MORRIS DANCE IN CORNWALL

 
During the Twelve Days of Christmas between 1466-67, the household accounts of the Arundells of Lanherne, Mawgan-in-Pydar, record expenditures to buy white bonnets for minstrels, cloth and bells for Morris Dancers, as well as materials for costumes for the "disgysing" (mummers or guise dancers), an activity which involved music and dancing.
 
This can't have been Trigg, even though we have a long tradition of collecting money in Cornwall. 
 

TRIGG AND THEIR HISTORY
 

Thank you for taking the time to stop and watch us, as audiences have done since we gave our first public show in July 1971.  We enjoy performing and appreciate the interest you show.  We must also thank those who make it all possible, such as Publicans, Local Authorities, The Police, and our supporters.

Our costume reflects our rural background, and you will note that our green baldrics are decorated with Celtic designs that are found on the Ancient Stone Crosses located around the County.

Our name comes from "The Hundred of Trigg", an ancient administrative area of Mid Cornwall, and most of our dancers live within reasonably easy reach of Bodmin.( We have no links at all to Colonel Trigg who fell at the Battle of Blue Lick , Kentucky)

We perform dances of the "Cotswold" style: Fieldtown with sticks or handkerchiefs, Bucknell also with sticks or handkerchiefs, but with the hands at shoulder height, and Stanton Harcourt, which hardly anyone else still remembers, but where we have the handkerchiefs on our little fingers and sometimes with both sticks and hankies at the same time! As well as the occasional Lichfield dance with 8 dancers.


We mainly dance on Thursdays, but we have no recollection why we chose that day.  But we've been doing it so long it must be a tradition by now.


Morris dancing is a tradition that goes back a long time, but so long that it was never written down, so it's your guess what it looked, or sounded like in Shakespeare's time and before.  Some people like to think it's a fertility rite, or linked to John of Gaunt and Moors from Spain, and who are we to disagree.  One thing is certain - and that's a close association between Morris dancers and pubs over many years.  So we practice in the winter, and then when the evenings are lighter in the summer, we can be found dancing outside pubs across central Cornwall.  And just to make sure that others don't miss out, each year we pick out a couple of villages who haven't got a pub and descend on them as well (usually with adequate supplies of beer).

 

And not to forget - Trigg does consist of dancers of both male and female persuasions.

And a Beast ... Trigger 

His origin is lost in the mists of time - but dendochronology aside , we know he once had a name "Hoddy Horse" 

and a 1964 date inscribed on his wooden skeleton. So he may have danced with other sides (?) 



 

LIST OF TRIGG MORRIS PERFORMERS 1971-2020

Vic Legg (1971 - )

Steve Danby (1971)

Phil Beaumont (1971 – 73 & 1977 - 78)

Alan Ramsden (1971 - 88)

Peter Marlow (1971 - )

Roger Hancock (1971 - )

Dick Welsby (1971 – 72) deceased

Ron Hayward (1971 - 72)

Brian Goodman (1971)

Maurice Dart (1971, 82, 96, 2003 - )

Ian West (1971 – 74) Musician

Chris Best (1971 - 72)

Dave Williams (1971 - 2001)

Pete Philp (1972 - )

Colin Williams (1972)

Mike Johnson (1972 – 88) deceased

Michael – Musician (1972)

Peter Bunt (1972 - 86)

Chris Penton (1972 – 87) deceased

Dave Rye (1973 -74)

Bob Fallis (1973 -74)

Chris Farr (1973 -74)

Dennis Ackersley (1973)

John Dunkell (1973 - 74)

Rob Elliot (1973)

Peter Cock (1973 – 86) deceased

Rodney (1973)

Chris Ridley – Musician (1973 – 2020) deceased

Keith (1973)

Peter Hicks (1973 – 83 & 2012 - 2018)

