The history of Morris in Rutland

The historic phrase "Morris Dancer" when used in the counties of Rutland, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and adjoining counties almost always actually meant "mummer" rather than "morris" as we know it today.

Any morris music and dance from before the 19th century would have probably been more akin to what we now call "molly" and much more like the Leicestershire variety revived by Hinckley Plough Bullockers, or some of the more traditional molly sides we see at near-by Whittlesey.   The performance would have been particularly different from today's variety in that there would be no Cotswold costume - and certainly no bells on the dancers' legs.

During the 20th century, and in particular in the 20s and 30s, Morris dancing was a common activity in Rutland schools, and a Morris dancing 'side' is believed to have existed in Caldecott in the early part of the century.

The modern day Rutland Morris Men were founded in 1974 following a visit from the visit from Stafford Morris and families, following which the men in Uppingham folk dance club wanted to do morris too, so Mike Harnett started the Rutland Morris Men. Mike was the first Squire - and the full list of Squires, since 1975, is here.

The club then joined the national "Morris Ring" in 1978, and have since sought to ensure that Morris dancing remains alive and well in Rutland.  In 1983 we organised a dancing tour of all the villages in Rutland in a single weekend, and in 1995 and 2011 hosted national meetings of the Morris Ring which attracted over 150 dancers from all parts of the country.