St. Paul's Steeple

Paul's Steeple

St. Paul's Steeple or Paul's Steeple is an English Country Dance. It was published by John Playford (website) in 1651 in The English Dancing Master. It was interpreted by Scott Pfitzinger (website) in about 2019. It is a proper Duple Minor dance. It is a USA dance. The minor set lasts 96 bars.

Spelled variously: "Pauls Steeple", "Paul's Steeple" and "St. Paul's Steeple".

In 1651 this would be the old St. Paul's, the modern building was constructed by Christopher Wren after the great fire of London, 1666. The steeple of the old church was destroyed by a lightening strike in 1561 and never properly rebuilt.

Playford writes

Lead up all a D forward and back, set and turn S. That againe First man take his wo. into his left hand, lead her down to the 2. wo. take the 2. wo. in his right and slip up with them into the 1. place, cast off the 2 wo. and then his own, and turn off into his place This forward to all the we.

Sides all, set and turn S. That againe First man take his wo in his left hand, lead her down to the 2. wo. take the 2. wo. in his right hand and slide up with them, kiss the 2. wo. hand them with your own wo. and let them go, turning off into your place This forward to the rest

Arms all, set and turn S. That againe First man take his wo in his left hand, lead her down to the 2. wo. take the 2. wo. in his right hand, and setting them back to back in the middle, kiss the second, then your own wo. turning off into your places. This forward to the rest.

This consists of the three standard introductions each followed by a short progressive figure. In Playford's day each figure would run until everyone was back where they started.

It looks to me as if the progressive figures each have only 8 bars of movement, and trying to force them into 16 would make this undanceable. I suggest instead that it takes two figures to fill out the tune. (So I've basically sped the dance up by a factor of two from Scott's interpretation).

The animation plays at 120 counts per minute normally, but the first time through the set the dance is slowed down so people can learn the moves more readily. Men are drawn as rectangles, women as ellipses. Each couple is drawn in its own color, however the border of each dancer indicates what role they currently play so the border color may change each time through the minor set.

The transcriptions and interpretations of Playford dances found on http://playforddances.com/ from the various editions of The Dancing Master are licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: CC BY-NC-SA license.
An online description of the dance may be found here.

Up a double
 
A11-4Up a Double, and back
5-8Partner set and turn single
A21-4That again: Up a Double, and back
5-8Set and turn single
Figure 1 repeats 2 times
 
1-2M1 take W1 in his left hand and draw her down to W2
3-4M1 take W2 in his right hand, and all slip up to 1st place
5-6Left hand high, right hand low
7-8M1 cast into 2nd place as M2 moves up
Siding
 
A11-4Right Siding
5-8Partner set and turn single
A21-4Left Siding
5-8Partner set and turn single
Figure 2 repeats 2 times
 
1-1M1 take W1 in his left hand and draw her down to W2
2-2M1 take W2 in his right hand, and all slip up to 1st place
3-3M1 kiss W2
4-5Left hand high, right hand low
6-6M1 kiss W1
7-8M1 cast into 2nd place as M2 moves up
Arming
 
A11-4Right Arming
5-8Partner set and turn single
A21-4Left Arming
5-8Partner set and turn single
Figure 3 repeats 2 times
 
1-1M1 take W1 in his left hand and draw her down to W2
2-2M1 take W2 in his right hand, and place both women back to back in middle
3-4M1 kiss W2 who then moves into W1's place
5-6M1 kiss W1 who then moves into W2's place
7-8M1 cast into 2nd place as M2 moves up

If you find what you believe to be a mistake in this animation, please leave a comment on youtube explaining what you believe to be wrong. If I agree with you I shall do my best to fix it.

< Prev Top Next >

The dance itself is out of copyright, and is in the public domain. I do not have a date for the interpretation, so it may be under copyright. My visualization of this dance is copyright © 2022 by George W. Williams V and is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website is copyright © 2021,2022 by George W. Williams V
Creative Commons License My work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Most of the dances have more restrictive licensing, see my notes on copyright, the individual dance pages should mention when some rights are waived.