Buckley, Robert J


Collection date: Jun 1911

Area: Staffordshire

Robert John Buckley of Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire (1847-1938): Sharp had already visited the village of Abbots Bromley to collect the celebrated Horn Dance on 12 Sept 1910. His tune from field notebook tunes 1910/3 is reproduced as FT2531a but then Robert Buckley sent another ('quick') tune for the dance to Sharp in June 1911 (FT2531b). This was the tune that Sharp eventually published in 'Sword Dances of Northern England (Songs and Dance Airs) Book 2' (1912) to accompany the dance.

Buckley sent a second tune called 'Flaxley Green' (FT2611) in July 1911, which Sharp was also able to use in the same Book 2 as a substitute tune for some rapper dances. As a child Robert had picked up these tunes from a fiddler when he was young. That fiddler was Henry Robinson (see separate profile).

Sharp's notes on the Abbots Bromley dance figures are in Field Notebook Words 1910/3 pp40ff and he wrote them up as Folk Dance Notes 1/237-243. 

Robert Buckley was born in July 1847 in Ireland, son of Robert Buckley Snr, master tailor and his wife Margaret. He and his parents were all born in Co Monaghan. The family then emigrated and settled in the village of Abbots Bromley in Staffordshire (1851 census). In the 1871 census at Abbots Bromley Robert John Buckley Jr was listed as  a ‘Professor of Music age 24’.

Buckley was a self-taught musician and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. He moved to Bordesley, Aston by 1881 to carry on his teaching there. He had married Mary Park in Abbots Bromley church in Dec 1868 and they had 5 children.

He took up journalism, becoming music critic for the Birmingham Gazette in 1886, a post he held for 40 years. He wrote a biography of Sir Edward Elgar (John Lane 1905). In the 1891, 1901 and 1911 censuses he described himself as a journalist. He also wrote on chess and on Irish affairs. 

Robert Buckley died on 26/12/1938 in Moseley.

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