The founding National Association of Morris and Sword Dance Clubs

The Morris Ring Photographic Archive

Barry Care fooling for Bampton Traditional Morris

The photo on the right shows part of the the cover of "The Morris Tradition" booklet; you can see a few of our archive pictures in this publication, and others are to be found in the section about Lionel Bacon's "Black Book" of morris music, and associated with various other parts of this web site. In the 'photo, Barry Care MBE, the Bampton Fool, is watching Brien O'Rourke dancing Shepherd's Hey (Two by Two) in front of The Deanery, Bampton, on Whit Monday, May 25th 1998.

If you have any good modern pictures of morris dancers - especially 'action shots' please contact duncan [dot] broomhead [at] btopenworld [dot] com (Duncan Broomhead) our photograph archivist.

Film and Video

Photographs of our dances can sometimes give some feeling for movement, and pictures of the dancers and musicians and other characters involved in 'the morris', can help to show what we are about, however there is no substitute for seeing the dance movements, even if these are fuzzy and indistinct. Modern digital cameras can produce very presentable moving pictures, so that there is a proliferation of morris videos via sites such as YouTube, however there are also a huge amount of film, with material stretching back to the very start of the cine-photography.

Digital Copies were made of most of the Morris Ring Film archive in 2016 by Garland Films from originals in the Essex Record Office but were only available on request. Many remain covered by copyright but we have now uploaded to YouTube those we have permission to make public. It is hoped more will be released for general viewing as we pursue publishing approvals.  We have created an new web page with direct links to each of the public videos and the full Morris Ring Film & Video Archive catalogue document.

Previously, the only part of the Ring's video archive which was on-line was that in Dr Tony Barrand and Dr Frank Ricardo's "Digital Video Research Archive of Anthony G. Barrand's Collection of Morris, Sword & Clog Dancing", where some clips provided by Ivor Allsop may be found.

See the collection at the DVRA site at http://www.bu.edu/dbin/dance/

Bucknell Morris Dancers

Possibly the earliest photograph of morris dancers is that of the Bucknell dancers. Russell Wortley commented on this photo English Dance and Song, 1979,41(1); also Russell Wortley, booklet by Cambridge Morris Men, John Jenner and Andrew Richards
Keith Chandler dates the photo as 1882, and identifies Joseph Bandy as second from the left, next to Alfred Rolfe. So far as we know, none of the surviving original prints of the above photograph is dated. The best estimate of its age that I have been able to get was from the late Robert (Bob) Rolfe whose father Alfred stands third from the left in the group. Bob told Duncan Woodhead that he reckoned his father was no more than 30 at the time and that the photo must therefore have been taken in the 1870s. According to the note in George Butterworth's 'Diary of Morris Dance Hunting' {Folk Music Journal, 1977, p.199} the photograph was then, in 1912, said to have been taken "about 30 years ago", this makes it, so far as we am aware, the earliest extant photograph of a Cotswold Morris Side ...
It is worth noting that the dancers are standing in set formation but spread out for the photograph so that, according to customary numbering they stand in the order (l. to r.) 2,4,6,5,3,1, with the piper Joe Powell (wrongly named Jim Pole in the Morris Book) in the centre and the collector on the extreme right.