Hodgkinson, RFB


Collection date: Aug 1908

Area: Derbyshire

RFB Hodgkinson for the Tideswell morris dance: Tideswell is a village 9 miles E of Buxton in Derbyshire. Cecil Sharp got to know about the Tideswell processional dance from two intermediaries. The first tip off came from Mr Hercy Denman (see separate profile) but the main informant who supplied the tune (FT1799) on 26 Aug 1908 was actually Mr RFB Hodgkinson, a Nottinghamshire antiquarian. He also sent Sharp the morris tune for Taddington village, 5 miles S of Tideswell (FT1800). Sharp acknowledged Hodgkinson's assistance in the preface of Morris Book Pt1 (2nd edition):

Robert Frank Byron Hodgkinson was born at Newark in April qr 1876 (reg 7b 395), eldest son of Robert Hodgkinson Snr, solicitor and his wife Ellen.  Robert Jr became a solicitor like his father in Newark (Hodgkinson & Beevor Solicitors). In 1904 he joined the Thoroton Society, a new historical and archaeological society for the county (founded in 1897) and contributed many learned articles over the years.  He obviously saw or heard about the Tideswell processional dance 50 miles away and communicated this to Sharp.

Sharp re-collected the tune when he himself visited the event on 30 June 1910 (FT2497). He also got a country dance ‘Buttermilk’ (FT2498). In June 1912 he visited again to interview Mr Norman Hill of the Oddfellows Society, who organised the whole-day event. He wrote up these notes in Folk Dance Notes vol2 p159 and finally published the dance in 1912 in Morris Book 1 (2nd ed. pp118-120). He taught the dance a lot in America as part of his lectures and demonstrations (see Sharp’s diary entries in vwml link above).

In October quarter 1916 Hodgkinson married Isabel Freda Bussell, a distant relative of Frederick William Bussell, who arranged some of Baring-Gould’s Devon folksongs. Isabel’s father was vicar of Balderton, a mile or so outside Newark. Robert and Isabel had no children.

Robert Hodgkinson was a Lt Colonel in the Sherwood Foresters (TA). He died on 9/8/1928 at Newark.

The Tideswell tradition is well described by Ian Russell in Proceedings of the Second Traditional Dance Conference ed. Theresa Buckland (Crewe and Alsager College 1983). See also his film 'This is Morris Dancing: The Derbyshire Traditions of Castleton, Tideswell and Winster' (Garland Films 1982).

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