When I discussed the Regency-era figures "Swing Corners" and "Turn Corners" a few years ago, I touched briefly on an earlier source, Nicholas Dukes' A concise & easy method of learning the figuring part of country dances (London, 1752) that contained an earlier version of "Turn Corners" which used single hands (right, left, right, left) rather than two hands for the turns but had a different pattern than the Regency version of "Swing Corners".
For the sake of completeness, I need to add one more version to my little timeline.
A dozen years after Dukes, the anonymous "A. D. Dancing Master" published Country Dancing Made Plain and Easy(London, 1764), another figure manual which contains a "Swing Corners". A. D. makes a clear distinction between "swinging" and "turning" that anticipates that of the dancing masters of the early nineteenth century:
(Swinging) is when any two persons being face to face, and joining both right or both left hands, each moving forwards round. This is properly done by hooking at the elbows; tho' the modern way is by the hands. Under this denomination may be tht of four-hands-across, as each person swings their opposite corner: and also turning, though with joining both hands, as each moves forwards round.
A. D.'s figure is almost identical to Dukes' "Turn Corners right hand & your partner with your left", but obedient to the distinction between "swing" and "turn", it is called "Swing Corners":
To Swing Corners
This is performed by three Couple, thus: the dancers being in the second CU's place, the man advances to the third woman, and the woman to the second man at the same time, and swing them by the right hands, parting before you have completed a full round, or as soon as you face partners, whom you must swing in the middle by the left hand, rather more than a full round, or till the man faces the second woman and the woman the third man; whom you are again to swing by the right hands, till you again face partners; who are to swing again, by the left hands in the middle, so far round as to end proper.
The only real difference is that A. D. specifies that the dancers end proper, back on their own side of the set, where Dukes' figure leaves them offset up and down the set and still in the center. Otherwise, the sequence of turning corners by the right, partners by the left, corners by the right, partners by the left is the same.
A. D.'s explicit recognition of a difference between "swing" and "turn" was obviously not universal, since "turn" continued to be used for right- and left-hand turns in dance figures. But this does mean that when reconstructing dance figures in the last few decades of the eighteenth century, one must carefully consider whether any "turn corners" figure that does not specify hands involves single-hand turns (per Dukes) or two-hand turns (per A. D.'s and early nineteenth century dancing masters' distinction). It also suggests that when "swing" is used in a mid-eighteenth-century figure, it might well mean hooking elbows rather than hands.
My new and improved timeline for the swing/turn corners figures:
1752: "Turn corners" = pass partner by left shoulder, turn corners by right hand, partner by left, corners by right, partners by left; end center of set with lady nearer top and gentleman nearer bottom
1764: "Swing corners" = same as above, but ending on proper sides
early 1800s: "Turn corners" = pass partner by right shoulder, turn corner two hands clockwise, pass partner by right shoulder, turn corner two hands clockwise, pass partner by left shoulder back to places
"Swing corners" = turn partner by right hand, corner by left hand, partner by right hand, corner by left hand, pass partner by left shoulder back to places
Special thanks to Eugenia Eremina-Solenikova for giving me a digital copy of Country Dancing Made Plain and Easy!