Morris men exhibition: a glorious century of dancing in the streets

2014: The first dance of the day

2014: The first dance of the day

First published in News
Last updated
Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Witney and West Oxfordshire. Call me on 01865 425483

An exhibition in Bampton offers a nostalgic look at Morris dancing in the area, with pictures dating back to 1894. Dan Robinson takes a preview

LONG before the days when TV period drama Downton Abbey was filmed there, Bampton was synonymous with Morris dancing.

And now a photographic exhibition spanning 120 years of the traditional folk dance has been opened in Bampton Library.

It has been compiled by Bampton Community Archive group member Janet Rouse and includes more than 100 pictures celebrating the village’s link to the tradition.

She said: “It’s almost certainly the village with the longest broken record of dancing every year. There was certainly dancing here in the 1700s and we still hold an event every year.

“Since 1960 there’s been a real revival here in Bampton. There was generally a great revival in the folk world everywhere after the Second World War.

“It was an explosion of freedom and pubs here got a licence to stay open all day, which neighbouring villages didn’t have so everyone came to Bampton.”

Oxford Mail:

Janet Rouse

The oldest picture is from 1894, showing nine dancers gathering on Whit Monday, the traditional date when the Bampton group would hold its only performance of the year in the village.

Performances are now held on the late May Bank Holiday Monday, two days after the Original Great Shirt Race.

The most recent picture was taken last year. Mrs Rouse took some herself and others were contributed.

In many of the older photographs the dancers are posed because the film would blur with movement.

Three teams of dancers, called sides, dance in the village centre and members traditionally had to either live or have been born in Bampton.Sides are led by a squire and there is also a fool, ragman and musician.

Each village would have its own style typified by steps and patterns.

Mrs Rouse, who has lived in the village since 1968 and is married to former morris dancer Terry, said: “There are Morris dancers all over the country and each town or village has their own specific dance so if another side performs it they always acknowledge which village the dance style comes from.

“When they perform in Bampton it’s such a wonderful atmosphere.”

The exhibition is at the Vesey Room of the village library, in Church View, until Sunday, June 22.

Oxford Mail:

1894: Present on Whit Monday, May 14, were, left to right, Henry Radband (sword bearer), George Wells, Joseph Rouse, probably John Tanner, William Nathan Wells (fool), James Dewe, George Dixey, Thomas William Tanner, Richard Decimus Butler (musician)

Oxford Mail:

1932: Avoiding the floods by the Elephant & Castle pub

Oxford Mail:

1938: William Nathan Wells also known as Jinky

Our top stories:

Cyclists warned: Don't be dimwits

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Saturday 25th October 2014

BIKE safety campaigners have warned that cyclists are risking their lives, after an Oxford Mail survey found more than half of them were riding without lights.

Football match in Banbury stopped after bottle was thrown towards the referee

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

5:18pm Saturday 25th October 2014

A FOOTBALL match was abandoned this afternoon after a bottle was thrown onto the pitch.

Extra hour tonight! Celebrate with top bands at unique Oxford gig

Oxford Mail:

1:40pm Saturday 25th October 2014

With an extra hour to enjoy - or recover with - tonight is the perfect night to celebrate one of Oxford's biggest nights of music

FOOTBALL: Rose wants to keep Oxford United climbing

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 25th October 2014

Danny Rose is targeting a move into mid-table today as Oxford United visit Carlisle United in search of a third win in eight days.

Shhh... silent film is a reel hit with movie buffs

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 25th October 2014

FILM buffs were given a taste of how movies used to be watched as they turned out for a silent screening in Witney.

Update: Oxford University student Isobel Priest is found safe and well

Oxford Mail:

8:49am Saturday 25th October 2014

Police have said the 21-year-old Oxford University student who was reported missing has been found safe and well.

Runaway emu killed after crash with car

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

8:40am Saturday 25th October 2014

AN EMU escaped from a garden in Boar’s Hill and died after being hit by a car, Thames Valley Police said yesterday.

Off and running for entry to our OX5 extravaganza

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 25th October 2014

THE starting gun has been fired for next year’s Oxford Mail OX5 Run as places open for runners in the fundraising extravaganza.

West Way supporters 'bullied into silence'

Oxford Mail: vale of white horse logo

8:30am Saturday 25th October 2014

THE developers behind the proposed £100m Botley regeneration scheme have claimed some of their supporters have been “bullied into silence”.

Fashion Week: First male Face of Oxford a front-runner from start

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 25th October 2014

IT was a case of right place and right time for this year’s Face of Oxford.

F1 team must be sold before staff can return

Oxford Mail: IN THE RUNNING: Richard Pardon’s photograph of Caterham F1 team engineers in Oxfordshire

7:30am Saturday 25th October 2014

STAFF at Caterham F1 have been told not to return to the team’s West Oxfordshire base until it is sold.

Royals and residents join to mourn a popular Duke

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Saturday 25th October 2014

FAMILY, friends and schoolchildren paid their final respects to the 11th Duke of Marlborough at his funeral in Woodstock yesterday.

Bowl-ed over by green cup to drink tea in style

Oxford Mail:

6:40am Saturday 25th October 2014

IT may be Britain’s favourite beverage, but leave your mugs at home for this new exhibition showing how to drink tea in style.

Flooding victims told they won't be left out of pocket

Oxford Mail: Burst water main closes Lower Hall Lane in Chingford

6:30am Saturday 25th October 2014

FLOOD-HIT residents will not have to pay two sets of council tax after water bosses pledged to foot extra costs.

 

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree