Happenstance Border Morris
Happenstance Border Morris is a mixed border side from Winchcombe, established about 4 years ago. They aim to keep one foot in old traditions, remembering that in the 19th century, Winchcombe had a traditional Morris side, whose dances, sadly, were never collected. They dance a number of Border collected dances and some new dances that have become established in Border repertoire, such as “Quebec” and “Tinner’s Rabbit.” As much as they can, they play tunes collected locally, for example, using a Winchcombe tune for the “Much Wenlock” dance. Starting with a basis of accordeon and melodeon, they have added banjo, soprano saxophone and shawm to the band, along with occasional percussion, producing a lively sound. They like to perform in and for the local community as much as possible, but have also performed at wassails, folk festivals and days of dance, as well as holding workshops. Once they even danced at Stonehenge!
Their practices are 7.30 every Tuesday in the Abbey Fields School, Winchcombe and they welcome new dancers and musicians. Please contact Cressida on 01242 604120 or 07791004649 or for further information you can find them on their website or on facebook.
Old Meg Morris
Old Meg Morris are a mixed North West side based in Malvern, Worcestershire and they practice on Tuesday evenings at Poolbrook Hall on Poolbrook Road, Malvern. The side was formed in 1977 as a women’s Cotswold side but soon switched to North West dances. Men joined the side in 2001. Contact Anne Lewis on 01684 574628 for more information.
Wimberry Clog are a group of Step Clog dancers, from the Forest of Dean. The group was formed in 1980 and
Their name is from the local dialect name for the whinberry, hence their kit of dark green and purple. For more information visit their website.
Forest of Dean Morris Men
The Forest of Dean Morris Men side was formed in 1968 and dancing out on their 45th season this year. The FODMM dance mostly traditional Cotswold dances, and some unique dances from the Forest. On the second weekend in June the Forest side hosts other Morris sides from across the country. This family friendly event has been held for over 40 years. A number of coaches take the colourful and varied sides to dance, and drink, at several pubs throughout the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley. The picture shows the Forest of Dean Morris Men doing a traditional Forest Dance in Coleford Town centre, which marks the start of the day.
They have performed at many different locations in England and Wales, also Germany and France. In 2010 they celebrated 30 years of being invited to take part in the ‘Fleurs d’Ajonc’ festival in Pont Aven. The Forest side had the honour of leading the procession through the Brittany town.
Usually Morris sides wear white shirts crossed with coloured baldricks (sashes) and white trousers or black breeches. In the Forest of Dean, however, the dancers have traditionally worn “rag jackets”. The current Forest of Dean Morris Men’s costume is based on the Ruardean (a village in the Forest of Dean) kit of the 1880’s.
One theory for the wearing of Rag Jackets is that it represents the leaves of the Forest. You will have to ask one of the dancers for the real reason