Traditional folk music, dance
and customs - Harrogate, North Yorkshire - Chas Marshall's Website
I was born in Tadcaster and christened plain
John Marshall. I originally thought that our family was descended from
an old Tadcaster family, but my brother Robert's research has revealed
that my great, great, great grandfather emigrated from Ireland to Yorkshire
during the potato famine in the late 1840s.
When our family moved to Harrogate I attended
the Grammar School where Malcolm Johnson, who was seated at the desk right
behind me, started to call me "Charles" - for reasons known
only to Malcolm! This was later shortened to "Chas" and the
nickname stuck and was adopted within the folk scene in which I was soon
to become involved.
a look at Barber's Shop towards the end of this page!
Malcolm and I were members of a teenage
R and B group called "The Railroaders" with Stu Beever,
Ken and Colin Vince. The ticket alongside shows a price of three
shillings and six pence - 17.5p in today's money! Malcolm and I
began to visit the Harrogate Folk Club in the mid 1960's when it
was held in the West Park Hotel. I have been interested in things
folk ever since, developing a love for most aspects including music,
song, drama and dance.
Over the years I have been involved
with many different folk clubs and folk groups including:
- a folk group with ace fiddler Kevin Briggs and guitarist Dave Chapman.
Winners of the Tarn House Trophy for the Group Section in the Fourth
Dales National Folk Contest held in Gargrave during November 1973.
It was around this time that I helped Ray Black to run the Harrogate
Folk Club when it was held in the Harrogate and West Yorkshire Employee's
Social Club in East Parade. Ray is still busy running the Tap and
Spile music session and was, until relatively recently involved with
the Friday 13th Folk Club.
- a folk group with Peadar Long, Bob Thomas and Tony Bayliss. Paedar,
Bob and Tony went on to play professionally as Kitsyke
Will for a while. After Kitsyke Will folded Bob Thomas, Tony Harris
and I played for a while under the hugely original name of "Thomas,
Harris and Marshall"!! Bob's vocal talents are still on display
with the Wakefield based band the Solicitors
and Tony Harris is currently playing with the excellent trio Hoover
the Dog. Tony Bayliss continues to be active musically with his celtic
rock and roll band Jiggerypipery.
- a Bradford based Ceilidh Band with whom I "depped" for a while
playing the mandola.
Hop Back Jig and Village
Hop Band - Ceilidh Bands
Mummers - research into
the mummers play led to the discovery of a local mumming tradition
- the Blue Stots' Plays. See Publications
and Articles. In 2004 the Knaresborough Mummers reached their
30th "birthday" and Hedingham
Fair were commissioned to produce the celebratory card shown
below. Roosters Brewery were
also commissioned to produce a celebratory ale, named "King
Slasher" after a character from the Blue Stots' Play. The Pump
Clip shown alongside depicts Knaresborough Mummers founder member
John Burrell in his customary role of King Slasher. During his 30
years with Knaresborough Mummers, John has clocked up some 1500
- Pontefract based Cotswold Morris side specialising in the Bucknell Tradition.
Hornblower Morris - Ripon based Cotswold
Morris Team which was superceded in 1982 by Ripon City Morris Dancers.
Lupton's Ladle Laikers - I was the first musician and a founder
member for this Harrogate Ladies' Morris Team formed in the Queen's Silver
Jubilee year of 1977.
City Morris Dancers - I was the first Captain and a founder of
this men's North West Morris team which was formed in 1982.
The Harrogate Folk Packet - an umbrella
name used by local folk groups and clubs who staged the show "Alive
and Kicking - a Miscellany of Morris, Musing and Mumming" at the
Harrogate Theatre in June 1987. I was both co-writer and co-producer of
this show which was based on some of my ideas, after we were approached
by the Theatre to put on a fundraising production. This one-off performance
raised £1000 for the Theatre and involved Betty Lupton's Ladle Laikers,
Knaresborough Mummers, Ripon City Morris Dancers, Claro Sword and Morris
Men, Blind Jack's Folk Club and Fred Pigeon's Polka Band. The full script
is available in Publications and Articles.
and Bone Gang - I was
yet another founder member of this Harrogate based team developing
dances based on Paul Davenport's "Forgotten Morris".
Preston Morris Dancers - this team was formed by the merger
of Preston Royal Morris Dancers and Royal Lancashire Morris Dancers.
See Publications and Articles. I plan to
be involved in the developments for the Preston Guild celebrations
- a clog step dance team formed in 2002.
More recent activities
include working with Mark Ellison on the Blind
Jack Project - a Yorkshire
folk song initiative in aid of Henshaws
Society for Blind People, supporting musical activities at Henshaws
College in Harrogate and Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre in Knaresborough.
The Blind Jack CD cover is pictured alongside.
Recent activities include working with
the Northern Lights
from the Northern Dance Centre and the Clogfest
Clogfest is a unique celebration of
step dancing which takes place annually in Skipton. Its the
only festival exclusively for step-clogging dance community - not
Morris, Appalachian, or any other dance style.
With the help of Heather Hazell and
Dave Blight, I have assisted the Northern
Lights with the music for their folk dance productions at Clogfest
and the Llangollen Eisteddfod in 2007, 2009 and 2011. I recently
worked on a rapper sword dance with Damien
Barber and competed at DERT 2010.
I was recently working with the Harrogate
Dramatic Society on a production of Dad's Army. One scene, "The
Godiva Affair", includes some morris dancing.
The full cast of Dad's Army in the
finale sketch "The Floral Dance" - October 2011
I hold a small
stock of Nick Barber's Tune Books and CDs for local delivery or
collection - I think of this as my "Barber's Shop"! The
English Choice (the red book) with
the Bonny Kate and Lovely Nancy CDs
English Selection (the blue book) with
the Grand Chain and Oldham Rant CDs
English Rebellion CD Four Across
Nick and Mary Barber CD Crossword
The prices are very competitive. Alternatively,
for those living further afield from Harrogate why not try online
at The NickWorks Shop?
For more information (since publication)
about the tunes in English Selection and an alphabetical tune index
In the 1960s and 1970s it was often
necessary to become a member of a folk club and club-goers were
issued with membership cards. This is a fine example from the Brig
Folk Club showing some etched glass from the venue which was the
Adelphi in Lower Briggate, Leeds.
On the subject of the early days, why
not check out Mark Ellison's
wikispaces web site for information about of the history of
folk clubs in the Harrogate area?
Over the years I have tinkered with
stringed instruments such as guitar, mandolin and tenor banjo, but
now I play mainly anglo-concertina.
Why www.crimple? The river Crimple runs through
the southern parts of Harrogate and this I chose for my host name after
exhausting other more obvious possibilities which, I discovered, were
already in use! The Crimple name was also used in the early days of the
Harrogate Folk Club by the Crimple Mountain Boys, a bluegrass/old-timey
band which included the talents of Robin and Barry
Dransfield and Roger Knowles. ICI Fibres once had a Research Division
close to the river and Crimple was used as the basis of the name "Crimplene".
Updated February 2013.