Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Jenny Dang The Weaver

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

JENNY DANG THE WEAVER (Musselborough) (R8x32) 2C (4C set) Johnson RSCDS Book 12

1- 8 1M+2L turn RH 1½ times, 1L+2M turn RH 1½ times
9-16 1s and 2s repeat above Fig
17-24 1s lead down, back to 2nd places and turn LH
25-32 2s+1s R&L

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

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Instruction Videos

Jenny Dang The Weaver - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

The title of this dance, Jenny Dang The Weaver, relates to Jenny Dang The Weaver - Song written by Sir Alexander Boswell (1775-1822), sung to the earlier air Jenny Dang The Weaver (1733).

Jenny dang, Jenny dang
Jenny dang the weaver
But soon the fool his folly kent
For Jenny dang the weaver

Jenny Dang The Weaver Song - Information Video

Many explanations exist regarding the meaning behind the lyrics. They may reference an argument between the composer's wife and his handy-man; a powered machine called a Spinning Jenny (invented in 1764) that replaced a weaver to produce cloth that could be said to 'dang' or 'beat' him; or it may simply be a song about a weaver who makes unwanted advances toward a lady called Jenny, who turns him down flatly, or 'dangs' him.

James Hargreaves (1720-1778) was a weaver, carpenter and inventor who lived and worked in Lancashire, England.

He was one of three men responsible for the mechanisation of spinning: Hargreaves is credited with inventing the spinning jenny in 1764; Richard Arkwright patented the water frame in 1769; and Samuel Crompton combined the two, creating the spinning mule in 1779.

Dispute Over Hargreaves' Contribution
False claims were being made about Hargreaves as early as 1835. A ferocious legal battle had been mounted in the 1780s to have Richard Arkwright's most important patents annulled. Thomas Highs had claimed that he was the true inventor of both the spinning frame and the spinning jenny. Conflicting evidence as to the circumstances of several inventions was canvassed, and although Arkwright's patents were annulled, the question of authorship was not settled.

Richard Guest, writing in the Edinburgh Review, introduced several errors, and a distorted view of his life and contributions has persisted ever since. Parish burial records show that Hargreaves (misspelt as "Hargraves") did not die in the workhouse, as had been claimed; other records show that neither Hargreaves's wife nor any of his daughters bore the name Jenny, contrary to a myth repeated in school textbooks as late as the 1960s, children's books as late as 2005 and on educational websites to the present day.

The 'jenny' refers to an engine, a common slang term in Lancashire in the 18th century, and encountered occasionally even now.

Jenny Dang The Weaver
Jenny Dang The Weaver, From Glen Collection Of Printed Music, Printed Music, Lyric Gems Of Scotland, c. 1856

Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original Jenny Dang The Weaver article on Wikisource.
Text from this original James Hargreaves article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright under this Creative Commons Licence 4.0.

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