West Sussex Unwrapped

A colour image of a group of Morris Men performing in Horsham town centre
Image from Morris Dancing, Horsham (1989)

Welcome to West Sussex  Unwrapped – the ten-part series that takes you deep into the collections of Screen Archive South East and the West Sussex Record Office

There’s dancing in the streets this week as Morris Men and Morris Women invade the quiet streets of peaceful Horsham. Watch closely as gangs of bearded men in smocks vie with women in clogs by jumping, leaping and formation dancing their way from the Carfax to the Causeway, accompanied by musicians playing pipes, drums and accordions. As bemused locals look on the dancers reach a crescendo of leaping, banging their sticks and jingling their bells in this extravaganza from 1989.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH NO.6 Rural Traditions

Reginald Charman, who made this film, was an avid and prolific film-maker who lived in the same house in Horsham for his entire life. He made a special effort to record as many events in the town and around West Sussex as he and his film-making partner, Cecil Cramp, could manage. If you’d like to watch another of Reginald’s films, this time about the Bluebell Railway, click HERE

A number of items relating to Morris Dancing have been unearthed by our partners at the West Sussex Record Office. These include a blog on a mysterious custom known as Apple Howling, lots of songs, dances and other items of old Sussex folklore, pre-war texts of Mummer’s Plays collected in East Preston by R. J. Sharp and many photographs of Mummers, Tipteerers and Morris Dancers from across the county. To enjoy these terpsichorean treats click HERE