Adderbury Morris Men

Winter practices continue in the Lucy Plackett Activity Centre on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month from 8.15 – 9.45 pm, after which much needed refreshment is taken in the Bell Inn. Recent recruits are enjoying the new style structured practices which are being tailored to learning the basics of our great tradition but additional recruits are always made most welcome. So why not come along when our challenge will be to have you dancing in time for the Day of Dance on Saturday, 23 April.

Website: http://www.adderburymorris.org.uk/
Contact: Keith Norton
Email: keefnorton123@gmail.com
Mobile: 07717 574220
Address: Lucy Plackett Activity Centre

Adderbury Village Morris Men

In the nineteenth century many villages in Oxfordshire had their own team of morris men. The tradition seems to have been particularly strong in Adderbury. During the middle part of the century there were at least three separate teams active in the village. By the end of the nineteeth century there was a general decline in the tradition and it died out in most places including Adderbury. However in the years prior to the outbreak of World War I the tradition was revived in the village and boys from the village school were taught the dances and formed a team that danced at many village functions in the years leading up to the outbreak of the war.

Most of the team seemed to have enlisted in the army. Sadly, only one returned in 1918, and the tradition again died out. 60 years passed before it was revived again in 1975 and since then Adderbury has again had a flourishing morris tradition. The modern dancers are indebted to local resident Janet Blunt and folklorist Cecil Sharp who wrote down the dances and tunes from retired dancers at the beginning of the twentieth century. Charlie Coleman, who came back from World War I , also passed on details of the tradition to a local man, Bryan Sheppard, who had the idea of reviving the tradition in 1975.

The Adderbury Village Morris Men contain many of the original dancers who helped revive the side in 1974 and reconstructed and practised the dances before their first day of dance in April 1975. The annual day of dance is now established as a major part of the village year and crowds come from all over the country to watch the dancing.

In 2011 AVMM were the subject of a documentary film “Way of the Morris” which had a worldwide cinema release and featured on Sky Arts. It is available on DVD from Amazon. We are always glad to welcome new members who want to help maintain the tradition. It’s a great way to keep fit and make new friends. Our practise sessions are held on Wednesdays between January and April in the Tythe Barn (the oldest building in the village)

Website: http://adderburyvillagemorrismen.co.uk
Contact: John Ekers
Email: info@adderburyvillagemorrismen.co.uk
Phone: 01869 811741

Sharp and Blunt

The Ladies’Side

Despite the strong Morris tradition in Adderbury, dating back to the early 20th century, it was not until April 2010 that our ladies’ side was formed.  Following a conversation between Tay Yardley Barnes and Keith Norton at the Day of Dance, Tay gathered together 12 would-be dancers and two musicians within a few hours and Sharp and Blunt was born.  The name was chosen in honour of Cecil Sharp and Janet Blunt, both avid collectors of Morris and folk dances and songs during the first half of the 20th century. Coincidentally, Janet lived at Le Halle Place, where our squire, Laura Walker, lives now.

Since then, the side has gone from strength to strength.  Many of the original dancers, including Laura, Hils Hall, Jenny Jordon, Linda Leslie, Sheila Norton and Chris Varney and musicians, Sheena Powell and Sandra Shallis, are still with us, and we have welcomed many new ones over the past eight years.  Most of the dancers and musicians live in or around Adderbury.

Despite being a ladies’ side, we were delighted when Bryan Martin (the token “chap”) joined the musicians in 2015.  We are also grateful to Keith Norton, aka Morris Pops, for teaching us some of the traditional dances and for his constructive criticism, Chris Leslie for helping out with the music and Jason Walker who is always willing to stand in at short notice.

We now have over 20 dances under our belt and add to the list every few months. Some are traditional Adderbury dances, such as Shepherd’s Hey and Washing Day, and others are our own creations, including Heath Farm, Nanny Moore, Haystacks and an adaptation of Beyoncé’s Single Ladies.

We are always keen to welcome new dancers and no previous dancing experience is necessary.  We are a very friendly side, with a wide range of ages, from young to old, and we practise most Monday evenings in the Methodist Hall in Adderbury.  We dance out in the summer and have performed at a variety of locations, including Cornbury Festival, Oxford May Morning, Oxford Folk Festival, Hook Norton Beer Festival and for Saatchi and Saatchi.  We dance in the village on Boxing Day, Adderbury Day of Dance and May Bank Holiday.

We would like to thank the lovely Adderbury people for coming to watch and support us in all weathers and for turning a blind eye to the odd mistake.

Find out more about Sharp and Blunt by visiting our Facebook page (Sharp and Blunt) or follow us on Twitter (@sharpbluntdance). If you would like to come along to one of our practice sessions, email us at sharpandblunt@gmail.com.  You will be very welcome!

Chris Varney

Contact: Chris Varney
Email: sharpandblunt@gmail.com