Folk Play Links - Sword Dancers, Sword Dancing; Rapier Dancers, Rapier Dancing, etc

Compiled by C. Little



Some non-play customs and their practitioners have the same names as the plays and their actors. e.g. Cakers, Guisers, Mummers, Pace Eggers, Morris Dancers, Plough Bullocks, Soulers, Sword Dancers etc. This can be confusing.

Publications listed may be cited as well as full text.


Cumberland

001 * A Glossary of the words and phrases pertaining to the Dialect of Cumberland [[New edition only ?]] [by W. Dickinson, [rev.] by E.W. Prevost, [1899], pp.327, cv - entry for 'Sword dance' - extract from Westmoreland and Cumberland Dialects, 1839 - 'Th' Upshot', by Mark Lonsdale, stz.27]
002 * Cumberland & Westmorland, Ancient and Modern: [by J. Sullivan, 1857, pp.164-165 - 'Superstitions and Customs' - as Kendal Mercury - ("pace-egging";) 169 - sword-dance in Cumberland, still remembered]
003 * Jollie's Sketch of Cumberland Manners and Customs: [1811, pp.12-14, 4, 23 - 'Th' Upshot', by [Anon][Mark Lonsdale] - Kirkbampton seen at Great Orton, 30 years ago; "Hector, who has a false head attached to his real one."]
004 * Masquerade Intelligence [in European Magazine, and London Review, Vol.13:Feb., Jan.-Jun. 1788, pp.103-104 [- by Mark Lonsdale ?]]
005 * Remarks, critical and illustrative, on the text and notes of the Last edition of Shakspeare [by [Anon][Joseph Ritson], 1783, p.149 - not only Northumberland, but also (Durham and) Cumberland]
006 * Westmoreland and Cumberland Dialects [1839, pp.202-204 - extract from Jollie's Sketch of Cumberland Manners and Customs:, 1811 - 'Th' Upshot', by Mark Lonsdale; [missing Explanatory Note]]

Durham

007 * Church Folklore [2nd edition only] [extract from Rev J.Edward Vaux, 1902 - at [Whickham House, Whickham], some seventy years ago - informed by the late Rev E.[C.] Leaton-Blenkinsopp [born at Whickham][son of G.T. Leaton-Blenkinsopp]]
008 * History of Hartlepool, [Re-Print edition] [by the late Sir Cuthbert Sharp, 1851, p.176 - ("Guisers" with "mell supper";) sword dancers; (stot plough)]
009 * History of Hartlepool, A [1st edition] [extract from Sir Cuthbert Sharp, 1816, p.152 - ("Guisers" with "mell supper";) sword dancers; (stot plough)]
010 * North-Country Sketches : Notes, Essays and Reviews [by George Neasham, 1893, pp.230, 258 - 'Festivals' - as Newcastle Daily Chronicle or Newcastle Daily Journal - sword dancers at [Carrville]; ([Carrville] "guisers" fragment) - both in our juvenile days]
011 * Northern Primitive Methodism [extract from W.M. Patterson, 1909, pp.284-285 - at Coxhoe [- paraphrasing The Power of Faith and Prayer Exemplified in The Life and Labours of Mrs Mary Porteus,, by Rev John Lightfoot, 1862, pp.135-136]]
012 * Northern Primitive Methodism [by W.M. Patterson, 1909, pp.284-285 - at Coxhoe [- paraphrasing The Power of Faith and Prayer Exemplified in The Life and Labours of Mrs Mary Porteus,, by Rev John Lightfoot, 1862, pp.135-136]]
013 * Remarks, critical and illustrative, on the text and notes of the Last edition of Shakspeare [by [Anon][Joseph Ritson], 1783, p.149 - not only Northumberland, but also Durham (and Cumberland)]
014 * Sunderland: A History of the Town, Port, Trade and Commerce [by Taylor Potts, 1892, p.149 - mummers and sword dancers at some of the colliery villages]
015 * The Diary of John Cam Hobhouse [internet only][- as British Library Add. Ms. 47232] [ed. by Peter Cochran, 2009, p.115 - 'Byron's Wedding : 2nd Jan. 1815' - at Seaham Hall, Seaham]
016 * The Durham Household Book; [ed. by [[Rev] James Raine][Librarian of Durham Cathedral], 1844, p.340 - 'Explanation of Words' - entry for 'Lusor' - Bishop Auckland "no doubt sword-dancers" seen at Durham?, 1539-1540 - extract from Bursar's Book]
017 * The Newcastle Songster; : Pt.III [[1814 ?], pp.15-18 - 'Winlaton Hopping', by [John Leonard]]
018 * The Power of Faith and Prayer Exemplified in The Life and Labours of Mrs Mary Porteus, [by Rev John Lightfoot [Primitive Methodist Minister], 1862, pp.135-136 - at Coxhoe]