Robert Robins (1974 – 93) deceased

Dave Blayney (1974 -81) deceased

Mike O’Connor (1974 – 76, 79, 90, 93 & 94) Musician

John Pearman (1974)

Mike Trevellyan (1975)

Pat Bell (1976 – 79) deceased

Dave Killer (1976 - 81)

John Knight (1976 - 80)

Colin Barker (1976 - 77)

Ernie Keast (1976) deceased

Dicken Keslake (1977 - 78)

Malcolm Harvey (1977 -2021 )

Brian Roberts (1977 – 79) deceased

Andy Jones (1977 - 83)

Lee Ellis (1977- 78)

Reg Ellis (1977 – 85) deceased

John Peters (1979 - 82)

Owain Bell (1979 - 94)

Trevor Johnson (1979 - 81)

Bob Wicks (1980 - 84)

Dennis Cook (1979 – 2000) deceased

Paul Reece (1980 - )

John Sparrow (1981 - 84)

Graham Owen (1981 - 89

Rod Edwards (1983 - 84)

Roger Sexton (1983)

Mick Bull (1984 - )

John Webb (1984 - 94)

Dave Martin (1984 – 94) deceased

Simon Pipe (1984 - 85)

Brian Palmer (1984 - 91)

Ian Chanter (1985 - )

Rob Chisman (1985 - )

John Tremaine (1985 - 95)

Terry Letchford (1985 - )

Christian Norgaard (1988 - 97)

Clive Baker (1990 - 96)

Pat Broderick (1991 - 2015)

Phil Champion (1992 – 2020) deceased

Pete Turner – Mrs Baggit (1993 -94) deceased

John Richards (1994 - 2015)

Dave Marshall (1997 – 98 & 2008 - 2015)

Alan Tringham (1998 - )

Ted Kent (1998 - 2013)   deceased

Bob Mann (1998 - 2018)

Ivor Read (1999 – 2013) deceased)

Chris Gill (2000)

Jim Hutchins (2002 - 2013)

Ben Harding (2004 - 07)

Kevin Mckeogh (2005 - 07)

Andy Hill (2006 - 09)

Chris Thomas (2006 - 16)

Andy Payne (2009 – 20) deceased

Trevor Tanner (2009 - )

Darren Marfleet (2010 – 13) deceased

Andy Dabrowski (2011 - )

Neil Hartwell (2011 - )

Kevin Everett - Musician (2013 -2014)

Chris Seamarks (2015)

Ethan Armes (2016 – 18)

Viv Champion (2019 - ) See also below 

Elaine Philp (2018 - )

Amy Dyer (2018 - )

Sandie Pinder (2019 - )

Derek Pinder (2019 - )

Sophia Skingley (2021- ) 

 

Associate Members for other services

Viv Champion (1990 – ) Musician and player of the J.C.Penton concertina

Sid Richards (1994 – 2015) – Valued supporter

Pauline McKeogh (2005 – 2007) Musician

Lyn Thomas (2007 – 16) Musician

Marion Reece (2016 - ) Musician

 

Two other lady musicians have also assisted in the past, but are not listed in the minutes by date;

Rosemary Gratton, nee Wills (circa 1972)

Carol McEvoy, nee Watson (1977 - 78)

 

 


Historic list of THE SQUIRES OF TRIGG MORRIS MEN in date order.

Soon after starting practices, and before our inaugural tour on June 26, our first Squire had been elected.

1971/2 Peter Marlow
1972 - 1977 Vic Legg
1978/9 Peter Marlow
1980/1 Dave Killer
1982/3 Peter Cock
1984/5 Peter Philp
1986/7 Owain Bell
1988/9 Vic Legg
1990/1 Peter Philp
1992/3 Ian Chanter
1994/5 Dave Williams

1996 - 1998 Mick Bull
1999/2000 Peter Marlow
2001/2 Malcolm Harvey
2003/4 Ian Chanter
2005/6 Peter Philp
2007/8 Ivor Read
2009/10 Ian Chanter
2011/12 Terry Letchford
2013/14 Robert Chisman
2015/16 Bob Mann
2017/18 Phil Champion
2018/20 Paul Reece

2020/  Ian Chanter   

The Person who is elected Squire has to spend the year choosing which dances to do, maintaining order and decorum (?)

and he has a special Waistcoat and Bells to wear  - and there is inevitably a long tale to tell about the waistcoat.

