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THE MORRIS DANCERS OF KING'S LYNN, NORFOLK

35th Anniversary Year

Last Update: May 20, 2013.


Contents

Recent Morris Photos courtesy of Frank Gogerty

Recent Morris Photos courtesy of Charles David Photography

 

 

Please note that the contents of this site are currently

under considerable re-destruction (again).

Your patience will be tolerated -  until we decide otherwise.


The Story of  The King's Morris

The Morris Dancing team of King's Lynn, THE KING'S MORRIS was formed in 1978. Like most modern teams, they are a revival side; that is; a team formed in a town that does not have a tradition of Morris Dancing. THE KING'S MORRIS are a Cotswold Men's team who perform jigs and dances mainly from the Bledington, Fieldtown, Bampton, Badby, Bucknell and Adderbury 'traditions'.

The team performs in public from May until September, usually on Friday or Saturday evenings. Displays are normally given outside pubs in North West Norfolk, the evening often finishing with folk music in the bar. On Bank Holidays the team normally presents dancing tours, travelling further afield in Norfolk and performing during the day. Displays are often given at fetes, galas and other less well defined places and sometimes the team travels to various parts of England to dance with other teams.

 

The team has a tradition of dancing in the King's Lynn area on Boxing Day, but probably the most important day of the year is the First of May (the real May Day); the team begins it by "Dancing the Dawn Up" (a ceremonial dance to celebrate the coming of Summer and promote fertility in field, flock and mankind) at 5.20am on the roundabout at Knights Hill (the highest point in the Borough of King's Lynn).

The KING'S MORRIS wear grey top hats, and their white shirts and trousers are adorned with baldrics and bell pads in the teams' colours of royal blue and golden yellow. The shields which the teams wear on their livery are the ancient coat of arms of King's Lynn and are presented to a dancer when he is considered to be competent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At mid-day The King’s Morris carry the King's Lynn May Garland around the town, starting at the Saturday Market Place, an old Pagan custom (not a Christian one), performed originally by the children of the town, and revived by the dancers in 1983.

 

A May Garland Procession  

Photo courtesy Matthew Usher © Eastern Daily Press

 

 

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Current members of The King's Morris 2011

 

David Jackson

Senior Musician and long-suffering Bagman. Probably the most well known character in the side, mainly for his aprés-dance musical renditions.

Our Dancers

Ian PriceCurrent Squire longest serving dancing member of the current side.
Martin Greaves, current Foreman, product of Silkeborg Morris (Denmark), via Hammersmith. The most technically correct dancer we have.  We always claim that we taught him to get off the ground!!  Now he is never on it.

Ian Heighton, current  Fool, Webmaster, Member of the Illustrious Order of Fools and Beasts (certified Idiot) and Universal 6th Morris man (International Edition)

Motto: "Have  big tankard - will travel"

Photo courtesy Charles David Photography Ltd (March, Cambs)

Mark Warrell, Current Treasurer , enthusiastically dancing in his umpteenth year with the side.

Geoff Phillipson - Previously danced with Peterborough Morris
Tim Maythan, Another Certified Fool and our own £6 million man, at least that's what he says he's spent on beer.
Bob Edgar, may be better known for the saying "Mad Bobs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun".
Ian Stinton - joined us the year before the last year before the last year. Watch out for him on the Norfolk roads on his motorbike.

Andy Hull - new member 3 years ago before last year. Previously danced with Ouse William & Ouse Washers
Tony Bellars -  Enthusiastically entering his 4th year.
Winston Williams -  - previously danced with Westminster MM

Our Musicians

Anne Roberts, talented musician who has had links with Devils Dyke and Kemps Men (Norwich).  Going for her 'lifesaver award' this year.  We would have had a problem surviving without her.

Louise Sinclair, Accomplished melodeon player who  joined us last year
Jill Bennett - very talented fiddle and dulcimer player - 'on loan' from Kemps MM. 

