Saturday 2 January 2016

More Joy of Morris

I was wandering moderately aimlessly around the market square today, after buying two tins of soup and other assorted excitements, when I heard the sounds of aggression, the sounds of fighting.

These are not normally unusual events in this town during the night, but fights during the day are not that normal, unless it's a couple of the town drunks fighting themselves at high volume, but as time went on I realised that no fights 1) went on that long and 2) were accompanied by the sound of bagpipes.

So I traced the sound past the bear baiting post, and onto the little square backing onto the Wetherspoons pub, to find a wide variety of Morris sides performing while a blue faced man dressed as a sailor called out helpful information.

"Why are these people dancing with brooms?" I thought to myself, and as if reading my mind, he piped up, loudly "THIS IS A TRADITIONAL NOTTINGHAMSHIRE BROOM DANCE!!!"

That would explain it then.

After a couple more dances, various scarily dressed mummer types lined up in order to look like the case of The Wizard of Oz on LSD, and scream scarily at us that they would essentially kill us if we didn't give them money. I was in no mood to die so I thought I'd leave before this costume mugging could be enacted.

But as ever, nice to see something that turned out not to be violence outside those particular pubs.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 02.01.16

Line up in line, line up in line

Formation closes in

The blue sailor

Swords now out!

A complex tangle

And a star of swords is made, just like The Wicker Man!

Broom dancers

Brushes to centre!

Mummers mugging


  1. Great post - love the way you craft the phrases to catch the craziness! Glad you got home safely. ;-)

  2. Is it my imagination or are a lot of the onlookers bikers?

  3. Lovely to see old traditional mugging.

  4. Lovely post Simon - great to see old traditions living on :)

  5. Might have been a few bikers about, there's a small but active group here, and it's also a popular stop off point on rides out.

    I do like to see these sorts of things, a sort of harmless and surreal insanity compared to what normally goes on.

  6. You are educating me, Simon - and me born in Nottinghamshire as well, and ancestors from way back! I had never heard of such a dance. Love the photos.

  7. Love it! Also love seeing pics of the square- can you post some more, pretty please? I used to live near Newark and I do miss it :o)

  8. LOL Ali I never knew there was such a thing as a "broom dance" until exactly then, and I have no idea at all what it is for!

    More heritagey posts to come, if you look back through the blog there's a lot - try my ones on Art Deco in Newark, or doorstep artwork!