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

Traditional Morris Events: January

image from Morris Ring publication 'Comes the Morris dancer in'

image from Morris Ring publication 'Comes the Morris dancer in'

 

The images show the Goathland Plough Stots, who are one of Yorkshire's oldest traditional long-sword dance teams, with a tradition going back to the early 19th century. They ceased dancing in the late 19th century, were revived by Frank Dowson in the early 1920's, stopped during 1939-45, then revived again. They may be seen each January on a Saturday near Plough Monday (the first Monday after Twelfth Day). At one time a plough was actually dragged around with them and the Plough Stots were numerous characters who accompanied the dancers on Plough Monday itself. Nowadays the name refers exclusively to the dancers themsleves who unfortunately are no longer members of the Morris Ring. The plough is simply blessed at the church another day. Pictured below are the Plough Stots in 1948. For a history of the tradition see Goathland Plough Stots - History.  

1948 - image from Morris Ring publication 'Comes the Morris dancer in'

New Year's Day

  • Aldbury MMNew Year's Day - 12:00 noon, The Valiant Trooper, Aldbury HP23 5RW; 1:00pm - The Greyhound, Aldbury HP23 5RT
  • Alvechurch MM : New Year's Day - Mummers' Play around Alvechurch (at The Crown in Withybed Green) with Jockey MM
  • Ashdown Forest MM : New Year's Day - 1:00 pm - The New Inn, Hadlow Down TN22 4HJ
  • Barnsley Longsword Dancers : New Year's Day - 1:00 pm - Spencer Arms, Cawthorne S75 4HL and after at the Cawthorne Top Club.
  • Blackmore MM : New Year's Day - 1:00 pm, Leather Bottle, Blackmore CM4 0RL 
  • Dartington MM : New Year's Day - Hope Cove 1:00 pm. About 2:00pm we will adjourn to the Hope and Anchor Inn.
  • Etcetera MM : New Year's DaySpectacular - 12:00 noon, The Wonder, Batley Rd, Enfield EN2 OJG.  We will be joined by dancing friends from Hertfordshire Holly and Camden Clog, as well as other Cotswold Morris dancers. Followed by music and song in the bar.
  • Kennet MM : New Year's Day - Dancing about 12:30 pm followed by music and song until 3:00pm Calleva Arms, Silchester RG7 2PH
  • Mersey MM New Year's Day 12:00 noon The Plasterers Arms Hoylake Wirral CH47 2DJ
  • Monkseaton MM : New Year's Day -  12:00 noon outside the Ship Inn, Monkseaton and then afterwards in the Ship Inn, Black Horse, Monkseaton Arms and Left Luggage Room.
  • Plymouth MMNew Year's Day - 12:00 noon,The Dolphin, Plymouth Barbican PL1 2LS
  • Ripley MM New Year's Day - 12:30pm ish - The Red Lion Hognaston DE6 1PR
  • Rose and Castle Morris : New Year's Day - 12:00 noon, The Boat, Stoke Bruerne with Queen's Oak, followed by "musical diversions"
  • Taunton Deane MM  New Year's Day - 12:30 pm:Bradford on Tone - The White Horse Inn  TA4 1HF
  • Towersey Morris : New Year's Day -1:00pm onwards: White Hart, Moneyrow Green, Holyport SL6 2ND by invitation of Taeppa's Tump - including the Towersey Mummers Play
  • Yateley MM : New Year's Day - 1:00 pm, The Cricketers, Hartley Wintney RG27 8QB - with Mummers Play

12th Night etc.

Twelfth Night takes place on Friday 5th January 2018. Twelfth Night is a festival in some branches of Christianity marking the coming of the Epiphany and concluding the Twelve Days of Christmas. It is defined by the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary as "the evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking". There is some confusion these days, however, as to which night is Twelfth Night: modern practice is often to regard the night of Epiphany itself (sixth of January) to be Twelfth Night. The older tradition of Twelfth Night being the 5 January stems from the medieval practice of the day beginning at sunset, rather than at midnight as it does now. Or the 5th can be celebrated as Old Christmas day, or it could be Old Twelth Night, 17th January, as determined by the Julian calendar - or even the twelth night after Halloween! See Wikipedia for a full explanation.  There's not enough room here, but whenever it is, enjoy the festivities below.