.
Foremen
1971 and 1972 - Phil Beamont
1973 to 1982 - Chris Penton
1983 to 1991 - Vic Legg
1992 - Pete Philp
1993 to 1995 - Vic Legg & Pete Philp
1996 to 2012 - Pete Philp
2013 to 2018 - Terry Letchford
2018 -             Peter Philp
 
   


Bagman     
1971 onwards - Roger Hancock



 
Practice Venues   

Morris Dancing was talked about late in 1970, Vic & Steve having been inspired by the Exeter Ring Meeting, and enlisting the help of Phil B to get things going. Records start in January 1971, but practices might have begun earlier, the first being held in the old Methodist Chapel on Town Wall recently occupied by The St Johns Ambulance Brigade, but moving quickly to the Methodist Assembly Rooms, Fore St.

 
Ambulance Hall, Town Wall 

1971

Methodist Assembly Rooms, Fore Street                            1971
Bodmin Comprehensive School                                         1971 & 1972
Bodmin Football Club, Old Drill Hall                                   1972 & 1973
Lanivet Hall                                                                    1973 to 1975
Garland Ox                                                                     1975 to 1982
St Mary's Hall                                                                 1983 to 1985
Bodmin CP School                                                           1986 to 1991
St Lawrence Social Club/Old Carew/Foster Hall                   1991 to 199?
Bodmin Community Association Rooms                              199* to 2017
Bodmin Boxing Club                                                         2017 to 2018
One For All Community Centre, Lanivet.                             2018 to 
   

*Definitely 1997, possibly as early as 1993/4

 


  


AGM Venues
 
Black and Amber Club                                           1st March 1972 & 7th February 1973
C. Pentons Residence                                            22nd January 1974 & 23rd January 1975
R. Hancock's Residence                                        15th January 1976
R. Hancock's Residence (Tolgate, Treningle)           13th January 1977 & 6th October 1977
P. Bell's Residence (Ruthern Valley House)              5th October 1978
No Venue Recorded                                             February 1979
J. Peter's Residence (8 Dawe Road)                       27th September 1979
Garland Ox                                                         11th & 18th September 1980
Garland Ox                                                         17th September 1981
Guildhall                                                             23rd September 1982
Shire House                                                        29th September 1983
St Mary's Hall                                                      4th October 1984 & 26th September 1985
Bodmin CP School                                               23rd October 1986
V. Legg's Residence                                             19th November 1987
R. Hancock's Residence                                        6th October 1988
Bodmin Community Association Rooms ever since
5th October 1989. 4th October 1990. 10th October 1991. 1st October 1992. 14th October 1993. 6th October 1994. 19th October 1995. 3rd October 1996. 9th October 1997. 17th September 1998. 21st October 1999. 19th October 2000. 11th October 2001. 26th September 2002. 25th September 2003. 30th September 2004. 6th October 2005.
12th October 2006. 27th September 2007. 25th September 2008. 24th September 2009. 23rd September 2010. 6th October 2011. 6th October 2012. 7th November 2013, 13th October 2014, 29th October 2015 and 20th October 2016.

