Mudcat Café message #3656088 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #104600   Message #3656088
Posted By: GUEST,Rahere
02-Sep-14 - 08:30 AM
Thread Name: Folklore: The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance
Subject: RE: Folklore: The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance
The EFDSS Horns are in Trefusis in Cecil Sharp House.

What may be relevant is that the earliest documents of Morris, both here and on the Continent, portray it as a Court-sponsored event from the mid 15th century. Although it could be argued that only Court events got written up, it's nowhere mentioned in the more secular documentation, Chaucer, Piers Plowman and their brethren.
The etymology points towards the Low Countries, and I note that there is a surviving tradition in the Belgian village of Binche, which is documented as originating in the current form from a Court Masque of 1549. However, that in turn raises the question whether the composer Gille Binchois a hundred years earlier was involved, as the dancers are called the Gilles de Binche, the Young Men of Binche, which uses a term from Scots Gaelic, as in the Cumha nan Gillean, the Lament of the Young Men known as The Flowers of The Forest. Certainly Bincheois worked with Guillaume Dufay, who was most certainly very well versed in the older rondelli, the circle-dances of the monastic labyrinths, see Craig Wright The Maze and The Warrior. Equally, it is thought that Bincheois may well have worked for the Earl of Suffolk at about the time of the first appearance of morris as such in this country. This is particularly relevant in the "maze" dances of the North West.

That, however, is a long way from matching it to the documents of the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance. What we have to be careful about is transferring the suppositions of neo-paganism, whether modern or Victorian (not that there's much difference) onto the hard history, putting something of a question behind the supposition that it dates from the Crusades: what did come from there is fairly well documented and does not include Morris. So, if this is correct, then Abbots Bromley may have to stand alone.