Bishop, The (1788)

Original Publications:

  • Twenty Four Country Dances for the year 1778, published by Chas. and Samuel Thompson, London 1777
  • Thompson's Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances Vol 4, published by Saml., Ann & Peter Thompson, London 1780
  • Original notation for The Bishop

Modern Interpretations:

  • The Apted Book of Country Dances, edited by W S Porter, Marjorie Heffer & Arthur Heffer, published by W. Heffer & Sons Ltd, Cambridge UK, 1931
  • The Playford Ball, Kate Van Winkler Keller & Genevieve Shimer, The Country Dance & Song Society, Boston USA, 1990 (repeating the Apted interpretation)


The Apted Book reconstruction has:

  • changed the tune to Miss Dolland's delight
  • changed the rhythm from a jig to a reel
  • added a gypsy
  • added gates
  • does the movements at each end
  • splits the circle

This dance is much loved by modern folk dancers.  However, it has little resemblance to the original and is certainly not a dance from 1778 as many Ball Programs would have it.  1931 would be a much better date!


  • Longways for as many as will (triple minor)



A1 1-4 First man cast off into second place leading with left foot, the 2nd man moving into his place.
A1 5-8 First man and 3rd woman turn two hands once around.  Although expressed here as two 4-bar phrases this should be seen as one eight bar movement with the cast ending close to the 3rd woman, moving straight into the turn.  It is not inconceivable that the turn would have been counter clockwise to maintain the momentum of the man's movement.
A2 1-4 First woman cast off into second place leading with the right foot, the 2nd woman moving into her place.
  First woman and 3rd man turn two hands around.  As above, treat this as one eight bar movement with a clockwise turn.
B1 1-4 First couple lead to the top if the dancers are uncomfortable with taking 4 bars to lead from the middle to the top then make this a 2 bar lead with the first couple doing (say) a rigadoon step at the top before casting off.
B1 5-8 and cast back to middle place again, if 4 bars is too long, complete the cast back in 2 bars and dance (say) a rigadoon step on the side.
B2 1-8 Take hands in a ring of six and circle left with a slip step back to this place again, if 8 bars seems too much music, circle half way in 2 bars, do (say) a rigadoon step, continue the circle on to place and do another (say) rigadoon step.

[Bold text represents original instructions and light text represents interpretations by Michael Barraclough]

© Michael Barraclough, 21 April 2021

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