The East Leake 'Shawm' or vamping horn

Photo:The East Leake Shawm in 1910

The East Leake Shawm in 1910

 The 'Shawm' was a kind of trumpet used in church during choir services to 'vamp up' the singing.

The East Leake example is 7ft 9in long when extended, and 4ft 1in when closed. The bell has a diameter of 21 5/8 inches.

The Revd. Sidney Pell Potter's "A History of East Leake" (1903, p.55) notes that, at the ime he was writing, similar trumpets  were to be found at Braybrook and Harrington in Northamptonshire; at Willoughton in Lincolnshire; and at Charing in Kent.  there was also one formerly, says, at Thorney in Lincolnshire.

Pevsner (p.114) adds  England are at Potter Hanworth (Lincolnshire), Ashurst (Sussex), and Haversham (Buckinghamshire) to Potter's list of surviving examples.

Writing about the East Leake Shawm Guilford* says that up until about 1855 it was used within the church - as part of the church 'orchestra' - for the bass singer to 'vamp' through.  Potter's "History of East Leake",  however, considers the  original use is uncertain.  Whilst, he says, at East Leake, there is no tradition of it having been used to summon the congregation, he agrees that it was used within the Church as part of the gallery orchestra, and also by the Christmas singers as they perambulated around the village.

Potter notes finally that its preservation was due largely to the good offices of Mr Charles Angrave of East Leake, whilst the Revd. C. S. Millard, rector of Costock, was responsible for its re-siting within the church. 


* From GUILFORD, Everard L. Nottinghamshire (London: Methuen & Co., 1910)





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