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 the Morris was danced by 'laddes of ye Royal Burgh of Wantage' before the sports began at Betterton House. Nothing is known concerning the side who danced, but the dance was referred to Cecil Sharp in 1910 but unfortunately there are no records of any Wantage variations of the Morris dance.
We perform 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 (also fiddle) for the morris all over Oxfordshire and his skill with the pipe was legendary ("He could almost make un speak!").
Fortunately, we also have many musicians in The Side 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
During 2019, we will be celebrating our
60th Anniversary of Dancing
If you once danced with The Side, please do get in touch and we will tellmore about the celebrations planned.
Following their successful Boxing Day performances, Wantage Mummers made a donation of £1750 to Helen and Douglas House; a donation of £250 was also made to Young Epilepsy that included a contribution from Icknield Way Morris Men