Oxford Ramble

Speed the Plough



A Taste of Ale

Six for Gold

Knock at the Knocker, Ring at the Bell

The Robber Bird

Three Quarter Time

The 25th



Printed Source

A.D. Townsend, A Second Collection of English Country Dance Tunes, Serpent Press, 1983.

The First of May

Oxford Ramble track 3

This is a version of the tune Fishar's Hornpipe, from the Headington Quarry concertina-player William Kimber.

The tune is known by a number of titles: 'Fisher's Hornpipe', 'Fisherman's Lilt', 'The Egg Hornpipe'. And it is unclear which Fisher or Fishar it is named after - possibly James A. Fishar, who was dancer, musical director and ballet master at Covent Garden during the 1770's. There's a good summary provided by Andrew Kuntz's The Fiddler's Companion.


This track encapsulates the "village band" sound of early Magpie Lane. It was recorded with six musicians in a fairly small circle, all playing and being recorded live:

Andy Turner - anglo-concertina
Mat Green - fiddle
Isobel Dams - cello
Tom Bower - recorder
Heather Bower - clarinet
Mandy Townsend - hammer dulcimer

Only Ian Giles' percussion was added later.

Watch Video
Magpie Lane / As I walked through the meadows / First of May
The start of our very first concert, 3rd May 1993, Holywell Music Room, Oxford.