18 media items.
Escrick Sword Dance
Collected on 18 November 1912 from Mr. Geo [George] Bell (73) and two men of the name of Goodall. One of the Goodalls and Bell were old dancers. The other Goodall danced but not with the original side. It was is 40 years since the dance was performed in Escrick.
Besides the six dancers there are a Clown and his wife - Madame Silvester - a King and Queesn and Woody.
The dancers wore white stuff tunics with collars & cuffs of crimson and epaulettes of particoloured wools, white or light coloured cord breeches, white stockings & low shoes, high hats completely hidden in ribbons and artificial flowers, with 4 sprigs of ivy or holly round the crown with the berries gilded. The hats were not of course used in the performance. When going from place to place the dancers walked in single file each holding his sword erect in front of him with a coloured handkerchief on the point for a flag.
The Clown had odd sleeves on his coat and odd stockings. King dressed in ordinary clothes but very smartly, The Queen was impersonated by a man dressed up in usual woman's clothes. Madame ....
.....Sylvester the Clown's wife - also called the Betty - dressed in woman's clothes, with patched skirt & shawl and carried a besom - got up rather like a witch. No blackened faces.
Dance used to be performed at Xmas time & New Year.
Clown (spoken) With your leave kind gentlemen
Of you I'll take a view
Our actors are coming in
They will be here enow (e-no)
I was condemned to die
As I've heard people say
But I got my reprieve
So I came jogging on this way
My old Grandma was a witch
As I've heard people speak
She rode a hunting on our black bitch
To yonder corner nake (nook)
We've got no family
None can compare to mine
My father he was hanged
For stealing of a swine.
My father he was hanged
My mother drowned in a well
And isn't I a hopeful chuck
Just here alive to tell
So your servant Gentelmen
I've got no more to say
Our actors are coming in
And I'll draw 'em [them] on this way.
Each actor now enters in turn, one at a time, makes his bow to the Clown and walks round in a circle c.cl. [counter clockwise] the Clown always behind the last man. Each man follows behind the one last called in.
Clown (sings) (1) The first that does enter is a noble brave knight
He's a man of much breeding and fame
He ventured his life for the sake of a wife
And Sir Thomas Dollymore is his name.
(The Band plays a tune once through as the 2 walk round)
(2) The next is a hero so stout & so bold
He conquers wherever he goes
He scorns by his enemies to be controlled
And his name is Sir William Rose
(Band as before while the men & clown walk round)
(3) The next is a merchant, that trades on the sea
Much money he's got on the main
He's been in far countries for riches you see
And just know he's returned back again.
(Band as before while 3 men & clown walk round)
(4) The next is a gentleman of high renown
Of him I'm afraid of my life
For he went a wooing last midsummer's eve
All that night rogue I lay with thy wife.
(Band as before while 5 walk round)
(5) The next is Burgallis as we do him call
He's a general under our King
And with his broad dagger he makes them to fall
Isn't that a most valiant thing?
(Band as before while 6 men walk round)
Mr Calvert ( [?] ) gave me a different version of this stanza (see Book II)
(6) The next is young [Mumfall], young squire indeed
He is a right witty young spark
For amongst the young females with heart & sure will
He will tickle them up in the dark.
(Band as before while 7 men walk round).
The six dancers now form in line, while the clown stands at the side and introduces the remaining characters
Enter Madame Sylvester.
Clown (spoken) In comes old Madame Sylvester
My blest confounded wife
She's been a plague to me
All the days of my living life.
Let me go where'er I will
Through city, house or town
She follows me in full cry
Like a pack of saucy hounds
If you wish to know my name
That before they did me call
I was once a fine a gentleman
As any of you all.
But now this wedding's brought me down
And made of me a fool
I'm no man like what I was
Than a pig is like an owl.
(Band plays song tune)
Enter Woody who makes obeisance to the Clown and marches round,
(Clown) (sings) Here's Woody Garius I'd like to forgot
His beauty's so much like my own
But if ever I get his fat head to the pot
I'll make it strike fourteen at noon.
(Band plays again)Clown now introduces himself thus:
(Clown) (sings) As for my ownself I must drive up the rear
My name unto you I'll relate
I spent all my mony by hunting bold Renny
And it's I sirs they call Mister Tate.