A Diva in her own write.

 

Our Beast
Izeels  (our Dragon) named after Draggin' is 'eels

This is a very rare picture as he has not been seen a lot of recently due to 'foot in 'is mouth' and we cannot afford the vets bills at present.

BEWARE! he is not as friendly as he looks

Our Latest Recruit  - a Fools stick superbly carved by Norman Walsh a Founder Member of White Rose Morris Men

Norman the Konkerer arrived with a note stating that
"

"A dear friend of mine wishes to join your Morris side.  You will find him somewhat nosey, but he rings true as he is wearing eight of my bells.  Perhaps a little wooden in his step but he can only get better.  He has a vision, which is to spend happy days in the sun (or rain) with his friends.  I hope that you will not hold it against him for being a 'Fool'".

He has been most gladly welcomed and is making himself at home.

Hall of Infamy

Robin Tims - plays 3-row Melodeon mainly, plus Concertinas occasionally. He played for Greenjackets Morris, and Alive and Kicking Ladies Northwest, both from Maldon, Essex before he moved to Norfolk in 2000. 

Still loves a music session in the pub !!!!! or anywhere else.

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What is Morris Dancing?

THE ORIGINS

English Morris Dancing may be the modern survival of a primitive pre-Christian ceremonial of ritual dance and drama ensuring and celebrating the renewal of Spring. This rite once flourished all over Europe and even today dances similar to the Morris can be seen in parts of France, Spain, Rumania and Portugal.

The origin of the word 'Morris' is lost in obscurity. The earliest documentary references are mainly from Church accounts in the early 1500's - "Silver paper for the Mores-dawncers - 7d". "for VI peyre of shones for ye Mors dauncers - 4d" (1509/1510). It was certainly thriving in Shakespeare's time; Will Kemp's 'Nine Daies Wonder' was a Morris marathon from London to Norwich in 1600.

One popular theory is that when the original name and meaning of the rite were no longer remembered, the dance was called Moorish or Morris because the current word at that time, for black men, was Moor. One school of thought claims the dances came from Spain having been introduced by the invading Moors. Another theory points to evidence of similar dances in England, long before the Moors, derived from the Druids' Maris dances, in celebration of the god Maris.

Certainly by Elizabethan times, the Morris was already known as an 'ancient custom', and had become established in many areas, mainly the Cotswolds, the Welsh Borders and the North West of England. It was also a favourite entertainment at Court.

These types of Morris dancing can be sub-divided into "Traditions". These "Traditions" are different styles of dancing practised by the original dance team normally based in a particular village; for example, Bledington in Gloucestershire, Fieldtown in Oxfordshire and Brackley in Northamptonshire. Thus a team could perform dances which were unique, or they might perform dances known to many Morris teams, but dance them in their own style. Many traditions have died out and Morris sides now try to recreate these styles as recorded by the collectors of folk history at the turn of the century, in order to keep alive the old traditions. A dance team may also feature a "Fool" or an "Animal" (a dancer in disguise, often as a dragon or hobby horse).

THE MUSIC

Some of the best traditional music has been preserved by the Morris Men. The pipe and tabor have been in use since ancient times; The fiddle was introduced in the 18th Century; and the concertina and the melodeon arrived in the early 19th Century.

THE BAG

An important Morris tradition is a good monetary contribution to the bag; this brings good luck and strengthens the bond between onlookers and dancers. It also helps to buy charcoal for the dragon, hay for the hobby horse and shelter for the dancers during the winter practice season.

THE OFFICERS

The Officers of a Morris team are the Squire (leader), ‘Bagman’ (secretary) and the ‘Foreman’ (dance instructor)

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Provisional Public Dance Programme for2013

  ( as at 20/05/2013)

 

 

2013

 

Sat 12 Jan

Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival        Visit www.strawbear.org.uk 

 

Mon 1st April (Easter Monday) 

11.30am - The Rose and Crown, Snettisham (PE31 7LX):

12.30 - Norfolk Lavender Visitor Centre, Heacham (PE31 7JE) :

1.30 - The Lifeboat Inn, Thornham (PE36 6LT).

