CHAPTER 3: History to 1800
3.5 The Baroque, Rococo and Classical Periods 1600-1800
3.5.1 The west
1.3. The Middle Class in the 17th & 18th centuries: England and the Colonies- 4 of 7
Some 20 years later, in c.1683, a time when the activities at Sadler's Wells were being diversified to attract custom:
"Mr. Sadler sold the water from the well on the strength of its medicinal properties; he provided entertainment - music room, dancers, tumblers, ropewalkers, etc., and musicians, and each evening Mr. Pearson played the dulcimer from five till eight" (154).
Mr. Pearson is the first English dulcimer-player to have been mentioned by name ('Ackli' was mentioned in Zurich as early as 1447), and he seems to have had considerable stamina, playing presumably solo - for three hours every night, though no doubt periodically refreshed from the well ...
A second reference to a dulcimer in the Colonies comes from 1717, from the diary of Judge Samuel Sewall (1652-1730), a New England meeting-house precentor:
"23 May: To Salem, Meadford, Lodge at Cousin Porter's. See and hear the Dulcimer" (139).
Devotees of the Mountain dulcimer claim this as evidence for that instrument, but without further context it cannot be positively linked with one any more than the other; however, it is worth pointing out that the trapezoid instrument was apparently the only dulcimer known at that time to English folk, such as settled in New England, while the original homes of the fretted dulcimer are far away in the Appalchians and in Ohio.
Nancy Groce also considers the reference to one Thomas Richardson, who in the mid-1750s appeared as "dulcimerist" at the light-hearted Annapolis Tuesday Club of Baltimore, Maryland (167), to relate to the hammered instrument.