Lincolnshire Folk Song Collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Lincolnshire folk song is the main focus of the collection but there is also material relating to Lincolnshire plough plays, folk music and dialect, as well as English folk song in general. The collection will also be of use to researchers interested in the life and work of Percy Grainger.

The collection comprises:

Correspondence and research material including newspaper cuttings, photocopies of musical scores and transcriptions of Lincolnshire folk songs, and copies of articles, relating to Patrick O'Shaughnessy's publications concerning Lincolnshire and English folksong (LFS 1)

Material relating to Patrick O'Shaughnessy's interest in the life and work of Percy Grainger (LFS 2)

The Grainger-related material includes copies of the transcriptions of English folk song which were made by Grainger and his mother as a means of anotating or noting down the recordings or performances, with accompanying indexes to the transcriptions and recordings. There are also copies of some of Grainger's correspondence held by other individuals or institutions, and photographs of Grainger, which were gathered by Patrick O'Shaughnessy as part of his research for his own publications; also present are ephemera such as concert bills and reviews of books and articles about Grainger.

Sound recordings in analogue format include radio broadcasts, folk songs, and interviews recorded on reel to reel magnetic tape in the 1960s-1970s. The collection includes a copy set on magnetic tape of Grainger's folksong recordings held on phonograph cylinders at the Library of Congress, Washington, America. Many of these songs have been published in some form or another beginning in 1908 when the Gramophone Company (now HMV) began to issue records of genuine folk singers. Also present is a tape supplied by the BBC record library of songs recorded by Joseph Taylor in 1908, and songs obtained by more recent collectors such as O'Shaughnessy, including songs associated with the Haxey Hood Game (LFS 3).

The collection contains no material dated post-1991.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Lincolnshire Folk Song archive was established in the early 1960s at Pilgrim College, Boston, Lincolnshire, as a collection of research materials relating to folk songs from Lincolnshire and South Humberside. Pilgrim College, Fydell House, Boston was founded in 1945 and for many years was an outpost of the Adult Education Department (later the School of Continuing Education) of the University of Nottingham. As at 2016 it provides open studies, certificate, part-time degree, and postgraduate courses as well as a variety of societies and clubs.

Patrick O'Shaughnessy, a former school teacher, writer, and tutor at Pilgrim College, was central to the collection's development and publicity, and its current arrangement represents the activities of O'Shaughnessy in researching his own articles and published editions of Lincolnshire folksong. Patrick O'Shaughnessy was born in 1918 and moved to Lincolnshire in 1944 whilst serving in the army. He settled in the Spilsby area of Lincolnshire after the war, living in Boston, Lincolnshire from 1958. A former teacher at Kirton Secondary School, his interest in local folk song began with the song 'Brigg Fair'. He was also interested in local poetry, ploughplays, and dialect. He died in 2013. A photograph of O'Shaughnessy is reproduced in an article entitled 'The Folk Song Archive at Pilgrim College, Boston' in 'The Minstrel'' September 1983 (LFS 1/15). He meticulously researched traditional Lincolnshire folk songs in order to compile useful annotations for his publications which include:

'Seven Lincolnshire folk songs: from the manuscript collection of Percy Grainger' edited by Patrick O'Shaughnessy; arranged for two-part choir, piano, and percussion (2 players) by Phyllis Tate. London: Oxford University Press, c1966

'More folk songs from Lincolnshire' edited by P. O'Shaughnessy, guitar chords added. London: Oxford University Press, in conjunction with the Lincolnshire Association, c1971

'Twenty-one Lincolnshire folk-songs: from the manuscript collection of Percy Grainger' selected and edited by Patrick O'Shaughnessy, guitar chords added. London: Oxford University Press, in conjunction with the Lincolnshire Association, c1968

'Yellowbelly ballads: a third selection of Lincolnshire folk-songs the majority of them from the collection of Percy Aldridge Grainger' edited by Patrick O'Shaughnessy; guitar chords added. Lincoln: Lincolnshire & Humberside Arts, 1975

'Late leaves from Lincolnshire: folk-songs still in oral tradition there; guitar chords added' collected by Brian Dawson, John Pape & Patrick O'Shaughnessy; transcribed and edited by Patrick O'Shaughnessy. Lincoln: Lincolnshire and Humberside Arts, c1980. Of these eight songs, only one had previously been published.

