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

Steeple Claydon

Woodside Morris Men dance their version of Steeple Claydon outside The Phoenix, Steeple Claydon 2007Woodside Morris Men dance their version of Steeple Claydon outside The Phoenix, Steeple Claydon 2007

The Woodisde Morri Men  dance their reconstruction of Old Mother Oxford outside The Phoenix, Steeple Claydon, the last known venue of Steeple Claydon Morris. Sharp wrote of John Inward (see 'Sources' below):

He said they used to dance at the Phoenix public house, country dances etc. he once won a prize there at a smoking match when he smoked in a church warden pipe two ounces of tobacco straight off, "you couldn't tell the time of the clock for smoke"  How times change.

Back in more recent times, Woodside's Dave Dunham wrote of their 50th Anniversary visit in 2007:

"Now, there is only partial notation for the Steeple Claydon dance, so each team that does it has to add a little bit of itself to the dance, and ours is no different. After we performed it, one of the locals asked why it was so different to the versions he had seen performed by sides in Oxford. Skillfully, we pointed out that the coach was waiting and it was time to go, but thanks very much."

Steeple Claydon (Old Mother Oxford), CJS MSS

Sources: 
CJS MSS (via GF and RD). Sharp's information was from John Inward, dancer and musician, who 'danced with great vitality and spring ... throwing his legs further and therefore higher than morris men are used to do, and keeping them very nearly straight, though his hip-joints were wonderfully loose and flexible'. The dance is, in construction, interestingly intermediate between Cotswold and Border Morris.
The music: was by fiddle; Inward's (given to him by his 'father's granfer') was half-size. He said the tune here given (a version of Old Mother Oxford) was the only tune the Steeple Claydon Morris dancers used.
See also http://www.opread.f9.co.uk/RoyDommet/BorderNotes/steepleclaydon.htm#steepleclaydon

Dance tunes for this tradition

ABC Sheet music mp3
Old Mother Oxford Binary Data ABC PDF icon PDF