Hilton's Hoard

photo courtesy of Chingford Morris

We were saddened to learn of the sudden death of long time supporter and Friend, Adrian Hilton back in December.  He had been a regular at events run EATMT over the years.  In May, we received a letter from his wife, Ann who wanted to let us know that Adrian had requested that EATMT be given his large eclectic collection of musical instruments. 

Adrian was an exceptionally talented musician and his love of music is evident in this collection of instruments.

Adrian had been a member of Chingford Morris Men for 46 years being Squire for 20 of them.  He was a dancer, musician, author and performer in the Mummers Play that Chingford Morris performannually.

We collected a car full of instruments in June and are part way through cataloguing and photographing this exciting treasure that is “Hilton’s Hoard”.  Among the instruments, we have a beautiful Concertina, several melodeons (including his own built melodeon from the Trust’s “Build a Melodeon” course with Emmanuelle Pariselle), whistles, recorders, a hammered dulcimer, a bombard and a didgeridoo! Adrian’s beautiful green Parsifal C row melodeon features on the Pressing the Buttons workshop flyer.

We are busy cataloguing and assessing each instrument and getting advice on several.  We’re very much hoping to add a number to our instrument bank and to be able to use them in future projects and events.  Our thanks go to Martyn White, Chris Gutteridge and Richard Blake for their advice and guidance given on the instruments we’ve catalogued so far.


Over the last 18 months, several of our friend’s treasured instruments have found their way to new loved homes.  One such instrument was Adrian’s Castagnari Mori which Martyn White kindly serviced and altered the tuning so it suited it’s soon to be new owner, Dave Praties.  Dave has several recordings on his youtube site – HERE is one with Adrian’s Mori that he recently added. 

Recently singer and musician Nick Hart launched Nick Hart Instruments and Nick recently took possession of a few of Adrian’s instruments still in our possession that needed a bit of tidying up and fixing and he will be preparing those for re-sale in the coming months on our behalf.

Dave Cooper’s Whittlebury Song & Ale tapes and Adrian

In April 2021, whilst going through a number of ‘Song & Ale‘ tapes, for what we initially thought was local Hasketon’s Song & Ale festival we found Adrian singing a couple of tunes. After speaking to Adrian’s widow Ann, she informed us that these particular ‘Song & Ale’ tapes were from an annual event that took place at Porterswood Farm in Whittlebury near Towcester. The event ran from 1988 until 2016. Farmer Jeff Wesley was the founder of this singing festival and was a fine traditional singer. In later years the event was run by Tom and Barbara Brown until they moved to Devon.

The Hiltons attended this annual “uplifting” event. Ann writes “the weekend was a mixture of ‘Theme Sessions’ (you didn’t know the subject until you arrived on the Friday) and Big Sings which had lots of chorus songs. The event always ended with ‘To Be a Farmer’s Boy’. We sat on straw bales and benches in the barn”. (Ann even wove cushions for both forms of seating in naturally dyed wool!). Dave Cooper was also a regular Song & Ale visitor.

Here is Adrian singing ‘Roll the Old Chariot’ which featured on the 1989 Song & Ale tapes.

Roll the Old Chariot – sung by Adrian Carlton in 1989