Clews, John. MS

Date uncertain, possibly c1800 (see below), though it contains the date 1832. Stoke on Tern, Shropshire. Currently owned by Mr John Hardy, Audlem, Cheshire (together with 2 more handwritten books of hymns and psalms marked Ash Church, 1837. 48 tunes comprising mainly military marches, Scottish airs, minuets. A number of tunes are for 2 or 3 instruments. J.Clews thought to be a fiddle player.

Transcribed into ABC by Neil Brookes, 2006.

Introduction by Neil Brookes:-

A tunebook from the family of Mr John Hardy, fiddler and retired farmer from Audlem, Cheshire. He also has a fiddle which was possibly owned by the author, Mr John Clews of Stoke upon Tern, N. Shropshire.

Mr Clews was not related to JH, but the book was passed on to JH’s grandfather who was also a fiddler.

The signed (in two hands) book is dated 1832. Some of the tunes were possibly added at a later date. The tunes near the end of the book show an interest in Scottish airs.

Mr Clews was obviously a skilled musician and wrote the tunes accurately, with the inclusion of grace notes etc.

Some of the marches are arrangedfor 2 or 3 voices.

The discovery of this book led to further research and the discovery of the four “Ash” manuscripts belonging to Mr R. Hughes.

Thanks to John Hardy for the loan of photocopies of the MS.

Neil Brookes 2006.