What is Morris Dancing ?

Past

Morris Dance has been part of English life for at least six hundred years and may be much older. While the style is peculiar to the English mainland, there remain some similarities to Catalan and to Basque dancers. As to the origin of the dances, this is a matter of continuing dispute and argument !!

Recent historical studies place the earliest Morris records in the time of Henry VII (1500), and firmly in with Court entertainment. From the Court it seems to have spread into popular entertainment, first in large houses, then to village celebrations, where it became associated with Church Ales and other seasonal festivities. Before then, Who knows for sure?

Present

Following the Industrial Revolution and the migration of workers from villages to larger towns and cities, many traditional customs started to be lost. Recognising the importance of our cultural heritage, efforts were made to collect and record the different styles of dance, particularly in the counties of Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire - the Cotswolds. Although a few sides can trace their history before the 1800s, many were formed in the 1920s, 1930s and after the Second World War.

Today's hosts - Ravensbourne Morris Men were one of these and were founded in 1947. This event is part of their 70th Anniversary celebrations and brings together sides from all over the country, all with similarities (often typified with clashing sticks, waving of large hankies and the jingling of bells on the legs) but also slight differences in style.

Some sides however - such as Saddleworth - have a style that is distinctively different that reflects their origins. Do try and see them if you can.

Future

The future for Morris is looking healthy for as long as people want to come together in friendship, share a laugh & keep some of the old English traditions going and there are reckoned to be over 800 sides in the country with more spread across the world including the US and Australia.

Ravensbourne are a thriving men's Morris side who enjoy dancing, singing, playing, drinking (in moderation of course) and generally having fun. All the sides attending this event are traditional men's sides who are affiliated to the Morris Ring .

Other sides - mens, ladies and mixed can be found across the country. Search 'morris sidefinder' online to find sides near to you.

Sides Attending

  • A photo of the Ravensbourne Morris Men in front of a statue of Winston Churchill. they are the host side for the London Ring Meeting which celebrates their 70th anniversary
    Ravensbourne Morris Men From Bromley, Kent.
    The oldest side dancing in North Kent, hosts for the weekend and celebrating their 70th Anniversary

    Richmond on Swale Morris Men
    Richmond on Swale Morris Men from North Yorkshire.



    A photo of Jockey Men's Morris. A morris dancing side attending the London Ring Meeting on the South Bank on 29th July
    Jockey Men's Morris From Birmingham

  • Anker Morris From Nuneaton, Warwickshire

    A photo of bathampton Morris Men. A morris dancing side attending the London Ring Meeting on the South Bank on 29th July
    Bathampton Morris Men from Bradford Upon Avon

    A photo of Plymouth Morris Men. A morris dancing side attending the London Ring Meeting on the South Bank on 29th July
    Plymouth Morris Men From Devon. Widely renowned for their singing

  • Chester City Morris From Cheshire.

    A photo of Bourne River Morris Men. A morris dancing side attending the London Ring Meeting on the South Bank on 29th July
    Bourne River Morris Men From Bournemouth, which is now in Dorset.

    A photo of Saddleworth Morris Men. A morris dancing side attending the London Ring Meeting on the South Bank on 29th July
    Saddleworth Morris Men From the historic West Riding of Yorkshire. Dancing a distinctive style of morris that pays tribute to their locale and their origins. Not to be missed.

  • Leeds Morris Men From West Yorkshire

    A photo of the Men of Wight. A morris dancing side attending the London Ring Meeting on the South Bank on 29th July
    Men of Wight
    From the Isle of Wight, Hampshire.

    A photo of Taylors Men. A morris dancing side attending the London Ring Meeting on the South Bank on 29th July
    Taylor's Men
    With members drawn from Brighton, the Midlands, Surrey & London. Even though they have 5 members who live in Brighton, they are definitely not a Brighton side. Oh no. Definitely. And that's final (apparently).
    The newest side to join the Morris Ring :-)

  • Trigg Morris
    From Cornwall

    A photo of Leicester Morris Men. A morris dancing side attending the London Ring Meeting on the South Bank on 29th July
    Leicester Morris Men
    From the East Midlands.

    White Hart Morris
    from Alcester, Warwickshire.

  • Locations

    Where to find us on the 29th July



    To open this as an interactive map Click Here