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Mount Bures Morris Men

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Mount Bures Morris Men at Kentwell Hall >>>>>

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 Wisbey)

Douglas Norfolk right side of photo with the beard

Douglas danced with the Mount Bures Morris men in the early 80s, until 1984 when he moved to London to become a full time student studying musical instrument tech biology.

(a)Thatchers Arms 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 a revival.


Mount Bures Hobby Animal. - The Bull

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
BELLPADS - Red and green with yellow ribbons
SHOES - black
(courtesy of Duncan Broomhead)

A list 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 years ago.

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, New Zealand
Alf White, engineer, still lives at Rivenhall End near Witham
Dave Waite, accountant, last known address Stoneham Street, Coggeshall.
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
Doug Gage,
Sarah White (bagman) and Roly White now living in Devon and part of the Blue Anchor Morris men
Douglas Norfolk, early 80`s until 1984 when he moved to London. Now living in Stowmarket.

Founder members :- Nigel Champken-Woods and Peter Codd
(Courtesy of Nigel Champken-Woods who supplied this information)

NEW JULY 2013> Morris Men photo album, images donated by Paul Pugh

Unfortunately, I am unable to give an exact date when the Morris Men disbanded, possibly late 1990`s to early 2000.

David Flatt information courtesy of his wife Catherine Flatt

updated 18/07/2013
Updated Douglas Norfolk 03/10/20