Barley Brigg at Aldeburgh

Barley Brigg North West Morris

Barley Brigg are a mixed morris side based in Yoxford, near the beautiful Suffolk coast. Founded in 1989, we follow the North West tradition of morris which features sets of 8 or 12 dancers performing processional and geometrical figures, with the stepping accentuated by iron-shod clogs with bells. We are instantly recognisable in our patriotic colours of red white and blue, and our impressive flowery hats!

This is where we're going to be dancing this season, but keep checking for additions and updates. Regular Wednesday pub sessions will start late April and will be added here.

Subject to short-notice cancellation if wet. Timings accord to 'morris time' (i.e. somewhat approximate!)

Date Time Where
Sat 1st January 2022 12.00 - 2.00pm Plough & Sail, Snape Maltings
with Pretty Grim & Danegeld
Sat 2nd April All day Halesworth Day of Dance (TBC)
Sun 24th April All day Tour in and around Southwold - venues TBC
Sat 4th June 2.30pm - 4pm The Ship Inn, Dunwich- village Platinum Jubilee celebration
Sat 2nd July All day Potty Festival, Sheringham
Sun 16th October 11am-4pm Apple Day, Temple Cressing

Dance Notes

Dance Comments
Annie's Dance New this year. A simple single-step dance with a free-flowing step-up, to the tune of 'The British Grenadiers'. Devised by dance leader Annie who is still thinking up a proper name for it!
Grain's Bar New this year. An unusual staggered arrangement for the step-up, and a notable dance-off with everyone sidestepping each other.
Newcastle Also new this year, a gentle dance unusually for a side of 6
Whitby Shindig The return of a favourite, the figures depict various landmarks around the town of Whitby: Flowergate, Abbey Windows, Swing Bridge, Up the Steps, Bandstand, Whale Bones. Danced with bobbins
Gisburn Danced with ribbon sticks to a jig, with an exuberant 'swing-down' figure near the end, followed by a mad dash off (to the bar probably)
Horbury Rushcart A fine dance with a great tune- look out for the unusual starting position with men and women alternating positions down the set -those on the 'wrong' side are 'improper'. (Come to think of it, so are some of those on the right side....). A mix of polka and single step, with a couple of appearances of the Royton step. A bit energetic, this one!
Humphreys’ Hooley Unusual in that it is a circle dance. Written by Jill Parson in memory of Barley Brigg stalwart and all-round fine chap John Humphreys
Spitfire A popular dance notable for the unusual shape of the set which denotes the wings and fuselage of a Spitfire. Danced with traditional wooden bobbins to a polka step. With thanks to John Hakeman of Knockhundred Shuttles who devised the dance
St Helens A good dance with a striking tune in the minor mode. An energetic thrusting forward of sticks in the step up, a varied selection of figures including 'Royton' where we are in a St George's cross type arrangement, facing up the set then down dancing the Royton step
Hindley Circle A perennial favourite, the second of two circle dances. Clashing sticks in the step-up. Mad scramble to end up still in a circle at the end. Danced with 8 or 12 in the set
Carr Lodge Polka Not a regular this season, but occasionally performed as a mass dance when with other N-W morris sides. Usually the cause of some hilarity as the other side invariably dances to a different tune and with the figures in a different order, with different names- this only becoming apparent as the dance is in progress. Cue end of session and a dash to the nearest bar
Public dance: Grenoside Elegant and very easy country dance ending with a snaking figure to get everyone in a big circle. Not at all energetic, suitable for all- resistance is futile!!

BB at Sheringham

We Need You!

It's fun, it's easy, it will help keep you fit, and we are a friendly bunch...

...and you will be helping to keep a tradition alive.

We meet to practice weekly during Autumn and Winter, and in late Spring and early Summer you will find us out and about at various venues on and near the picturesque Suffolk coast.

You are very welcome to come along to a practice session at any time just to watch, or to have a go, either dancing or playing. No previous experience necessary! There will be tea and biscuits...


Regular practice sessions

September to April
Wednesdays 7.30pm to 9.30pm
Yoxford Village Hall

NB new earlier start time!

Old High Road, Yoxford, Suffolk  IP17 3HN
-just off the A12 at Yoxford, north of Saxmundham

Join us at a practice to see what it's all about, at any time- drop us a line first just to check the session is going ahead. See the bottom of the page for contact details

Morris is the best known style of ceremonial dance in England and the earliest references to it date from the 15th century. Distinctive styles of dance were recorded in the 19th and 20th centuries: Cotswold originated in the South Midlands, North West in the mills of Lancashire and Cheshire, Border along the Welsh border and Molly in East Anglia.

North West dances are often processional in nature. A side consists of a dance leader and, usually, eight dancers. The leader calls the figures which are geometric patterns. A dance consists of a repeated chorus ('step-up') separated by five or six figures and a dance-off to end. Steps are march, polka (rant) or single step.

Barley Brigg dances in the North West style in elaborate and colourful costumes with the stepping accentuated by the use of clogs.

Originally based in Laxfield, Barley Brigg takes its name from Barley Bridge, to be found at Barley Green on the road to Stradbroke, which led to the Hoxne Union Workhouse. The 'residents' of the institution, which closed in 1871, would apparently hide their possessions near the bridge going in, and retrieve them later when they left.

In addition to our Summer evening pub dances, Barley Brigg appear at a number of events in East Anglia and further afield. In 2012 we visited the Netherlands and danced at the famous Cheese Market in Edam. In July 2008 we performed at the Rättviksdansen folklore festival in Sweden. We have danced on the West Coast of Ireland, the Isle of Wight, and Brittany and Bouchain in Northern France. We have performed at festivals such as Folk East, the Wimbourne Folk Festival, Rochester Sweeps, Potty Festival in Sheringham and many others.

The costumes worn by Barley Brigg consist of red socks, blue breeches, white shirts, blue and red sashes, red and white neckerchiefs and top hats decorated liberally with flowers for the men; red tights or stockings, blue and white striped skirts, white blouses and black straw hats decorated with flowers for the women.

We wear traditional wooden-soled, iron-shod clogs on hard surfaces to really enhance the stepping.

We dance with a variety of hand-held implements which include cotton rope slings, decorated sticks, wavers, and vintage wooden bobbins from the woollen mills of Lancashire.

Music is an integral part of morris dancing and we have a fantastic band of musicians led by Ade on the melodeon.  

The musical line-up is constantly changing but generally includes D/G melodeons, guitar, mandolin, bass drum and other percussion. Sometimes a fiddle, recorder, or brass instrument accompany the dances with traditional tunes such as Rattling Bog, Tralee Gaol, Salmon Tails and the Floral Dance.

30 Years of Dancing

30 Years of Dancing 2019

Latest News: Spring 2022

Practice sessions are in full swing preparing for our Summer 2022 season- if you would like us to dance at your event, or pub on our regular Wednesday evenings from late April to July, please get in touch- details below.

We need a reasonably large space with a hard surface (not shingle) to dance on, as we dance in clogs. Click on the link above for more information about morris, and Barley Brigg.

Note the new start time for practices, 7.30 to 9.30, with more time for drinks, nibbles and chat after!

Local Folk Music & Dance

Mardles- news from the Folk scene around East Anglia

Syzewell Gap- local Ceilidh band

Other local Morris sides

Danegeld-North-West Morris, based near Woodbridge

Oxblood Molly

Pretty Grim Border Morris, based in Blaxhall