The Side as Stanton
We are current
keepers of the Stanton Harcourt tradition and we sometimes
dance out as Stanton Harcourt Morris.
Morris has a colourful and interesting background. 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.
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.
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. The reformed Stanton Harcourt Side gave its its
first performance at Stanton Harcourt Manor
on Sunday, July 9th 2000.
- White shirt (with red/yellow ribbons
on the shoulders), white trousers, black shoes
- Red/Gold Baldricks
- Harcourt Arms Shield
- Bell pads with yellow and