Collected from William Neal of 58, Temple Street, Keynsharn, Somerset by James Maddison Carpenter about 1930. He had learned the play from his older brother 50 years previously, who in turn had learned it from older boys.



Walk, skip-change step, plain capers.



Each dancer has a long morris stick, equivalent to a mummer's "sword", usually carried resting on the right shoulder.



Four in a line, facing the centre, 2> 1> <1 <2, with a wider gap in the middle at the start.

Source Material,


Handwritten Text.


"(4 reel around twice - 2 dance by themselves)

    1. 1 1 2

Two `ones' walk past each other on the right (first tune) tapping swords from right to left and second mans sword from left to right, passing behind No.2's, always turning towards stationary men. Position 1 2 2 1. Then two's go through the same figure, changing position back to 2 1 1 2.

(Second tune) Then `ones' dance through same figure, clashing swords as before, as they reel. Position 1 2 2 1. Then twos repeat dance, bringing position back to 2 1 1 2. Then 2's face about and dance and so the dance ends with two couples facing each other"


Typed Text.


"Dance - reeling in fours.

Men lined in groups of twos, one behind the other. Two first men advance, clash swords, pass each other on the right, clash swords backhandedly with other men as they pass. At the back, turn left, line is reversed, and the two last men, becoming first, go forward as before. Do this step twice. Then inside men turn round and face men behind, other two standing waiting. The four advance and tap swords, (reeling), then pass on and tap backhandedly with others, as before.

(Only four dancing)."


Why there are two texts is unknown. The handwritten one is untypical of the rest of the collector's mss. It may be derived from a Mr Crease.

In some known dances it is obvious that the dancers did the repeats with increasing elaboration without it being reflected in the collected notation. As a principle this feature will be assumed for these dances that would otherwise be very simple. Performers are free to dance them how they wish!


Walk and Clash The first decision is on when to clash. It could be on the first step, which does not let the dance flow too well, or the last step, which makes the change into the following movement rushed, or the third step, which here is recommended as a good compromise.

On 4 walking steps the l's approach and pass right shoulders, hitting stick tips from right to left (forehander) on the 3rd step. They then approach and pass the 2's by the left shoulders in 4 walking steps, hitting stick tips from left to right (backhander) on the 3rd step, and turn to their left to face back ending in the 2's position. The 2's stand still during the 1st clash and then step forward into the 2nd clash only on the last step. While the original l's stand still, the 2's now do what the l's did, until the line is reversed. Repeat all this to place, then the l's turn on the spot on the last step to face their own 2's.


Stick with the one facing, 1 with a 2, plain capering on the spot and hitting tips alternately from right to left and from left to right.


Reel of Four with a skip change step, with no handing or sticking. End in the same positions as at the start.


As A1/2.


Reel of Four - for each change, hit the one facing twice, right to left, and left to right, on plain capers on the spot, and moje onto the next using two ordinary walking steps.


Reel of Four with skip-change step, clashing tips on the first beat of each bar as they pass each dancer, the direction of hit as being appropriate to the passing. Suggest repeat while speeding up.

© 1990 R L Domett