We dance the “Cotswold Morris” tradition. Here’s a little bit more explanation about he mysterious morris jargon you might hear, a list of our dances , and some information about the kit we wear when performing.
A Morris Dictionary
For the uninitiated the languge of Morris dancing can be a little confusing with unusual names and terms freely banded about. Here is a selection of the most common jargon you might hear.
|Squire||The man elected annually to be the boss. Quite often the one who is shouting to introduce the dances, |
…and who most of the other dancers seem to be ignoring completely
|Foreman||The drill-sergeant, teacher and font of all knowledge when it comes to the dances… |
…and who most of the other dancers seem to be ignoring completely.
|Bagman||The secretary and general organiser of the Morris side… and who most of the other dancers definitely are ignoring completely.|
The person to contact to book us or invite us to some exotic place.
|Fool||Normally a very good dancer, he will do his own thing dancing within the dance or around the dance but always fooling and joking around. He used to carry a bladder on a stick to keep people amused (and bemused).|
|Beast||With origins probably based upon a hobby horse of Spring time traditions, Morris sides are often accompanied by an animal. The Gloucestershire Morris beast is a fine horse who answers to the name of Crumpet.|
|Side||This is how we refer to a Morris team. It would seem to suggest some sort of competitive nature to Morris dancing, which probably did occur in the past, but is seldom witnessed in modern times.|
|Ring||We are members of The Morris Ring which is an organisation representing Morris sides worldwide. It is open to all, alongside alternative organisations such as the Morris Federation and Open Morris.|
|Stick||Normally wooden, harvested from a “tree” and about 30 inches in length with a diameter of about 1.5 inches. Sometimes the stick is half length and termed a “short stick”! [Q: Whats brown and sticky? A: … ]|
|Hanky||A piece a cloth, normally white used for wiping one’s nose, or waving about in the air.|
|Caper||Capers are dance steps, little leaps or bounds in the air! |
See also; Galleys, Hooks, Up-two-threes, Rounds, back-to-backs and so on…
|Ow!||The sound heard when dancing precision stick dances late in the evening with little light.|
The following is a list of the dances that we perform or have performed. They are arranged under the heading of the their originating village.
Old Women Tossed Up
Orange in Bloom
How d’ye Do
Beaux of London City
Blue Bells of Scotland
Old Frog Dance
Room for the Cuckolds
Step & Fetch Her
Bonnie Green Garters
Hey Diddle Dis
Maid of the Mill
Old Molly Oxford
Balance the Straw
Getting Up Stairs
Jockey to the Fair
Over the water to Charlie
William and Nancy
Ring O’ Bells
Vandalls of Hammerwich
Upton upon Severn
The dances we perform mainly originate from our home county of Gloucestershire. The villages whose dances are performed are Bledington, Sherborne, Longborough and Oddington.
We supplement this with other dances from neighbouring counties including those from the villages of Adderbury, Bampton, Headington, Bucknell and Field Town, and some from Lichfield in Staffordshire.
The sources of the dances range from the notes published by early collectors, alongside our own development from notes passed down over the years and honed by our esteemed Foremen.
Gloucestershire Morris Kit
Gloucestershire Morris Men’s costume is based on a traditional outfit, and since the post-war years it has consisted of the following elements:
A white shirt with collar and long sleeves. White full length trousers, black shoes, white socks, white hankies.
A red baldric (crossed ribbons) with blue, red and yellow rosettes at the front, rear and sides.
A straw Panama hat with red, blue and yellow ribbons, decorated with flowers. (Some dancers have an unofficial festive Xmas hat too!)
Bell-pads strapped to the lower leg, are also decorated with red, blue and yellow ribbons and up to two dozen bells.
A red waistcoat is part of the costume, this is often covered with badges, mementoes and patches, but it is not worn while dancing.
A colourful (usually) raggy or tattered jacket is often worn both to ward off any chills, and because they have many pockets for useful flasks, potions, buns and flasks.