One For All Community Centre, Lanivet.                             2018 to 2019

2020 Our first "Virtual" AGM - by courtesy of the Zoom conferencing program 

 

Except from Bad Education Movie
 

Above is a shot from the Movie "Bad Education" 



The Annual Feast of St Hygenus
    
What is the Feast of St Hygenus? Not sure if Pope Saint Hyginus had anything to do with Trigg Morris, however, it has traditionally become an annual event to celebrate the Birthday of one of the Founder Members of Trigg Morris, namely Dr Christopher Penton. Although Chris Penton died many years ago, Trigg Morris still traditionally celebrates his birthday.  The first Feasts were held at his flat, within the grounds of St Lawrence Hospital, and the later ones were at his house in Wenford Bridge, and it was several years before the team realised that we were attending his birthday party!  Chris was born in 1911 and died in November 1987. The first Feast in its current format was held at Blisland (then called The Royal Oak) on the 11th January 1988.  I think that we have organised something every year since (though at least one was cancelled because of the weather). and the main venue has been the Old Inn at St Breward.  We have also been to The Masons Arms and St Mabyn  and back to Blisland.

Who was Dr Penton?  Dr Chris Penton worked up country and was offered a posting to the Psychiatric Hospital in Bodmin but wouldn't take it unless there was a Morris team nearby.  Fortunately Trigg Morris had formed in February 1971 and Chris arrived at about the same time as Pete Philp in September 1971. Chris took over as Foreman from Phil Beamont who had taught Trigg from day one in February 1973 and held the post until 1982. He introduced the policy of only dancing 3 traditions max, it prevented us from dancing Mush Morris and allowed us to concentrate on the individual styles of the traditions.  A very intelligent person, he spoke 16 languages, four of them fluently, including Arabic and Russian. Situated at Berlin University, he returned to the UK in 1938 and during WW2 became an advisor to the British Army on Psychological Warfare!

What happens on the night?  We start the evening with a session of dance, 5 or 6 dances before retiring to the bar for an après Morris.  A hat resembling a Turkish Fez is passed around and at this point anyone can take possession of the hat, place it upon their head, if they wish and do a party trick, whether singing, reciting, playing an instrument or anything else before passing it on.  It is not a requirement that you have to do something but more of an opportunity to do so, if you are feeling brave. During the evening, we toast Dr Penton with a shot of Rum and Shrub, bought from funds. This does depend on it still being in production ....

 

        

 

In 2020 - the Feast had to be a virtual affair - Hats both real and imaginary were worn, and the tradition was upheld

 

In 2021 the Feast resumed - but in the well ventilated and lateral Flow tested circumstances of our practice hall 

A last remnant of Shrub was passed round.

 

 


1972 trip to Cork 

 

 Willie Clancy and The Trigg Morris Side's Visit to Miltown Malbay, May 1972.

 

"I (Ian West) was the first musician of the Trigg Morris Men, a revival side formed in 1971 in central Cornwall, dancing traditional Cotswold Morris. If Cotswold Morris seems slightly odd for Central Cornwall, it was certainly so in remote County Clare at that time in the early seventies.

As an enthusiastic young Morris Side we were eager to show off our own music; but we were enormously enthusiastic worshippers at the alter of all traditional music. Visualize seven Morris dancers, a Morris musician plus two wives and a girlfriend in a Ford Transit minibus, travelling by ferry from Swansea to Cork. We were directed by Danny Linnehan (an Irish lad at the Bodmin Folk Club) to go to his native Knocknagree in the heart of 'Sliabh Luachra' as an excellent starting point for our pilgrimage in search of living traditional Irish music. Our 'Squire' at the time was Vic Legg (a fine traditional singer), and our 'Bagman' was Roger Hancock; both are still dancing with Trigg and have confirmed details of this trip. Vic recalls travelled up to County Clare from Knocknagree, crossing the Shannon by ferry to Kilrush, where we encountered the Horse Fair. ("Anything from a £50,000 race-horse to a £5 donkey" Vic remembers someone saying.) From there Vic recalls we made our way to “… Doolin where we met two of the three Russell brothers, Packie and Micko. (Gussie wasn't there.) Packie. played the concertina, and Micko. the whistle, or flute, or both. Sadly, none of them are alive today”. (Vic was deeply into the Irish traditional music scene, and knew where to go and who to meet.)

