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:

UPDATE: Mayfair Road man appears in court on Barton murder charge as alleged victim is named as Wojciech Ryniak

Oxford Mail: oxford magistrates court

11:04am Saturday 25th April 2015

A MAN has today appeared in court charged with murder after a man was found with chest injuries in Barton late on Tuesday night.

Defibrillator campaign smashes its 200 target - now let's go for 500

Oxford Mail:

9:04am Saturday 25th April 2015

ONE man’s mission to get 200 more public defibrillators across Oxfordshire has smashed its target thanks to the Oxford Mail.

Barton man appears in court charged in connection with Mayfair Road incident

Oxford Mail: oxford magistrates court

1:56pm Saturday 25th April 2015

A MAN has today appeared in court charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of a stun gun after an incident in Mayfair Road on Tuesday evening.

Oink: Warning to dog walkers as wild boar seen in Oxfordshire

Oxford Mail:

12:00pm Saturday 25th April 2015

WILD boar have been spotted in parts of Oxfordshire.

Randolph Hotel: Historically important parts largely unscathed by fire

Oxford Mail:

8:57am Saturday 25th April 2015

A CONSERVATION group has said historically important sections of The Randolph Hotel were left largely unscathed by last week’s major fire.

Thefts fall, only to be replaced by big increase in cyber crime

Oxford Mail:

8:53am Saturday 25th April 2015

CYBER crime in Oxford is becoming so prevalent it is replacing traditional thefts, a police chief has said.

Residents back post mistress after changes threaten shop

Oxford Mail:

8:47am Saturday 25th April 2015

HUNDREDS of experienced postmasters will be lost as part of changes to our post offices, a union secretary has warned.

Gloucester Green bus station getting a wash and brush up

Oxford Mail:

8:41am Saturday 25th April 2015

A MAJOR clean-up is under way to smarten up Oxford’s Gloucester Green bus station.

Kidlington man to lay wreath at Cenotaph to recognise Grandfather and Great-Uncle's Gallipoli sacrifice

Oxford Mail:

8:33am Saturday 25th April 2015

ONE HUNDRED years ago Robin Atherton’s grandfather went into battle along with his twin brother – but only one of them survived the day.

Oxfordshire remains one of worst places for bed-blocking in the country

Oxford Mail: John Radcliffe Hospital stock

8:30am Friday 24th April 2015

A BEDBLOCKING crisis in the county has forced health bosses to launch a week-long blitz.

Police return to Mayfair Road house in Cowley as murder investigation continues

Oxford Mail:

7:07pm Friday 24th April 2015

POLICE officers have tonight returned to a house in Cowley after two arrests were made in the Barton murder investigations.

Man arrested after woman attacked at a Bicester house

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

4:11pm Friday 24th April 2015

A MAN has been arrested after a woman was attacked at a house in Bicester.

Missing African grey parrot Donna found safe in Wallingford

Oxford Mail:

3:19pm Friday 24th April 2015

A MISSING parrot has been found in Wallingford following a police appeal.

Trains in Oxfordshire delayed after vehicle hits bridge

Oxford Mail: oxford train station inside

2:46pm Friday 24th April 2015

TRAINS are delayed between Oxford, London Paddington, Reading and Swindon after a vehicle struck a bridge at Pangbourne.

 

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