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The Headington Quarry Morris Dancers are acknowledged to be the world's premier "side" due to a signal historic event, the centenary of which will be celebrated this year. On Boxing Day 1899, the dancers led by their musician William Kimber, were seen performing at Sandfield Cottage in Headington by the folk musicologist Cecil Sharp - who hitherto had been unaware of the survival of this native form of dancing.
This cardinal meeting proved to be the springboard of the whole modern folk revival.
The team has a recorded history stemming from the late 1700's and the present club (which was reformed after the second World War in 1947) still contains dancers who received their tuition in the Headington tradition directly from William Kimber himself (dd 1961), some of whom are direct descendants of the 1899 dancers.
In their own locality they can be seen performing these dances (as well as other Cotswold style morris dances) annually at Whitsun (Spring Bank Holiday) on an eventide tour of the village public houses and on Boxing Day at the same venues when the "show" includes Quarry's own version of a Mummers play together with Handbell Ringers, Wassail Singers, and a display of Rapper Sword Dancers.
As well as giving local performances the team has danced at national and international festivals and has toured extensively, including Ireland, Europe, Japan and the U.S.A.
The club is a member of The Morris Ring of England and The English Folk Dance
and Song Society.
Publications on the history of the team include "Headington Quarry and its Morris Dancers" by R.W.Grant, published by the Morris Dancer 1990 and "When Punch met Merry. Boxing Day 1899" by the same author and published by H.Q.M.D. 1999.
Headington Quarry is some 2½ miles east of the University City of Oxford, England, and the village is now within the city boundary. It was once renowned for the stone that was quarried in the area and from which many of the colleges were built.
The team is available to dance and enhance all sorts of functions from fetes to festivals.
Thankyou for visiting our website. Wassail!