The encounter with Willie Clancy came the next day. I wrote some notes at the time which I transcribe verbatim for, though unpolished, they carry an immediacy. This was written on Wednesday the 31 May 1972 [with later ‘clarification’ in square brackets].

"Last night [Tuesday 30th May 1972] we hoped to join a ceilidh at Spanish Point, but found nothing happening at the Armada; nor at Quilty could we find anything. So we drove back into Miltown Malbay. We stopped on the way in and Vic [our 'squire'] asked some girls playing in the street if they could tell us the pub habituated by the great player of the Uilleann pipes -- Willie Clancy. They could not, but as we were by chance parked immediately outside his house they offered to call him out. Vic said "No, you cannot do that to a great man!"; then "--but, dammit, I would like to shake his hand." After 10 minutes Vic came out of the house and said that Willie Clancy would like to meet us all; so we [8 Morris men in full kit with bells and baldricks, plus 3 women] trooped into his small house. After we had chatted to his wife for a few minutes Willie came through; a tall, smiling, man with sandy hair, boyish face and a one-day beard. He wore carpenter's overalls complete with boxwood rule. We shook hands and engaged in conversation. Then he took up the long box containing his pipes, and said it was time for a glass of porter, and directed us [to go ahead of him up] to Lynch's Bar. Vic entered the dark bar and O'Fleary [can that be the right name?] came to greet him out of his kitchen beyond the bar, where he had been sitting by the stove. When we explained that Willie Clancy was coming round to play he took us all into his kitchen. [Willie and his wife arrived.] We bought a round of Guinness, chatted a while and Willie played a tune on a whistle. We went out onto the street and danced a few [Morris] dances, but it was very cold outside. So back into the kitchen. Some other friends of Willie's were gathering. A fellow (could it be Martin Talty?) produced a dark wooden flute with an ivory mouthpiece and practically no keys; and Willie and he played. Very, very, fine music. One could go on listening all night. But we got to singing songs and with our lasses we danced a Dorset four-hand reel across the kitchen. And Willie danced a solo jig, and Willie's foil -- old "Farmer" -- was persuaded to tell us a story. "At half past midnight, O'Fleary, who had been flitting about noiselessly smiling all evening, let us out one by one into the street from the dark bar. A very fine evening.”

Vic, Roger, and I have all added further recollections, albeit recalled some 34 years after the event. Vic remembers that, when the minibus stopped beside them in Miltown Malby, the two girls were playing a game with two balls bouncing against the house wall. They might still remember the occasion, as the Morris men were in full costume (for the anticipated ceilidh); and the occasion was only months before Willie Clancy’s untimely death. Roger recollects that the man referred to as “Farmer” was named Michael, and that Willie jokingly called him his ‘manager’. Old “Farmer” preceded his story by protesting that these English youngsters wouldn’t understand him. I found it hard going but I think I got the gist; one of those stories where you wake and find it was all a dream. I thought the landlord had seemed reluctant to open up the pub until told what had prompted us to knock him up, whereupon he sprang to. We soon had quite a throng in the back kitchen, though the pub had appeared shut for the evening. I concluded that someone had spread the word that Willie Clancy was going to play, which someone told me was a rare event by then. It seemed that the enthusiasm of our visiting Morris Side had proved sufficient to stimulate Willie into playing. Vic visualizes Lynch’s bar as having two counters to walk between; on one side a bar, and on the other groceries. He also recalls that upon entering the empty bar off the dark street it was lit by a single light, which was a brand new electric sign on the Guinness pump, connected to the ceiling rose by a long piece of flex. Roger recollects that, as the Trigg Men drove through Miltown Malbay the next day, they saw Willie Clancy and his wife in a throng of others dressed for church, (or possibly a funeral).  "  As recounted in 2006

More on Willie Clancy here : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Clancy_(musician)

 

 

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