Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Honest George

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

Honest George (R8x32) 3C (4C set) Lewis N Derrick 1988

1-8 The 1st couple set and giving nearer hands dance down between the 2nd couple, divide and cast behind the 3rd couple, meet below and dance up between the 3rd couple to end back to back in second place facing own sides. The 2nd couple step up on bars 3-4
9-16 The 2nd, 1st and 3rd couples dance double triangles, the 1st couple ending back to back in the centre facing own sides
17-20 Passing right shoulders, the 1st couple dance round their partner's first corner, while the corners (2nd man and 3rd woman) turn one another by the right hand and dance back to places taking the full four bars
21-24 Passing right shoulders in the middle, the 1st couple repeat bars 17-20 with their partner's second corner, while the corners (2nd woman and 3rd man) turn one another by the right hand and dance back to places taking the full four bars. The 1st couple end in second place on own sides
25-32 The 1st woman with the 2nd couple and the 1st man with the 3rd couple dance right hands across. The 1st couple pass right shoulders then the 1st man with the 2nd couple and the 1st woman with the 3rd couple dance left hands across

Repeat having passed a couple

(Dance Crib compiled by the deviser, Lewis N Derrick 2020)


Dance Notes

Bars 17-24 are an inverted corners pass and turn as the 1st couple are passing their partner's corners rather than their own.

(Dance notes by the deviser, Lewis N Derrick)


Dance Information

This dance, Honest George, was devised to commemorate George Dempster of Dunnichen MP (1732-1818), Provost of St Andrews. Dempster Terrace and Dempster Brae are named after him, he was a popular public figure whose nickname was 'Honest George'.

Suggested tune: Calabria.

Devised February 1988; first published 1992; republished electronically 2020.

Copyright 1988, 1992, 2020 Lewis N. Derrick.


George Dempster of Dunnichen and Skibo FRSE FSA (Scot) (1732-1818) was a Scottish advocate, landowner, agricultural improver and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1761 and 1790.

Dempster founded the bank George Dempster And Co. (also known as the Dundee Banking Company) in 1763, was a Director of the East India Company from 1769, and served as Provost of St Andrews (1780) and a Director of the Highland Society of Scotland (1789).

Dempster, nicknamed Honest George, was a key figure of the Scottish Enlightenment and respected as an "independently minded, incorruptible and moderately radical MP". He dedicated the later years of his life to improving Scottish fishing and agriculture and improving the living conditions of his tenants.

Honest George
Honest George
"Portrait Of George Dempster Of Dunnichen" George Willison (1741-1797), Oil On Canvas, c. 1786


Dance information from The McGhie Scottish Country Dance Books, Volume 5, The Real McGhie And Other Scottish Country Dances, reproduced here with the kind permission of the deviser, Lewis N Derrick.
Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original George Dempster Of Dunnichen article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright George Willison / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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