In 1982 Ken Sheffield published the first volume of From Two Barns. The plan was to produce a book of ten dances each year for ten years; other activities got in the way, as they tend to do, but ten books were eventually published, the last one in 2005.
Volume 10 includes a short history titled “Why From Two Barns,” which explains the title of the series, and how and why they happened.
The original dances and tunes are presented here as individual PDF files. Dances originally published on two pages are in one PDF file. You may also download an entire volume as one PDF; search for the word Complete along with the volume number under Title.
you must credit Ken Sheffield and the CDSS Online Library;
you may print and redistribute the dances, and build upon Ken’s work;
all new work must carry the same license, so any derivatives must also be non-commercial in nature.
Ken Sheffield Biography
How Did I Get Mixed Up with Folk Dancing?
Apart from the “Music and Movement” programme on the Schools Broadcast, pre-war when I was seven or eight, I was not involved in any sort of dance activity. However at a choir supper, just after the Queen had been square dancing in Canada, the entertainment was a session square dancing run by a gentleman who organized a club in Aylesbury. From then on I used to spend Thursday evenings at this club.
A few weeks later I started off on my old motorbike to go roller skating at Princes Risborough and was obliged to take to a layby by a car on the wrong side of the road. The layby was about two inches deep in white mud which had run down off the Chiltern Hills. Both the bike and I changed colour! Even my black helmet was white!
Returning home to change I found my friend Bob, who had arranged to take his girlfriend, Betty, to a dance at Long Crendon, waiting for me. Unfortunately her mother would not let her go unless her elder sister went as well. He had arranged for me to partner the elder sister. The girls went off on the bus from Quainton to Long Crendon and we took off on the bike.
To Bob’s chagrin it was a folk dance, to 78 rpm records, played on a wind-up gramophone. Shortly after this escapade Bob and Betty split up leaving me with two new activities, which have endured for over sixty years, English folk dancing and, shortly afterwards, a wife.
Since completing the From Two Barns series in 2005, Ken has not been idle; indeed, far from it. While organizing holiday weeks at Halsway Manor over a 20-year period, he and his musician friends, Peter and Susan Swann, worked through some of the approximately 400 tunes Ken found while working his way through original English dance sources. The result is a new publication, still under construction, called The Century Collection, of 107 tunes with associated dances, rarely seen in the last 100 years. When ready for publication, The Century Collection will be published by CDSS.
From Two Barns: Ten Country Dances (mainly from Thompson, Wright and Wilson), compiled by Ken Sheffield
This online collection of approximately 100 English country dances comes from some earlier collections (e.g., Thompson; Wilson; Wright) as well as dances composed by Ken Sheffield. Both the music notation as well as instructions for the dance are provided.