Our curmudgeonly old foreman [of a few years ago], Mr Christopher Farr, was asked by one of our younger members where the whole Morris thing came from. Lucky for us he took along a new fangled ‘tape recorder’ and the conversation has been transcribed here for us all to enjoy.
Robin: Now Chris I've come along with a tape recorder to ask you some questions. The first one is, can you tell us what you know about the history of the Morris Dance in England ?
Foreman: Well I don't know too much about Morris and I knows even less about history but I'll put the two ignorances together and give you a very ill informed account. According to hear-say in the Cotswold village where I was brought up (Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire) Morris Dancing first came to England in 1367 when the dance was brought back by troops in John of Gaunt's army after the battle of Najera, which is in Northern Spain.
Morris dancing was one component of celebrations associated with the Whitsun season (Pentecost, or 50 days after Easter) I'll tell you a little about the Whitsun festivals I know about from my youth. The reason why I'll do that is to show that Morris Dancing is very much linked to seasonal custom.
Next: Scuttlebrook Wake