Marquiss Of Carmarthen’s Birthday hornpipe

Marquiss Of Carmarthen's Birthday has been added to 5 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: Marquiss Of Carmarthen's Birthday
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
D2 F2 F4 | F2 A2 A4 | d2 f4 ed | edcB A4 |
D2 F2 F4 |F2 A4 d2 | {d}c2 BA B2 ^G2 | A4 A,4 :|
a2 A4 a2 | g2 A4 g2 | f2 gf e2 d2 | c2 Bc A4 |
d2 D4 B2 | A2 D4 f2 | {f}e2 d2 e2 c2 | d4 D4 :|

Nine comments

Marquiss Of Carmarthen’s Birthday

I found this tune (which should be in 2/2) in a pile of tunes I had lying around in the glory-hole I call home. I have no information as to its origin and there is no information whatsoever on the web. I have it as a Welsh tune but, like most traditions we stole and renamed tunes from others. I want to include it in a book of Welsh trans-tradition tunes so any information would help.


The tune appears in Walsh’s "Caledonian Country Dances", Vol II Part 1 (p.29), c.1736.

The title "Marquess of Carmarthen" was created in 1689, and there were about four of them leading up to the publication of the tune by Walsh. The title "Marquess of Carmarthen" was given to members of the Osborne family (also Dukes of Leeds, Barons Osborne of Kiveton and other titles). One of the descendants of this peerage is George Osborne, the current Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Westminster Parliament, so play this tune with this in mind!
If you could work out which Marquess it was composed for (one of 4, by the looks of it) you’d know which date it was commemorating.
I don’t think any of them were actually Welsh. Most likely born in England (probably Yorkshire), so it’s not certain to be a Welsh tune, given its subject matter and place of publication (also used for a "Caledonian country dance"!).
I may think about playing it when George Osborne loses his post as Chancellor…..

All this info is on the internet, BTW.

Thanks for the attribution. I can now place it. It might not have originated in Wales but, like many others might be a tune that a pragmatic minstrel brought back over the border; oh, for those pre-copyright days.

Having collected tunes for my book, it’s surprising how many inter-tradition tunes there are.

Lumbers, a tune from the Gower is, to all intents and purposes, Soldier’s Joy. The very Welsh sounding Ty a Gardd, is a Danish nursery rhyme.

Thanks for all the info, I knew about Duke of Leeds (but, thanks for looking) just couldn’t find the tune.

Thanks again

It’s an ‘English Country Dance’

All that Weejie has already shared, but just to focus on one important part of that… While many ‘English’ country dances have been picked up and added to the repertoire of Cymdeithas Ddawns Werin Cymru/The Welsh Folk Dance Society, this is one they seem to have passed over. That makes me curious to see if I can suss out why, other than the obvious thing of the title. There was a time when all the collections were being combed to in a sense mine them for anything with any reference to anything Welsh, such as a place name, including and especially the likes of Playford and Walsh, by such EFDSS and CDWC luminaries as Pat Shaw. Place names are easier to stomach than dedications to the English upper classes. :-D

It’s a nice tune, but we never heard it played in Cymru/Wales at any of the sessions or gatherings we attended, which were many, including as performers, musicians and dancers. That’s not to say that someone might have picked it up and adopted it as their own, or since we left in the late 90s. It’s also one, knowing the man, that Robin Huw seems to have passed over. I also never came across it in the collections in Cymru/Wales, but it might just not have registered. I’ve had my nose in the Walsh manuscripts many times, and maybe the dust of all those old tomes has had an effect, or it could just be age.

Recent such mining is represented by the collection:
“Y Mân-Dlysau Cymreig / The Cambrian Trifles” by W. Burton Hart (1812)
edited by Robin Huw Bowen
Cymdeithas Ddawns Werin Cymru/The Welsh Folk Dance Society, 1994

"Place names are easier to stomach than dedications to the English upper classes. :-D "

How about "The Towel Folder’s Reel"?

Taffy was a Welsh Man Taffy was a Thief :-)

It might well have been "acquired" from an English source but, wasn’t that how tunes spread?

Living deep in the valleys, nearly all the music I now play is Welsh, even though I started out listening to English folk. The tune, therefore, was probably garnered from a Welsh source somewhere and found its way into the haphazard mess that is my tune file.

We also have to remember that the old guys (I point you to Cass Meurig’s Alawon John Thomas) were pragmatists and took tunes from anywhere if they felt that an audience would pay to hear them. Anyway, if the Waters of Tyne can make it all the way from Newcastle to south Wales to become Ar Ben Waun Tredegar and Soldier’s Joy can become Lumbers, then why not.

As a Lancastrian who has spent half his life in south Wales, I would rather see it as a Welsh tune than give the credit to the white rose.

Isn’t this a bit like saying "H R H The Prince of Wales (21st) Birthday" is a Welsh tune? [It’s a Scottish pipe march].
"The Prince of Wales’ Welcome to Malta" might be even more problematic.
It also looks like you are letting the long passed Wars of the Roses get in the way of accurate attribution.

I’m not so much interested in the origin of tunes but, rather where they are played. I have given my putative book the sub-title Songs FROM Wales rather than Songs OF Wales.

It’s only been 500 years since the end of the War of the Roses and we hold a grudge. As a Liverpudlian, they are, however, slightly above Manchester and certainly preferable to southerners :-)

"I’m not so much interested in the origin of tunes but, rather where they are played. "

And this tune is played in Wales? Is your book concerned with songs or tunes, or both?

"It’s only been 500 years since the end of the War of the Roses and we hold a grudge."

As Langley came from Hertfordshire, and Crouchback came from London, even the Houses of York and Lancaster seemed to be held by interloupers. I’m not sure if Scousers should be holding a grudge for battles that had nowt really to do with geography.