When the tranquillity of the lovely Evenlode valley at the eastern end of the Cotswolds is suddenly upset with the clash of sticks, the jangle of bells, old timey tunes on a melodeon, and the furious rustling of hankies in the breeze there you will find Charlbury Morris. We are a gang of dancers and musicians based in the Cotswold town of Charlbury, Oxfordshire who practice the ancient art of Morris dancing, and we welcome you to our website.
As Morris sides go, Charlbury Morris is relatively new, having been established in 1984 by men of the town responding to a request for traditional entertainment at a local wedding. It was taught by Dave Rogers, an ‘Ancient Man’† who instructed and played for the fledgling side. From those early roots Morris dancing took hold in Charlbury and has continued ever since. Charlbury Morris are well known as a village 'fun side' (though Charlbury is a town). As in the old days, we learn and respect the ancient traditions of the Morris, but we try not to take ourselves too seriously, for after all we are just a bunch of guys who like to turn out to give a good show whenever the season or occasion demands. We interpret the various dance traditions that have evolved in the nearby villages and towns and some from farther afield, and we have even created our own tradition, and always with healthy injections of fun and the occasional, equally ancient, beverage to cool our exhibitions!
In 2000 Charlbury Morris incorporated the dancers and musicians of Finstock Morris, a more ancient side that had encountered the difficulties of recruitment that plague so many contemporary sides. In honour of their long tradition you might notice us being introduced as ‘Charlbury and Finstock Morris’ in certain parts of the shire.
† The Ancient Men are former Oxford University Morris Men (little men) who assemble for May Morning in Oxford to start the summer Morris season and dance short tours in England and elsewhere.