Dacre Morris were founded in 1981 and recently celebrated their 35th birthday with a ceilidh!
Although their roots go back to Hornfair Morris (1977 – 1981) and ultimately to Blackheath Morris Ladies (1974-75) who were associated with Blackheath Morris Men (1974 – present).
At this time, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, there were several morris teams in south east London: Blackheath Morris Men, Greenwich Morris, Wheatsheaf Morris, Leigham Vale Morris, Meridian Morris and Dacre Morris.
With Blackheath Morris Men and Rose and Castle Morris (Greenwich, October 2013)
During the twentieth century there were two revivals of interest in morris and other traditional dance, the first being when Cecil Sharp started promoting English music and dance after he “discovered” morris dance in Headington in 1899.
The second resurgence was during the late 1960s and early 1970s when a large number of teams started up.
The only teams now remaining in this part of south east London are Blackheath Morris Men, Greenwich Morris Men and Dacre Morris.
Some members of other teams which had previously existed joined those that remained.
Dacre Morris dance the style of morris dance known as Cotswold, from the area known as the Cotswolds, the range of hills in the Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire area.
Strictly speaking, many of the villages from which the dances originate are not quite in the Cotswolds, but the name seems to have stuck.
The dances are grouped in “traditions” (related groups of dances originating from one village or area).
Current traditions danced by Dacre include Bampton, Ducklington, Eynsham, Adderbury, Stanton Harcourt, Headington, Ilmington, Lichfield and Upton upon Severn.
Over the years, Dacre Morris have danced at more summer fetes and festivals than we can remember, as well as at many memorable Ales and Days of Dance with other morris teams, such as Blackheath Morris Men, Greenwich Morris Men, Old Palace, Everards Original Anstey Morris Men, New Esperance, and many others.
We also have our own annual tradition, known as “Beating the Bounds”.
This tradition started in 1983 as a tour of the boundaries of the old Dacre estate, dancing outside local public houses starting and finishing at the Dacre Arms (the Dacre Morris “home pub”).
The current “kit” (costume) consists of red dresses over white long sleeved shirts, red shoes and green, yellow and white flashes (ribbons).
Bells are worn on wrists and feet.
This kit dates from 2004 and before that there was a different version of red pinafore dress or skirt and waistcoat which goes back to 1985.
The first kit consisted of a patchwork pattern dress, mostly green, with white shirts and black shoes, as the picture below, taken by George Plemper at Beating the Bounds in the 1980s.
More photos of this outing are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/plemper/with/3140377193.
Former members who have moved to other parts of the country have joined or started new teams, such as Solway Morris in Cumbria, Jabberwocky in Oxfordshire and Danegeld in Suffolk.
If you want to know more about the history of Morris dancing there is information on the Morris Federation: Roots of the Dance
and the Morris Ring: the Magic of the Morris.