The Lincolnshire Folk Song archive that Patrick O'Shaughnessy developed, built upon copies of the early recording activities of Percy Grainger (1882-1961). Percy Grainger was born in Melbourne, Australia on 8 July 1882. He studied in Frankfurt before becoming a successful concert pianist in England at the start of the 20th century. In the years 1905-1908, Grainger meticulously studied folksongs, making precise notes about dialect, rhythm, and accentuation. From 1906, he recorded many of these songs using an Edison-Bell phonograph, thereby becoming the first folksong collector to use mechanical recording apparatus. Joseph Taylor was one of the best known Lincolnshire folk singers that Grainger recorded. Grainger later returned to these recordings where he found inspiration for his masterpiece, 'A Lincolnshire Posy' (1937). Frederick Delius also found inspiration in Grainger's notations for his English Rhapsody, Brigg Fair, being a set of orchestral variations on the song 'Brigg Fair', as recorded by Grainger. Percy Grainger died in the USA in 1961.

Arrangement

The collection has been divided into research material relating to Lincolnshire folk song, and material relating to Percy Grainger's work relating to English folk song; the copies of sound recordings relate to both these categories. Published material, including LP vinyl recordings, have been treated as a separate special collection and can be browsed or searched using the University of Nottingham's Library Catalogue. The special collection also includes articles and publications by Patrick O'Shaughnessy and others relating to Lincolnshire folk song, limericks, poetry and dialect.

Conditions Governing Access

Accessible to all readers, but see our Access Policy for details of exceptions. Access to some analogue material is not currently possible due to lack of appropriate equipment.

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all finding aids belongs to The University of Nottingham. Online: Available on the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, accessible from the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Good

Conditions Governing Use

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email mss-library@nottingham.ac.uk).

Some of the items in the collections are copies of material held by other institutions and reprographic copies of these cannot be supplied to readers, because Manuscripts and Special Collections does not hold the original documents. Reprographic copies of other documents can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

Custodial History

The collection was transferred to The University of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections by Pilgrim College in January 1993.

Related Material

British Library, Music Collections and National Sound Archive: The largest collections of music manuscripts and sound recordings in the UK including items relating to Lincolnshire folk music and Percy Grainger.

Various publications and archive collections held by Lincolnshire Archives including: LCM/8/4 Folk Songs and Sea Shanties collected by Percy Grainger, 1908; MISC DON 894 The English Folk Dance & Song Society (Lincs & S Humbs District), 1956-1990. Minutes, agendas, circulars, correspondence, etc.

English Folk Dance and Song Society library and archive, Vaughan Williams, Memorial Library, Cecil Sharp House, London

Bibliography

Boston Preservation Trust 1934-53 and Pilgrim College, Boston [Boston, England?: Boston Preservation Trust?, 1953?], East Midlands Collection Pamphlet Lin 97.J60 PIL Pilgrim College by Cook, A. M. (Arthur Malcolm) [Boston?: s.n., 194-], East Midlands Collection Pamphlet Lin 97.J60 PIL 'Late leaves from Lincolnshire: folk-songs still in oral tradition there; guitar chords added' collected by Brian Dawson, John Pape & Patrick O'Shaughnessy; transcribed and edited by Patrick O'Shaughnessy. Lincoln: Lincolnshire and Humberside Arts, c1980. 'Late leaves from Lincolnshire: folk-songs still in oral tradition there; guitar chords added' collected by Brian Dawson, John Pape & Patrick O'Shaughnessy; transcribed and edited by Patrick O'Shaughnessy. Lincoln: Lincolnshire and Humberside Arts, c1980. 'More folk songs from Lincolnshire' edited by P. O'Shaughnessy, guitar chords added. London: Oxford University Press, in conjunction with the Lincolnshire Association, c1971 'Twenty-one Lincolnshire folk-songs: from the manuscript collection of Percy Grainger' selected and edited by Patrick O'Shaughnessy, guitar chords added. London: Oxford University Press, in conjunction with the Lincolnshire Association, c1968 'Seven Lincolnshire folk songs: from the manuscript collection of Percy Grainger' edited by Patrick O'Shaughnessy; arranged for two-part choir, piano, and percussion (2 players) by Phyllis Tate. London: Oxford University Press, c1966