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More from Tamsin Lewis

Maiden Lane

Maiden Lane – a “country dance” from John Playford’s English Dancing Master, 1651.

The dance and its melody is thought to be named after Maiden Lane in Covent Garden, and it is just one of a great number of dances called for London places.

Situated between the Covent Garden Market and the Strand, Maiden Lane was originally a path running from Drury Lane to St Martin’s Lane along the southern edge of the ‘Covent Garden’: that is, the Convent Garden, belonging to the Benedictine monks of Westminster Abbey, and providing produce for their table. The street was first called Maiden Lane in 1636.

A statue of the Virgin stood at the Eastern end of the lane, and this may be the origin of the name Maiden Lane. Another explanation is that it is a corruption of the Middle-English word ‘Midden’.

Famous residents over the centuries include Louis Napoleon, Benjamin Disraeli, Voltaire and the artist J.M.W. Turner. Edward VII and Lily Langtry dined in Maiden Lane and William Terriss, a celebrated actor of his day was murdered here by a crazed understudy in 1897.

Eleanor Cramer: bass viol
Christopher Goodwin: cittern
Peter Kenny: drum
Tamsin Lewis: violin

The Red Bull

A dance from Playford’s Dancing Master (1698) thought to have been named after the Red Bull Playhouse, an inn-yard theatre, built in 1605 in what is now Haywood’s Place. During the early part of the 17th Century, the theatre was used by the Queen’s Men, and their performances rivalled those at the Globe and the Fortune.
During the Civil War and Interregnum, when other theatres were closed or destroyed, the Red Bull remained open, offering illicit performances of jigs, drolls, rope-dancing and much more.
It was demolished during the early years of the Restoration, but its location, Red Bull Yard could still be seen on Ogilby’s map a few years later.

The Red Bull dance doesn’t appear in the Dancing Master until 1698, but the melody is thought to date from c1619.

More in United Kingdom

The Hurlers

High up on the Cornish moors are three unique stone circles.

Merlin’s Mechanical Museum

The wonderful inventions of John Joseph Merlin, immigrant, instrument maker, and socialite extraordinaire. With a poem about his inventions, to listen to while walking around Hanover Square.