The Rook Manuscript

Upwards of 1269 Airs Selected By John Rook

Compiled in 1840


The index to the contents is available on the


the whole thing Scanned from copies of the original manuscript, whose whereabouts are unknown Anita Evans 2006, courtesy Matt Seattle, Graham Dixon and Stuart Eydmann

and uploaded to Ross Anderson's website

The Rook manuscript, compiled by John Rook, of Waverton, Cumbria in 1840, is a large collection of traditional music from Scotland and Northern England. Little is known of the author, beyond his name and home village. Two John Rooks, aged 35 and 50, were registered in the census the following year living near Wigton, but it is not known which of these was the author, or whether they were related.

The location of the original manuscript is unknown, but a scanned photocopy, lacking one page, is online.[1] The title reads MULTUM IN PARVO, or a Collection of old English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh tunes, for the... (there is then an illustration of various musical instruments, a fiddle, Northumbrian pipes, a trumpet, an accordion, a flute and a piccolo) ... containing upwards of 1260 airs, selected by John Rook, Waverton. Written by the selecter for his amusement on the above instruments, 1840. A note at the bottom of the illustration reads 'not to be lent on any account'. The selection of tunes is both wide and varied, and gives a detailed picture of the repertoire of a knowledgable musician, who seems to have had access to an extensive collection of sources. While many of the tunes are common in printed and manuscript collections of the time, a significant number are, as the title page says, 'old'. They include a significant number of long variation sets, many dateable to the previous century.

(from the Wikipedia page  where you can read more details about the MS)