The Millbrook (Stalybridge) Morris Dance -- (4 of 4)

Research notes from D. Howison, collected in October 1957


The dance is of the usual Lancashire pattern, the dancers forming up in two files, and dancing in sets of four. Mr. Sykes said that the files should not be too far apart about two yards. Between towns they would march, and while they were marching the hands were waved alternately at waist level in front of the body, moving in circles, right hand counter clock-wise left hand clockwise, one wave, to each step.

When the dance was performed in one spot, it was danced straight through, finishing with the Tittle Eara. When, as was apparently more usual, it was done on the move as a processional, they would start with the first figure in the normal way, go on to the second figure, and then continue to dance these two figures alternately, only that after the first time, instead of doing four steps backward and four forward in Fig. 1 they would do 8 forward. Finally, when they got to a place where there were no houses, the whistle would be blown, they would dance the Tittle Eara, and drop into a walk. If they were to stop dancing, they would finish by "throwing up", i.e. all facing up, throwing their hands in the air, and cocking their right leg up in front.

Both files do the same footing throughout.

Figure 1

All start with right foot.

Four walking steps backwards (4 beats)

Three walking steps forward; on the third, spring into the air off the right foot and land on the left foot, cocking the right let up in front. (4 beats)

Repeat turning to face partner on last beat.

Arms: The arms make alternate circles in front of the body (right arm with right foot) as when marching, and on the last beat are thrown up above the head.

Then, facing partner, the following movement is performed...

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Hop left & swing right foot across, about 6" above left, toe pointed out

Swing in with an underarm movement, to cross in front at waist level to cross in front at waist level


Hop left (right still across)

Swing out again (waist level)


Change to right, & swing left across

Cross as above


Hop right (left still across)



Turning single to left

Hop right

Hands held in front of forehead, tittle-earas erect and waved in small circles








Hop left, kicking right foot up behind




Behind back


Right, kicking left foot up behind

Throw up


Repeat this, doing it with opposite feet, and turning to the right instead of to the left. All end facing up, with the right leg kicked up forward instead of backward. (Note - this means that the left-hand file do ¾ turn, while the right hand do 1¼ turns)


Figure 2.

This consists of an introduction, then a 'cross-partners' and 'cross corners' movement following straight on one after the other.

Introduction : four paces backwards and four forward, as in Figure 1

Repeat. At end of this, turn to face partner, but do not 'throw up' or kick leg up.

Crossing : (this is done to a smooth skipping step; the feet are raised only just enough to clear the ground)

Cross with partner, passing left shoulder (4 steps)

On the fourth step pivot sharply on ball of foot, and cross back, left shoulders again (4 steps)

First corners (i.e. 1st man in right file, 2nd in left) cross,

left shoulders (2 beats)

Second corners cross (2 beats)

First corners cross back (2 beats)

Second corners cross back (2 beats)

(in fact, it will be found that with the exception of the second couple's return journey there are four steps for each crossing)

Arms - for the introduction, as in Figure 1.

- for the crossing, the arms are swung across in front of the body, where they cross at waist level and then swung out. The inward swing is made while the right foot moves, the outward while the left foot moves, the hands dip down in a shallow arc in moving from one position to the other. Throw up at the end.


Figure 3. "Tittle Eara"

This is done to the same step as Figure 2, but slower.

Cross with partner, as in figure 2. (4 beats)

Cross back, as in figure 2, but when you get home turn left, to face partner

(4 beats)

Arms cross in, and out as in figure 2

The rest is done to a slow walking step, the heel of the free foot being kicked up behind.






Mark time

Swung up together (hands about 9" apart) towards the left at about shoulder level



Both swung across to a similar position on the right



Swung back to left



Swung back to right again, & above head



Turn in small circles to left

Hands moved in small inward circles above the head.








Beats 9 - 16, Repeat 1 - 8, but turning to right instead of left.

The whole of the figure is then repeated, and the dancers end facing up, with the right leg raised. On the last note but one of the tune the arms are put behind the back, and on the very last note are thrown into the air.


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