The Morris dance is a form of English folk dance usually accompanied
by music. It is based on rhythmic stepping and the execution of choreographed
figures by a group of dancers. Implements such as sticks, swords, handkerchiefs
and bells may also be wielded by the dancers.
The earliest recorded Morris Dance, dates back to the 15th century
||Mount Bures Morris Men
performing at Harwich 1983
(This superb photograph kindly supplied by Derek
Public House:- This
was the HQ of the Mount Bures Morris Men with the level crossing gates
as their logo
(b)The Independent Newspaper, dated 1996
John Couch remembers seeing women at
a Ring meeting once. "But they were serving at the feast. They're
not even allowed on the coaches which take the groups out to the dance
sites. Some of those 42-seater coaches were half full. It's a bit ridiculous,
really." With his bushy beard and abiding interest in English folklore,
John might easily be mistaken for a Morris traditionalist. But, having
experienced the sad decline of the pastime during an intense 13-year
involvement, he has become a Morris modernist; if it were not for the
infusion of new blood in the early 1990s, his beloved Mount Bures dancers
would have surely gone under.
Alf White, the group's sagely squire
(Morris-speak for leader) strokes his greying whiskers and nods
in agreement. "Most teams are short of dancers. There's just
not enough men to do it!" He begins a short, sharp history
of the movement, only to be interrupted at the end of the Great
War ("when the lady schoolteachers kept it going").
"Alf, we're doing the Postman's
Knock," a feisty female voice informs him. "You are
required please." Sarah, the bagman (secretary), wants to
finish the double-footer so they can all get down the pub before
closing time. "Shortly," mutters Alf. Sarah clicks her
tongue and, in a matter of seconds, her father-in-law is joining
in the traditional mantra: "Every morning as true as a clock,
somebody hears the postman's knock." The violin starts up,
followed by the melodeon, and soon he is hop, skip and jangling
around the village hall in time-honoured fashion.
After its near collapse three years
ago ( 1993) the "re-mixed" Mount Bures team is enjoying
Mount Bures Hobby Animal. - The
The Hobby animal often accompanied
the Morris dance teams were varied and colourful and constitute
a true folk art form.
Each group of Morris dancers would have their own distinct animal,
such as a Bull, Horse, Donkey etc
Many Morris Dancers consider it
to be most important that members of the public should never see
anyone getting into or out of the beast nor see it when it is
unoccupied. Some teams just carry the head wrapped in its cloth,
and change out of sight; but others take elaborate measures to
disguise the animal in transit, and to confuse the public as to
who exactly is inside it.
HEADGEAR - Straw Hat decorated with Flowers
TRUNK - white Shirt, brown belt
WAISTCOAT - FRONT, Red at top and centre, yellow at flanks
WAISTCOAT - REAR, red at top, lower half green with picture of
steam train at level crossing in the centre
TROUSERS - White
BELLPADS - Red and green with yellow ribbons
SHOES - black
(courtesy of Duncan Broomhead)
of members known so far:-
David Flatt (dec) The side was founded in Autumn 1980 by
David. He had previously danced with Wheatley Morris Men in Oxfordshire.
In the top picture taken at Kentwell Hall, David is playing the
pipe and tabor.
David was a music teacher at Cornard School and passed away some
Jim Williams, HGV driver, still lives between Mt.Bures
and Wakes Colne
Dennis Plenty - used to run a printing business on Ipswich
Road, Colchester and now lives in France
Mark Tivey - our musician during the early years, used
to live near Chelmsford. He was an accordion player who at one
time played with local folkdance band Bushes and Briars.
John Dalziel, teacher, lived Fordham, now living in Liverpool.
John took over from David as our dance teacher.
John Couch, Anglian water engineer, now living in Whakatane,
Alf White, engineer, still lives at Rivenhall End near
Dave Waite, accountant, last known address Stoneham Street,
Denis Avery (aka Big Denis now dec)) agricultural engineer,
originally a Great Tey resident, who retired to Cromer, Norfolk.
Peter Codd, banker, lived in Aldham and retired to France
John Edwards, engineer, lived in Mt.Bures but moved away
from the area many years ago
Nigel Wood,( see below) engineer, lived Gt. Tey and last
heard of moved to Thame, Oxford
Ian Cropton. lived in Bures now residing in Stevenage.
Joined circa 1986
(Courtesy of Ian Cropton who supplied these names)
Paul Pugh. moved out of the area in 1985,
subsequently joined the Escafeld Morris Men in Sheffield
Sarah White (bagman) and Roly White now living
in Devon and part of the Blue Anchor Morris men
Founder members :- Nigel
Champken-Woods and Peter Codd
(Courtesy of Nigel Champken-Woods who supplied
NEW JULY 2013>
Morris Men photo album, images
donated by Paul Pugh
David Flatt information courtesy
of his wife Catherine Flatt