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William Hall Lister MS, 1840-60

A manuscript in the Farne online collection, estimated to date from about 1840-60

East Boldon is a village located between Sunderland and Gateshead. It used to be in County Durham but is now in South Tyneside.

Transcribed into ABC Notation for The Village Music Project by Steve Mansfield, Ruairidh Greig and Mike Hicken

Go to ABC file  

Go to PDF of transcription

We have worked from the incomplete MS on the Farne website so the tune numbering is provisional and shown in square brackets to indicate this.

The manuscript contains tunes from various hands, and is not in its original order. Much of the material requires highly competent musicianship.

It contains a mixture of ballroom items, like quadrille sets, arrangements of popular songs like 'Life's a Bumper' by Richard Wainright, long variation sets, and many fine hornpipes, some credited in the MS to James Hill, some known as Hill tunes from other MSS. Not all pages made it onto the Farne website, we have transcribed what did.

Notes by Matt Seattle, from the Farne website:-

One of several books in the Lockey Collection at Beamish Museum, this tune book contains the signature 'William Hall Lister, East Bolden' [sic.], as well as that of Robert Lister. It is likely that both contributed to the book, like many manuscripts it is the work of more than one hand.

The manuscript is of mid-19th century origin to judge from the contents, and is predominantly a fiddler's collection. It contains many tunes ascribed to James Hill, the most celebrated Tyneside fiddler and composer, as well as other high quality tunes which are anonymous but from the same stylistic school. In addition to the hornpipes, jigs and reels there are some 'ballroom' tunes of the era, which show that Lister was also aware of national as well as local musical fashions.

Notes : Page one of the tune book has suffered severe damage rendering the manuscript on this page illegible. The tight binding of the manuscript has resulted in some loss of text, and faded or badly written manuscript renders the transcription of some tune titles problematic.

Collection description : 19th century fiddlers tune book compiled by William and Robert Lister
Period : 1841-1860
Height : 29 cm
Width : 21 cm
Held by : Beamish Museum

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