 

Wednesday 1st May (May Day)  

A wet and windy May Day

Photo courtesy of  Matthew Usher © Eastern Daily Press

 

5.15 am : "Dancing the dawn up" - Knights' Hill Roundabout, South Wootton, King's Lynn followed at 12 noon by the King's Lynn May Garland Procession (PE30 5DQ) - Starting at the Saturday Market Place (outside the newly re-named King's Lynn Minster) and then into King's Lynn town centre for 2  hours.

The King's Morris revived this old Pagan tradition in 1983, and always presents it on the REAL May Day. A large garland of flowers, greenery and beads surrounding a doll is mounted on a pole and carried about the town, accompanied by the blowing of Ox Horns.

          


Mon 6th May - May Bank Holiday Tour

12 noon        The Lord Nelson , Burnham Thorpe (PE31 8EN)

1.00 pm        The Globe Inn , Wells-Next-Sea (NR23 1EU)

2.00 pm        The Quay, Wells-Next-Sea  (NR23 1AT)

(Possible music session on the SS Albatross)


Sunday 19th May

The Crab and Lobster Festival - Sheringham, Norfolk.  Times to be confirmed


Mon 27th May - Spring Bank Holiday Tour      

11.00am       Drove Orchards,  Thornham  PE36 6LS *      

12 noon        The Jolly Sailors, Brancaster Staithe (PE31 8BJ)

1.00 pm        The Hoste Arms, Burnham Market (PE31 8HE)

2.00 pm        The Globe Hotel, Wells-Next-Sea (NR23 1EU)

3.00              The Quay, Wells-Next-Sea (NR23 1AT)

(Possible music session on the SS Albatross)


Sat 13th July

Ely Folk Festival  www.elyfolkfestival.co.uk 


Friday 23rd August - Sunday 25th August

Copenhagen International Tour  


 

 

 Fridays, May - September - evening performances at pubs throughout West Norfolk commence,  venues  tba 

Please note that some venues for the Bank Holiday Dance Tours are liable to change. Please contact us for up-to-date information.

 

 

 

Sun 9th September  

 

The King's Morris

World Famous "Walking Tour" of Thornham

 

Massed Morris Dancing to Celebrate our 34th Anniversary

 

(all three pubs in Thornham (N.W. Norfolk) on the same day) : 

11.30 - The Old Coach House (PE36 6LT)

12.15 - The Orange Tree (PE36 6LY)

1.00 - The Lifeboat Inn (PE36 6LY)

with numerous guests and spurious bodies who wish to sample the delights of the Norfolk air. Followed by Folk Music in the Lifeboat Inn.   (Map Link)

Wed 26th December - Morris dancing on Boxing Day

12 noon         The Swan Inn, South Wootton 

 

October Annual General Meeting, Wiggenhall St. Germans Village Hall

Practices commence in October  8.00pm

Wiggenhall St German's Village Hall

Why not join us?

If you feel the desire to join in, have a desire to dress in strange attire, disport yourself with wild abandon and drink copious amounts of good ale, please contact our Bagman, David Jackson, on 01553 768930, before you get locked up by the authorities." (anon.)

New members are always welcome.

No previous experience necessary - 2 left feet a speciality

Come and have a go - you might even end up enjoying it

 

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Pictures of The King's Morris inaction (or in action)

 

 Boxing Day 2007 The Swan Inn, South Wootton.

© Photo courtesy of  Archant Norfolk


 

Photo courtesy of Matthew Usher © Eastern Daily Press

The King's Morris at The Admiral Nelson, Burnham Thorpe

on our St George's Day tour of North Norfolk 2006


Sheringham 2003, with Silkeborg Morris Men

 

Early days of The King's Morris (circa 1978 - 79)

The King's Morris debut performance.