Ireland

019 * Catalogus Codicum Mss. qui in Collegiis Aulisque Oxoniensibus [by Henry O. Coxe [Sub-Librarian of the Bodleian Library], 1852, Pt.II 'Catalogus Codicum Mss. Collegii Corporis Christi' p.33 - 'Ms. 94']
020 * Illustrations of Irish History and Topography, Mainly of the Seven-Teenth Century [extract from C.Litton Falkiner, 1904, pp.322-323 - extract from Corpus Christi College Oxford Library Ms. 94 - matachine dance]

Lancashire

021 * Ancient Poems Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England [Revised and enlarged edition] [ed. by Robert Bell, 1857, p.180fn - maskers at Coniston - calling-on song - informed by Robert Kearton [Librarian of Grassington Mechanics' Institution]]
022 * Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry of England [1st edition] [coll. & ed. by James Henry Dixon, 1846, pp.246-247 - 'Notes' - maskers at Coniston - calling-on song - informed by Robert Kearton [Librarian of Grassington Mechanics' Institution]]
023 * Crosby Records : [Nicholas] Blundell's Diary [ed. by Rev T. Ellison Gibson, 1895, pp.103-105 - 3rd-23rd Jul. 1712; p.109 - 6th Jan. 1713 - as below]
024 * Crosby Records : A Cavalier's Note Book [by William Blundell, ed. by Rev T. Ellison Gibson, 1880, p.117 - prologue to a sword dance at Lathom House, Lathom, on Ash Wednesday 1638]
025 * Some Old Country Sports - From the Crosby Records [citation of Rev T.E. Gibson, in Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, Vol.XXXIII, Session 1880-81, pp.19-21 - 'The Flowering of Marl-Pits'; (21-22 - "when the [The ]Soldier's Fortune [, by Thomas Otway] was acted at Little Crosby, the three chief characters were sustained by tenants of his own in that village.")]
026 * Some Old Country Sports - From the Crosby Records [by Rev T.E. Gibson, in Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, Vol.XXXIII, Session 1880-81, pp.19-21 - 'The Flowering of Marl-Pits'; (21-22 - "when the [The ]Soldier's Fortune [, by Thomas Otway] was acted at Little Crosby, the three chief characters were sustained by tenants of his own in that village.")]
027 * The Victoria History of the County of Lancaster. Vol.3 [eds. by William Farrer & J. Brownbill, 1907, pp.58-66 - 'Sefton', by William Farrer & J. Brownbill - citation of Crosby Records : [Nicholas] Blundell's Diary, ed. by Rev T. Ellison Gibson, 1895, pp.103-105]

