Who Are We?
Icknield Way Morris Men are a nationally known Morris dancing side that perform at festivals, weddings, parties and shows all over the country. We are mainly found dancing in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Wiltshire, but are usually seen performing outside pubs in the Vale of White Horse.
The Morris has been danced in Wantage since at least 1565, where churchwardens accounts show that 16d was paid for 'a dasson morys belles' and, in 1590, 'lyveries' (costumes) were provided by John Eshmond for 4s 6d. The last reference to the Morris locally was in 1885 when it was danced by 'laddes of ye Royal Burgh of Wantage' before the sports began at Lockinge House. Nothing is known concerning the side who danced, but the dance was referred to Cecil Sharp in 1910. Unfortunately, there are no records of any Wantage variations of the Morris dance.
What We Dance
The Side performs traditional Morris dances from Oxfordshire villages. We also perform all dances recovered from the Stanton Harcourt tradition for which we are the guardians and sometimes dance out as Stanton Harcourt Morris. The village of Stanton Harcourt also had its own team of dancers active until the mid 19th century. The main Stanton Harcourt 'man of the morris' however, was John Potter (1813 - 1892) who played the pipe & tabor as well, as the fiddle, for the morris all over Oxfordshire. Indeed, his skill with the pipe was legendary that it was said "He could almost make un speak!".
Fortunately, we also have many musicians in The Side today and can provide all round entertainment for many occasions.
We are always pleased to welcome new members.
"They dance for joy. And joy represents the true spirit of England"
... quote from the Daily Mail, 3rd May 2005
Lost Morris - Audio album from English Folk Dance Project featuring Icknield Musicians
The Ancient English Morris Dance
by Michael Heaney
The idea that morris dancing captures the essence of ancient Englishness, inherently carefree and merry, has been present for over 400 years. The Ancient English Morris Dance traces the history of those attitudes. Click image for more details. or Order Now!