Joshua Burnett Ms
Joshua Burnett was born in Barnsley in 1808. Although his birth is not recorded on the International Genealogical Index, this date is consistently given in Census returns from 1851 to 1871. The next record of his existence is his marriage, on 22nd August 1833, to Sarah Luker at Worsborough, which lies a few miles south of Barnsley. By the time the 1841 census was taken, they had four children and were living at Worsborough Common. Joshua’s occupation at the time is given as “weaver”.
A family tragedy is recorded by the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent in 1847. The Burnett’s third son, three-year-old Joshua, whilst in the care of a sibling, dropped asleep and fell in the fire and was fatally burnt. His Mother was out, hoping to borrow a shilling to buy food, the family being in great distress due to the lack of work. By 1851, the date of the next Census, Joshua had moved with his wife and five children to Gawber, on the north-west side of Barnsley. His occupation is given as “linen weaver.” His wife, Sarah, died in 1855, and the death of another daughter, Esther, is recorded in 1863. Joshua stayed in the same area, eventually living with his youngest daughter, Sarah and her family, in Pogmoor. He died, aged 80, in 1889.
The manuscript is unusual, in that includes a high proportion of hornpipes (77%), with only a handful of jigs, reels and other dances, which are much more common in other contemporary collections. It could be that this is one of a series of books kept by Burnett, and that others might contain more tunes of other types. It could also be that he specialised in playing hornpipes. If, as a poor man, he had to supplement his meagre income as a hand-loom weaver by playing his fiddle in local public houses, then hornpipes would be a suitable choice. It is also possible that he accompanied a step or clog dancer, or even played and danced at the same time. There are also an unusually large proportion of the tunes in keys other than “D” and “G,” the most popular keys in tune manuscripts, particularly those associated with fiddle players. The frequent setting of tunes in “A,””F,” and especially “Bb,” suggest that Burnett was not only a very capable musician but also that he played in a group with other instruments, such as flutes, clarinets and bassoons, possibly in a church band. A printed music book of hymns was also kept with the fiddle, which may support this theory.
No date is given in the manuscript. Internal evidence from the tune titles suggests that it may date from the 1830s: after Waterloo (1815) and the Great Reform Act (1830), during the reign of King William IV (1830-1837).
The contents of the manuscript, with their Village Music Project identifiers, in order of appearance, with the original spelling is as follows:
1. Hesley Hornpipe JBu.01 2. Fiddlestisks Hornpipe JBu.02 3. Untitled JBu.03 4. Miss Gordons dance JBu.04 5. Sheffield Hornpipe JBu.05 6. King Wm Hornpipe JBu.06 7. Abbott's Hornpipe JBu.07 8. Miss Gordon Hornpipe JBu.08 9. Untitled Waltz JBu.09 10. Untitled JBu.10 11. Chatam Hornpipe JBu.11 12. young may mon, the JBu.12 13. A Favourite Jigg JBu.13 14. Clyde Side Lasses JBu.14 15. Milto Hornpipe JBu.15 16. Logie of Buchan JBu.16 17. Hearlequeen Hornpipe JBu.17 18. Downs Hornpipe JBu.18 19. Peacock Hornpipe JBu.19 20. Hornpipe JBu.20 21. Hornpipe JBu.21 22. Hornpipe JBu.22 23. Reform Hornpipe JBu.23 24. Tumblers Hornpipe JBu.24 25. Keys Hornpipe JBu.25 26. Butter fly Hornpipe JBu.26 27. Brown Paper Hornpipe JBu.27 28. Hornpipe JBu.28 29. Weste Hornpipe JBu.29 30. Lady of the Lake, The JBu.30 31. Dance in Rob Roy JBu.31 32. Lord Byron JBu.32 33. Cumberland Reel JBu.33 34. Oyster Girl JBu.34 35. Masons Apron JBu.35 36. Fly, The JBu.36 37. Reel JBu.37 38. Manchester Hornpipe JBu.38 39. Saxons Hornpipe JBu.39 40. Nelson Hornpipe JBu.40 41. Haste to the Wedding JBu.41 42. Through the Wood Laddie JBu.42 43. Swaines Hornpipe JBu.43 44. Liverpool Hornpipe JBu.44 45. Morison Hornpipe JBu.45 46. Miss Anns Hornpipe JBu.46 47. Hornpipe JBu.47 48. Sligo Hornpipe JBu.48 49. Speed the Plough JBu.49 50. New Gipsey Hornpipe JBu.50 51. Sheffield Rant JBu.51 52. Month of May, The. JBu.52 53. Worsbro Hornpipe JBu.53 54. Kershaw Hornpipe JBu.54 55. Sharps Hornpipe JBu.55 56. Coopers Hornpipe JBu.56 57. Hornpipe, A. JBu.57 58. Robinson Hornpipe JBu.58 59. Old Nelson Hornpipe JBu.59 60. Downs Third Hornpipe JBu.60 61. New London Hornpipe JBu.61 62. Hornpipe JBu.62 63. Fishers Hornpipe JBu.63 64. Waterloo Dance JBu.64 65. Paganninis 2nd Hornpipe JBu.65 66. Greenage Hornpipe JBu.66 67. Blanches Hornpipe JBu.67 68. [Untitled] JBu.68 69. Ashley JBu.69 70. Mony Musk JBu.70 71. Durham Hornpipe JBu.71 72. New Castle Hornpipe JBu.72 73. Preston Hornpipe JBu.73 74. Hornpipe JBu.74