North Yorkshire

028 * Cartularium Abbathiae de Whiteby [ed. by Rev J.C. Atkinson [Incumbent [Vicar of Danby], 1879 & 1881, p.605fn Vol.II - "pig-gelder" was word in sword-dance song]
029 * Folklore from Yorkshire (North Riding) [by J.B. Partridge, in Folk-Lore, Vol.XXV No.III, Sep. 1914, pp.376-377 - sword dancers in Swaledale; ("pace-egging" in Wensleydale)]
030 * Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart [by [J.G. Lockhart], Vol.III, 1837, p.163fn - at Rokeby [Park, Greta Bridge] - informed by Mr [J.B.S.] Morritt]
031 * Nidderdale; [by William Grainge, 1863, p.230]
032 * Review of "Bracebridge Hall:" by [Washington Irving] [by [Anon][John Hughes [wife's father was Lord of the Manor of Stokesley] & rev. by William Gifford], in Quarterly Review, Vol.XXXI No.LXII, [Mar. 1825], p.476 - (mummery in Devon;) sword-dance in Cleveland, within the last fifteen years]
033 * Rhymes & Sketches to Illustrate the Cleveland Dialect [2nd edition] [by Mrs G.M. Tweddell, 1892, p.16 - 'T' Awd Cleveland Customs' - Literary Work]
034 * Rokeby [in Teesdale Mercury, No.1009, 7th Jan. 1874, p.4e - sword dancers at Rokeby Hall [Rokeby Park, Greta Bridge] again]
035 * Rokeby [in Teesdale Mercury, No.0840, 5th Jan. 1870, p.5a - sword dancers at Rokeby Hall [Rokeby Park, Greta Bridge]]
036 * Rural Sports [by Jonathan Oldworth [pseud], in Literary Chronicle and Weekly Review, Vol.VI No.260, 8th May 1824, p.298 - acute letter - at Knaresborough]
037 * Studies in Nidderdale: [extract from Joseph Lucas, [1882 ?], pp.45-46 - study, by William Grainge - at Grantley; extract from Nidderdale;, by William Grainge, 1863, p.230]
038 * Studies in Nidderdale: [by Joseph Lucas, [1882 ?], pp.45-46 - study, by William Grainge - at Grantley; extract from Nidderdale;, by William Grainge, 1863, p.230]
039 * The History and Antiquities of North Allerton [Northallerton], [by C.J.Davison Ingledew, 1858, pp.342-343]
040 * The History of Richmond, in the County of York; [by [Anon][Christopher Clarkson], 1814, pp.296-298 - extract from [Hargrove]]
041 * The History of the Castle, Town, and Forest, of Knaresbrough [Knaresborough], [6th edition, with considerable additions, only ?] [by E. Hargrove, 1809, p.85]
042 * The Three Days of Wensleydale; The Valley of the Yore [by W.G.M.Jones Barker, 1854, pp.260-261]
043 * To the Editor [by C.L. B., in Babbler, Vol.I No.15, 5th Feb. 1822, p.239 - citation of History, by Hargrove]
044 * To the Editors [by S.I. Law, in Northern Star, Vol.II No.8, Jan. 1818, pp.19-20 - citation of History, by Hargrove]
045 * Varieties : Sword Dance [by [Editor], in Babbler, Vol.I No.10, 1st Jan. 1822, p.160 [- extract from The History of the Castle, Town, and Forest, of Knaresbrough, by E. Hargrove, 1809, p.85]]

