Open downloadable pdf file: Morvah_Fair
Heppen-Stock: A stone block rather like the old milk churn plats still found at old farmsteads. But were used for mounting one’s horse.
Troachin: To walk slowly
The version of the lyrics for Morvah Fair provided here is from a music manuscript in St Ives museum. This song is also included in Lyver Canow Kernewek with four-part arrangement by Dunstan but the dialect is more limited. Robert Morton Nance offers little explanation about the song except to say that it was inspired by the Old Saying “ Three on one horse to Morvah Fair”. The original has an eight- bar instrumental introduction and Morton Nance probably intended to use it in one of his Cledry Plays which he wrote during the early part of the 20th Century whilst living at Nancledra. Some of these plays were published in a collection under that title in 1956, others remain in manuscript form in the Royal Institution of Cornwall Library (Morton Nance box 4 ). The melodies from the Cledry Plays were inspired by the West Penwith Dialect and in the preface Morton Nance explains: ” the simple airs do not ask for accompaniment or for trained voices to do them justice. They are only a slight extension of the music that West-Penwith voices will put into the dialogue.”
Comments on facebook and email 27-03-2012 following query about meaning of “Three on one horse to Morvah Fair”:
Paul Phillips: ‘It could be just as simple as always getting as many as possible on any form of transport available to get to such a prestigious event. Alternatively may have had the well known dialect saying of ‘always room fer wan moor on the St Just bus.’ Additionally I have the dialect saying, ‘ Three on a donkey will be needed to serve your needs.’ This is said of someone who is very demanding and determined to get his/her pound of flesh, all these people would have been to get to this ever popular event. You will have noticed the dialect word where they all ‘scuffed up’ meaning they pushed themselves as tight together as they could. (to get as many as possible to Morvah fair, such was th importance of ‘being there.’
Sue Ellery Hill: This is VERY close to the words Brenda sang, Merv… don’t recognize verse 7, but the rest is almost word for word. It’s a lovely example of the class structure – they may not be squires, lords, knights or kings – but even with 3 up on one horse, they’re better off than their neighbours, troaching every mile… here you go – with a bit of Richard [Gendall] thrown in… https://soundcloud.com/sue-ellery/morvah-fair
John Ellery Bodrugan: The idea was that there was such a large number of people who came to Morvah fair, even with the huge number of horses they used to get there they were still riding three to a horse.
Andy Norfolk: Margaret Courtney mentioned it in Cornish Feats and Folklore, 1890.”Three on one horse, like going to Morvah Fair,” is an old proverb.” It’s also in Bottrell’s 1st series.