ABOUT MORRIS DANCING
The origins of Morris dancing are lost in the mists of time. It survives today as a form of folk dance performed in the open air in villages in rural England by groups of specially chosen and trained men and women.
Traditional Morris dancing is today associated with the Cotswolds, a region of England located between Oxford and the Welsh border. Cotswold Morris is usually danced in sets of dancers arranged in two rows of three.
For some dances, handkerchiefs are held in each hand, while for other dances short sticks are carried, and struck against each other or against those of a partner. Part of the costume includes bells.
The earliest known and surviving English written mention of Morris dance is dated to 1448 and records the payment of seven shillings to Morris dancers by the Goldsmiths' Company in London. Further mentions of Morris dancing occur in the late 15th century, and there are also early records such as bishops' "Visitation Articles" mentioning sword dancing, guising and other dancing activities, as well as mumming plays.
While the earliest records invariably mention "Morys" in a court setting, and a little later in the Lord Mayors' Processions in London, it had assumed the nature of a folk dance performed in the parishes by the mid 17th century.
Wikipedia November 2019