The Biddlestone hornpipe

There are 2 recordings of a tune by this name.

The Biddlestone has been added to 14 tunebooks.

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Three settings

X: 1
T: The Biddlestone
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:D/|G>d B>G F>A D2|E>G c>e d>B G>B|(3cde (3ABc (3Bcd G>B|1 A>B A>G F>A d>:|2 e>c A>F G2 G||
|(3d/e/f/ |g>d B>d f>a d2|(3efg c>e d>B G>B|(3cde A>c (3Bcd G>B|A>^c e>g f>d e>f|
g>d B>g f>a d2|(3efg c>e d>B G>B|(3cde (3ABc (3Bcd G>d|e>c A>F G3|
X: 2
T: The Biddlestone
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
D2|G>d B>G F>A D2|E>G c>e d>B G>B|(3cde (3ABc (3Bcd G>B|A>B A>G F>A d>D|
G>d B>G F>A D2|E>G c>e d>B G>B|(3cde (3ABc (3Bcd G>d|e>c A>F G2:
|:(3def|g>d B>d f>a d2|(3efg c>e d>B G>B|(3cde (3ABc (3Bcd G>B|A>^c e>g f>d e>f|
g>d B>g f>a d2|(3efg c>e d>B G>B|(3cde (3ABc (3Bcd G>d|e>c A>F G2:|
X: 3
T: The Biddlestone
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
D2|GdBG FAD2|EGce dBGB|(3cde (3ABc (3Bcd GB|ABAG FAdD|
GdBG FAD2|EGce dBGB|(3cde (3ABc (3Bcd Gd|ecAF G2:|
|:(3def|gdBg fad2|(3efg ce dBGB|(3cde (3ABc (3Bcd GB|A^ceg fdef|
gdBg fad2|(3efg ce dBGB|(3cde (3ABc (3Bcd Gd|ecAF G2:|

Fourteen comments

The Biddlestone Hornpipe

A Northumbrian tune by the great Northumbrian piper Billy Pigg, who composed several others. (He died in 1968.) I find it hard to imagine it going quite as well on an instrument other than the Northumbrian pipes, but I like the tune and others out there might as well.

The Biddlestone Hornpipe

The first part’s played through TWICE, in the usual dance tune manner - my notation erred ( as usual), so the midi only plays the first part once.

The Biddlestone hornpipe

Nice hornpipe. Whats a biddlestone ?

Biddlestone

It’s a hamlet in Coquetdale, Northumberland (UK) where Billy Pigg lived for some time. He learned the pipes young; he worked on the buses; later he worked as a shepherd; he had a heart attack, and it’s really after that that he devoted himself to playing. There is a farm there - I assume Billy worked and / or lived on it, but don’t know for sure. Ancient Monument map-script indicates "Biddle Stones" - they must be stones positioned or inscribed by early people.

True origin of the “Biddlestone”

In ancient times in Northumberland there used to be a custom of inscribing the name of the village’s most hated person onto a stone. Every man on his way home from a night’s drinking would have to "biddle" on the stone to show their disrespect for that person and whatever atrocity they had committed, e.g. adultery. Some women would even biddle on the stone when nobody was looking. The word "biddle" is an old dialect word for "widdle" ("biddle" is the older form; as time passed the hard "b" plosive came to be pronounced with the lips slightly apart, and this sound eventually became the "w" we know today).

Another definition of “Biddlestone”…

Well, noxious, I nearly put down the following, which I now present:
"HA! Well, a biddle-stone was a round stone about two inches in diameter, which had to be swallowed by the loser in a Northumbrian drinking bout. If it wasn’t passed in the normal manner within a week and returned to the landlord, the unfortunate carrier would be banned from the only pub in thirty miles, while the landlord eagerly awaited his demise and the subsequent autopsy…"

Biddlestone Hornpipe - each part’s played through once only, acc. tunebook

According to the Northumbrian Pipers’ Second Tune Book where my reference to the tune resides, each part is down to be played ONCE only -that’s what caught me out transcribing it. That cancels my above comment that the first part was to be played twice…(though it needn’t stop people playing each part 47 times if they really want to…)

And now to try and find out what "Biddlestone" REALLY means…

…I haven’t found what "biddle" means, but I gather there’s a stone circle there.

Biddlestone Hornpipe

Nicholas, I have a transcription of this with the parts played twice. If played only once, it sounds too flingy, so I think that might be a mistake in the NP tunebook. Here’s how I have it:

X: 1
T: Biddlestone, The
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: hornpipe
K: Gmaj
D2|G>d B>G F>A D2|E>G c>e d>B G>B|(3cde (3ABc (3Bcd G>B|A>B A>G F>A d>D|
G>d B>G F>A D2|E>G c>e d>B G>B|(3cde (3ABc (3Bcd G>d|e>c A>F G2:
|:(3def|g>d B>d f>a d2|(3efg c>e d>B G>B|(3cde (3ABc (3Bcd G>B|A>^c e>g f>d e>f|
g>d B>g f>a d2|(3efg c>e d>B G>B|(3cde (3ABc (3Bcd G>d|e>c A>F G2:|

A couple of little typos in there. Anyway, here’s one without the swing notation:

X: 1
T: Biddlestone, The
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: hornpipe
K: Gmaj
D2|GdBG FAD2|EGce dBGB|(3cde (3ABc (3Bcd GB|ABAG FAdD|
GdBG FAD2|EGce dBGB|(3cde (3ABc (3Bcd Gd|ecAF G2:|
|:(3def|gdBg fad2|(3efg ce dBGB|(3cde (3ABc (3Bcd GB|A^ceg fdef|
gdBg fad2|(3efg ce dBGB|(3cde (3ABc (3Bcd Gd|ecAF G2:|

Re: The Biddlestone

The High Level Ranters have an amazing version in their album "Four in a Bar."

Re: The Biddlestone

On an earlier LP, it is listed as Jane of Biddlestone.

Re: The Biddlestone

Just seeing this now. This is really interesting. I have the Amazon digital albums. "The Biddlestone" is in their album "Four in a Bar" and "Jane of Biddlestone" is the second hornpipe in the set with "Alston Flower Show" in the version of "Ranting Lads" that I have.