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Having so many sides around for Wakefield Morris's Beer Cart festival, it seemed a shame not to make it a weekend of dancing, so the day after the main Beer Cart event, several of the attending sides went to Nostell for another stint.
Nostell is now owned by the National Trust but it has a fascinating history. On the site, a priory was built in the 12th Century but this was handed over to Henry VIII in 1540 as part of the dissolution of the monasteries. It changed hands a few times until the Winn family bought it in 1654. In 1729, Rowland Winn made the shrewd move of marrying a rich heiress and promptly set about having a grand house built which is still there today and open to the public. It was later furnished with over 100 pieces designed by Thomas Chippendale. I understand that several of the Kettle Bridge ladies were very disappointed when they searched the house looking for the Chippendales with great legs that they had heard were on display.
There was some confusion over the start time of the event but arriving early meant that we were able to sample the delights of the on-site tea rooms in the old stables. We then made our way over to the main house for the 11:15 start. At this stand we were joined by the hosts, Wakefield Morris, and rapper side called Mons Meg.
Morris sides choose their name for a variety of reasons. It can be where they are based, such as Wakefield Morris, a landmark (Kettle Bridge Clogs, for example), a local character (Betty Lupton's Ladle Laikers) or just plain strange like Boggart's Breakfast. So how did Mons Meg get their name? Well, they are based in Edinburgh and I discovered what Mons Meg was when I visited the city just after the Ossett event.
As you can read here, it is a large 15th Century cannon that was a gift to Scotland from the Duke of Burgundy. It eventually became unusable and is currently on display at Edinburgh Castle. I am told that the name comes from the fact that the Duke of Burgundy initially used it as his fridge and so referred to it in French as "Mon Smeg".
At this first stand, we danced KBC Processional and then joined Wakefield in a performance of Celebration. Then it was time to make our way back over to the stables area which had a decent dancing surface just outside the entranceway. Here we were joined by Sallyport Sword Dancers (rapper and longsword) and Fool's Gambit (whom we danced with at Ossett). There was just time for 2 dances, namely Presidcot and Horbury.
The final dancing action of the day was a performance of a show dance by each side in turn, back over at the main house. The complete line-up was Fool's Gambit, Silkstone Greens, Sallyport Sword Dancers, Earlsdon Morris Men, Catseye Morris, Kettle Bridge Clogs, Mons Meg and Wakefield Morris.
Our chosen dance was Shawforth which went down very well with the crowd. It was also interesting to see Wakefield dance Ealuscerwen which we also do, having learnt it from Chinewrde Morris. This meant that Pip, our drummer, could join the Wakefield band for their performance, as you can see from the photo.
With the dancing all complete, we walked back up the the car park where our hosts had very kindly laid on a picnic. This was a great opportunity to rest, be refreshed and to have a chat. We had just about finished when a rain shower brought an end to proceedings.
Thanks go to Wakefield to organising a great weekend and to the National Trust for allowing us to perform at such a lovely location.
Kettle Bridge Clogs web site by Stephen Cordery is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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