Northumberland

046 * A Descriptive and Historical View of Alnwick, [2nd edition only ?] [by [W. Davison], 1822, p.262]
047 * A Hand-Book to Newcastle-on-Tyne [largely for the Thirty-Third Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science] [by Rev J.Collingwood Bruce, 1863, p.102 - "and though an attempt has been recently made to revive the practice of sword-dancing, it is felt to be unseemly, and unfitting the present age."]
048 * A Memoir of Thomas Bewick, [by Thomas Bewick, 1862, pp.25-26 - ("a guising" with "kirn supper" [near to Eltringham];) 81 - "foulpleughs" [far from Eltringham], 1774-1775]
049 * A View of Northumberland [by W. Hutchinson, 1778, Vol.II 'Ancient Customs' pp.17-19 - (Mell-Supper;) "sword dance"; (Stot Plough)]
050 * Examples of Printed Folk-Lore concerning Northumberland [County Folk-Lore, Vol.IV : Printed Extracts, No. 6] [coll. by M.C. Balfour & ed. by Northcote W. Thomas, 1904, p.87 - [Earsdon seen] at Alnwick, 1893; at Harbottle; at Belford, not for about ten years; (Besom Boys or "Christmas Sweepers" at Belford, 1890)]
051 * History of Northumberland [by Rev John Hodgson [Vicar of Hartburn], Pt.II Vol.III, 1840, p.139fn - "like our north country (fool-ploughmen and) sword-dancers"]
052 * Labour and the Poor : Letter XXI : The Manufacturing Districts : The Mining Districts of Northumberland and Durham [by [Angus B. Reach], in Morning Chronicle, No.25019, 27th Dec. 1849 - five dancers and "Tommy", "Bessy", "gunner", "clothes carrier" & fiddler - Subscription required for Gale: 19th Century British Library Newspapers]
053 * Labour and the Poor : Letter XXVI : The Rural Districts : Northern Counties - Northumberland [by [Angus B. Reach], in Morning Chronicle, No.25036, 16th Jan. 1850 - Subscription required for Gale: 19th Century British Library Newspapers]
054 * Local Records and Notes : Answers and Explanations : Christmas Sword Dancers [by Lanercost [pseud], in Newcastle Courant, No.10695, 26th [sic] Dec. 1879, p.6c - seen at Newcastle, in my younger days; (extract from Whitby, by Rev G. H. Young) - Subscription required for Gale: 19th Century British Library Newspapers]
055 * Local Records and Notes : Inquiries : Christmas Sword-Dancers [by W.D. R., in Newcastle Courant, No.10694, 19th Dec. 1879, p.6b - seen at Newcastle - Subscription required for Gale: 19th Century British Library Newspapers]
056 * Morris Dancers [by W.E. Adams [Editor of Newcastle Weekly Chronicle], in Notes & Queries, 6th Ser. Vol.IV No.104, 24th Dec. 1881, p.524 - sword dancers are common at Christmas time throughout Northumberland]
057 * Northumberland Words [by Richard Oliver Heslop, Vol.II, 1893-1894, pp.(349 - entry for 'Guizard, Guizart, Guizer';) 714 - entry for 'Sword-dancers'; 737 - entry for 'Tommies an' Bessies'; I, 52 - entry for 'Bessy' - extract from Wor Mally Turned Bloomer; (307 - entry for 'Full-plough')]
058 * Notes on the Sword-Dancers' Song and Interlude [by John Stokoe, in Monthly Chronicle of North-Country Lore and Legend, Vol.I No.10, Dec. 1887, pp.462-465 ([- as Northumberland Pipe and Ballad Music : The Sword Dancers' Song, by [Anon][John Stokoe], in Newcastle Courant, No.10695, 26th [sic] Dec. 1879, p.7c];) Earsdon seen at Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, for above thirty years; (illustration is copy of 'The Sword Dancers [at Tanfield Hall, Tanfield]', painting by Ralph Hedley)]
059 * Observations on Popular Antiquities: [by John Brand, 1777, pp.175-179 - extract from The Natural History and Antiquities of Northumberland:, by John Wallis, 1769, Vol.II p.29; "I have been a frequent Spectator of this Dance, ..." - at [Newcastle ?] - Subscription required for Gale: Eighteenth Century Collections Online]
060 * Reminiscences and Desultory Notes of Morpeth Social Customs now obsolete [by William Woodman, in History of the Berwickshire Naturalists' Club, Vol.XIV, 1892-1893, p.128 - not obsolete]
061 * Sword-Dancing in Northumberland [citation of Gordon Ridgewell, in The Morris Dancer, Vol.3 No.6, (Feb.) 1999 - extract]
062 * Sword-Dancing in Northumberland [by A Correspondent [Anon], in Penny Magazine, Vol.VIII No.447, 23rd Mar. 1839, pp.111-112 - "but it is now but very partially practised by them;"]
063 * The Natural History and Antiquities of Northumberland: [by John Wallis, 1769, Vol.II pp.28-29 - 'Little Chesters [Vindolanda]' - "sword-dance" in this neighbourhood [Haltwhistle]]
064 * The Natural History and Antiquities of Northumberland: [extract from John Wallis, 1769, Vol.II pp.28-29 - 'Little Chesters [Vindolanda]' - "sword-dance" in this neighbourhood [Haltwhistle]]
065 * The Pitman [by [Anon], in Table Book;, by William Hone, Vol.I, 1827, col.657]
066 * Wor Mally Turned Bloomer [by J.P. Robson, from Songs of the Tyne : No.9, pp.3-6 - like "a "Bessie""]

Scotland

067 * The History and Antiquities of Roxburghshire and adjacent districts, [2nd edition only ? of An Historical and Descriptive Account of Roxburghshire] [by Alexander Jeffrey, Vol.III, [1859, p.241 - at Yetholm [parish][Kirk and Town], many years ago - "much in the manner as at Northumberland and Durham"]

West Yorkshire

068 * A Glossary of the Dialect of Almondbury and Huddersfield [comp. by the late Rev Alfred Easther [was Head Master of the Grammar School of King James in Almondbury] & ed. by Rev Thomas Lees, 1883, pp.(58 - entry for 'Guisors' - (non-play); 98 - entry for 'Peace Egg' - chapbook;) 111, xii - entry for 'Rush-bearing' - informed by Joe Armitage, who formerly went about "raper" dancing]
069 * Kirkburton Rapier Dancers [extract from Forty Years Ago, by A. L. [A. Lodge], 1869, pp.23-24, 6 - 'Forty Years Ago' - raper doncers at Burton-Kirk [Kirkburton]; extract from A Glossary of the Dialect of Almondbury and Huddersfield, comp. by the late Rev Alfred Easther & ed. by Rev Thomas Lees, 1883 - entry for 'Rush Bearing'; (citation of Our Customary Feasts, by J. Horsfall Turner, 1913, pp.6-8 - "Raper Dancers" at Brighouse; mumming play at Kirkburton)]
070 * Verses and Notes [by John Wilson, 1903, pp.181-186 - ('"Plough Stotting"' - at North Elmsall;) '"Raper" or Sword Dancing' - at North Elmsall; ('"The Horse-Head," or, "The Queen's Pony"' - Poor Old Horse at Kirk Smeaton [sic])]

