Site last updated 24.11.2023
Welcome to the website of Somerset Morris.
We are a women's Cotswold Morris dancing side based in the Bristol and Bath area.
Somerset Morris perform Cotswold Morris dances which come from the villages of Ducklington (Oxon), Kirtlington (Oxon) and Ilmington (Warks). These dances are characterised by the use of sticks or handkerchiefs and require considerable physical dexterity. Women did dance the Morris in the past but there were fewer female sides than today.
We also perform a set of unusual dances which originate from the Friendly Societies. These self-help societies were based in the villages and were at their most active during the 19th century. The information on the dances they performed was discovered in society minute books.
Each dancer carries a two metre stave crowned with a distinctive brass emblem and decorated with ribbons and each society had its own design of stave head. Since Keynsham was the centre of the brass industry during the last century, this metal was used to make the local stave heads. In other parts of the country, wood was used and consequently most have not survived. Download our information leaflet here to learn more about the stave designs.
The Somerset Morris side was formed in 1974 and a number of the founder members still dance! We practice at Marksbury Village Hall (turn into the road opposite the church and follow it until you reach the hall on your left). Practice starts at 8.00 and finishes just after 10.00 pm each Thursday evening. We are always on the lookout for new dancers and musicians. Please do get in touch with us if you are interested in joining or come along one evening. Do check first during May to September, before visiting, since we are often out and about on Thursday evenings, dancing in the local villages.
We dance out at a number of events through the year, including folk festivals and village events and if you would like to arrange for us to dance at your event please do get in touch with us.