folio MS

This is a mid-20th century partial Transcription by Anne Geddes Gilchrist, filed with the Anne Geddes Gilchrist Manuscript Collection, AGG/2/135, Acc. No. QM 9731, Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, Cecil Sharp House, Regents Park, London.
The original Irwin MS has not been located.

Transcribed into ABC Music Notation (see above) for The Village Music Project, and these notes, by Chris Partington, 2005

The following are AGG’s notes accompanying her transcription.

(AGG’s notes in normal script, my comments are in italic script, and tunes transcribed to ABC are in bold. Tunes not in bold are absent from AGG's transcription.)

“Wm Irwin’s MS 2 (Folio)
The first tune is ?Wormwell’s Grand March,
the second Buonapart’s Coronation March.
Lord Harwick’s March
Weber’s Last Waltz
Handel’s Water Piece
Queen Victoria’s Step Gallop
Cupid’s Quadrilles
Drops of Brandy
Buonapart’s Coronation March
Queen Victoria Step Gallop
Jullien’s La Polka - a note is written in against this: “The Polka first came up about 1843 in Bohemia”.
Lass of Richmond Hill
King’s Polka
Young Napoleon’s Waltz
A Quickstep by W.Irwin
A Hornpipe
Elphins Waltz
Overture to Tancredi
Half Shift, whole shift and double shift noted. [violin position shifts?]
The Duke of York’s march
A Hornpipe
A Reel
A Hornpipe[noted]
Horsman Hornpipe
Royal Strathspey and Reel
Spring Gardens Hornpipe
Recovery Hornpipe [AGG has underlined Recovery]
Dalston Forge – a hornpipe by Wm Adams
A Strathspey
Latrigg Side – a hornpipe by Wm Irwin
Also a quadrille(6/8) “taken from the above” by W.I. [not noted.CGP]
Briggham Hornpipe – by Wm Irwin
Miss Greenup’s Strathspey
Miss Greenup’s Reel
The Charter Hornpipe
Casson or Cagson Hornpipe
Mr Sitwell’s Strathspey
Miss Gibson’s Reel
The Queen’s Hornpipe
Bonney Crossing the Alps – A hornpipe
Raughton Head – a hornpipe by J. Adams
A quadrille taken from the above(6/8) by Wm Robinson
A Hornpipe
The Banks of Burdisel [a hornpipe]
A Hornpipe
Lord Bingham’s Hornpipe
Griffon Hornpipe
Chimney Sweep’s Hornpipe
Omnebuss Hornpipe
Due Mungo and Princess Royal (not a good copy) in another hand with the queer clef in Irwin’s other MS
London Hornpipe
Elterwater Hornpipe by Wm Irwin
Elterwater Quickstep by Wm Irwin
Scant of Silver
Orton Hornpipe by Wm Irwin
Orton Lodge a Quadrille by Wm Irwin
The Hunchback
Rose Quadrille ..A. Banks
My Boy Tommey a strathspey
Casson Hornpipe composed by Casson, Wigton
Lord Brougham’s Hornpipe by Robert Stewartson
A Quadrille by Casson, Wigton
Dr Stanley’s Hornpipe
Through the Wood Spinning
The London Morgeanian
Circassian Circle a hornpipe
A Hornpipe
A Hornpipe as played at the theatre Carlisle
Stage Hornpipe
A Grand Hornpipe (nothing to explain the title)
We’re A Noddin’ (as usual)
My Wife’s a Wanton Wee Thing
A poor version of Miss Gayton’s Hornpipe (Carlisle Book)
A collection of original tunes by James Porteus follows:
Miss Phillips Strathspey And Reel
Miss Bells dittoditto
Miss Mary Hay’s Reel
Wee Willie’s Strathspey
Miss CB Grant’s Reel
?Glancrosh’s Strathspey
Glen Stewart
Miss Nicholson’s
Miss Richardson’s and Mrs Dunbar’s Jigs
Miss Broadfoot’s S & R
The Lough Pool
Miss Gibbon’s Reel
Capt. Sharp’s R
Miss Duglass S&R
Miss Jane Johnston’s S&R
The Braes of Warhope S&R
Miss A Jordan’s S&R
Lieutenant Charles Clapperton’s Jig etc etc
A Parody on miss Johnston’s Strathspey etcetc
James Porteus’ Farewell to Whisky(slowish)ditto fiddle
Mrs Hope Johnston’s Strathspey, Reel
?Netherby House a strathspey
Lady May Lowther’s R
The Countess of Lonsdale’s S&R
A Trip To ?Jardine Hall
James Porteus’ Dusting Sieve
James Porteus’ Lamentation For Old Dr Clapperton
James Porteus’ Lamentation For Old Dr Clapperton
A Hornpipe
End of Porteus Section
The Old Spedlings Castle Ghosts Dance transferred to Wm Irwin’s Folio MS
Wee Willie’s Strathspey composed by the authors son only 9 yrs of age
Miss richardson’s Jig
Wee Annie’s Hornpipe
There are only two hornpipes in the whole of the Porteus coll. Both are given here. [where?]
Minuette by Wm Irwin
The celebrated Cuckoo Solo by Vivaldi with a variation Solo by Wm Irwin [! chutzpah !], Keswick. Very little suggestion of a cuckoo.
Six Airs for the violin by Henry ?Tilbary
(One of the others is The Moonlit Bower, another Waltz by Weippart
A March by Wm Robinson ‘vivace and sweet’
The Schottische (the first in the collection) ‘this is played rather slower than the Polka’
The Bloomers Polka
The Drum Polka
A Polka turned into a Quadrille(6/8) by Wm Irwin ‘the above as a quadrille’
Also ‘Aria written for Paganini by ?Mayseder’
Come Again O Pescator from ?Lowell Mason’s Song Book For The School Room
Mr Irwin’s Favourite Waltz by Wm Robinson
The Schottische
A Polka Follows
And then a Waltz By Strauss
The Bloomers Polka
Croppies Lie Down
The New Bridge of Glasgow ‘first printed in 1850 composed by T Porteus’ cf Levie Gordon
Greig’s Strathspey-Nathaniel Gow’s Favourite ‘Nathaniel Gow said of this tune “It is the first Strathspey that ever was penned
The Queen’s Triumph by Hugh Gilmore (Reel)
The Queen’s Jig ditto
Speed The Plough by John Moorhead 1800
A Quadrille by Wm Irwin
Bonnie Dundee
Greig’s Strathspey
Sherriff Muir 2nd set from Gow’s Coll.
Hewitson’s Hornpipe by S.W. Wigton Cumberland
Maid of Isla
The Kaffer’s Polka
Scotch Hornpipe by Wm Irwin [very Scotch snappy but not very Scotch]
The Cuckoo’s Hornpipe [Wm. I]
A Quadrille by Wm Irwin with a Minore strain
A Polka [King Pippin]
A March, Napoleon’s
A Hornpipe, The Rights of Man
The 4th dragoons march
Lea Riggs with variations
A Hornpipe by Wm Irwin
A March Napoleaon’s
Summer is Coming ‘a splendid reel’
General Jackson
The Golden Stream Varsoviana, Montgomery
Varsovianas begin here in the MS, by Montgomery, H Farmer and Strauss
Sir Roger De Coverley [as usual]
Montgomery’s ‘Silver Lake’ Varsoviana is the only opne I know
Laughing Gallop
Bridal Waltz Julien
Anni Schottische
Various Schottisches including The Ranelagh by E Fitzwilliam
And The Corsair
Various Mazurkas including The Rose of Castille by montgomery
And la ?Calamaica ditto
Prince Imperial Gallop
The Lal(Little) Scottische by Wm Irwin
Christmas Comes But Once A Year (Greensleeves) – Old English Dance
Imitation of Bagpipes on the violin
The Lads of Dunce- very like copy in Kershaw – Dunce Dings A’
Miss Ann’s Hornpipe
Buchers (?Butchers) Hornpipe
Patronello a country dance
Here’s a Health to All Good Lasses – arr. For violin and flute duet [but not transcribed so]
Potabellow Hornpipe
The Miller of Drone – strathspey
Green Grows The Rushes O – reel
Hornpipe cf Lancashire Hp
Cameron has got his Wife again – see under there’s nae luck Kershaw MS
The Twelfth of August or Peter Wren’s Hp
Morgeana in Ireland see Kershaw’s MS
Rory O More the ?… ? from ?Irish airs
“By Parker of Penrith” at the bottom of the page, perhaps refers to a variation of the last Air
Garrick’s Hornpipe and other tunes in the oblong MS
Robinson Hornpipe [Mountain or Man?]
Hope’s Hornpipe
Harding’s Hornpipe
The Original Varsoviana
Fragment of Silver Lake
The Triumph a country dance
Star of the Ball Redowa by Montgomery
Hornpipe (Modal)
When Arthur first in Kirk began to wear long hanging sleeves (in good king arthur’s day)
Bannister Hornpipe
Lancaster Hornpipe
Iron Legs a Hornpipe
Manchester Hornpipe
Haste to the wedding much as usual
Basset’s Lasses
A Hornpipe by Wm Garret/Garnet
Durham Hornpipe (see end of Wm Irwin oblong MS)
The Cacoucha A Spanish Valse (bound up at the end)
Chappel Hornpipe


