Amble On Down

The village of Amble on Down lies in Lummoxshire.

Amble on Down is a living tradition (as Chipping Camden and Abingdon) which is among the most recently discovered. It is said to have maintained a continuous tradition for over 350 years. The first US performance of this tradition appears to have been in 1991, but as with all information about AOD this is difficult to verify.

The tunes for the tradition were collected from the side's concertina player Nigel "Squeezer" Sweet (N"S"S). The tradition is not mentioned by either Sharp or Bacon in their published works; however a set of inserts for Bacon does exist. In tracking down their origin, I received the following message by email on 1994 Sep 28:

I don't know if you have seen the actual Bacon pages yourself, but the tunes were collected from N"S"S. There are several theories as to why Amble was left out of the orginal Bacon edition. The most popular one is that, following Sharp, Lionel Bacon felt that the Amble tradition was not worth inclusion. Recent research has revealed that the Amble inserts were lost by Michael Blandford. It seems that Michael was forced to leave the Dashwood Arms in Kirtlington rather quickly, after having sung The Egg Song there. Unfortunately, he left behind the only copies of the Amble-on-Down Bacon inserts. These were discovered by Ian Harris of the Kirtlington men. Although Ian thought the inserts worthless, being a devotee of a curious sport called "paper chase," took them for use in this sport.

When the Amble men themselves emerged from obscurity, Ian realized that he had possibly the only written record of the actual Amble-on-Down tradition. It is in this way that the Amble Bacon inserts were brought to the attention of the morris world.

Having said all this, I think the proper attribution of the collector of the Amble tunes should be: Collector unknown, by way of Michael Blandford, through Ian Harris. I hope this clears up any confusion.

Davis Sweet
Newtowne Morris Men

My wife obtained our copy of the AOD inserts from Rebecca Jordan of Lemon & Capers Morris. It also appears that several of the NTMM can provide them.

N.B.: I have been told that the original AOD inserts contain information which does not appear in the copies that I have. It may thus be that not all AOD inserts are complete.

Steve Allen <>