Buckley, Robert J


Collection date: Jun 1911

Area: Staffordshire

Robert J Buckley of Abbots Bromley: 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 obviously a musical child. He was born c1846 in Abbots Bromley, son of Robert Buckley Snr, master tailor and his wife Margaret. Robert Snr was born at Trelane, Co Monaghan, while Margaret was born in Liverpool of Irish extraction. In 1871 at Abbots Bromley Robert John Buckley Jr had set himself up as a ‘Professor of Music’ and then moved to Bordesley to carry on his teaching by 1881. He and his wife Mary had 5 children.

Perhaps he was already thinking of changing his work to that of journalism, as in the 1881 census he was accommodating Gustav Bertram, a foreign correspondent. In 1891, 1901 and 1911 he was described as a journalist. Perhaps he met Sharp in that capacity.

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

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