William Henry Giles MS, Bampton, Oxfordshire Presented to the Cecil Sharp (Vaughan Williams Memorial) Library by Mrs W.R.Kettlewell Apr 1927 Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, Cecil Sharp House QM2286 VMP code “WHG”
Transcribed into abc and edited for The Village Music Project by P.J.Headford, in 2009
This introduction based on notes made by P.J.Headford
Description A typical “fiddler’s tune book”, 71/2inches wide by 31/2inches tall, hard-bound, four printed staves per page. Containing 80 musical items. Mainly dance tunes, some song airs, and hymns at the back.
Inscriptions On the cover, there is a library label reading:- “William Henry Giles Bampton Fiddler MS. Fiddle Tunes”
Inside cover are the rubber-stamped logo of ‘The English Folk Dance Society’ and the following words in a 19thC hand:- “William Henry Giles Bampton Octr. 21st. 1839”
The next page has a label reading:- “Presented to the Cecil Sharp Library by Mrs W.R.Kettlewell Apr 1927”
The next page has (at the top left) QM (at the top centre) 2286 (at the top right) A/3A scrawled in a large, childish hand (in pencil) are the joined letters LM.
The following page carries the first tune (The Conquering Hero). In the top right is a pencilled number 1. These odd numbers continue on each right-hand page. These numbers seem consistent, so I cite them in the ABC file.
On page 2 is a tune – The Arab Steed – marked (in the title line, in larger letters) Wrong. The tune area is also crossed through. The tune is continued on page 3, where it is again crossed through.
The tune “Quick Step” (WHG.032) has the inscription “June 2nd/41 12 oclock at Night”. – the “/41” presumably refers to 1841.
Pages 50 and 51 have no tune notations on them. Page 51 has, in a very childish hand: Jack Pether, molly Pether, Cyril Pether Teddy Pether, mary Shaylor, F G Pether.
There is no date associated with the Pether inscription, and I have not established any connection between the Pether/Shaylor family and the Giles family.
In typical nineteenth-century fashion, the book has been used from each end, secular tunes from one end, sacred music from the other. They meet on page 62 (counting from the labelled end). Some of the sacred tunes have sections marked “Sym” (Symphony), which indicates an instrumental passage.
A number of different pens have been used, and the titles are sometimes cursive and sometimes elaborate block letter. However, the very distinctive treble clef symbol unmistakably shows that all the tunes and hymns were entered by the same person.
Throughout, Giles is inconsistent concerning the notation of rests. I have therefore applied rest lengths which comply with the arithmetic of each measure.
His use of repeat indications is often inconsistent.
Editing My aim has been to provide (where possible) playable interpretations of the tunes, and therefore include notes where I have emended my reading of the MS to make this possible. Applying the notes to the notation I give would therefore “reverse engineer” that notation to give a fair indication of what I could read of the MS.
Jenny Jones (WHG023) has three parts, two on the upper stave, one on the lower, which has no clef, and a # on the top line. I tried assuming treble clef (which made no sense) and bass clef. Tenor clef sounds most musical, but is still a little peculiar.
Approximately:- 17 jigs 12 airs 11 waltzes 8 marches 4 quadrilles 3 reels 3 country dances 1 scots measure 20 hymns
Morris Dancing in Bampton The village is nowadays famous for its morris dancing. Four of the tunes (White Cockade, Flowers of Edinburgh, Black Joke, Sich a Gittin’ Upstairs) have morris associations, but any collection of the time would have had a similar number. Unfortunately no connection between our William and Bampton morris dancing is explicit or implicit.
There are several Bamptons up and down the country. Little Bampton and Kirk Bampton in Cumberland, and Bampton Grange in Westmorland. Straightforward Bampton in Westmorland, Devon, and Bampton (-in-the-Bush) Oxfordshire. Oxfordshire is home to many Giles’s, also Pether and particularly Shaylor are names relatively common thereabouts, much more so compared to the other possible locations, where I found no Giles’s in 1841.
The only Giles family in Bampton, Oxfordshire in the 1841 census are recorded as living in Fisher’s Bridge, on the Buckland Road. Ages are approximate in this census. No other detail is given. Place of birth tends to be haphazard in early census returns. Thomas Giles, 50, Farmer, Born in Oxfordshire?=Y Mary Giles, 50, Born in Oxfordshire?=Y William, 23, Born in Oxfordshire?=N……………Our man? Emma, 15, Born in Oxfordshire?=N
By the 1851 census William is no longer recorded as living in Bampton. Thomas, 63, Farmer, born Ashbury, Wilts/Berks (?) Mary, 64, Wife, born Little ?….?ton Jane Emma, 24, born Clanfield, Oxfordshire
Thomas is an agricultural labourer in the 1861 and 1871 censuses; William Giles is not referred to in Bampton any later than the 1841 census.
Circumstantially, the 1851 census shows a William Henry Giles of the correct age and born in Oxfordshire, this time in Southwark, south of the Thames in London. The address is “General Abercrombie”, Southwark, which I believe became “The Abbey”, in Webber St, Southwark. William H Giles, 33, Licensed Victualler, born Oxfordshire Mary (nee Gander from other evidence), 26, wife, born Surrey Plus various cousins, nephews and servants
He had married Mary Ann Gandry of Herstmonceux, Sussex, in 1845 at St Dunstan’s, Stepney.
He subsequently appears, still as a victualler, with his family at 3 Albert Villas Twickenham, in the 1861 census as born in Oxfordshire, and in the 1871 census,. He died in 1874 aged 57.
I have not been able to establish from the censuses that the two Williams are definitely one and the same person. William and Mary Ann’s marriage certificate may show his father’s name, which might strengthen the connection.