Almost perfect weather for cycling got me out into the English countryside of East Anglia where Classic Cars were on show
Morris dance is a traditional English folk dance form, dated to at least 1448. The name ‘Morris’ may be from ‘Moorish’ and was part of a wider European interest in exotic dance for fashionable society.
Two hundred years after it was introduced in England Morris dancing had become part of the working people’s entertainment, especially around Whitsun the 7th Sunday after Easter. So it was a pleasant coincidence that the Thaxted event took place over Whit Sunday weekend.
The practice of Morris dancing was prohibited by the English Puritan government in the 17thc and the subsequent revival under King Charles II continued until the social changes of the mid 19thc.
Thaxted Morris, founded in 1911, stakes its claim to be the first 20th c revivalist of Morris Dance; though in the rural west of England Abingdon and several other dance teams have a tradition dating to well before 1800 . Normally complemented with music, Morris Dance is based on rhythmic stepping and choreographed sequences by a group of dancers, usually wearing bells on their legs and brandishing sticks or swords or handkerchiefs.
The Morris team from Cambridge, which dates in its current form from 1919, performed with the music supplied by a 3 hole wind Pipe and percussion Tabor. Letchworth Morris, founded in 1922, use an Accordion for Music with the rhythm from their own sticks, as do Thaxted. Making a quartet was the Claro Sword & Morris team from Pannal near Harrogate who have developed the Yorkshire Long Sword Dance.
Along my cycle route, I managed to catch a bride’s vehicle procession as the Bride & Groom had stopped for photos in a field of Barley.
Its quite a common thing to have a vehicle procession or take photographs in a rural scene but this was special for the open topped vehicles were not the normal limousine but Land Rover Defender’s, which are as popular in East Anglia as they are in Eastern Oman (Al Sharqiyyah).