Langport’s first charter was given by Elizabeth I in 1562 and incorporated by James I in 1617; and one of the last battles in the Civil War was fought here in 1645. Amidst so much tumult, however, people managed to preserve some gaiety in life. One proof is the huge amount of music from this period, whether dance, song or instrumental.
The Historical Dance Society offers a chance to recreate and enjoy some of this music. Dance tunes Mon Desir, the Quarter Branles and others Elizabeth I might have known will resound from Barrington Village Hall. A day of workshops on Saturday 15th October will introduce musicians and dancers of all kinds to music from 1562 to 1645. Evidence for these tunes comes from documents such as the 1594 Willoughby manuscript, conserved in Somerset Heritage Centre.
The workshops are led by Frances Eustace and Colin Thompson, of the Baroque ensemble Doves Figary. Between them they play viol, violin, recorders, hurdy-gurdy, pipes, rebec and crumhorn, and will welcome players of any acoustic instrument to explore Tudor techniques. Dance specialist Ann Hinchliffe will teach the steps of the period in a separate workshop, and dancers and musicians will come together at the end of the day for a final fling with a few surprises.
Doves Figary and Ann have performed at venues across Somerset, including Barrington Court where Wolf Hall was filmed. The workshop day is sponsored by the Historical Dance Society and places can be booked on 01935 472771 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Part of the Willoughby manuscript showing the Quadran Pavan (top) and further down, the dance mysteriously called Tinternell. Could this be an old spelling of Tintinhull, and what is the connexion with the village?
Doves Figary playing for a Tudor dance in Barrington Court, NT.