CHAPTER 4: Dulcimers in the British Isles since 1800 > Dulcimers in East Anglia

How long have there been Dulcimers in East Anglia?

This is difficult to gauge.

The Paston Letters, personal papers of a Norfolk family from 1418-1506, make no mention of it, but on the other hand, two of the earliest surviving English instruments are from the area, one in York, an 18th-century instrument mentioned above, and one in the Victoria and Albert, though not on display, bearing an inscription "Old Weston, Huntingdonshire, 1846".

Billy Cooper's father had played the dulcimer, apparently before he moved to London, from where he returned to East Anglia in 1884 (25).

The instrument has certainly been established there quite some time and to a large number of people the normal name for it is "The Norfolk Dulcimer".

What about Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, then? There certainly are players there too, though there seem to have been fewer than in Norfolk.

How old are the instruments?