The National Association of Men's Morris & Sword Dance Clubs

Brimfield

The Black Book gives no music for Brimfield, and lists one dance.

1. The Brimfield Morris Dance, EDS 1969, p98

See also "The Roots of Welsh Border Morris by Dave Jones, 1995. Any Polkas are suggested for music. e.g. "Little Brown Jug", "This Old Man", "Jenny Lind Polka".

Sources: 

Sources: RD (from Sharp MSS, Miss E.M.Leather, and E.C.Cawte)

Miss Leather and Cecil Sharp saw Mr Trill's morris men from Brimfield, between Ludlow and Leominster, Herefordshire, at Orleton on Boxing Day 1909. Mr Trill had "learned his dancing Chepstow way" but his "morris dancing" at Brimfield. As far as they knew it had always been done at Christmas, as was all the morris in the borders. "They never missed. People said it was no Christmas without the morris men". The troupe were six, four dancers, with melodeon and tambourine men. There was nothing particular about the number, sometimes they had more and sometimes less than six. When there were more, they were able to introduce Country Dance figures into the dance.

In 1909, as the photographs taken by Miss Leather show, the men wore fancy dress, has their faces blacked with white painted patches, but had no bells or handkerchiefs, only short thick sticks. These were six to eight inches long and one and a half inches diameter. The dancers had box hats and the musician a large hat with feathers. The men said that they remembered when the dancers wore smock frocks, breeches, white stockings and gaiters with soft felt hats - "Jim Crow" hats after the style of the clerical hat of the time. They used to have a separate fool whose tunic and trousers were made of any gaudy stuff. The melodeon player had no fixed music for the dance, polkas were preferred but sometimes schottisches played rather slow. They used to have a fiddler, Tom Payne, but he had played since 1895 for the side at Richards Castle, two miles to the west.

The dancing stopped at Brimfield with WWI. The dance that Sharp saw was similar to the Four Handed Reel, except that when the dancers faced they did not "step" but clashed their sticks together.

RD, Notes on Brimfield

Copies of the photographs referred to can be viewed on The Leominster Morris website The Old Morris.