Convinced as we are of the pre-industrial and rural roots of the Morris, the Men of Little Egypt decided last year (1996) to launch an alternative to the more usual "Morris Ale". This took the form of the Horkey.
We took the idea from the tradition among Suffolk farm workers of celebrating the harvest's completion with a grand celebration, involving largely lots of food and lots more beer.
The celebrations came under the direction of an elected Lord of the Harvest, normally the best worker, or foreman. We elected our own Lord to supervise proceedings.
Traditionally, the last load of crops taken from the fields was surmounted on the wagon by a green oak bough, the Horkey Bough (one Glemsford farmer still celebrates this tradition by putting a bough on his combine). As an acknowledgement of this tradition, we cut our own bough and "danced" it through the village, pausing at various establishments to "Holler Largesse"
"Hollering Largesse" seems to have been little more than condoned demands of money with menaces, used by the workers to collect money to pay for the Horkey feast. We only hollered, and collected nothing.
Having danced our way to the Angel, we partook of lunch, before retiring to collect our energies for an evening of revelry and entertainment, held in Clare Town Hall. This took the form of a Come-All-Ye, with dancing and barn dancing and singing and other solo spots. A grand time was had by all.
Any way, it seemed inappropriate to wear our smart white Cotswold gear for this essentially down-to-earth activity, so we put together a revised basic uniform of working clothes, boots, hats etc., which has now become our Horkey Gear or alternatively our Oily Smuts gear.