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What is Morris Dancing?

Lichfield Morris Dances

The History of Morris Dancing in Lichfield

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Armitage Mummers

The Pipe & Tabor




Squire: Duncan
01283 791303

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Lichfield Morris Dances

The Lichfield tradition is unique and, despite having some similarities to both Cotswold and North West morris, has many steps and figures found nowhere else. Lichfield dances include The Bower Processional dance, a three man jig (Shepherds Hey), and a one man jig (All the Winds). There are seven dances for eight men all of which have names associated with the City of Lichfield.

Dances for Eight Men

The Vandalls of Hammerwich probably refers to an incident which occurred in 1262 in which "a certain heath was burned by the villeins of Hammerwich to the injury of the King's game." (The village of Burntwood is supposed to have grown up on the site).

The Sheriffs Ride takes its name from the event which takes place on the Saturday nearest to the 8th September when the Sheriff and dignitaries of Lichfield ride the boundaries of the City.

The Barefooted Quaker refers to George Fox, founder of the Quaker movement who, in 1651, upon his release from Derby Gaol was "commanded by the Lord of a sudden to untie my shoes and put them off ... so I went down the streets crying with a loud voice 'woe unto the bloody City of Lichfield.'" Woe indeed!

Milley's Bequest refers to a bequest made in the fifteenth century by Cannon Thomas Milley for the benefit of fifteen worthy old women of Lichfield.

Ring O Bells is named after one of the two public houses of that name which used to exist in the City.

Castle Ring is named after the pre-Roman encampment on Cannock Chase where morris dancing is said to have taken place in the Good Friday Games.

Nuts in May takes its name from the "knots" of flowers traditionally carried at Whitsun.

Music for the dances was traditionally provided by a pipe and tabor, in the late 18th Century by a flute, but nowadays by a melodeon.

The present Lichfield Morris was formed in 1979 to perform the traditional dances of Lichfield in the City and district. We also perform several dances composed in the style of the Lichfield traditional dances, including a one or two man jig (The King's Jig) named after The King's Head, a favourite City watering hole, and The Old 38th, a stick dance for eight men named after the Staffordshire regiment raised at the King's Head in the City.