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Dartford Camp

Longways Country Dance, triple minor
24 Country Dances for the Year 1781, by Thomas Skillern

Honour presence and partner (4 bars)

A1 8 C1 cast to middle and circle left with C3
A2 8 C1 cast up and circle right with the C2
B1 8 All three couples promenade around the set
B2 8 C1 lead down the middle and back, and cast off into 2nd place

When England felt the threat of an invasion by French and Spanish forces in 1779-1780, they mobilized troops and camped them in the south of England to be ready to repel invaders.

On July 20th, 1780, some 5,000 soldiers decamped from Dartford Heath and marched to Gravesend in a military exercise that tested the transportation scheme. When the entire force was shiped from Gravesend to Tilbury and back, it was declared a resounding success.

Dartford Heath was home to some 8,000 soldiers at its peak. The presence of the men was both boon and bane to the nearby communities, which certainly made money from the encampments, but which also suffered numerous incidents. Local belle Miss Ethelinda Margaretta Thorpe, later Mrs. Potts, was inspired to verse:

From yonder Heath the lark no longer soars The grasshopper ceases while the cannon roars– Where sportive flocks one Whiten'd o'er the ground Now bleaching huts are fixed our view to bound; Where the furze phalanx could sweet herbage ward, From prowling herds–now mounts the Captain's guard, Or veterans wait till ovens here disgorge– Or Sutler scores,–and hereto glows the forge.


ins_dartford_camp.txt · Last modified: 2023/01/15 02:13 by mar4uscha