The London Gentlewoman


The London Maid

The London Gentlewoman or Hemp-Dresser is an English Country Dance. It was published by John Playford (website) in 1651 in The English Dancing Master, London. It was interpreted by Charles Bolton (website) in 1986 and published in Retreads Vol.2. Originally proper this version is a 4 Couple Longways dance with the 3s, 4s improper. In this dance the couples are permuted by: 2413. It is a USA dance. The minor set lasts 32 bars. It is in the key: G Major.

Playford writes:

Lead up all a D. forward and back That again First man change places with the 2 wo Then with the 3. main Then with the 4 wo. then with the 5. man Then with the 6. And so to the last.
Sides all Lead up as before As before the we. doing it All do this changing as before
Sides all That again First cu. cross over, fall into the 2. place Cross again fall, fall into the 3. place Cross again, fall into the 4. place And so to the end, every cu. doing the like
Arms all That again Turn your own wo. changing plaes Turn each the second Turn each the third Turn each the fourth, and so to the last, the rest following

Originally a proper longways dance for as many as will (a set dance, not a minor set dance).

The animation plays at 120 counts per minute normally, but the first time through the set the dance will often be 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 dances of Charles Bolton (including interpretations like this one) are licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: CC BY-NC-SA license by the CDSS Online Library.
An online description of the dance may be found here.

I.A1-4Up a Double, and back
5-8Down a Double, back
II.A1-4Right Siding
5-8Left Siding
III.A1-4Right Arming
5-8Left Arming
IV.A1-4Down a Double, back
5-8Up a Double, and back
B1-4In fours: 1st corners change by right, 2nd by left
5-8Middle women change by right, middle men by left
C1-4End couples partner two hand turn once and a half
5-8Face neighbor, two hand turn once and a half
D1-4New ends cross, go to nearest middle place as middles wait and lead out
5-8All set forward to partner, turn single back to place

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.

If you wish to link to this animation please see my comments on the perils of youtube. You may freely link to this page, of course, and that should have no problems, but use one of my redirects when linking to the youtube video itself:

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The dance itself is out of copyright, and is in the public domain. The interpretation is copyright © 1986 by Charles Bolton. And is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: CC BY-NC-SA license. My visualization of this dance is copyright © 2021 by George W. Williams V and is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: CC BY-NC-SA license.

This website is copyright © 2021,2022,2023,2024 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.