the Pipe and Tabor compendium

the Pipe and Tabor compendium

essays on the three-hole pipe

England: history of the pipe and tabor

Regency Dancing

There is much literary reference to the pipe and tabor being played for dancing in the ballroom for royalty as well as at village celebrations, picnics and on board ship.

"Miss Hop would foot it, toe and heel,
And in the ball-room toil and labour;
So, to win her heart, a highland reel
I learn'd upon the pipe and tabor. "

( 'Love Turned Music-Master' by Charles Dibdin, 1740 - 1814)

Sailors of all classes danced to the pipe and tabor. England was at war with France and large numbers of men were soldiers and in the navy. Whether or not women were present dances were held on board ship, often to the pipe and tabor. A drawing in the Bodleian Library Collection has a midshipman dancing with a 'lady' with pipe and tabor and fiddle providing the music.
1810 Sailors' dance

Star (London) - Tuesday 30 October 1810

1789 1789 player1789 player
1798 newspaper report of a dance, Winchester 1798 fordancing 11798 for dancing 2Hampshire Chronicle - Monday 29 October 1798
player in band
Isaac Cruikshank (1764–1811) depicted the pipe and tabor player in the balcony as part of a band for a ball. from 'Caricature ornaments for screens', 1800.
1801 The King and Queen visited the Staffordshire regiment: 1801 Royal visit to militia
18021802 satirical print of Bonapart playing the pipe and tabor as the powers of Europe dance
In 1803 the British government paid Charles Dibdin (1740 - 1814) to write a series of songs to "keep alive the national feelings against the French." Dibdin's songs were said to be worth ten thousand sailors to the cause of England. He was one of the composers that Jane Austen particularly liked. Dibdin's song 'Entertainments Sans Souci, Finale', includes:
"All you who have light heels
Dance to the pipe and tabor
At country dances and at reels
Try how well you can labour"

An 1803 poem by T Dibdin:

1803 Dibdin

1803 Dancing master broke the law: 1803 Dancing Master Prosecuted

Sun (London) - Thursday 24 March 1803

18051805Northampton Mercury - Saturday 06 April 1805
1806 Masquerade Ball and Supper given by the garrison at Bexhill:
1806Star (London) - Tuesday 13 May 1806
In 1806 a satire depicts the pipe and tabor player working with a fiddler for an aristocratic couple to dance. with fiddler

“Lady Johnstone’s ball and supper: at the Assembly Rooms, York....The dancing commenced about 10 o’clock when every countenance seemed in unison with the merry
pipe and tabor
...  “

1808 Newspaper report on royal fete at Old Windsor:1808 newspaper report on royal fete


1808 Dancing at Greenwich Hill, London; Grand Anniversary Festival 1808Belfast Commercial Chronicle - Wednesday 27 April 1808

1807 Died 1807 diedManchester Mercury - Tuesday 08 September 1807
1811 Died: 1811Oxford Journal - Saturday 19 January 1811
18091809 poemChester Courant - Tuesday 12 December 1809

Kentish Gazette - Friday 03 November 1809

report from Worthing of the Jubilee Celebration:

“The old men were furnished with pipes and tobacco; and the young people with pipes and tabors

player in band1812. In 'Princely Amusements or the Humors of the Family'
George Cruikshank has the pipe and tabor player at
the front of the band.
1812 Birth Day of Princess Charlotte of Wales celebrated at Fisher’s Hotel.
“The Ball was opened about half past ten ... 1812 ballPilot (London) - Saturday 11 January 1812
1812 Venetian Fete: 1812Madras Courier - Tuesday 09 February 1813
18131813 Highgate fete a1813 Highgate fete bHull Packet - Tuesday 06 July 1813

1814 “Lancaster Illumination fireworks, Ball etc in celebration of the happy return of Peace”1814Lancaster Gazette - Saturday 16 July 1814

18141814 danceGloucester Journal - Monday 08 August 1814
Edward Francis Burney (1760-1848) was one of the many who mocked or deplored the speed and physical contact of the newly introduced waltz. In 1815 he drew 'The Waltz'.
player in bandThe orchestra is up in the balcony
with a pipe and tabor player at the back.

On 22nd and 28th January 1816 a supper and ball were given in India with entertainments on the pipe and tabor.  Reported in the Madras Courier - Tuesday 30 January 1816

1818 Fete at Frettenham1818 newspaper cutting1818 contdNorfolk Chronicle - Saturday 18 July 1818
1817 The Dance 1817 The Dance players1817 England
18211821Morning Post - Tuesday 09 January 1821
1822 a satirical print of a taborer playing for dancing outside an inn 1822 satire

1823 Fonthill Abbey celebration:

18251825 orchestraChester Chronicle - Friday 04 February 1825
player for ballIn 1825 George Cruikshank drew 'The Cyprians Ball at the Argyle Rooms'.
He too may have had a pipe and tabor player in the band.

1827 Newspaper report:

“A dramatic corps last week exhibited at Aston Clinton, Bucks ... the music a tabor and pipe, whose jocund sound set the audience a capering”

1826 1826Oxford University and City Herald - Saturday 11 February 1826

1829 Letter to the Bishop of London, extract: 1829English Chronicle and Whitehall Evening Post - Saturday 01 August 1829



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