History of Morris Dancing
Morris dancing can be traced back to the 15th century in a form recognizably similar to what we know today.
The folk revival at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries took a very Romantic view of the Morris. Inspired in part by J.G. Frazer's Golden Bough, many of the movement, including leading light Cecil Sharp, believed that the Morris was a remaining remnant of pagan fertility dance, and was thus older and purer than the culture of the educated classes.
Research later showed, though, that such connections were extremely tenuous. What the Morris was, though, was a constantly-evolving expression of the culture of the English people themselves (as distinct from the culture of the élite).
Although the cultural rôle of the Morris has now changed radically, we who perform it today honour its origins, and value it as a unique means of expression.
History of Aldbury Morris Men
Inspired by the 1960s folk renaissance, we started dancing in 1969, meeting in an unheated barn at the rear of the Greyhound Pub in Aldbury, Hertfordshire. After the floorboards threatened to give way and frostbite became severe we moved to warmer surroundings. We now practice every Thursday evening during the winter months in the Aldbury Memorial Hall.
In 1999 we finally got around to becoming members of the Morris Ring, the association for traditional men's sides, and now we generally aim to attend a Ring meeting every now and then. These meetings are weekends of dance at which sides gather from around the country to learn, entertain and socialise.
We have represented Hertfordshire at the National gathering of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, and our talents have been seen from the Yorkshire Dales to deepest Dorset. We have entertained the locals of Germany, Holland and France. Quite possibly you may have seen us in the odd television programme or film, such as Jim Davidson's Generation Game or The Man Who Knew Too Little with Bill Murray - even performing a Morris Haka on A League of Their Own !
Aldbury village retains its traditional stocks and whipping post, though these have now fallen into disuse. Indeed, they are quite a rare village survival, and so feature as the distinctive emblem of the AMM.
Today Aldbury Morris Men continue to thrive, with a full Summer programme of dancing.