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Morris dancing can be found in many parts of England but it is in the Cotswold that it is particularly associated and where it can be seen at its most developed.  This form of English folk dance can be traced back to the 13th century, but many think it goes back to an even earlier pre-Christian time.  It is a part of ritual dancing found throughout most of Europe and particularly with Moorish dancing from Spain.  From Moorish, we get Morris.

So says Ralph Green former Assistant at the Visitor Centre Stow-on-the-Wold.


Whilst this may not be 100% accurate (who knows?), it is a belief shared by a lot of Morris dancers.


The dances are said to come from certain villages.  Some of these villages have their own teams, some of whom have been in existence for a very long time.  It is clear that dances from adjacent villages often have the same names and certain similarities.


Villages with their own dances (traditions) are Abbingdon, Adderbury, Ascot-under-Wychwood, Badby, Bampton, Bidford, Bledington, Brackley, Bucknell, Chipping Campden, Ducklington, Eynsham, Headington Quarry, Hinton-in-the-Hedges, Ilmington, Kirtlington, Leafield, Longborough, Oddington, Sherbourne, Stanton Harcourt, and Wheatley

(Leafield is known in Morris Dancing as Fieldtown)

William Kemp(e) dancing from London to Norwich (1600).