3 miles East of Oxford near junction of A40 with A418

Brief History of Tradition

William (Merrie) KimberA Royal palace once stood at Headington when this was an Anglo Saxon domain.  Headington is famous for its stone quarry, which supplied the stone for most of the Oxford colleges between 14th - 18thC, and the Parliamentarians camped here in the Civil War.   The church dates from 12thC and was built by a Breton Knight; William (Merrie) Kimber's grave is in the churchyard.  Jim Phillips (Ring Squire 1958 - 60) and C. S. Lewis are also buried here.  The current sexton is Charlie Kimber (85), William's nephew.

At the end of the 18thC the Morris was well entrenched in Headington and included the names of families who were well established in Headington ca. 1700 suggesting earlier activity. The Kimber family seemed to have been involved from at least the 1820's (Anthony Kimber) and there is good evidence for continual performances from 1842 to 1885 with fiddle playing from Frank Cummings.

In the 1870's the Chequers was the team's headquarters and dancing commenced the Monday before Whitsun. They then went on tour dancing in Headington, Wheatley, Milton, and Long Crendon sleeping rough and getting drunk. They also danced at Easter and Christmas; William Kimber Snr. was the leader at this time and the routine seemed to consist of regular dancing and fighting with Wheatley.Charlie Kimber at Merry Kimber's grave, Headington, Oxford, UK, 1994

William Kimber Jr. made his debut in 1887 (Jubilee Celebrations) and after that dancing faded to just private shows. It was Percy Manning who organised the revival in 1898 and he paid two old dancers to train a young set. It was this group who were seen by Sharp on Boxing Day 1899, and the rest is history!

A solid dancing side didn't really get underway until 1921 and this included Arthur and Fred Kimber and Jim Phillips who later helped to establish the Icknield Way Morris Men.  The present team's headquarters is The Mason's Arms.  William Kimber's grave is in the Churchyard just past The Masons Arms.

(Charlie Kimber at Merrie Kimber's grave, Headington, Oxford, UK, 1994)

Headington Quarry Men have made several visits to Our Side to give instructionals in an attempt at improving our style.




Dances Performed by Our Side

Handkerchief Dances

Stick Dances

Laudnam Bunches
Hunt the Squirrel

Characteristic Features of Tradition

Notation Glossary of Terms


Style Brisk and lively
Hand/Arm Movements Handkerchiefs are moved on horizontal circles by hands held above the head. Handkerchiefs are swept towards the head.
Sticking Short sticks, to be held neatly and gimballed to avoid accidents. No striking at the end of CF's.  Held by the butt or horizontally with two hands.
Start Normally face the music and walk round following a chord; sometimes singing. Sticks are held down pointing slightly in.  Dance into place


Stepping Single-Step (ss) Double Step (ds) (Always left foot start)
Side-Step (ssc) - Closed These are closed
Cross Hops (xh) Backwards movement in single-step; like Hop-backs (hb)
Plain Capers (PC) Leaps from one foot to the other.


Foot-Up (FU), Foot-Down (FD) Up to or Down from the music and back.
Cross Over (CO) 'belly to belly' Light the half gip, except that the same track is followed for the 2nd half of the figure. Right shoulders pass 1st half; left shoulders pass 2nd half
Back-to-Back (BB) Essentially one move forward move right into line and swing back steps into place. Right shoulders first, then left.
Whole Hey (WH) Always a ss hey, tucking the trailing foot in, leading hand shoots up and floats down before foot moves. Leading limb is determined from set facing in.  Individual route is slightly circular facing along the set and hb into place