Maintaining Tradition: Little Egypt 2008

Dancing the Horkey Bough

The first recorded Dancing of the Horkey Bough took place in 1997. Although by inference we know that a similar event took place the year previously, unfortunately the state of early digital photography in those days and the rudimentary form of Internet facilities, mean that we have little tangible evidence, other than our memories.

A brief introduction to the Horkey tradition, pre-Little Egypt, may be found here, and a complete index of earlier celebrations is attached to the end of this account.

The Dancers Assemble

4 October, 2008 and the harvest in Glemsford was more or less over.
Tradition has it that Little Egypt marks the event by dragging an oak bough through the village, stopping on the way for necessary refreshment and maintenance of fluid levels.


This year Ian had provided the bough which we found hidden behind the Church wall.
What a whopper!
It was so heavy that we engaged the services of our very own old salt Mr Bangs who neatly fashioned harnesses from a length of tow rope.
Neville was elected Lord of the Harvest and Bob was appropriately the Farmer. "Who'll take the harvest? We'll take the harvest...."

Take a bough  The contract is made 

Keen students of the History of Little Egypt will be delighted to note the ample harvest of apples borne by the tree that was a ceremonial gift, planted by the Hoingker Dancers all those years ago, in 1995.

Under the Hoingker tree  Apples for the taking 

The old words were intoned, then it was time for a couple of dances before moving on to Fair Green.

A rare autumnal sighting of Crawfie  It's all to do with rhythm, Nev 

More dancing, during which Morris Man and driving instructor Pat arrived, ferried there by his pupil who'd been persuaded to extend her driving skills by weaving through eight men a sticking.

Don't you worry about the traffic - I'll sort that  I'll take a consonant and three vowels 
It says here, 'Squire buys', so it must be a forgery

By now it was midday and the Crown was open, so where else to sample some ale but that very fine hostelry? (Historians of the Side will recall that Little Egypt danced our second-ever dance out on this very spot).
Before dancing Neville reminded us of the Horkey dress rules - most men were deemed suitable dressed, some were not.
It did not go unnoticed that Alasdair's house was a mere Winster Procession away from the pub so we repaired there for some very fine liqueurs from all parts of the world, not to mention Alasdair's remainders cupboard.

We danced our second ever dance out on this very spot  They promised me culture and I got Little Egypt 

Three sheets later it was time to proceed to the next venue, the Cherry Tree.
We were overjoyed to find that Adnams Broadside had just come on.

Unfortunately the landlady had gone shopping so there was no food available.

I used to know someone who ran that place  We were banned from here for years, y'know 

No panic - the new owners of ex-Turners fish & chip shop, now known as Rumbles, have already built up a reputation and large queues for their excellent fish, kebabs etc. so we nipped across, ordered our food and left new man Tim to collect the freshly cooked delights.
Rumbles was inevitably our next dance spot, where we temporarily recruited two members of staff to "help out".

Wherever we take our bough
Next time, we'll use our own skewers 
'Ere, quick, talent! 

More "helping out" occurred at Hunts Hill Stores where two Czech builders decided that the morris was for them.

Anyone remember what comes next?  A crossed czech? 

The store's owner, momentarily suspending his refurbishment operations, watched from a safe distance.

If you lot don't clear off, I'm going swing this nozzle right round ...  Work Experience for the Recession Generation? 
By now we were running a little - an hour - behind schedule but finally we arrived at our last dance spot, the incomparable Angel Inn.
What to with the bough? - Tommo's van of course.
Two final dances and the day was complete.
Nice to see Crawfie Kingsnorth out to play, by the way.  
Nice to see it being put to good use at last  Crawfie made it! 

The Horkey Dossier:


Page maintained by Stephen Clarke, Photography by Brian "Baggie" Stephens. Copyright(c) 2008. Created: 22/10/2008