Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

London's Burning

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

LONDON'S BURNING (J4x32) 4C set Sue Petyt Tartan Rainbow
Each couple dance 32 bars. A New Couple starts after 16 bars (i.e. on bars 1, 17, 33 and 49)

1- 8 1s+2s+3s dance reels of 3 on sides (1s in and down to start)
9-16 1s cross RH, cast 1 place, cross LH and cast down 1 place
17-24 (New Couple starts as at bar 1) New couple starts reels of 3 on sides (new top couple in and down to start with original 1s in 3rd place)
25-32 Original 1s+4s facing each other on sides set and change places with nearer hand (1s dancing out), set again to each other and 1s set to partner while new couple dance bars 9-32

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


London's Burning (J4x32) 4C set Sue Petyt Tartan Rainbow
but only 80 bars of music

1-8 The couples in first, second and third place dance a reel of three on the sides, the couple in first place dance in and down, the couple in second place dance out and up, and the couple in third place dance in and up
9-12 First couple cross right hand and cast one place, second couple step up
13-16 First couple cross left hand and cast one place, third couple step up. At this point a new first couple start dancing from bar 1, while the previous first couple continue with the last 16 bars
17-24 The couples in first second and third place dance a reel of three on the sides, as in bars 1-8
25-26 First and fourth couples face down and up and set
27-28 First and fourth couples change places on the sides, the men changing left hand and the ladies changing right hand
29-30 First and fourth couples set on the side
31-32 First couple set
Continue until the original first and fourth couples are back in place. The original first couple should dance the reel of three on the sides to enable the last dancing couple to finish, but should then stand still

(Dance crib compiled by the deviser, Sue Petyt, 1997)


Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams


Dance Instruction Videos

London's Burning - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

This nursery rhyme is often sung as a 'round', which is the way this dance is written.

(Dance information by the deviser, Sue Petyt)


The title of this dance, London's Burning, comes from the Scotland's Burning - Song also known as in England as "London's Burning", both variants of a song and nursery rhyme popular with children.

The song can be sung as a round when each part starts two bars after the previous one.

English Version

London's burning, London's burning.
Fetch the engines, fetch the engines.
Fire fire, Fire Fire!
Pour on water, pour on water.

The Burning Of Edinburgh in 1544 by an English sea-borne army was the first major action of the war of the Rough Wooing.

A Scottish army observed the landing on 3 May 1544 but did not engage with the English force. The Provost of Edinburgh was compelled to allow the English to sack Leith and Edinburgh. However, the Scottish artillery within Edinburgh Castle harassed the English forces, who had neither the time nor the resources to besiege the Castle.

The English fleet sailed away loaded with captured goods, and with two ships that had belonged to James V of Scotland.


The Great Fire Of London swept through the central parts of the English city from Sunday, 2 September to Thursday, 6 September 1666.

The fire gutted the medieval City of London inside the old Roman city wall. It threatened but did not reach the City of Westminster, Charles II's Palace of Whitehall, or most of the suburban slums.

It destroyed 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches, St Paul's Cathedral, and most of the buildings of the City authorities. It is estimated to have destroyed the homes of 70,000 of the city's 80,000 inhabitants. A melted piece of pottery on display at the Museum of London found by archaeologists in Pudding Lane, where the fire started, shows that the temperature reached 1,250 °C (2,280 °F; 1,520 K).

Scotland's Burning Song - Information Video

London's Burning
London's Burning


Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original Scotland's Burning article on Wikipedia.
Text from this original Burning Of Edinburgh article on Wikipedia.
Text from this original Great Fire Of London article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright Rita Greer 2008, under this Copyleft Licence.

Back to the top of this Scottish Country Dancing Instructions 'London's Burning' page