RETRO: Milestone year for Chapel Morris Men

Members of Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris Men, pictured at Chinley in 1976.
Members of Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris Men, pictured at Chinley in 1976.

In September 1975, a letter to the Buxton Advertiser prompted the formation of Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris Men.

The article read: “Having lived in the area for two years and attended various local carnivals and well dressings, it seems a shame to us that Morris dancers engaged for such occasions should have to be imported from outside this area.

Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris Men, pictured outside The Red Lion in Litton.

Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris Men, pictured outside The Red Lion in Litton.

“As far as we know there is no local Morris Men team, but feel that one should be formed for the benefit of the local functions.

“We would like to hear from anyone with experience of Morris dancing, but also from anybody with a yearning to ‘shake the bells’ and ‘wave the handkerchiefs’.”

The letter paved the way for the creation of Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris Men.

Will Newman recalls: “The letter in the Advertiser was followed up by a meeting in The King’s Arms which produced a number of keen beginners, an experienced dancer who was living in Chapel, plus a frustrated accordion player who was desperate (or at least his wife was) for an outlet for his talent!”

Forty years on, and the group, whose members are easily recognisable by their distinctive green and yellow costume, is still going strong.

To mark 2015, a milestone year, the talented performers are planning a number of celebrations, and want to hear from anyone who has been associated with the Morris men in the past, anyone who has memories of watching them and anyone who has photos of them performing, particularly in the early years.

Will said: “The years have flown by with dancing performances not just in the Peak District but all over the UK and a couple of trips abroad.”

If you can help with any information or photographs, email archivist@chapelmorris.org, visit www.chapelmorris.org or find Chapel Morris Men on Facebook and Twitter.

The group can be seen performing at local pubs on a Monday night during the spring and summer months. Winter practise sessions are held on Monday evenings at The Playhouse.