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The Gordons of Stoneyford,Co.Antrim-Violin Makers -by Michael Costello

Home | The restoration of the"Canadian"Gordon -Feb.`07 | The repatriation of the "Canadian"Gordon-August `06 | Hugh Gordon`s House | The Last Resting Place of Hugh Gordon ... | Information from the Simpson Family of Magheragall | Instrument details | The Reminiscences of Mr.James Crawford of Stoneyford | The moulds and templates of Hugh Gordon. | Fiddle music in Co.Antrim in the 1830`s

The Reminiscences of Mr.James Crawford of Stoneyford

Violin by Hugh Gordon jnr.1886
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02/09/1984-Information concerning the Gordons of Stoneyford

Violin by Hugh Gordon 1886
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On the above date I  interviewed Mr.James Crawford ,who was 86 years of age at his home at Tullynewbank Road,Stoneyford.He was in good humour and had an excellent memory.As a boy of 13 or 14 years of age he remembered well visiting the home of James Gordon(A son of Hugh Gordon) at the Y-Bridge road in Stoneyford.He recalled that Gordon was an aged man at that time,with a farm of land(which he brought me to in my car).He described him as a tall man with very long fingers who could play the fiddle very well.He remembered Gordon sitting on the `hob` of the fire scraping at a fiddle belly with a piece of glass and sandpaper.He said that it took him a long time to make a fiddle as he didn`t have many tools.Mr.Crawford said that Gordon charged little more than a pound for a fiddle,as money was scarce.He remembered this man making a fiddle for his niece and he said that James Gordon told him that his father had made violins and had taught him a bit about them.He showed me where Gordon`s land had been,and the Labourer`s cottage on the Y-Bridge road to which James and his wife had retired and died.He estimated that Gordon died in the late nineteen twenties,or early thirties.He also showed me a wooded area where Gordon often got a piece of sycamore for a fiddle.He said that he thought that Gordon made everything for the fiddle except the tail-piece.He told me the name of a man who had a Gordon fiddle.
I imagine that this son of Hugh Gordon,James,only made a small number of fiddles,however his brother,Hugh moved to Belfast to live and both made and repaired violins.I have seen two violins he repaired.dated 1914 and 1921.I have also examined 3 violins made by him.One dated 1894,and two undated ,one belonging to the late Ormonde`Jack `Hall( violin & piano dealer of Lisburn road,Belfast) and one belonging to Davy Rice,a musician of Glen Road, Belfast

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Scroll of this violin
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The violin illustrated on this page belonging to the author was made by Hugh Gordon Junior in 1886.

All research on this site was carried out independently by Michael Costello between 1978 and 2005.All photos and information are the property of the author and may not be copied or reproduced without his permission.

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Please click here to visit the author`s poetry website- Dánta Dúnta