Letter from Lymm a Resident Describing Rushbearing.
Referring specifically to Lymm Rushbearing
(Includes a description of the [unique] Lymm Dance)
Manchester Weekly Times
16 November 1889

Extract from the Press Report

The cart in our parish was always drawn by four or six iron-grey horses -- fine spirited animals -- lent by farmers in the neighbourhood for the occasion.
The horses had their heads decorated with garlands made of tinsel, which were kept in the church to be used at this particular time, and wore collars with little bells attached to them, which rang as they moved their heads. The men who had charge of the horses were in their shirt sleeves, which were ornamented with rosettes and pieces of decorated ribbon. 
This cart was taken round the parish, after visiting the hall and magistrates houses, attended by 12 men in their shirt sleeves, dressed in their best clothes, who were similarly adorned as the drivers of the rushcart, with the exception of wearing a long-coloured sash round their shoulders. These were called morris dancers, and were attended by a fiddler and a chief, called "the "fool",  who was dressed as a woman and carried a ladle in his hand to collect the pence -- and a bell was attached to his back, which rung as he walked; and whenever the rushcart stopped they danced, while the fiddler played.
The dance was a very simple one, the dancers turning round at certain parts of the dance, and making a cracking noise like a whip with handkerchiefs, which they carried in each hand. 
Why they were called morris dancers I never heard, but often thought it was after old Captain Morris, who had charge of the Bridgewater packet, which came up the canal every other morning from Manchester and which the morris dancers visited first on Rushbearing Saturday to get odd coppers from the passengers.
The rushcart is a thing of the past, but the morris dancers still go round the parish on Rushbearing Saturday, with their fool and fiddler, the latter playing the good time-honoured tune of the morris dancers.

Jonathan Millican, Foxley Mount, Lymm

The Press Report

Image unavailable for copyright reasons

Follow up item weeks later

Image unavailable for copyright reasons

Back to the Library

©2018 The Lymm Morris