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:

Lorry driver failed to brake in time to avoid fatal crash, jury told

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

6:30am Tuesday 21st October 2014

A LORRY driver had 12 seconds in which he failed to brake before fatally crashing into a broken-down car on the M40 in Oxfordshire, a jury was told.

County council revises budget cuts to lessen burden on services for homeless

Oxford Mail:

6:30am Tuesday 21st October 2014

CUTS to help for homeless people are to be changed after concerns were raised about their impact.

Update: Murder investigation after man "stabbed on a boat" in Abingdon

Oxford Mail:

7:09am Monday 20th October 2014

A MAN was stabbed to death in Abingdon last night.

Severe weather warning for Oxfordshire following Hurricane Gonzalo

Oxford Mail: After the heatwave comes the thunderstorms: 'Yellow Alert' as heavy rain forecast

2:40pm Monday 20th October 2014

SEVERE weather warnings are in place for Oxford tomorrow.

On-target Alfie Potter hails dream day as Oxford United regain winning habit + VIDEO

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Monday 20th October 2014

ALFIE Potter hailed a “perfect day” as he came off the bench to score and give Oxford United a much-needed victory over Tranmere Rovers.

Man who scared off burglars with a sword from his Witney home is left feeling 'a bag of nerves'

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Monday 20th October 2014

A BURGLARY victim who scared off his intruders while holding a sword said the incident had left him emotionally scarred.

Britain's Got Talent star Fabia and her feathered friends go burlesque for breast cancer funds in Cowley

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Monday 20th October 2014

OXFORD’S own burlesque star Fabia Cerra hosted a special dancing class over the weekend to raise money for charity.

DIDCOT POWER STATION FIRE: 'It was a bit of an inferno' + Video

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Monday 20th October 2014

A HUGE fire ripped through a cooling tower at Didcot Power Station last night.

Taking the sugar out of diet is film’s sweet plan for Oxfordshire residents' health

Oxford Mail:

7:30am Monday 20th October 2014

YOUNGSTERS from Rose Hill have taken to the silver screen to encourage families across Oxfordshire to make healthier food choices.

Cheers! Thousands hail the ale

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Monday 20th October 2014

THOUSANDS of beer-lovers flocked to Oxford Town Hall to raise a toast to real ale at the annual Oxford Beer Festival.

‘Save trees from chop to shield us from eyesore'

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Monday 20th October 2014

CONCERNS have been raised that felling trees near the Port Meadow student flats could worsen their impact on neighbouring people.

Network Bicester makes second attempt for planning permission to create business site

Oxford Mail: Cherwell district council logo

6:40am Monday 20th October 2014

PLANS for a new multi-million-pound business site on the edge of a Bicester housing estate have been re-submitted to Cherwell District Council.

Rising social care demands following child exploitation cases lead to council cash warning

Oxford Mail: Ian Hudspeth

6:30am Monday 20th October 2014

RISING demand in social care will make it even harder for the county council to balance the books next year, its leader has warned Ian Hudspeth revealed there was an overspend on adult and children’s social care this year.

Didcot steam enthusiast chuffed by Combe Mill show’s popularity

Oxford Mail:

6:30am Monday 20th October 2014

TRADITIONAL industries of wood and steam came together at the original sawmill and workshop of the Blenheim Palace estate, Combe Mill.

 

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