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The Senhouses of Netherhall were one of the pre-eminent landed gentry families in the English County of Cumberland. They became extinct in the twentieth century, and a large quantity of family papers were deposited in the Cumbria Archive Centre. Among them are some music manuscripts. In about 2006 myself and the late Barry Callaghan visited Carlisle Castle, where they were then kept, and photographed what seemed the most relevant items.

That which we called Humphrey Senhouse Manuscript #1 (catalogued as D/Sen 12 Box 239_1) from 1747, has been transcribed into ABC Music Notation by Anne Wride for the Village Music Project.

Go straight to ABC file

Go to PDF of transcription


The squarish well-bound book has a marbled cover. On the flyleaf in the top left-hand corner is "T.C. AD 1748". At top centre is "Humphrey Senhouse his Book 1748". Bottom left in a modern hand is "D/Sen 12 Box 239_1" ( the archive number)

Then follows the music.

The first eleven tunes are in a neat and mature hand (Hand A) and are accompanied up the side of the first tune ("Cuckoo Solo") by "Humphrey Senhouse", in handwriting that is quite different from the later Humphrey Senhouse. Apart from the first tune, all these items are Corelli, and often outside the scope of violin first position. I suppose this to be Humphrey b1705.

These are followed by a single untitled tune (aka Grand Turk's March) in an unfamiliar untidy hand.

Tunes number 12-111 (self-numbered 1-100) are in an immature hand, who I take to be Humphrey b1731, as it says by the first tune "Humphrey Senhouse January 3rd 1746" and by the last tune "Humphrey Senhouse August 6th 1747".
The tunes in this section are a splendid mix of songs, marches, minuets, 3/2 hornpipes and bagpipe tunes, and are often way beyond violin 1st position, possibly for flute? Many of the tunes in this section are very unusual, in that they are accompanied by the tune's source. These citations are gathered and summarised next to the last tune thus (and see below):-
"Ed Stanley 45 - Trevor Corry 20 - Al Home 19 - Henry Mathewman 8 – Gentleman's Magazine 4 – John Casson 4" (adds up to 100, but some of the actual tunes are without citations)

Tunes 112-141 are in a third hand – Hand C. Again eighteenth century, containing many minuets

Tunes 142, 143 are in a more recent hand, untidy but mature and practiced.

A note on the personalities

Humphrey Senhouse (1705–1770) was the High Sheriff of Cumberland. He founded the port of Maryport, and excavated and preserved the Roman fort there, amassing a large collection of important Roman monuments and inscriptions in the process.  

His son Humphrey Senhouse Esq. (1731–1814) of Netherhall, Lieut.-Col. of the Cumberland Militia, was elected at a by-election in 1786 as Member of Parliament for Cockermouth, until the 1790 general election, when he was returned as MP for Cumberland, retiring in 1796. Quick inspection of contradictory online sources says that he either had only one surviving child, a Humphrey, or (more likely) that this son was William, father of Sir Humphrey LeFleming Senhouse, mentioned in Parliamentary Papers Vol 45, p21 1840, viz:-
"Mr Rastrick's Report to the provisional committee of the West Cumberland, Furness, and Morecambe Bay Railway -- Gentlemen, Having by appointment met Sir H. Le Fleming Senhouse, Edward Stanley, Esq. MP and other members of your committee at Maryport, on the 18th of October last, and having had laid before me all the information…..etc."

In 1750 the population of England is estimated to have been less than six million, only one tenth of its present size. The aristocracy had many connections with their local landed gentry, often being business partners, school friends or marriage partners.

The family for many generations were friends of  the Earls of Derby, many of whom had the name Edward Stanley. The 11th Earl of Derby, Edward Stanley, 1689-1776, was too old to be a contemporary of our Humphrey, and the 12th Earl, also an Edward, was not born until 1752, after our manuscript. However, the 11th Earl had ten children.  Our Edward Stanley, of whom I can find no further details, was the third son of the 11th Earl, and therefore contemporary with Humph b1730.
The eldest son, Rt. Hon. James (Lord Strange, of "Lord Strange's/Stranger's Hornpipe"), pre-deceased his father, so the title of 12th Earl passed to James's son, another Edward, born in 1752.
Trevor Corry, perhaps the "T.C." on the flyleaf, may be this person
another contemporary, a later Baron of Poland no less.
Al Home could be Alexander Home, 9th Earl of Home,_9th_Earl_of_Home
Henry Mathewson – Mathewson is a common surname in the Lake District, likewise John Casson, who may be of Ulpha, b1730

Chris Partington, July 2017

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