Morris dancers mark 40 years with celebration tour

Redbornstoke Morris
Redbornstoke Morris

A group of Morris dancers are marking their 40th anniversary with a tour of the area.

Redbornstoke Morris of Ampthill are celebrating 40 years of dancing and over the weekend Friday, July 1 to Sunday, July 3, they will be joined by over 100 dancers from around the country for a special weekend, which includes a day of dance in Bedford on Saturday.

Redbornstoke Morris at Ampthill Gala

Redbornstoke Morris at Ampthill Gala

They will be back in Ampthill on Sunday, including an appearance at the annual town gala.

The team was started in 1976 by David Adcock, a teacher at Redborne School in Ampthill, taking its name from the old Bedfordshire Hundred of Redbornstoke. The team has since developed its own dances, performing the “Ampthill” tradition around the country. Over the years Redbornstoke have performed at many folk festivals, including Sidmouth, Whitby, Chippenham, Towersey and Shrewsbury. The team has also travelled overseas, with visits to Bruges in Belgium, festivals in Tralee and Brae in Ireland and most recently to Ampthill’s twin town Nissan-Lez-Enserune in the South of France.

They also dance at regular pub nights during the summer months, including the legendary Toddington Tour, held on July 21, during which Redbornstoke and their guests dance at all the pubs in the village. This was more of a challenge in the early days when there were eight pubs in the village, though this has reduced to a more manageable five!

Redbornstoke Morris hopes to pass their unique dances on to a new generation. With this in mind they recently taught their dances to students at Redborne School and hope that this might eventually lead to the formation of a youthful team to take on the dances and develop them further. If anyone is interested in being part of this exciting project, or in joining the current team, please contact Redbornstoke Morris.

If you would like to watch the dancing over the weekend, the teams will be in Bedford on Saturday July 2, with performances next to the Faces sculpture (by Debenhams), in Church Square between 11am and 1pm, and at the Castle Mound and on the Embankment between 2.30pm – 3.30pm. On Sunday, July 3, the teams will be performing in Ampthill Town Square from mid-day, before joining the procession to Ampthill Gala where they will dance during the afternoon.

For further information see www.redbornstoke.com or follow us on Facebook.