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Cotswold Morris

The Cotswold Morris tradition is probably the best known and is reputedly the first one that Cecil Sharp fell over on his ethnomusicology rambles. Cotswold refers to the geographic region of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire but the 'tradition' extends into Berkshire and Derbyshire. Obviously named before fully collected.

Typically 6 man (yes) dances and danced at or around Whitsun. Strongly associated with Spring, and fertility. Dances are stick, handkerchief or hand clapping and each village has its own tradition. There are variants of some dances in each village with names and tunes slightly different. Some dances occur only in one village and nowhere else. The movements differ as well from village to village, so much so that it is apparent (to the initiated) whether a side is dancing Adderbury or Headington, Bampton or Brackley and therefore each has become a 'tradition'.

Each side also has its own costume which differs from all others in detail such as colour of baldrick. A typical costume includes a hat, shirt, trousers, baldrick, bell pads and boots. The hat may be decorated; the shirt is invariably white, trousers white or black.

Cotswold sides also feature a fool, who is the best dancer and can weave between the others while dancing.

Well known Cotswold sides or traditions: