Saturday, June 20, 2009

Old Folks Boogie in Herefordshire


What do you get when a dozen octo-, nono-, and cento-genarian senior citizens of Hereford danced the Morris in June 1609? You get a marvelous cultural event more outrageous than the Nine-day Morris, though now almost completely forgotten.

Old Meg of Herefordshire for a Mayd Marian, and Hereford towne for a Morris-dance; or twelve Morris-dancers in Herefordshire of 1200 years old was registered at Stationers’ Hall on June 20, 1609.


The event had taken place that spring. Although the book was anonymous, one modern source states that the work was by Will Kemp, and a sequel of sorts to his Nine Daies Wonder of 1600.

The men dancing ranged in ages from 80 to 108, or so is claimed. The one woman, named Meg Goodwin, at 80 years old, danced the part of Maid Marian. See this page for images related to the Robin & Marian dance.

“But now give way for the Maide-marrian, old Meg Goodwin the famous wench of Erdisland, of whom Maister Weauer, of Burton that was fourescore &: ten yeares old, was wont to say, she was twentie yeares elder then he, and he dyed ten yeares since. This old Meg was at Prince Arthurs death at Ludlow, and had her part in the dole, she was threescore yeares (she saith) a Maide, and twentie yeares otherwise, thats what you will, and since hath beene thought fit to be a Maide-marrian. "

Read the full text of Old Meg here.

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