James and William Hemmings 1910
James and William Hemmings 1910

The continuing tradition of Morris Dancing in Abingdon is very old. In 1560, the accounts of Abingdon's parish church had an entry detailing the purchase of "two dossin of Morres belles".

The side dances in the Cotswold Tradition. Its dances are its own, and it doesn't do dances from outside its own repertoire. The side's yellow and green colours represent the growing and the fully ripe corn so important to the agricultural heritage of Abingdon's people.

Abingdon Morris doesn't live in isolation as just a set of dances. Morris dancing survives in Abingdon as part of a unique group of interrelated customs involving the Ock Street Horns, the Election of the Mayor of Ock Street, and the Mayor's regalia. On the Saturday nearest the nineteenth of June, people who live or work in Ock Street exercise their right to freely elect their own Mayor. The current Mayor is Harry Knight, now serving his 5th term.

Sharp published one dance only, but referred to a repertoire of 12.  The Abingdon sides agreed there ought to be twelve, exclusive of jigs, and both teams now include Gentleman Jack.

  1. Processional - walk-on
  2. Broom Dance - a one-man jig
  3. The Nutting Girl, Nutting (Hunting) We Will Go
  4. Constant Billy
  5. Sally Luker
  6. Princes' Royal
  7. Princess Royal (MDT)
  8. Princess Royal (BC - EMB1)
  9. The Curly-Headed Ploughboy
  10. The Girl I Left Behind Me
  11. The Maid of the Mill
  12. The Squire's Dance (The Mayor's Dance)
  13. Jockie to the Fair
  14. The Duke of Marlborough
  15. Shepherds' Hey - a two-man jig

A living tradition. Apart from Princess (Princes') Royal, the dances are unpublished (except in the Espèrance Morris Book I), and the Abingdon dancers prefer that they remain so.

Tunes from the Abingdon tradition

ABC file Sheet music Audio file
Abingdon Princess Royal BC The Esperance Book Binary Data ABC PDF icon PDF