In September 2014, Dartington Morris Men hosted a meeting of member sides of the Morris Ring, centred in the picturesque town of Dartmouth, Devon. It was the third such meeting hosted by Dartington MM and the 343rd meeting of the Morris Ring.
The 2014 gathering kicked off on the evening of Friday 5 September when visiting sides arrived. There were be fourteen different Morris sides present, travelling from near and far.
On this Friday evening, many of the superb pubs in Dartmouth resounded to lively Morris music and song.
Saturday 6 September
Saturday saw the sides split into four separate groups, each following a different tour route and stopping frequently to perform at selected dance spots. Many of these dance spots are close to suitable hostelries, a necessary safety precaution necessary to prevent dehydration. A list of the Saturday tours with a tour map are shown here.
The four tours on Saturday travelled by coach, with breaks for two groups to cross the river Dart by passenger ferry. These two tours were around Torbay and the other two around the Totnes area, all tours culminating in a stunning boat cruise down the river Dart from the historic town of Totnes back to Dartmouth.
A "feast" for the sides was held on Saturday evening at the newly-opened "The View" restaurant in Dartmouth Academy, with a small number of invited special guests. All enjoyed the wonderful view from the gallery and following the feast there was a good deal of dancing, music-making and general merriment.
Sunday 7 September
This was followed at about 12.00 by a Mass Dance display from all the participating sides, in Royal Avenue Gardens. Individual show dances were also performed by our visitors, introduced by the Squire of the Morris Ring, Robin Springett of Dartington Morris Men. During the display there was a formal ‘dance-out’ by current Squire Robin, with a ‘dance-in’ by the new Squire, Adam Garland of East Suffolk Morris Men. Throughout the display, refreshments were available from the Tea Hut, courtesy of a small group of Dartington Morris Men wives and partners, and from The Royal Castle Hotel on The Quay.
The events of the weekend came to a conclusion at around 1.30pm, with a request from the new Squire for sides to assemble at Helmond in Holland in May 2015 for the next Meeting of Morris Ring Sides.
Accommodation and catering for the weekend was in the splendid and brand-newly built facilities of Dartmouth Academy (secondary school). Our thanks go to the Mayor, Town Council and people of Dartmouth for making us welcome, and to our sponsors, Dartmouth Academy, The Royal Castle Hotel, Bays Brewery and the Cott Inn, Dartington, for their support.
The sides that joined Dartington Morris Men for the weekend are:
- East Suffolk Morris Men
- Exeter Morris Men
- Hartley Morris Men
- Letchworth Morris Men
- Martlet Sword and Morris Men
- Men of Wight
- Plymouth Morris Men
- Thaxted Morris Men
- Thelwall Morris Men
- Trigg Morris Men
- Wessex Morris Men
- West Somerset Morris Men