Start your Monday off in the right way, by watching a quirky dance take place in Staffordshire. The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance is a local custom, carried out annually in the West Midlands Village. It features some traditional dancing, music and of course, horns.
The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance is an ancient tradition which involves dancing, but why does it take place? And what can you expect to see?
The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance
Well, the event takes place in and around the village and travels around the local area throughout the day. A group of enthusiastic dancers, often in traditional dress, jig with their reindeer antlers. These antlers aren’t your usual antlers though. They’re mounted on wooden heads and poles, and carried by the deer men. Joining them are the hobby horse, a fool, a bowman and Maid Marian. Plus, a melodian, along with a few percussion instruments provide the music.
This unusual custom dates back to the Middle Ages. Although, it’s unknown exactly when the custom was first carried out, or why. However, it’s likely to have started when the villagers were granted hunting rights to the local forest. The dance could have been a celebration or reminder of this rare privilege. Whatever the origins, 1,000ish years later, it still attracts curious visitors to the village.
Even though this particular dance is unique, there are other places across the UK that carry out similar folk customs. In Cornwall there’s the Furry Dance and in Devon there’s the Hunting of the Earl of Rone. In the midlands you’ll find the Sheriff’s Ride in Lichfield. And in the north you can enjoy rushbearing festivals in Greater Manchester, Cumbria and Yorkshire. In Scotland there’s the Burryman and in Wales you’ve got the Mari Lwyd.
The Horn Dance takes place annually on Wakes Monday, which this year is on 6th September, and is performed at various locations around the village and surrounding area.
Sadly, last year’s event couldn’t go ahead. So, it’s great that they’ll be able to perform this year. The dancing and events are due to start at 7am and go on into the evening. They’ll be calling at the village green, Admaston Village, Blithfield Hall and Little Dunstal Farm. They’ll also be appearing at some of the local pubs, including The Bagot Arms and The Crown Inn.
When: 6th September 2021
Where: At Abbots Bromley and surrounding area, Staffordshire
£: Free to watch
More info: abbotsbromley.com