Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Deil Amang The Tailors

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

THE DEIL AMANG THE TAILORS (R8x32) 3C (4C set) RSCDS Book 14

1- 8 1s+2s set and dance RH across ½ way, set and dance LH across ½ way back to place
9-16 1s lead down the middle and back to top
17-24 1s+2s dance Allemande
25-32 2s+1s+3s circle 6H round and back. 213

(MINICRIB, Dance Crib compiled by Charles Upton, Deeside Caledonian Society, and his successors)


The Deil amang the Tailors
Anon   RSCDS Book 14
Reel   8 x 32 bars   3 Couple Repeat   4 Couple Set   Longwise Set

  1-4   1s2s set and right hands across halfway;

  5-8   1s2s set and left hands across halfway;

  9-16 1s lead down the middle and back to the top, finishing 1s 2s on the centre line in allemande hold, facing up;

17-24 1s2s allemande;

25-32 2s1s3s 6 hands round to the left and back.

(MAXICRIB, Scottish country dancing instructions compiled by Reuben Freemantle)


Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams


Dance Instruction Videos

The Deil Amang The Tailors - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

"Deil Amang The Tailors" is Scots for "Devil Among The Tailors".
The tune was composed by James Scott Skinner (1843 - 1927) a fiddler and composer from near Aberdeen. But the story behind the title goes back further.

On 15 August 1805, a play called "The Tailors: a Tragedy for Warm Weather" starring William Dowton, was presented at a London Theatre called "The Little Theatre in the Hay". The London tailors took exception to this satire on their craft, and thousands rioted both inside and outside the theatre. The special constables on duty were helpless against overwhelming odds, so a troop of Life Guards was called in. Sixteen prisoners were taken; and the rest of the rioters dispersed.

So effectively did the Life Guards do their work that it was likened to a skittle ball ploughing through the skittles. Thereafter, the game of Table Skittles, or Bar Skittles, was often called "Devil Among The Tailors"
Also see the Beatles film "A Hard Day's Night" - especially Ringo Starr's part.

Dance information by Sir Christopher MacRae, KCMG.


The game, Deil Amang The Tailors, involves nine small skittles arranged in a 3 x 3 square, usually within a shallow open-topped wooden box sitting on a table-top. The wooden ball hangs from a string or chain attached to the top of a vertical wooden post rising from one corner of the box. The aim of the game is to knock down the skittles by swinging the ball in an arc round the post (rather than aiming directly at the skittles).

It is also the name of a game in which each player spins a spinning top with a string, to knock down skittles, earning points for doing so. This game is quite a large table game, around 1M x 1.5M The game may be referred to as "De'il Amang The Tailors" in Scotland.

Deil Amang The Tailors - Information Video

Devil among the tailors Image
Deil Amang The Tailors


Dance Information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence.
Text from this original Devil Among The Tailors article on Wikipedia.

Back to the top of this Scottish Country Dancing Instructions 'The Deil Amang The Tailors' page