2003 Scrapbook
A Trip to Border Morris Country
20th March 2003

No morris Dancing on this page - what a relief!

For no particularly good reason we drove to Cardiff via Worcestershire and Herefordshire. On the way we called at the villages where some of our dances were originally collected; White Ladies Aston, Brimfield and Dilwyn. We also have a dance named after Hay-on-Wye, which is a modern creation - but none the worse for that, so we stayed there overnight.

Many of the villages in this area had morris teams, and a few survived long enough to have their dances collected at the turn of the 20th century. Other dances collected from this area are: Pershore, Bromsberrow Heath, Evesham (Fanny Frail), Much Wenlock, and Upton-upon Severn.

So, in case you wondered what these places were like - or why a dance should be called White Ladies Aston - read on.

Click the pictures to enlarge them

White Ladies Aston is in Worcestershire. Click here for a map.

This is just about the smallest village I've ever been in - with maybe about 20 houses in all, plus a tiny church - no pub today. The morris team must have involved almost all the men in the village!

In 1927 the team was still dancing, performing the dance collected there, singing carols and step-dancing on a door that they carried around.

The nearest pub to the village has an excellent carvery for 3.99. It's a long way from Berkshire.

Brimfield is in Herefordshire, and you will find it here.
Brimfield is a bigger village than White Ladies Aston and even has a pub - The Roebuck.
Brimfield church is a little odd, having a wooden-framed bell tower.

It's in a pretty location and looks very nice from the outside. We both had a cold feeling inside the church and left without lingering.

The prettiest of the three villages is undoubtedly Dilwyn. It's in Herefordshire near the Welsh border - the map is here.

The village is on the "Black and White" Trail - I suspect the organisers haven't noticed the irony of the traditional face-blacking involved in the dances collected from this area.

We arrived at about 3pm and immediately noticed the total absence of noise - no background motorway rumble, and no planes heading for Heathrow.

After wandering around for half and hour, we had seen only one human being - and he gave us a funny look. Very spooky!

The school bus arrived and disgorged it's contents around 3:30 and the village came alive with children.

Perhaps they are the only inhabitants - something like "The Village of the Damned"

Dilwyn has managed to keep it's pub too - The Crown Inn.

I suppose having been to Dilwyn, we'll have to resurrect the dance - we've not done it for a couple of years now.

Hay-on-Wye is just across the river in Powys, Wales, as you will see on the map.

It's the home of the book festival, and has about a hundred bookshops, plus a sizeable number of pubs.

The river Wye. Why?

Click the pictures to enlarge them