My Logo me & shawm George & Me Stretton HG Horton & York pipe & tabor at QEHL



  • B.Ed (Hons) 1st, with elements in Music & History;

  • 17 years' experience as full time teacher, mainly with K.S.2.

  • Since then, freelance work mainly with K.S.2, also

    • Adult Education
    • Student teachers
    • 6th Form groups
    • Special Needs groups
    • Home Education groups
    • Musician & Worshop leader at Folk Activities Organisation

Mid 1980's: very much influenced by Michael and Alison Bagenal, who pioneered the methods I use for my work, and to whom I owe eternal thanks.
Key fiddle while wearing mufti


  • Trained from a very early age as a classical pianist, then discovered both folk and early music.

  • 1970's : Began playing various squeeze boxes - concertinas, accordians

  • Mid 70's: Responsible for music teaching, alongside usual classroom teaching, in a wonderful village primary school in Northamptonshire

  • Mid 70's: Initially learned recorder as a means to teach it in schools, and went on to other early woodwinds
    More huge thanks are due to Dr. Dick Coles and Monica Coles here.

  • 1985 Acquired first decent, working set of bagpipes, made by Jon Swayne. Others followed!

  • 1990's onwards: the collection of instruments grew and grew as the new career in history and music developed.

  • As well as Historical music, I regularly play traditional folk music: see the
    "Sleeping Moggy" page on this site!

  • 1990's: After what was designed as a one-term trial session, I taught a 5 year series of evening classes in playing traditional music, with very faithful clientele.

  • In the later 1990's I began working with recording too: as well making our CD "Playing for Time", I was commissioned to produce a soundtrack for an English Heritage exhibition at Battle, and, with Lottery funding, the soundtrack for Northampton's Masque Youth Theatre's Millenium production "Zero Zero", written by Brian Wright, which incorporated music across many centuries.
me & concertina B/W melodeon pic
medieval harp


An interest which really began during teaching.
History was a large section of an Inservice B.Ed. in the late 1980's.
My interest in early music, and the instruments, led to interest in the society which produced them and their music, and the web simply grew from there.

Note to reluctant historians:

When I began this career I was going to teach only medieval and Tudor periods, because I loved the music. Michael and Alison Bagenal were retiring from their work, and at that time there was hardly anyone else working the Victorian period in schools, so I was advised to fill the gap thus created.
My response was, "But I hate Victorians - they were so Boring!"
... then began doing the research anyway, and got absolutely hooked!


Another lifelong interest, now continuing in its development with training and experience. Tudor story

Current Work

This began around 1993, since when I've worked in hundreds of of schools, museums and heritage sites across the country from Dover to Carlisle, from Devon to Jarrow, in small museums, at Windsor Castle with Time Team on More4 TV, and a whole lot more. This means I have built a lot of experience in what succeeds, and what children find enjoyable, while at the same time learning.

I have also had time to do a wide amount of research... and there's always more to do!

This means I stay interested and enthusiastic about my work, and while I may present the same basic workshop many times there is usually something new I have just discovered, which is bursting to be conveyed.

Puppetry and Ventriloquism

This started quite by accident when I visited the Edinburgh Puppet Festival many years ago, came home, and made George McJigger.
George has worked with a hugely varied range of audiences, and is widely celebrated for his dancing prowess!
17 year-old at a Special Needs school, who I had last met two years earlier, immediately he saw me: "Have your brought your little dancing man with you again? He was Cooo-ool!"

A group of English Heritage event organisers at the end of the day (paraphrased): "We've been too busy to see George dance. We're staying here until he does!"

Major Horton

Major Horton came about more recently, when he filled a need for someone, quite unapologetically, to put forward various Victorian points of view from which I hope we've now moved on.
"York, I saw your lips move when you wrote that!" Horton talks
Find out more ...
Horton dozing by clicking on the picture link quietly,
so as not to wake the Major up!
...which should simply open a new window on your screen without losing this one.
George at Helmsley Castle G Mc Jigger

George at work

Copyright Richard York 2009

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This page refers to Richard York,history teacher, historical musician,historical interpreter,story-teller,workshop leader,hands-on participation,schools,museums,instruments,melodeon,accordian,concertina,hurdy gurdy,celtic harp,northumbrian smallpipes,bagipes,recorder,pipe and tabor,harmonium, hammer dulcimer,shawm,rauschpfiefe,hummelchen,portative organ,psaltery,dance,drama,ventriloquism,bransles,pavannes,victorian,seventeenth century,tudor,medieval,history,folk music,traditional music, barn dance band Sleeping Moggy,Elizabeth York,harpist,harper,musician