  • Ewell St. Mary's MM : Old Christmas Day - Thursday 4th January - 12ish Night Revels 8:00pm - 11:00pm Willoughby Arms, Kingston upon Thames, KT2 6LN
  • Adlington MM and Mummers : Friday 5th January 2018 – Alderley Mummers Play, Macclesfield & district tour - 8:00 pm Church House, Church Lane, Sutton Lane Ends, SK11 0DS; 9:00 pm Gawsworth, The Harrington Arms, Church Lane, off Congleton Road, SK11 9RR; 10:00 pm Macclesfield, The Waters Green Tavern, 96 Waters Green, SK11 6LH
  • Coventry MMTwelfth Night - Saturday 6th January - Sword tour of Coventry - 10:30 Fountain (precinct crossing); 11:15 Upper Precinct;12:30 Broadgate; 14:30 Broadgate; 15:00 Shelton Square; 15:30 Fountain (precinct crossing)
  • Long Man MMTwelfth Night - Saturday 6th January 8:00pm - Here We Come A Wassailing - The Wheatsheaf, 2 Church Street Willingdon Eastbourne BN20 9HP To be confirmed
  • Hinckley Bullockers : 1st Saturday after 12th Night - 6th January - Tour of Sharnford and Sapcote starting 9:40am The Countryman. 23 Leicester Rd, Sharnford, LE10 3PP - see website for details
  • Jockey MM : 1st Saturday after 12th night - 6th January - Birmingham City Centre, usually starting at St. Martin’s Church in The Bull Ring at 10:00am where we have our Plough blessed for the start of the agricultural year. 
  • Kennet MM : 1st Saturday after 12th Night - 6th January 1:30pm - Tutts Clump Wassail - our traditional wassailing of the Tutt's Clump Cider Orchard has been continuous ever since its planting ... 4 years ago.
  • Leominster MM Twelfth Night - Saturday 6th January 7:00pm - The Wassail - the first event revived after the side was re-formed in 1983, this year at The Crown, Dilwyn (of Dilwyn dance fame) Hereford HR4 8HL
  • Silurian Border MM 1st Saturday after 12th Night - 6th January Wassail in Much Marcle. 7:00pm dancing followed by an atmospheric torchlight procession into ancient cider orchards. After the Ceremony of singing, carousing and general merriment there will be music and Mummers at the Slip Inn, Much Marcle. Silurian would like to remind all participants that there is real fire involved - come prepared!
  • Goathland Ploughstots : 1st Sunday after 12th Night - 8th January 10.30am, Blessing of the Plough Service, St Mary's Church, Goatland
  • Grimsby MM : Sunday 7th January - 11:00am to 1:30pm Caistor Waes-hal, Caistor Community Orchard and Sports Club, Brigg Road, Caistor LN7 6RX  Dancing, wassail cermony and the North Kelsey Plough Play.
  • Cambridge MM : Plough Monday - 8th January -  11:30am Comberton Duck Pond, Green End, Comberton, Cambridgeshire CB23 7DY performing East Anglian Molly dances here then followed by private shows at various schools through the day. In the evening we join the Balsham Ploughboys in a tour of their village as Cotswold Dancers, visiting many hospitable families and the village pubs.
  • Grimsby MM : Plough Monday - 8th January - 8:00pm to 11:00pm, The Red Lion, The Green, Redbourne DN21 4QR A lantern procession followed by a selection of border dances. We take a break from dancing to perform the Plough play. After a final few dances we will adjourn to the interior of the inn for music and singing and a libation or two.
  • Exeter MM : 14th January 3:00pm 'til late - Sandford. The main event will begin around 6pm where the village will gather in The Square where Exeter Morris Men will lead the crowd in traditional song and dance. In the orchards we will enjoy the wassail ceremony before Brown Paper Mummers perform by the bonfire. After we will head back to The Lamb for a good old fashioned knees up!
  • Peterborough Morris Men : 1st Saturday after 12th Night - 13th January lead the Whittlesea Straw Bear procession 10:30am-3:30pm with many other dance teams followed by
    Sunday 15th January, Straw Bear Church Service. - A Morris display as part of the Plough Service.
  • Goathland Ploughstots : The Saturday following The Blessing - 13th January 9.30 am Tour of Goathland and surrounding area, starting from the Reading Room Goathland, North Yorkshire
  • Grimsby MM : Sunday 14th January - 11:00am to 1:30pm-  Skidbrooke Waes-hal, Skidbrooke Cyder Co., The Grange, Saddleback Road, Skidbrooke, LN11 7DH for dancing and wassail ceremony and on to The Crown Inn, Pump Lane, Saltfleet LN11 7RL for the North Kelsey Plough Play and a music and song session.
The links given below will take you to more detailed desciptions of some of the other seasonal events..
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