But my name it is Major Foxtails, foxtails
Are fair on my back to be seen
The Band then strikes up Fisher Laddie and the dance begins.
Nos. 1 & 2 step out from file and face each other, no. 1 with the [? ] on his left. They each take hold of the tip of the others sword and swing the swords 4 times, at beginning & middle of first & second bars, the leader beginning by swing to his right i.e. down.
At beginning of 3rd bar they swing to leader's right and then spin once, leader clockwise, No. 2 in reverse direction (2 bars)
This is then repeated in the last 4 bars, the first swing being to the leader's left (i.e. up) and the spinning in reverse direction
A1 1 - 4 No.s 1 & 2 step out from the rounds and walk round clockwise for 8 steps, clashing their swords (wh. [which] they hold in their right hands) twice
in each bar (4 bars).
5 - 8 They then make a 1/2 turn c.cl. [counter clockwise], change swords into left hands and walk round c.cl. 8 steps to places (4 bars).
B1 1 - 4 Nos. 1 & 2 now face each other, No. 1 with the [?] on his left, take hold of the tips of each others sword and swing the swords 4 times, at
beginning and middle of first & second bars, the first swing being to No. 1's right (i.e. down)
At beginning of 3rd bar they swing to leader's right, raise their arms and spin once round in the 3rd & 4th bars, the leader clockwise, No. 2 c.cl.
5 - 8 Same as previous 4 bars except that first swing is to leaders left and the spin is in reverse each man spins in reverse direction
A2 Same as in A1 except that Nos. 6 & 3 join in the clash No. 6 behind No. 1 No. 3 behind No. 6
B2 1 - 4 Both couples swing & spin, No. 6 standing in left file, No. 3 in right file
Top | | | | Bottom
Nos. 1 & 2 first swing to No. 6s left so that No. 6 spins c.cl. & No. 3 cl.
B2 5 - 8 Same as preceeding 4 bars except that all swing in reverse way and spin in reverse way
A3 1 - 8 No.s 5 & 4 now join in circle, No. 5 behind no. 6, No.4 behind No.5
They then clash as in A1 & A2
B3 1 - 4 All three couples now swing & spin as in B2. 1 - 4 the third couple (No.s 5 & 4) swinging & spinning in the same way as Nos. 1 & 2
2 3 4
| | | | | |
1 6 5
5 - 8 Same again with reverse swings & spins.
A 1 - 8 Clash as before.
A4 1 - 8 All now stand in a circle, hilt & point, draw in together, place left wrist over right and make lock in usual way, except of course that hilts are
above tips. This should be done in 8 bars
B4 1 - 4 The leader holds up the Lock in his right hand and all dance round 8 steps clockwise
5 - 8 All make a 1/2 turn c.cl. and dance back again the leader holding up the lock in his left hand.
A B5 1 - 4 The lock is lowered horizontally to the centre, shoulder high. Each grasps the hilt of his own sword with right hand and all dance round 8 steps
5 - 8 Still holding their sword in their right hands they make a 1/2 turn clockwise and dance back 8 steps c.cl.. On the middle beat of the last bar all
draw their swords from the lock by a back handed movement keeping swords pointing to the centre of the ring.
End of Figure I
A 1 - 4 Clash clockwise, swords in right hand
5 - 8 - - - - c. cl. - - - - - - - - - left hand
all walking 1/2 turns c.cl. Then form ring hilt & point
Nos. 1 & 2 make an arch with No 2's sword
Nos. 6 5 4 & 3 go under arch turn to left and return to places (as in double sword)
Nos 1 & 2 stand still making each a turn. No. 1 c.cl. at the beginning, No. 2 cl.
No. 1 & 6 now make an arch with No. 1's sword and movement repeated 5 times, 6 & 5, 5 & 4, 4 &b 3, 3 & 2 in turn making the arch
After completion of the figure dancers wait till end of strain scraping the tips of their swords on the ground from right to left.
At the beginning of next strain all do the clash as above described.
