North of Oxford and some 4 miles South of Banbury on the A423

Brief History of Tradition


Morris was danced in Adderbury unbroken until 1849. The side was eventually disbanded in 1880.  Details were recorded by Janet Blunt, Cecil Sharp, and others, from discussions mainly with William Walton (a former Squire), from 1900 onwards. As some aspects of what was recorded are unclear, this has led to the so called 'interpretation debate'.

Most of the dances had words which were sung between dances as well as during.  The music was always by pipe and tabor.

The tradition was revived in 1974 from the Sharp and Blunt manuscripts, and first danced publicly in 1975. It was introduced to the Icknield Way Morris Men in the late 70s by Old Boy Arthur Wright who was a member of the revival team.

Dances Performed by Our Side

Handkerchief Dances

Stick Dances

Black Joke
Stourton Wake
Beaux of London City / Shooting
Bluebells of Scotland
Constant Billy
Happy Man
Lads a' Bunchum
Postman's Knock
Sweet Jenny Jones
The Bell

Song Dance

Postman's Knock
example of a song dance from Adderbury

Every morning as true as the clock, somebody hears the postman's knock
Every morning as true as the clock, somebody hears the postman's knock

Verse for Foot Up and Half Gip:

A wonderful man the postman is, he travels from door to door
A medley of news his hands contain for everyone rich or poor;
On every face a joy he can trace, on many a grief he can see,
Just open the door to his ratatatat and his rapid delivery


Verse for Half Gip and Foot Down:

At 1 he presents the news of a birth, and tidings of death number 4
At 13 a bill of terrible length he drops through a hole in the door;
A cheque or an order at 15 he leaves while 16 his presence doth prove
At 17 doth an acknowledgement get and 18 a letter of love


Characteristic Features of Tradition


Notation Glossary of Terms


Normal figures x2FUHG, PD, PU, HR and AddH.
Start Normally face the music and walk round following a chord; sometimes singing. Sticks are held down pointing slightly in.  Dance into place.
Hand/Arm Movements Traditionally, opposite corners of the handkerchiefs were knotted over thumb and index finger. The pattern traced has been described as phallic in appearance

Adderbury Handkerchiefs
Handkerchief Movements


Stepping All dances are right foot start and, with few exceptions, is a normal double-step.  Start of figures characterised by a 'thrust'
Side-Step - Open (sso) Always open
Hop-Backs (hb) Single-step, backwards movement into place.
Plain Capers (PC) Leaps from one foot to the other taking on appearance of backwards cycling.


Foot Up (FU) Move up to the music and back, then repeat
Half-Gip (HG) More like Side-by-Side. Pass right shoulders and return same side.  Repeat left shoulders.
Processionals Down (PD) and Up (PU) Move down (from musician) or up one position only. PD: first tops, then tops and middles (see diagram). PU: first bottoms, bottoms and middles.

Processional Down

Processional Down
(tops and middles)

Processional Up

Processional Down

Half Rounds (hR) First step is a moving step to opposite position, clasp partners right hand, step on the spot, and continue round. Reverse in second half.
Adderbury Hey (AddH) The two lines of dancers move in parallel, tracing out a 'Figure of 8'.

Adderbury Hey