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.
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.
Watch out for the Kitsyke Will reunion
concert at Knaresborough's Frazer Theatre on Friday 7th November
2014 as part of the Knaresborough Mummers' 40th anniversary celebrations.
They are also performing other at other locations and dates around
- 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
November 2014 the Mummers celebrated their 40th anniversary!
- 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.
- a clog step dance team formed in 2002.
Jack Project - assisting Mark Ellison on this 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.
- is a unique celebration
of step dancing which takes place annually in Skipton. Its
the only festival exclusively for the step clog dance community
- not Morris, Appalachian, or any other dance style. In recent
years I have been co-opted on to the committee.
Lights - is the name of a folk dance display from the
Northern Dance Centre, originally founded by Margaret Allenby-Jaffe
BEM. Heather Hazell, Dave Blight, Dan Harman and I have provided
the music for folk dance displays at Clogfest and the Llangollen
Eisteddfod in 2007, 2009 (when the team won first prize in their
competition) and 2011. I also worked with Northern Lights rapper
sword team under the tutelage of Damien
Barber. The rapper team competed at DERT in 2010. Northern
Lights will be appearing at Llangollen again in July 2014.
Dramatic Society - in 2011 I was asked to help with the
production of Dad's Army. One scene, "The Godiva Affair",
includes some morris dancing. Here
is a video including a montage of photographs and a full clip
of the morris dancing.
The full cast of Dad's Army in the
finale sketch "The Floral Dance" - October 2011
Clog - when time permitted,
I played for the dancing of this lively clog step team. Sadly lack
of transport makes this impossible any more.
The Stean Cottage
Band - an occasional mini-band with Nick and Mary Barber.
a look at my Barber's Shop towards the end of this page
Anglo CD - Nick Barber has finally cajoled me into recording
some tunes for him, which I did in February 2017. He has made a
splendid job of creating a CD including contributions from himself
and his wife Mary.
As Nick says on his
website "an exceptional collection of really interesting tunes
beautifully played on solo anglo concertina by Chas Marshall. Hear
the anglo concertina as it really ought to sound. Every penny of
the modest £10 (+£1 p&p) price goes to Chas's chosen
charities - the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Great
North Air Ambulance".
Nick found inspiration
for the cover from the book called "The Compleat Angler"
by Izaak Walton.
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? As a result of correspondence
concerning the sad passing of Ernie Green, one the founding fathers
of the Harrogate Folk Club, I received
this file containing some early photos from Alan Kind, the son
of Stuart Kind who appears in some of the pictures.
Over the years I have tinkered with
stringed instruments such as guitar, mandolin and tenor banjo, but
now I play mainly anglo-concertina.
My lovely wife, Viv Graham, was stricken
with Motor Neurone Diseaese far too early in her life and sadly died on
17th April 2020. In the last months, when the carers took her to bed,
she would say to me, through her Eye Gaze PC, "Good night John Lewis
Website Design Engineer". I guess that there was some predictive
text in that remark, but I still decided to create a page for her and
here it is.
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 June 2020.