South Yorkshire morris men keep sharp during winter months

Harthill Morris Men who perfect their dancing skills at Harthill Village Hall.
Harthill Morris Men who perfect their dancing skills at Harthill Village Hall.
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EVER wondered what happens to morris men when the dancing days of summer are over and the cold dark nights of winter set in?

Well they don’t curl up with their sticks and bells and hibernate.

Harthill Morris Men, based in the South Yorkshire village of Harthill near Rotherham, have a busy winter practice programme aimed at keeping their dancing skills sharp and fresh for the start of the new season in May.

And they are inviting anyone with an interest in keeping one of England’s oldest traditions alive to come along and join them.

The Harthill team meets on Thursday nights throughout the winter between 7.45pm and 9.30pm to practise their programme of Cotswold morris dances, and newcomers are warmly welcomed.

Anyone who fancies joining the side’s growing band of musicians and would like to learn to play an instrument will be given tuition.

This year the side has appeared at more than 40 venues.

And the group’s final appearance this year will be the traditional Boxing Day performance with the Three Shires Ladies Clog team, also based in the village, outside The Bluebell pub and at The Beehive in Harthill.

The group will continue its long tradition of singing Yorkshire carols in the run-up to Christmas at The Beehive pub - starting on November 15.

Neil Fretwell, the side’s bagman, said: “We certainly don’t hibernate during the winter months!

“The practise sessions are an ideal opportunity for newcomers to come along and join us in keeping alive a wonderful old tradition whose origins are lost in the mists of time.”