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Promoting the Bagpipe Revival since 1986

The Bagpipe Society

An 18th Century English Bagpipe Maker

The advertisement overleaf is from the Oxford Journal from Saturday 6th April 1776.

There are lots of things in here worth discussing! Not least is the reference to John Darcy being a maker of barrel organs that can play Psalm tunes, minuets and Country dances – Paul Roberts mentioned one of these in one of his papers on English fiddle music.

He also makes bagpipes that are perfectly in tune that can also have additional keys added. He must have been a master craftsman evidenced by the array of instruments he was able to make. He was in advanced years in 1776, so, for the sake of argument, say aged 76, he would have been born around 1700 and so around when John Simpson published the Bagpipe Tutor and so may well be one of the makers referenced in the tutor that had added additional keys to the chanter. Both John Simpson and John Geoghegan were ignorant of these makers, so the fact that he was provincial, based in Oxford could account for this.

By Holgate, Andrew

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