The founding National Association of Morris and Sword Dance Clubs

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News and views from elsewhere in the Morris Ring world

Next Tuesday we at Screen Archive South East, in collaboration with our partners at the West Sussex Record Office, will make available a variety of archives, which we think will greatly interest you and your members. Through our portal, called West Sussex Unwrapped, we will present a smashing film that features an epic festival of Morris Dancing through the sleepy streets of Horsham in 1989, while the West Sussex Record Office blog will feature records, photos and historical information about Morris Dancing in West Sussex.

Any solid full face coloured make up which could be taken by an observer as likely to imitate or parody a skin colour different from your own.  ‘Make up’ is used here as a general term to mean any kind of stage make up, face paint, soot, charcoal, or similar.

This matter has been under review for some years, with statements and advice to sides being issued by successive squires.

These have increasingly asked sides to consider their continued use of such face make up, the effect it has on their audience, the safety of their side members, and what alternatives could be used to achieve the same effect.  Many member sides have heeded this advice and stopped using it.

The issue has however remained under constant review by the officers because although it has a complex and uncertain history, it is perceived by some as racist.

A statement from the Morris Ring in conjunction with our fellow morris organisations:

The Joint Morris Organisations (JMO) wholly condemns and disassociates themselves from the sentiments expressed in an article recently published on a nationalist website. We hope the entire morris community would join us in rejecting the divisive narrative put forward by this article. 

 Morris is a unique cultural tradition of which we should be rightly proud. However, we will never support a divisive narrative which seeks to put our tradition beyond certain groups.

The Morris Shop has suspended operations in the current situation. 

We are aware of continuing problems receiving goods from The Morris Shop, an operation independent of The Morris Ring. Whilst much of this may be a result of the current lockdown, we are aware of more general issues and we are attempting to resolve these to the benefit of all concerned.

We know many of us can't wait to get back out dancing, playing tunes, meeting old mates and entertaining -  but please, we urge you, resist the temptation to do so in any breach of the "Lockdown" - both in the law and the spirit of the regulations.

I have been asked to write a note to all Sides in the Morris Federation, Morris Ring and Open Morris regarding the effect Covid19 has on Morris activity. The simple answer is almost none.

Perhaps I should have written this in March however it was not clear just how much disruption this virus would cause in our lives and, even more important, how long it would go on for.

Our Brokers remind us that the most important thing is that Sides, both at practice and whilst dancing out, should follow any Government or Council guidelines in force at the time.

Does Black Face Paint Matter?

We are sure all of our members will be well aware of the tragic murder of George Floyd and the breadth of the protests demanding that black lives are truly valued. They are a realisation not only of anger at was has gone wrong, but they also offer an opportunity for change to be made possible.

Social media has already evidenced the concern  that the vexed issue of blacking up is seen as a manifestation of part of the problem, and perhaps it is an appropriate time for us to ask again, “Does black face paint matter?”

Note to Morris Ring sides on the use of black face make-up in Morris (originally issued in March 2020)

As Squire of the Morris Ring you get to watch a lot of dancing. Most is of it is of a reasonable standard, but there are very few who ‘get it right’ as a matter of course and most clubs can improve their performances. When putting on a show involving several teams a whole new level of performance comes into play, you really are ‘putting on a show’

With this in mind, I asked Mike Garland to put together some thoughts and observations on the subject. Whether dancing on your own outside a country pub on a Tuesday night to one man and his dog or in front of several hundred people in the middle of a tourist city with 10 other teams, on a day of dance, I hope you find them of use.

Greetings All from the (current) Squire

The world of Morris Dancing is facing new and unprecedented challenges as a result of Covid-19. It has given me great joy to see the positive way in which the members of all three organisations have reacted to it.

Covid-19 and Lockdown have presented Simon  Newman and me with a new problem. It had always been my plan to dance out at the Plymouth Ring Meeting. Unfortunately, it has had to be, understandably, postponed along with it seems every other event. So how do we deal with the change of Squire of the Morris Ring?

21 August 2021 to 22 August 2021

After much discussion, we have made the heartbreaking decision to cancel this years Rushcart.

This has not been a decision made lightly, but we cannot see a way for the event to be the spectacle it should be in light of current government advice and proposed timelines.

The health and wellbeing of our lads, fellow Morris dancers, families, friends and the general public, who are always out in force, is more important.

The Saddleworth Rushcart will be back in 2021, as big and as noisy as ever!

If guidelines allow, we hope to dance out locally later in the year. Stay safe, and we hope to see our friends and supporters soon.

Colin Andrews, our New Dance Coordinator, has asked we bring you up to date on some recent changes to the Morris Dance Database.


Digital Copies were made of most of the Morris Ring Film archive in 2016 by Garland Films from originals in the Essex Record Office. 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 copyright 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.

25 May 2020 Bampton Whit Monday Morris Cancelled
The Bampton Morris sides regret to announce that the traditional Whit Monday dancing will not take place this year, and Morris enthusiasts should not travel to Bampton. If the opportunity arises to have a substitute day of dance later in the year we will put the word out.

Richard Broughton

A message from Dan Baker, Bagman, White Rose Morris Men.

This Constitution was agreed at the Annual Meeting of Club Representatives at Nottingham, 25th February 1978, and amended at the Annual Meetings at Sheffield, 26th February 1983, Yateley, 21st March 1987, Cheddar 16th March 1991; Moulton 21st March 1992, Mendip (Cheddar) 19th February 2011 and at Cannock 10th March 2018 and again  14th March 2020.


A message from Mike Grant - Bagman of Peterborough Morris:

We have come to the conclusion that it won't be viable to hold our Ring Meeting feast this year on 26 Sep. I'm sure the number of sign-ups at your end is still low. Also, we don't think there'll be much appetite to sign up at this time, or indeed for us to promote it further.

We would like to postpone it to next year (Sat 25 Sep 2021), which will also coincide with our Day of Dance.

25 September 2021

Early arrivers can meet for breakfast at the Draper's Arms. Then it's a walking tour of the ancient and modern city centre.

There will be dance spots in the recently modernised Cathedral Square (with the Guildhall as a backdrop), St John's Square (next to the city's 11thcentury parish church), outside the 1930s Town Hall, and inside the Cathedral precinct. For lunch there is a wide choice of food outlets, cafes and bars.