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Source: Playford (1653), Millar.

Setting: A longways set of couples.

Version: 1.1

It is not necessary to stay synchronized to the music for this dance.

Up a double and back, two times. The first couple casts off and leads down the outside, followed by everyone else, and back up the center to place.

Arched hey: All take hands; the first couple faces down, and goes under an arch made by the second couple, then over the third couple, and so forth all the way down and back, followed by all the other couples. When each couple reaches the end they turn around.

When the first couple returns to the top, they stop; when every one else returns to their original position, they stop as well.

First couple turns by the right in the center, then by the left with the twos, then by the right in the center, and so on down the entire line.

Transcription (1653 Playford, provided by Dani Zweig):

Lead up all a D. forward and back 3. times, cast off, meet below and come up, do so 3. times: First Cu. go down under the 2. Cu. arms, the 3. come up under the first, do this forward and back twice or thrice.

First man set to the 2. Wo. then to his own, then to the 3. Wo. then to his own, then to the 4. Wo. then to his own, and so to all the We. and men, then your Wo. do the same: then arm them as you set to them arming your Wo. then your Wo. as much.

Lead up again, then turn your Wo. with your right hand, and the 2. with your left, your Wo. falling as you turn, till you come to your place, then your Wo. do the same, you following her, the rest doing these changes.


A dance with this name is mentioned as early as 1551, but that mention is probably not the same dance. According to the Cunningham article on early references to ECD, the following item appears in a list of clothing: ``Thre garmentes of sarsenett for them that daunsed trenchmore,'' 1551/2, Feuillerat: Revels of Edward VI. However, since Playford's Trenchmore is a longways dance for as many as will, it seems that this mention of clothes for just 3 dancers would be referring to a different dance. Other references to Trenchmore in succeeding decades (given in the Cunningham article) also seem to be referring to a dance which is not a longways dance.

The book ``The British Broadside Ballad & Its Music'' has a few references to Trenchmore:

Lodowick Barry's play Ram-Alley, act III, scene i: Justice Tutchin says: ``Well I shall catch him in a narrow roome,/Where neither of vs can flinch; If I do,/Ile make him dance a trenchmoore to my sword.'' The author lived from 1580 to 1629; I'm not sure about the date on the play.

The Roxburge Ballads, volume XII, has a ballad, probably post-period, which is entitled ``The West-Country Jigg: Or, A Trenchmore Galliard.'' However, this use of ``Trenchmore'' is definitely as a place-name in this instance.

The detailed set of steps we have comes from Playford in 1653, over 100 years later than the first mention. The steps given above correspond to how my local SCA group dances it. Playford repeats the first section 3 times instead of 2, the arched hey `twice or thrice,' and has the first couple set down the line and turn back up it instead of just turning down the line. The music given in Playford is similar to the first part of the songs ``Tomorrow the Fox Will Come to Town'' and ``Willy prethe go to bed,'' which date back at least to 1609, in Thomas Ravenscroft's books.

There is a similar dance named Chiaranzana in Il Ballarino, which dates from 1581.