Durham Rams Sword and Morris Men
English North Eastern Rapper
The Morris Ring
Contact Information for Durham Rams Sword and Morris men
The Rams also perform dances from the Cotswold traditions.
Such dances are reputedly derived from ancient pre-Christian ritual and, more likely, from formalized militia drills. The term ‘Morris’, adopted during the mediaeval period, stems from the vulgar Latin ‘'Mos, Moris'’ meaning ‘a custom’.
Originally applied to many forms of regional, people’s dances, Morris has come to refer more than anything else to the handkerchief, stick and hand-clapping dances of Southern and Midland England.
As with the Rapper, Morris dances almost died out during the Nineteenth Century. Most of the rural communities would have maintained their own form of traditional dance well into the period of industrial revolution.
On Boxing Day, 1899, Cecil J. Sharp witnessed a performance by the Headington Quarry Men in Oxfordshire. Sharp was a professional musician and teacher. He became fascinated by the Morris and devoted much of his life to the collection, publication and revival of interest in many forms of traditional dance, song and music.
Sharp's work and enthusiasm inspired others to continue and extend a task which continues now, almost a century later. Many of the most worthwhile traditional activities of England might well have been lost had he, and those who followed his example, not worked so hard to ensure their survival.