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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/352

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Some Oxfordshire Seasonal Festivals.

knee the dancers wore "pads" of bells (pl. iv., Nos. 4, 5, 6, 7). These generally were pieces of thin leather, measuring about five inches by six, cut into four or six strips, which were left joined at either end. Attached to these strips were numerous small latten bells of a globular shape, in some cases treble, in others tenor. Of the treble bells twenty were fastened to each "pad," of the tenor ten only. The "pads" were buttoned to the leg by a loop at the back, and then tied with strings round the leg.

The dancers stood in two rows of three each, facing one another. Those on one side wore treble, on the other, tenor, bells. The steps were those, as I am told, of the old "Country Dance." In one figure the dancers carried white handkerchiefs, which they waved about in time to the music, sometimes holding each others' kerchiefs across, sometimes joining themselves in a long string. In another figure they carried sticks some two feet long, painted with the special colours of the village (pl. iv., Nos. 2, 3). These they clashed together, or struck on the ground, as an accompaniment to the music.

In some places, as at Bampton, they sang while dancing various songs suited to the air which was being played. Other songs were sung in the intervals between the dancing.

At Bampton the songs were :— "Green Garters," "Constant Billy," "The Willow Tree," "The Maid o' the Mill," "Handsome John," "Highland Mary" (not Burns's poem), and "Bob and Joan." At Field Assarts the tunes were :— "Trunk Hose," "Cockey Brown," "The Old Road," "The Cuckoo," "The Cuckoo's Nest," "Green Sleeves," "White Jock," "Moll o' the Whad," and "The Hay Morris."

At Bampton there was a solo dance between two tobacco pipes lying crossed on the ground, to the air of the "'Bacca Pipes Jig, or Green Sleeves." At Spelsbury and at Chipping Warden they danced on the top of the church-tower. The dancers were under the leadership of a head man, who