In 1600, Shakespearean actor Will Kempe danced from London to Norwich in what he later called his Nine Daies Wonder.
Photo credit: Wikipedia.
The earliest evidence of morris dancing dates from the 15th century, when royal courts and wealthy households throughout Europe were paying for ‘Morys’, ‘Morisk’, ‘Moresca’ or similarly named dancers – these appear to have been highly-paid professionals providing high-status entertainment. You might hear of morris dancing being a survival of pagan fertility rites, but this appears to be just a romantic myth.
The morris dances you see these days owe their origins to the late nineteenth century. At this time there was a big upsurge in interest in folk customs and there were people with the time and money to collect music and dance. The term morris dancing covers a number of forms including those with clogs, bells, hankies, sticks, swords and disguised faces. What links all these styles is that the dances are done for show.
Morris groups are all amateurs now. Like any street entertainment, we hope you will enjoy our performance and tokens of appreciation from you in the form of coins (or notes!) of the realm are welcome. Look out for our collecting tin and its decoration.
Windsor Morris are members of the Morris Federation.