Saddleworth Morris Men to close 2019 with traditional festive sword dance

By Evie-Rose Holden

SADDLEWORTH Morris Men will perform their unique annual Lordsmere Longsword dance on Saturday, December 28 before hanging up their clogs until April.

Members of the side will remove their colourful waistcoats, sashes and bells from their clogs to carry out the dance in the style of Yorkshire Longsword from South Yorkshire.

The dance is only performed once a year at Christmas and it is believed to originate from those wishing to enable a fruitful harvest. This form of dancing was banned under the reign of Oliver Cromwell but revived under Charles II.

It has been adopted as part of the repertoire of Saddleworth Morris Men since the 1970s to preserve the unique dancing style, and its climax sees the swords interlocked and held aloft after performing intertwining figures at a fast pace.

Saddleworth Morris Men said: “Join us in warming those winter chills with this wondrous spectacle and fine tradition.”

The afternoon of dance starts at The Wellington pub in Greenfield at 1pm before moving on to The Diggle Hotel (2pm), The Swan Dobcross (3pm) and then Uppermill at The Commercial, (4pm), The Albion Tap (4.30pm), The Church Inn (5.30pm) and The Cross Keys (6pm).

That concludes that side’s performances until they next dance in public in Saddleworth on Maundy Thursday, April 18, and Good Friday, April 19, to launch their 2020 season.

Practice sessions take place every Thursday throughout the year at the Church Inn, Uppermill, from 8.30pm. New members always welcome. Find out more about Saddleworth Morris Men on Facebook.

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