Mossley 5 of 17

Mossley Morris (Collected by Miss Maud Karpeles, 16th - 17th March 1938)

The dance is performed in a stationary position. There are usually 12 dancers (6 a side) or 3 lots of 4 and a leader, who gave the change of figure by whistling or signs, but not by shouting the orders.


Dark blue velvet jockey caps trimmed with a yellow ribbon. (One year they had ladies' hats trimmed with flowers for a change), white shirt. Dark blue velvet waistcoat and pants. Blue and red ribbons tied on to sleeves. On one arm blue above elbow and red below, colours reversed on the other arm. Beads hung round neck (as at Royton). Lace frills round edge of pants and a yellow braid stripe down outside. Pale blue stockings. Clogs. 5 bells attached to outside of pants.


Each dancer carried two sticks called "Tiddle-ups" or "Tiddlerers", one in each hand. These are 13 inches long and about three-quarter inch in diameter, covered first with canvas and then plaited with red and blue braid half inch wide. At one end of the stick, 8 or 9 inches of braid left hanging loose. At other end of the stick, there are loops which are slung round wrists. Sticks left hanging down when processing and are grasped in the hands at the whistle of the leader. Leader has one stick, rather longer and thinner than dancers' sticks and covered with silk. Formerly dancers used rope covered with canvas and decorated with ribbons, instead of sticks.


Dancers walk in the processional and dance is performed in a stationary position (i.e. not moving forward).


A spring off one foot on to the other, free leg being thrown forward in the caper.

Side Step

(Note no indication is given of when this step is used DRH) .

Dancers move sideways, two steps to the bar. On the first beat dancer alights on left foot which is swung behind (or in front) of the right. On the second beat the dancer alights on the right foot. The step is a springy one.


Where indicated.

Stick Movements


The following movements each of which takes one bar are performed simultaneously and alternately with right and left arms.

  1. The stick is held in a vertical position above the head and two small circles are made.
  2. The stick is brought in and down with. a circular sweep in front of the body into a horizontal position at waist level. (This position should not be reached until the second beat of the bar).

These movements are performed clockwise with the right arm and counter-clockwise with the left arm. In the Fall-back, the movements start with circles being made with the outside arm, i.e. when movement starts with right foot, circles are made first with right hand, and so on.

Swing up

This movement accompanies the change-caper (one bar) It consists of a swing up of both sticks overhead preceded by a small outward twist (right hand clockwise and left hand counter-clockwise).

One-arm Flourish

The following movements, each of which takes one bar are performed alternately and simultaneously with right and left arms.

  1. 2 circles as in Flourish
  2. The stick is swung down and placed behind the back at waist level on the first beat of the bar and is held in this position.

This movement accompanies the Polka step and the circles are made with the right hand when the right foot is in front and with left hand when the left foot is in front.

Cross and Out

The arms are alternately crossed at wrist level in front of the body at waist level, and swung outwards to the "out" position as follows:

xout xout

rt lt

the right hand in front (r.f.) accompanies the polka with right foot in front.


Both sticks are swung round in a small circle overhead, right hand clockwise and left hand counter-clockwise.


As in "out" of cross and out

Alternate Counter-waves

Sticks are swung alternately and simultaneously round and forward with circular sweep (right arm counter-clockwise and left arm clockwise), each circle or wave occupying one bar.

Figure 8 waves

Sticks are held at about waist level and are swung round in front of the body in a figure 8, first outward (i.e. right hand counter-clockwise and left hand clockwise) and then inwards (i.e. right hand clockwise and left hand counter-clockwise).

The Dance

Fall Back

Bar Steps Arms
1-2 Fall back with 4 walking steps, starting with outside foot (?) 3 flourishes and swing up
3 - 4 Move forward with 2 walking steps and change caper  
5 - 8 Repeat  


Bar Steps Arms
1 - 2 Partners face and polka (Alternative is to slip upwards with a springy step in even rhythm so as to progress) Either one-arm flourish or Cross in and out
3 - 4 All make whole turn upward 3 walking steps and feet together 3 circles and out
5 - 8 Repeat, making a left turn with walking steps and change-caper 2 circles and up


Bar Steps Arms
1 - 4 Partners cross over into each other's places making a half-gypsy facing each other and moving round counter-clockwise. Step:- 3 bars of polka and change caper. Circles and up
5 - 8 Movement continued to places 2 bars circle, one bar alternate counter-waves and up
1 - 8 (?)Step:- 2 bars polka, 2 walking steps and change-caper  


Bar Steps Arms
1 - 4 Corners cross passing left shoulders (right hand dancers passing first) As in partners
5 - 8 Repeat to places Step:- As in Partners  

Swing Partners

Bar Steps Arms
1-4 Partners arm right Circles with free stick at will
5 - 8 Partners arm left (Sometimes, instead of arming, forearms are placed side by side and dancers grasp partners' elbows) Steps- Walking step with change-caper in last bar Circles with free stick at will

Swing Corners

Bar Step Arms
1-4 Right hands across Hands bunched together in middle with sticks held upright
5 - 8 Left hands across

Steps:- As in Swing Partners

Hands bunched together in middle with sticks held upright

Dancing up Middle

Bar Steps Arms
1 - 4 All move down middle with leader in front As in Fall Back
5 - 8 Leader comes up the middle by himself and rest of dancers cast up to places.

Step:- Walking step finishing with change-caper.


Turn Inside

(Used in blind alleys or to turn in a confined space) Collected by Mr. F. Hamer

Bar Steps Arms
1-4 Leader down centre followed by other dancers who cross over (right file before left) As in Fall Back(?)
5-8 Following leader, turn in to come up the middle

Step:- Walking step finishing with change- caper.


Cross Morris - A

Bar Steps Arms
1-2 Partners cross over, odds going behind evens, both facing each other Figure 8 waves
3-4 Make a half turn left and back to places (probably intended as a gypsy movement)

Steps:- 4 side-steps, left foot in front in bars 1-2, left foot behind in bars 3-4


Cross Morris - B

Bar Steps Arms
1 - 4 Mark time, one step to the bar Figure 8 waves

Cross Morris - C

Bar Steps Arms
1 - 8 Turn upward and downward as in the Dance  

Nancy Dawson

Follows immediately after Cross Morris. Consists of Comers and then as in Cross Morris B and C.

Order of Figures

Fall Back introduces the figure and is sometimes repeated. "Dance" is often interpolated between "Fall Back" and next figure.


Mossley Morris and Tickle Her (or Our or Owd) Martha or Cross Morris

Index Next Chapter Previous Chapter