The Moulton Morris Men have added two "lost" dances from a Northamptonshire village to their repertoire.
From old correspondence of the Reverend Watkins-Pitchford,Rector of Lamport in the early part of the 20th century, concerning the Nene Valley Morris Men, a very early "revival" side active in that village, Barry Care noted references to the men learning dances from old dancers from the Badby and Ravensthorpe sides. Badby is a well documented tradition, but Ravensthorpe ( a village about 8 miles northwest of Northampton) seems to have passed on un-noticed. It would seem that the village side died out towards the end of the 19th century.
Further enquiries unearthed the movements for two dances from Ravensthorpe: "Shepherds Hey" and "Shoot It". It appeared from Revd W-P's correspondence with Percy Grainger that Ravensthorpe also had its own unique version of the tune for "Shepherds Hey". After much further searching , the score for this tune was found, noted down within a letter, in correspondence stored in the Percy Grainger Museum in Melbourne Australia.
Nene Valley Morris Men, with Revd Watkins-Pitchford as fiddler
Both Ravensthorpe dances feature a "sticks on shoulders" motif and a "jaunty" style. Having now the tunes and the movements, Moulton set about rehearsing the dances and the Ravensthorpe "Shepherds Hey" was danced again, to its own tune, for the first time in about 80 years, at Covent Garden, London,in the spring of 2005.
To see it danced , click on the video. If your computer's security settings prevent this running, you can use the link below it.