There are approximately 210 tunes referred to by name in AGG’s notes to the Wm Irwin Folio MS, of which she has transcribed 68.


AGG evidently had access to the manuscripts in the early/mid 20th C (?), when she made these partial transcriptions.
Subsequent enquiry has failed to reveal their present whereabouts.
Her notes to the “1838 MS” specifically mention there being 312 tunes, of which she names only 150, and the “Folio MS” notes name at least 210 titles from an unknown total, so there are/were at least 522 tunes in the original MSS, of which we still have 108.

In 1939 A.G.G. wrote an article about Lake District musicians.
 “Some Old Lake Country Fiddlers and Their Tune Books” by Anne Geddes Gilchrist. from The Journal of The Lakeland Dialect Society, Issue No.1, November 1939, p16.
In the article, after writing about William Irwin and then Henry Stables (as Irwin’s pupil) she says:-
“Another old fiddler’s book in my possession is that of Matthew Betham”. (Currently in VWML)
It is not exactly clear whether she is implying that she owns Stables and Irwin’s books or just that of Henry Stables, or that she has merely borrowed them from the families or indeed from Frank Kidson’s collection. It is clear however that she is talking, in 1939, about the actual MSS and not her transcriptions, for she mentions the tunes Bonny Cumberland and Bonny Westmorland, and neither tune appears in her transcription. (see above).

Another article of relevance -
"The Almost Forgotten Musical Heritage of Lake District Reels And Hornpipes" By Dr S.T.Chapman From the Westmorland Gazette, May 8th, 1987

An article about William Irwin written by Greg Stephens :-
"The Life and Times of William Irwin, 1822-89"

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