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Morris Dancing in Stanton Harcourt
Sunday, July 9th 2000
Harcourt Arms
Team for the Day

Although nearby Eynsham is renowned for its history of morris dancing, the village of Stanton Harcourt also had its own team of dancers active until the mid 19th century.

The dances were discovered by Thomas Carter who reported them to the Oxfordshire folklorist Percy Manning after interviewing one of the old Stanton Harcourt dancers, Joseph Goodlake (1836 - 1901) when he was 63.  Further information comes from a manuscript believed to have been written by Juliet Williams, a friend of the collector Clive Carey, although the source for this material is unknown.


Stanton Harcourt Peacock
The Harcourt Peacock - requested by the family to be included with the Harcourt Arms shield

The Old Chapel
The Old Chapel

View across the Green View across the Green


Sem Seaborne
Sem Seaborne

Maid of the Mill
Maid of the Mill

Video Clips of the Day
Movie icon Greensleeves (448kB)
Maid of the Mill (248kB)



Sem as John Potter - image 1



 2.00 PM

Constant Billy
Maid of The Mill
Bean Planting
Princess Royal

3.00 PM

The Nutting Girl
Brighton Camp
The Clock
Black Joke
Morris Off


Joseph Goodlake was one of 14 children born to Sutton publican George Goodlake, and his brothers were possibly fellow dancers.  The main Stanton Harcourt 'man of the morris' however, was John Potter (1813 - 1892) who played the pipe & tabor (also fiddle) for the morris all over Oxfordshire. Potter was also a resident of Sutton and his skill with the pipe was legendary. ("He could almost make un speak!").  He is buried in the churchyard of St. Michael.

Some 9 dances have been reconstructed from the source material; 5 using sticks, 3 handclapping and 1 handkerchief dance.  In addition 2 further dances in the same style will be performed including a 'morris off'.

Stanton Harcourt is unusual in having predominately stick dances, since they were not taken up by surrounding villages who stayed true to the older handkerchief dances.  The dances are also unusual in that they commence with an inward facing set.

The Stanton Harcourt dances were performed by members of the Icknield Way Morris Men who are currently keepers of the tradition.

The last performance at the Manor of a Stanton Harcourt Side was some 140 years ago.

Sem as John Potter - image 2

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