Becky’s love of dusty old manuscripts and researching tunes was inspired by her grandfather, Charles Hampton who gave Becky her great-great-grandfather, Thomas Hampton’s fiddle tune book. This handwritten, hand-stitched manuscript book dates from the second half of the 19th century and makes up one of a number of such tune books currently being edited and preserved by The Village Music Project.
The manuscript inspired Becky to delve deeper into tune and tunebook research and in 2018 Becky was awarded a PhD from the University of Sheffield, under the supervision of Dr Fay Hield. Her thesis (”Fiddlers’ Tunebooks’ – Vernacular Instrumental Manuscript Sources 1860-c1880: Paradigmatic of Folk Music Tradition?’) was examined by Dr Vic Gammon and Dr Julia Bishop and considers the tunebooks’ inclusion in the concept of folk music tradition.
Becky helped to organise the 2019 and 2020 ‘Traditional Tunes and Popular Airs’ conference and has had several articles published in academic journals. She also has a contributed a chapter entitled Past Performances on Paper’ – A Case Study of The Manuscript Tunebook of Thomas Hampton in ‘The Routledge Companion to English Folk Performance’ edited by Steve Roud and Peter Harrop, due for publication in the summer of 2021.