Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Yan Tan Tethera

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

YAN TAN TETHERA (J8x32) 3C (4C set) Derek Haynes Carnforth Collection 2

1- 8 1s cross RH, cast 1 place, 1L dances a ½ Fig of 8 round 2s while 1M dances ½ Fig of 8 round 3s
9-24 1s dance Corner Chain with 1st and 2nd corners:
 1s change places RH with 1st corners, 1st corners turn LH in centre and return to places giving RH to 1s who turn LH in centre to face 2nd corners
 1s change places RH with 2nd corners, 2nd corners turn LH in centre and return to places giving RH to 1s and 1s end turning LH ¾ to face 1st corner
25-32 1s dance reels of 3 on opposite sides giving LSh to 1st corners and cross to 2nd place own sides

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

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Instruction Videos

Yan Tan Tethera - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

Yan Tan Tethera is a rhyme used by shepherds to count sheep in many parts of England and in southern Scotland.

The title of this dance, Yan Tan Tethera, were immortalized in the Yan Tan Tethera - Song, also known as Old Molly Metcalfe, written by Jake Thackray from Leeds, West Yorkshire in the early 1970s.

Old Molly Metcalfe counting sheep
Yan tan tether mether pip she counted
Up upon Swaledale steep and bleak
Yan tan tether mether pip she said.

Until the Industrial Revolution, the use of traditional number systems was common among shepherds, especially in the dales of the Lake District. The Yan Tan Tethera system was also used for counting stitches in knitting.

Though most of these number systems fell out of use by 1910, many are still in use and the word yan continues to mean "one" in some northern English dialects.

Here are the numbers 1 to 20 as used in Swaledale, Yorkshire.

1  Yan11   Yanadick
2  Tan12   Tanadick
3  Tether13   Tetheradick
4  Mether14   Metheradick
5  Pip15   Bumfit
6  Azer16   Yanabum
7  Sezar17   Tanabum
8  Akker18   Tetherabum
9  Conter19   Metherabum
10   Dick20   Jigget

Yan Tan Tethera Song - Information Video

Yan Tan Tether Mether Pip

Dance information licensed under this GFDL Licence.
Text from this original Yan Tan Tethera article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright Fir0002/Flagstaffotos. GFDL v1.2. License

Back to the top of this Scottish Country Dancing Instructions 'Yan Tan Tethera' page