Wright, Mr G


Collection date: Mar 1913

Area: Yorkshire

George Wright for the Ampleforth play and sword dance: George Wright was born in Ampleforth but became a railwayman and moved to Darlington, which is where Sharp met him. He is not to be confused with George Wright of Wensley Derbyshire, who gave the Winster morris information to Sharp in 1908. Unfortunately some of the Ampleforth material has been mis-archived under Derbyshire! See also profile of George Fox of Ampleforth.

Sharp visited George Wright in Darlington on two occasions – 27 March 1913 and 18 April 1913, during which time he collected 4 tunes (FT2817-2819) and wrote out much of the play as Folk Dance Notes vol3/pp50-62, continuing into dance figures pp63-66. There are differences between George Wright’s version of the dance and George Fox’s version (see George Fox profile).

In between his two visits Sharp received (on 3 April) the full script for the Ampleforth Play, as dictated by George Wright to his eldest daughter Mrs Ellen Bell, who had travelled from Shildon 12 miles away to act as scribe. This enabled him to reproduce the play in full in ‘Sword Dances of Northern England Book 3’ in the summer of 1913. Folk Dance Notes 3/73-101 also refer.

George Wright was born c 1842, 5th of 7 children of John Wright (1803-95), master tailor, and his wife Jane (née Masterman). George took an apprenticeship as a blacksmith with Francis Rowntree at Brandsby, 5 miles S of Ampleforth (1861 census). He was back in Ampleforth in the 1871 census and was presumably dancing in the Ampleforth team either side of that date.

George married Jane Ann Clark, who was originally from Bristol, in October qr 1877 (Easingwold 9d 845) and he got a job as a plate-layer on the railways. He had moved to Darlington by the 1891 census, to 6 Carter’s Row, where Sharp found him 20 years later. Unfortunately he and Julia lost both their young sons Henry and Alphonso but their 2 daughters Ellen and Selina thrived. 

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