Horn Dance

Horn Dance

Monday following first Sunday after September 4
The ancient Horn Dance, believed by many to have originated in Norman times or before, is performed at Abbots Bromley, a small village in Staffordshire, England, as part of the Wakes Monday celebration each year. Wakes Monday, the day after the first Sunday following September 4, was at one time part of the Old St. Bartholomew Fair. But the Horn Dance is all that remains of the original three-day festival. Although some believe it was once an ancient fertility dance, the Horn Dance probably had something to do with hunting rights and customs in nearby Needwood Forest.
A dozen local men, ranging in age from 12 to more than 50, dress in 16th-century foresters' costumes. Six of them carry reindeer antlers mounted on short wooden sticks. There is also a Hobby Horse, a man playing Robin Hood, a man dressed as a woman who plays the role of Maid Marian, a Fool carrying an inflated bladder on a stick, and a young archer who snaps his bow in time with the music—originally provided by a pipe and tabor but nowadays by a concertina and a triangle.
Beginning at the parish church, the men dance their way around the parish boundaries, stopping to perform at homes and farms along the way. The six deermen, three of whom carry white antlers and three black, take turns "charging" each other while the Hobby Horse prances, the Fool shakes his bladder at the spectators, and Maid Marian takes up a collection. The dancing is over by evening, when everyone adjourns to the local pub or goes home to eat Wakes Cakes, "fair rock candy"—sugar-coated sticks of candy—and brandy snap cookies.
CONTACTS:
Abbots Bromley Parish Council
Village Hall
Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire DE13 8AF United Kingdom
44-18-8950-0660
www.abbotsbromley.com
SOURCES:
DictFolkMyth-1984, pp. 3, 947
References in periodicals archive ?
I've worn a pair of antlers at the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance.
The reservoir and the surrounding countryside create tranquil surroundings for the house, yet it is only a mile from the popular village of Abbots Bromley, home to the historic Horn Dance which takes place in early September each year.
From Tar Barrels in Northumberland to Mummers in Surrey, from Wassailing in West Sussex to the Horn Dance in Staffordshire, from Midsummer Fire in London to the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge--these are some of the more than fifty folk rituals visually represented here.
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The Horn Dance is then followed by another folk dance called Nati and the playing of traditional drums and other musical instruments.
Pete, aged 57, who lives in Derwent Road, Whitmore Park, travels all over the world performing, and is the squeezebox player for one of the UK's oldest dances, the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, in Staffordshire.
KINGS Bromley, the Staffordshire village famous for its ancient Horn Dance and as the spot where Lady Godiva and her husband Leofric had their summer palace, is the location for one of Laing Homes' most luxurious Midlands developments.
His pictures of the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance - a 1,000-year-old tradition thought to be the oldest traditional dance in the country - are among his bestknown.
His pictures of the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance - at 1,000 years old thought to be the oldest traditional dance in the country - are among his bestknown.
But the band has not deserted the instrumental tradition as they are heard on Tressle Bridge, Tenpenny Bit and Thunderhead and a quirky version of two English tunes - Abbot's Bromley Horn Dance Tune and Jump at the Sun.
During the nineteenth century one of the families that maintained the horn dance tradition was named Bentley.
APART from the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance in Staffordshire, few ancient ceremonies in England can claim a practically unbroken tradition lasting 1,000 years.