England's Glory were formed in 1972, first dancing out in 1973 as an offshoot of 'Gloucester Old Spot Morris', and are therefore one of the longest established ladies morris sides in the world! (Apart from some of the Carnival Morris troupes of the North West that is! - but they are GIRLS, not LADIES!) Justine Atkinson holding our banner at Cheltenham Folk Festival (Picture by kind permission of Gloucestershire Echo)
Highlights of our 35 years of continuous dancing have included being the very first ladies side ever to appear at Sidmouth International Folk Festival, and also the first ladies side to be officially invited to perform in the arena (1978). We were also the first ladies morris side to appear on television (Pebble Mill at One) and we have toured overseas - Sweden, Guernsey, and Finland, as well as becoming a permanent fixture at many of the major UK Folk Festivals.
We are named after the historic brand of matches manufactured in Gloucester for about 100 years by the Moreland family. The matches in turn were named after a French ship of advanced design, La Gloire, which accounts for the ladies costume of Edwardian sailor suits in the French national colours of blue, white, and red. The British navy's answer to 'La Gloire' was HMS Warrior now on show to the public in Portsmouth Dockyard.
'England's Glory' was also a popular song, telling the story of the ship to ship battle between the 'Saucy Arethusa' and La Belle Poule in July 1778. the tune for this song was 'The Princess Royal' which we use for the jig 'Bold Nelson's Praise'
In the winter, we practise on Monday evenings from 8pm at St Gregory's Church in Clarence Street, Cheltenham, and in the summer we dance out at pubs in Gloucestershire, as well as visiting folk festivals, and appearing at village fetes and other events. Our repertoire is based on that of the ladies and girls side based in Ilmington, in Warwickshire in the 1920's and 30's, led by the legendary Sam Bennett .
His side danced a version of the Ilmington tradition without galleys, to make the dances suitable for the long skirts of the period. We also have added some Border and Puedam material to add variety to our repertoire of 29 or so dances.
We are Founder Members of the Morris Federation and are committed to Child Protection and our Current policy, which is updated annually, can be accessed here.
Today we have over 30 members regularly performing, plus a few members who join us when other commitments allow.
We are very fortunate (not everyone would agree with this!) in sometimes having a large band of musicians. As well as squeeze boxes, we have fiddles, clarinets, saxophone, flute, recorder, banjo, tenor and bass guitars. (We also encourage children to join in with us on percussion) If you would like to know more - perhaps to book us for your event - our prices are surprisingly reasonable - or to join - we are even more friendly than we look(!) , then please contact any of the officers named above.
Helen Aldred & Anita Carpenter (Job Share)
Tel: 01453 822927
Forelady & Publicity/Programme
Cathy Taylor Pubs Programme
Justine Atkinson & Lynsey Taylor (Job Share)
Treasurer and Webmaster
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In 2008, we raised almost £500 for 'Dogs for the Disabled' Reg Charity No. 1092960