Bedford coat of arms 1

 ~ Bedford Morris Men ~

" Founded 1932....Part of England's living heritage "

Bedford coat of arms 2
 
 

 

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Bedford Morris Men  -  History
and Press Pack Information 

BEDFORD MORRIS MEN  --  History

Bedford Morris Men were founded in 1932 and celebrated their 80th anniversary on Saturday, 6th October 2012.

Whilst the origins of Morris dancing are lost in the mists of time, it is very much alive in Bedfordshire.  Bedford Morris Men were formed in 1932, in part from a number of ex pupils of Clapham Road [now Livingstone] School, who wanted to carry on with the Morris Dancing that they had been taught at school.  In 1932 the side was known as "Old Mole".  This was changed to "Bedford Morris Men" two years later.  Whilst that original side was built around a nucleus of former pupils from Clapham Road School, they were joined by other men, who had learned their dancing either with the English Folk Dance Society or with the Rover Scouts.

Although the side was not well enough established to be one of the six sides which founded the Morris Ring in 1934, we joined the Ring soon after, in 1936.  Soon afterwards, in 1939, war brought dancing to a temporary halt.  Fortunately, the Side lost none of its members and reformed after the war. 

The side is proud of its good relationship with the Borough.  In 1947, we were given permission to use the Borough coat-of-arms and this can be seen represented on the front of the men's baldricks (cross-braces) and on the lower of the two hat-badges.  The Men felt especially honoured when, in their golden jubilee year (1982), the Council gave permission to use the "Eagle and Castle" coat-of -arms.  This is worn as the upper hat-badge as well as on the North-West Morris sashes.  The "puritan" hat we wear is an unusual departure from the more common straw hat used by morris sides.  It was chosen because of the strong links in Bedford's history with John Bunyan.  The have become almost irreplaceable now, so any contacts from suitable manufacturers would be very welcome!! 

Nowadays the Men dance at pubs on Wednesday evenings in Summer; at Fetes and other events; visit other Morris Sides around the country; and in Winter, dance on Apple Day, Boxing Day and on Plough Monday.

Bedford Morris Men dancing at Letchworth Ring Meeting in 2012   Bedford Morris Men dancing Cotswold Morris at the Three Cranes, Turvey
Bedford Morris Men at the end of a Cotswold Morris dance at Letchworth Morris Men's Ring Meeting in 2012   Bedford Morris Men dancing at the Three Cranes, Turvey in 2012

BEDFORD MORRIS MEN  --  80th Anniversary Celebrations

Bedford Morris Men were founded in 1932 and celebrated their 80th anniversary on Saturday, 6th October 2012, with dancing in Bedford and at Bedford Beer festival.  They were joined by guest Morris Sides:  Anker Morris Men from Nuneaton; East Surrey Morris Men, Letchworth Morris Men and Manchester Morris Men.

There was dancing in town in the morning; at the Beer Festival over lunchtime [with a break for lunch - and to sample the beer!]; then in town again in the afternoon. 

In the evening a Feast was held to celebrate the occasion, attended by the Speaker of Bedford Borough Council, Councillor Sylvia GillardMany former members of the Bedford Morris Men will be attending to meet up with fellow dancers. 

For further details of our normal Winter programme, visit the website: http://www.bedfordmorrismen.org.uk/Winter-Programme.html

 

BEDFORD MORRIS MEN  --  Dance Traditions

Bedford Morris Men dance the Cotswold Morris  in the Summer [this is the better known "handkerchief" and "stick" Morris]; we also occasionally dance the North-West Morris from Lancashire [wearing clogs and flower covered bowler hats].  [see also: "Summer Programme"]  In Winter - see images on the Winter Programme page - we dance Border Morris, blacked up to disguise ourselves, and also perform a Mummers Play - the Branston Plough Play. 

BEDFORD MORRIS MEN  --  Practice Details

Bedford Morris Men need to recruit new members who want to keep fit, enjoy themselves and keep the Morris tradition alive in Bedford.  The practice season is now under way, and if you are interested come to Ravenden Village Hall on Wednesday evenings at 8.15pm - or contact the Bagman, Ian Daye or visit the website at: http://www.bedfordmorrismen.org.uk/Practice-Details.html

BEDFORD MORRIS MEN  --  Travel

Trips - Northern Ireland [and to the Republic of Ireland] as guests of the Aughakillymaude Mummers [see also:  Ireland-Visit-2010 ]

 

Bedford Morris Men in Enniskillen   Bedford Morris dance at threshing event  
Bedford Morris Men pause for a group photograph in Enniskillen   Bedford Morris dance at threshing event  

 

Trips abroad - Bedford's Twin Town - BAMBERG [see also: Bamberg-Visit-2011]

 

Bedford Morris - a stick dance in Bamberg   Bedford Morris in Bamberg - dancing "bonny green"  
Bedford Morris Men by the Fountain, Bamberg.  Clive Haste [Squire 2010/2011]; Ian Daye; Angus Darling; John Frearson; Ray Horner; Antony Heywood (Helmond MM & Greensleeves MM)    Bedford Morris Men: “Bonny Green”.   At the end of the Saturday show in Bamberg.     
Further details can be obtained from:- John Frearson - johnphfrearson@btinternet.com