On recent summers Thursday evening, drivers and walkers on Bolton Road in Abbey Village will have been taking a double look as over 20 Morris Dancers with a twist filled the car park of the Hare and Hounds and performed for crowds for over two hours.
The Leyland based group ‘Stone the Crows’, are a Lancashire cultural heritage group who preserve a particular type of Morris Dancing from the border county towns, such as Upton upon Severn. The dances they perform are traditional, collected and recorded by those keen to preserve Britain’s rural, cultural heritage as the rise of industry, cities, transportation and even war threatened to wipe them out.
Organised with the Hare and Hounds this bit of British cultural heritage was here for one night only and local Cllr Andrew Snowden was there not only to see it – but even joined in and performed a routine with the dancers that they taught him on the night.
Cllr Andrew Snowden said “I love the rich history of our country so it was great to have the opportunity to learn about this particular type of dancing and where it comes from – they even taught me a traditional dance routine, which I performed in front of everyone – although I don’t think I will be asked to any rehearsals anytime soon. It’s actually far more complicated than it looks , as you have to remember the orders of all the different footsteps and keep to the rhythm with the sticks with everyone else”
He continued “There is often a lot of speculation about why some forms of morris dancing include dressing in all black, from head to toe. It was really interesting to learn about the reasons behind this which is that dancers in the 17th Century would use this as a means of protest against job losses and horrible working conditions – they would cover their faces in black soot to avoid being recognised. A really interesting occasion and certainly not your standard Thursday evening in Abbey Village”.