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Identifying Dance Sides

Identifying dance is sides is not always easy. Some sides carry a banner, but perhaps not all the time. Some have their name displayed prominently on their kit whereas some use only a cryptic logo.

By far the biggest thing which identifies a morris side is their kit, its colours and the style of clothing.

Gender is an issue, but perhaps not always useful for indentification because the mix of men and women can vary in mixed sides, and sometimes might be all one sex by chance. Most ladies sides have at least some male musicians and sometimes the musicians might join in the dancing, thus there could be a man standing-in in a ladies side.

This page will concentrate mainly on the kit.

The type of morris

The three main traditions of morris each have a distinctive type of kit.

Cotswold:
Traditionally men. All white with coloured baldrics which cross over and have colours distinctive for the side.

Border:
Rag coats formed of strips of cloth of usually two or three colours distictive for the side.

North West:
Usually smart smart outfits of one or two colours. Clogs.


Similar looking sides

Winchester Morris Men

Winchester Morris Men.

Traditional mens cotswold side. All white. Baldrics single red and green stripe.

Merrydowners

Men. White shirts, black trousers, red socks, baldrics broad dark green with red centre stripe. Harrow or Pinner.

Kennet Morris Men.

White shirts with baldrics single red and green stripe similar to Winchester, but with black trousers tucked into white socks.


Ladies in red

Hips and Haws

Ladies Clog from Chippenham.

Mr Wilkins Shilling

Previous kit was long red dress, long white full-length apron. Yellow sashes at sides. New kit mainly red and black, see below.


Ladies in red and black

Mayflower Morris

Red blouses, Black apron-skirts with red at hem. White hankerchiefs at sides. Red and black hoops.

Ilfracombe Red Petticoats

Ladies North West side. Overall impression is red tops with white sleeves, and black outer skirts showing red underneath at the sides. Large clog motif on backs.

Winkleigh

Ladies side identifiable by distinctive socks with red and black horizontal stripes.

Mr Wilkins Shilling

New kit: White blouses, Long skirts pleated vertically in broad areas of black and red. Distinctive broad diagonal sash over shoulders. Mainly black with thin red and yellow stripe at sides.


Red White and Blue

Ladies Sides in Red White and Blue

Englands Glory.

White tops. Skirts blue with broad bands of white and red at hem.

Hampshire Garland

Ladies side. Long white dresses with blue and red trims. White bonnets. Carry garland hoops or tassels.

Southsea Belles

(As they were) White shirts, black trousers, baldrics broad red with blue down centre

Men or mixed sides in Red White and Blue

Wickham Morris

All white. Baldrics: one broad red with blue centre stripe, other broad blue with red centre stripe

Priston Jubilee Morris

Men. Mainly white. Includes red and blue.


Ladies in blue and white

Marlings Morris

White tops. Long blue skirts. White at hem.

Fleet

White blouses, blue skirts, baldrics broad yellow with blue stripe down centre.


Sides with purple, mauve or lilac colours

Fleur de Lys

Ladies side from Godalming Surrey. Full length purple sleeveless dresses showing white sleeves of blouses. Fleur de Lys emblem in gold, and gold ribbons. May carry staves with brass fleur de lys at top.

New Forest Meddlars

Mixed side. White trousers and shirts. Very dark purple waistcoats. Also have a border kit of rag coats using the same colours.

Pump House Clog Morris

Ladies side. Purple skirt with broad white beneath hem. White blouse. Purple open waistcoat and diagonal sash. Button badges. Flat floral straw hats. Purple stockings. Clogs. From Watford.

Boghoppers and Bushbeaters

Ladies dance side. Dancers wear long mauve or lilac skirts. Red short sleeve tee shirts. Light blue stripey waistcoats. Red stockings, red clogs. Tassle sticks. Band wear red sweatshirts with the side's name on.

Wicket Brood

Mixed border side. Rag coats of purple, green and black. Purple and green face painting.

Spinning Jenny

Ladies North West side from Sussex. Colours purple, lilac and white. Black Breton hats.


Sides with green

OBJ

Large mixed border side. Rag coats mostly of green strips with various patterns, and white. Black trousers. Black hats with feathers and flowers.

Borderline Morris from Devon.

Rag coats predominantly green but some white. Black trousers. Black faces, floral hats.

Wicket Brood.

Mixed border side. Rag coats of purple, green and black. Purple and green face painting.

Sides with green and red

Alton Morris

Mixed border side. Distinctive for faces painted half red and half green. Rag coats with strips of red and green.

Fox's Morris

Mixed border side. Rag coats with strips of red and green but with other colours. From a distance they can look a bit like Alton, but easily distinguished because of Alton's face painting.

Dorset Buttons

Ladies North West side. Red waistcoats, white sleeves, and long green skirts.

Taeppa's Tump

Ladies North West side based at Maidenhead. Dancers have white blouses, long green aprons, and long green skirts.


Distinctive looking sides

Hobos Morris

Ladies border. Rag coats with red, yellow and black. Dancers have faces painted as cats.

Samhain

Yellow and green over black, with celtic imagery.

Wight Bells

Ladies garland side. Lime Green and blue.

Bare Bones Morris

Ladies, Border style dancing. Currently have single piper musician. Black leggings, tunic fronts red with long cape of yellow. Green belt. From Loughborough.

Belles and Arrows

Mixed side. Waistcoats half red and half blue over white shirts. Black trousers.

Dorset Buttons

Ladies North West. Red waistcoats over white blouses. Long green skirts. Note there is another ladies side with red tops and green skirts.

Exmoor Morris

Border side. Rag coats of different shades of blue

Icknfield Way Morris Men

White trousers, grey waistcoats, distinctive colourful red and orange logo on back.


Multicoloured sides
i.e. where each dancer wears a different colour.

Knots of May

Knots of May from Lewes, Sussex.

Red Stags Morris

Rag coats each with a different single colour. Black trousers.

Ridgeway Step Clog

Ladies. White blouse. Black waistcoat and stockings. Long skirts of different colours. Carry circular hoops.

The Beetlecrushers

Ladies clog. Long dresses of subtle rustic colours and varying styles. White apron from waist.

Magog

Ladies. White dresses, aprons of different colours with matching neck trim. Carry floral hoops or staves with brass tops shaped like a flame. From Horsham.

Knots of May

Ladies garland side. Long dresses of different rustic or pastel colours with full length white aprons. Carry floral hoops. From Lewes.

Shinfield Shambles

Each has a rag coat with different predominant colour. Matching hats and trim on shoes. Possibly with little painted motif on face. Their web site shows them with black skirts but they may sometimes, or more recently, wear skirts in the colour of each dancer.


Sides with similar names

Hobos Morris

The side on this site is from Poole Dorset, but there is at least one other side with the same name, and even the web address is similar.

Borderline Morris

Ladies border. Look a bit like hobos. This info found from web site but not seen in my local area.

Phoenix Morris from Bideford

Sometimes called Bideford Phoenix. Mixed side. White tops, black trousers or skirts. Long white socks. Red baldrics.

Phoenix Morris from Hertfordshire

White or pink blouses/shirts. Black waistcoats and skirts or trousers. Red and orange handkerchiefs and other ornamentation. Flat straw hats with flowers.

Mayflower Morris

Ladies side from Ash on Hants/Surrey border.

Mayflower Morris Men

Of Billericay, Essex.


Link:

http://www.jeffbigler.org

This site has detailed descriptions of morris sides and their kits.


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Please click the above link to visit the main site where there is a search facility.

The direct address of this page: www.english-music.co.uk/morris

All pictures are copyright S. J. Farthing.