24 November 1978

 

The venue was appropriately Great Massingham Village Hall (where I had grown up and spent (mispent?) my formative years in the outback of the wilds of Norfolk).

Jo (of big Phil and Jo) was the caller for some country dancing during the evening after Morris dancing.

 

The team had started practicing in Gaywood Scout Hall in the July of 1978 just after I had got back from Sheffield University. I had learnt Morris (and Clog and Rapper) Dancing from the team there. We also formed a country dance band called Norfolk Barley which at it’s height boasted 24 members (we only got 1£ each for a whole evening!).

 

Several key “folkies” to do with the King.s Lynn Folk Club such as Glenn and Anne Auker and Ray and Anne and Dave Bird had insisted I teach them all about the Morris! We were in touch with Norwich Kemps Men, Norris (Win) Winstone, who were supportive and helpful.

 

We also enlisted help from a morris dancing expert from Ely calledRussell Wortley who came to give us a workshop instructional when we had moved to the Rugby Club where the team practiced for a while.

 

Niels

 

A excellent example of 'Rigour Morris'

The King's Morris (with massive support from Peterborough Morris)  'Leaping in the Leap Year'  29th February  2004 at the White Swan, South Wootton - £100.00 raised in aid of the Bryan Gunn Leukaemia Appeal

 

(Photo courtesy of Alan Miller, Lynn News)

to whom we extend our thanks

The King's Morris at the Celebration of English Dance, 2nd November 2003, Trafalgar Square

The King's Morris at the Celebration of English Dance, 2nd November 2003, Trafalgar Square

The King's Morris during their recording for

'Feet First' (Anglia TV) 1999 at the Crown Inn, Gayton, Norfolk

2 novices had to be taught to dance in public in 6 hours

Should have been retitled '2 left feet first'

Wisbech Folk Fayre - September 1995 - The Horsefair Wisbech (Photo : EDP)

We think that this is the only conclusive evidence of a Morris side having all their feet off the floor at the same time (Tantric flying). This goes with our other claim to fame as being the only Morris side to be thrown into a pub (but that's yet another story)

Dawn at Knight's Hill, 1st May 2003

Photo courtesy EDP

The King's Morris with Silkeborg MM friends

at Windham Arms, (highly recommended pub)  Sheringham 2003

 

The King's Morris World Famous

"Walking Tour" of Thornham

normally takes place on the second Sunday in September . We start at 11.30 am and dance at The Old Coach House (formerly the Chequers), The Orange Tree (formerly) The King's Head and the Lifeboat on the same day with a number of guest sides joining us (some arrive by charabanc) and usually concludes with a lively pub music session in the Lifeboat (not for the faint hearted).

"Dancing the Dawn Up"

(Photo: John Hocknell, EDP)

5.25 am Knights Hill, King's Lynn

(Highest point in the Borough)

1st May 2000

with the King's Lynn May Garland

Thornham Walking Tour 2004

at the Lifeboat Inn with our guests

The King's Morris at the Silkeborg (Denmark) Ring Meeting 1996.

Spot the loony on the left - our dragon, Izeels (draggin' 'is 'eels?) with guests

 

 


Contact Information

If you want further information about The King's Morris activities

please contact our

Bagman:

David Jackson, 9 Edward Street, King's Lynn, Norfolk, PE 30 5QS

(01553) 768930

or by e-mail to

paljac7@yahoo.co.uk 

 

Why not join us?

If you feel the desire to join in, have a desire to dress in strange attire, disport yourself with wild abandon and drink copious amounts of good ale, please contact our Bagman, David Jackson, on 01553 768930, before you get locked up by the authorities." (anon.)

New members are always welcome.

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Copyright: Some Photographs above by kind permission of Eastern Daily Press and Lynn News 
who have been known to turn out in the most adverse conditions to lend their support.

The King's Morris gratefully acknowledge support from the Borough Council

Last revised: May 20, 2013.