Mudcat Café message #3704353 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157043   Message #3704353
Posted By: Mr Red
26-Apr-15 - 04:45 PM
Thread Name: What exactly is Morris dancing?
Subject: RE: What exactly is Morris dancing?
of which their is little evidence before the 1970's,
I have to bow to a superior source, namely a guy who considered doing a PhD on Folk, and his erudition at that stage was "Morresque going on Morris". He showed the "timeline and popularity" culled from sources.
Expanding as it went down market. Like any fashion. He is, rather, himself a lapsed Morriman. Black-Faced was most definitely mentioned from the early Morresque.

As a footnote -Rob Scrase told me, in 1990 that he had a book documenting the fact that women were dancing Morris before 1830ish. How many and how widespread I never found out. He offered the said book to the Morris Ring and no one was interested. The rule about Women dancing Morris in Ring Sides was a demonstrable fact then. At the same era Dave Jones could not get Women's Morris sides to perform at Bromyard Festival despite his daughters being very accomplished dancers and musicians. (at the same time!). They did eventually play for his "Na Fer Joes" amid severe grumblings of some Ring Sides (names withheld). And traditionally "Na Fer Joes" would have been proud not to be called Morris. cf Molly, or Abbots Bromley. Who knows or cares what the Ringers euphemistcally called the "statu quo", it was fact. Rules are what people live by, not what is written down. Written down can condemn people. If it is not written down it can be denied. As a rule!

And FWIW ritual dancing in some form predates Morris, Morresque etc. Whatever became Morris would draw on the lineage and evolve. The Abbots Bromley horns are reputed to carbon date to 1065 (+/- 50 yrs) and one is Reindeer, an extinct species in England certainly, and maybe Scotland, at the time.