This is done in same way as Under Single all passing in the first round over No2.'s sword
..instead of under it. No. 1 begins the movement by jumping over no. 2's sword and stands at first facing out from the centre with No. 2's sword behind him. (scrape)
Then the Clash once more as above.
Facing counter clockwise in a ring each dancer holds his sword like a dagger in his right hand horizontally pointing behind him and scrapes the point of the sword in front of him. They then make a 3/4 turn clockwise face centre separate hands and make lock hilts above points.
The leader now waits till beginning of next strain, then, holding up lock in his right hand walks round 8 steps clockwise, All make a 1/2 turn c.cl. and return 8 steps to places, the leader holding up lock in his left hand.
The leader then places the lock on the ground in the centre of the ring and all step for 8 bars facing centre each in front of the hilt of his own sword.
Then the same as in Figure 1 and draws (8 bars)
A 1 - 8 Clash as before.
No's 1 & 2 hold up No. 2's sword each going under it. Then No.s 6 & 3 pass under it No. 3 turning to right, No. 6 to left. No.s 5 & 4 follow behind then, No. 5 turning to his left passing behind No. 6 to his place; while No. 4 turns to his right passes behind No.3 and returns to his place.
The movement repeated 5 times, Nos. 1 & 2, 6 & 5, 5 & 4, 4 & 3, 3 & 2 in turn holding up the sword behind them.
On the completion of this movement all scrape their swords on the floor till beginning of next strain when the Clash is once again done.
This is done in similar way to Under Double except that dancers jump over instead of passing under sword. They jump in same order. Nos. 1 & 2 jump over No. 1's first as in.....
Then the Clash again.
Woody now enters the ring while the dancers do the Back Lock round his throat in the same way as at Sleights except that swords are passed behind shoulder high annd insead of hands being passed over heads, the heads are ducked down beneath the swords.
Each man now holds his hilt in his right hand and walks round 8 steps clockwise and 8 steps counter clockwise, all drawing their swords in the way above described by a back-handed movement on the middle beat of the last bar.
When the swords are drawn, the leader deftly knocks of Woody's hat and Woody falls to the ground as though dead and then rolls out of the way.
This completes the First Part of the dance.
The dancers now form up in two files, thus
2 3 4
V V V
^ ^ ^
1 6 5
The music changes to "Oyster Girl".
A1 1 - 2 Files advance, partners clashing swords on 2nd beat of 2nd bar
3 - 4 Files fall back to places
5 - 8 Same as in preceeding bars
B1 1 - 4 Same as in A 1 - 4
5 - 8 Partners cross over & change places
A2 1 - 8 Same as in A1
B2 1 - 8 Same as in B1 to places
Partners now hold their swords hoizontally between them as in Fig. 1 and perform the pousette figure as in the Flamboro dance.
Then comes the Roll as in the Grenoside. [ ? ] the New Roll.
Nos. 1 & 6 hold up No. 1's sword. Nos. 2 & 5 pass under together. Directly they have done so No. 2 passes in front of No. 5 and turns to his left round no 6 and walks back a small way; while No. 5 turns to his right round No. 2 and does the same. No's 3 & 4 pass under arch in the wake of Nos. 2 & 5, cross over and pass No. 3 round No. 6, No 4 round No. 1.
No.s 2 5 3 & 4 now go under the arch again and then again, Nos. 2 & 5 this time (the third) crossing over as they go through the arch to their proper sides. This movement it will be found produces the ring, hilt & point, positions. The Dancers now standing in the ring scrape their swords on the ground to let the...
...musicians know they have finished. This finished the dance. In the New Roll the movement may be continued indefinately so long as Nos. 2 & 5 do not cross back again to their own sides. The figure is a difficult one. All must hold their swords well above their heads and keep as close together as possible, Nos. 1 - 6 do not move from their places on the floor although they revolve on their axes, No. 1 clockwise, No. 6 c.cl.
The swords which the dancers use are well made ones, the blade 31 inches long, 1 1/8 wide at hilt end, tapering to a point. The hilt is 6 inches long made of dark coloured wood, very neatly turned, with a brass top, (like the bed spear-head at [Harpton]). A tassel is fastened round the hilt, just below the brass knob. The tassels vary in colour so that in the Rose each dancer may know his own sword.