It was surprising to discover that there are as many new Cotswold sides as there are Border sides but it’s not so surprising that almost all new sides are mixed sides; there are no new men-only sides and just one new women’s side (Hands Around, based in Thurrock who dance Cotswold). In total there has been a loss of 15 women’s, men’s and mixed Cotswold sides.
The men’s sides that have disappeared include Aldham Morris Men, Harwich MM, Mount Bures MM and Royal Marine (all Essex) and Milton MM from Cambs. It is also probably safe to assume that Rusty Relics Scythe Dancers from Cambs were a men’s side but this may not be the case. You could also say that Kings Morris Men of Kings Lynn have ceased to be as they now dance as a mixed side calling itself Kings Morris.
The women’s sides no longer performing are from Suffolk; Gyppeswyck Garland, Haverhill Harlots and from Essex; Bullnose Morris (Cotswold & Appalachian) and Mandrake Morris (Northwest & Step Clog) and from Cambs Fen Nightingale (Clog) and Sally B’s (Cotswold).
The mixed sides which have died out are more numerous and represent a broader range of dancing styles. These include from Suffolk; Flying Rapper and Flying Tatters (Border & Molly). From Norfolk the famous Lobster Potties (Northwest & Sheringham Clog) have gone and also Yare Valley Morris, a mixed Cotswold and Border “University side”. Essex has lost Arum Lords & Ladies (Northwest), Blackwater Morris (Cotswold), Black Boy Rapper and Blue Steel Rapper which perhaps should have been listed as a Suffolk side as Mardles said they practiced in Tattingstone on the Shotley peninsula south of Ipswich. Cambs has lost Duck Race Morris (Cotswold), Granta Morris (also a university Cotswold side), Mercheford (Cotswold) and Sutton Stomp (Cotswold & Northwest).
Compared with this cull of sides we can celebrate the arrival of lots of new mixed sides including Holt Ridge (Cotswold) which has an overlap with Sheringham Lobster Potties and Golden Star. Also new in Norfolk are Pedant’s Revolt (Border). Essex has two new sides; Crouch Vale (Northwest), Hawksword (Rapper & Longsword) as well as the new women’s side Hands Around.
Hawksword dancing at Ely