Westmorland

071 * Bygone Cumberland and Westmorland [by Daniel Scott, 1899, pp.202-203, 210fn [- extract from The Manners and Customs of Westmorland, etc., In the former part of the Eighteenth Century;]]
072 * Bygone Cumberland and Westmorland [extract from Daniel Scott, 1899, pp.202-203 [- extract from The Manners and Customs of Westmorland, etc., In the former part of the Eighteenth Century;]]
073 * Provincial Occurrences : Cumberland and Westmoreland [in Monthly Magazine, Vol.III No.XVI, Apr. 1797, p.323 - masquers or sword-dancers in the neighbourhood of Appleby-in-Westmorland - celebration of a holiday]
074 * Remarkable Days [by [John Millard][Extra Assistant at the British Museum Department of Manuscripts], in Time's Telescope, 1824, p.296 - paraphrasing]
075 * The Annals of a Quiet Valley [Longsleddale] [by John Watson [wife was born at Longsleddale], 1894, p.172 - parties of rapier-dancers]
076 * The Beauties of England and Wales: Vol.XV [Pt.1] [1814, 'Westmoreland', by Rev J. Hodgson [born at Rosgill], pp.48-49, 241 - paraphrasing Historical Remarks on the Manners of Westmorland : Letter ?, by John Gough, in Westmorland Advertiser[, and Kendal Chronicle], ?? May 1812]
077 * The Manners and Customs of Westmorland, and the adjoining parts of Cumberland, Lancashire, and Yorkshire, In the former part of the Eighteenth Century; described in A Series of Letters [by A Literary Antiquarian [John Gough], 1827, pp.23-24 - as [Historical Remarks on the Manners of Westmorland] : Letter VII : Entertainments and Festivals, by J. Gough, in [Westmorland Advertiser, and] Kendal Chronicle, Vol.II No.22, 30th May 1812, p.4ab - maskers and rapier-dancers]
078 * The Remains of John Briggs: [by John Briggs [late Editor], 1825, pp.206-207 / 243-246, 240-241 - 'Westmorland as it Was' [- as in Lonsdale Magazine, and Kendal Repository, Vol.III No.XXXIV, Oct. 1822, pp.376 / 379-381, 379] - Westmorland as it was, by Rev Hodgson - extract from The Beauties of England and Wales: / Notes and Observations, by John Briggs - unfortunately, imperfect because he was too busy for a month-long county-wide project to collect Christmas customs]

Westmorland - West Yorkshire pre 1974

079 * A Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, [by James Orchard Halliwell, 1846, pp.667-668 Vol.II - entry for 'Rapier-Dance' - extract from Archaeologia, Vol.XVII, 1814, pp.155-156]
080 * A List of Ancient Words at present used in the mountainous District of the West Riding of Yorkshire [by [Dr] Robert Willan [born at The Hill, Marthwaite], in Archaeologia, Vol.XVII, 1814, pp.155-156 - entry for 'Rapier Dance']
081 * A Memorial by the Trustees of Cowgill Chapel, with a Prefix and Appendix, on the Climate, History and Dialects of Dent [by Adam Sedgwick [son of Perpetual Curate of Dent], [1867], p.75 - 'Appendix, No.V' - morris dance, rapier dance and mask dance, eighty years since]
082 * The Doctor, &c [New edition] [by Robert Southey, ed. by [Rev] John Wood Warter [his son-in-law], 1837 / 1848, pp.559, 561 - 'A true story of the terrible knitters e' dent', by Betty Yewdale - maskers at Dent, fifty-six years since]

[General]

083 * Observations on Popular Antiquities: [with additions] [by John Brand, rev. by Henry Ellis, 1813, Vol.I pp.400-403 - 'Sword Dance' - fnG - ([Thomas] Park notes Morris-Dancers at Lincoln; extract from Revesby Abbey, Revesby text [which he possesses - now British Library Add. Ms. 44870]; paraphrasing Mode of celebrating Christmas in Yorkshire, by R. S. [Robert Surtees], in Gentleman's Magazine: and Historical Chronicle, Vol.LXXXI Pt.1:May (New Ser. Vol.4), Jan.-Jun. 1811, pp.423-424)]

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