BackJill Lawrence



Jill lived in Gloucestershire, and published a book “Dances for Gloucestershire”.  The introduction reads:

Music and dances by Jill Lawrence of Bourton-on-the-Water.

I began by composing dances for two country dance groups, one at Bishops Cleeve, the other at Charlton Kings.  Hence The Jolly Bishop of Cleeve, Nan of Cleeve, Bishops Hey, Charlton Fancy, Kings Ring and Kings Frolic.  'Nan of Cleeve' is Nan Sayce who teaches dancing at both groups.

Friends and Neighbours is for both groups who are just that!

Dance for Audrey was written for Audrey Armstrong who, for thirty-two and a half years, was Glos. District Secretary, from which post she retired in May 1980.

Cotswold Capers and Cheltenham Merry-go-round are for the Cotswold hills and for my nearest town.

Cowley Manor was composed for the house and grounds where so many of us have spent enjoyable dance and song week-ends.

Jill's Jig tells its own story!

Ding Dong Merrily is a dance I was asked to make up for Christmas set to a Christmas carol.

Barry Special was written at the request of a group of dancers from Wales, who come to our County Club, and who have 26 members in their group!

Fennessy's Fancy was written at the request of Marjorie for a seven couple dance.

O. Macnamara's Maggot is a small tribute to Olive, to whom I have always sent my dances and who so kindly teaches them at her Country Dance Courses.

Contents

YearTitle
1973The Jolly Bishop of Cleeve
1973The King's Crown or A Charlton Fancy
1973Friends and Neighbours
1973Nan of Cleve
1974The King's Ring
1974Dance for Audrey
1974Cotswold Capers
1974The Cheltenham Merrygoround
1976Cowley Manor
1967Jill's Jig
1978Kings Frolic
1979Bishops Hey
1979Ding Dong Merrily
1981The Barry Special
1981Marjorie's Request or Fennessy's Fancy
1982O. Macnamara's Maggot
1983The Windrush
1983Gloucestershire Mixer

The underlined titles are links to dances which I have put on my website in my own words, and I will probably add others.  If you'd like to see the dances as Jill wrote them, you can download the book as a PDF or a zip file containing GIF images of the pages — thanks to Marge Hendy and Hugh Stewart.

Background

In 2019 I asked people for information about Jill Lawrence and her dances.  Robert and Hazel Moir replied:

We first met Jill's dances when we were in the North East.  The Newcastle Group was a group of very experienced dancers while we were the young newcomers!

The pianist was Stanley Hutchinson who also played countrywide at weekends of dance.  Our Newcastle leaders attended such events often at Burton Manor and brought Jill's dances back for us to dance.  We thought she was ahead of her time, including figures which were unusual.  Our favourite is “The Jolly Bishop of Cleeve”.

When we moved to Gloucestershire we attended the weekly Cheltenham group and Jill was one of the members.  She was amazed to discover that we already knew her dances.

Jill lived at Winchcombe in the Cotswolds. She died a few years ago.  She danced and played her squeezebox at Cheltenham, also attended Gloucester County Club and occasionally called there.

Marge Hendy tells me that Jill played the concertina, which explains why she probably didn't think in terms of chords — I've added my own chords to her tunes on my website.  I agree that Jill was ahead of her time and I really like some of her dances, though I don't think her tunes are as good.  If you have more information about Jill, please Contact me.

Hugh Stewart's Dance Finder says that in addition to “Dances for Gloucestershire” Jill produced a later book “Dances for Gloucester” which contained most of dances from the first book but also:

Title
Castleways
David of Dean
Sudeley Castle
Three Score Years and Ten

Marge says she's sure there was a second book.  Neither the Moirs nor Marjorie Fennessy know anything about it.  If you do, please tell me!

Hugh says:

I rather suspect she produced “one book”, but it evolved as she wrote new dances and just added them to her master copy so next time she ran off some photocopies the “one book” expanded.

My dance index was a merging of various sources, so I suspect “Dances for Gloucester” and “Dances for Gloucestershire” might have been the “one book” in different guises.