Glemsford's Station disappeared in 1967; the sign lives on

The Origins of Little Egypt

Glemsford, in the fair county of Suffolk, has a long and honourable and sometimes prosperous history, through centuries of activity in the weaving trade. But it also has a history of radical thought and activity.

The story goes that, at the time of the first "Working Man's" election, of 1885, the new voters of the village were prevented, by their "betters", from casting their vote in the village, through the simple measure of not providing a polling station. Instead, they were expected to walk to the neighbouring village of Long Melford. This, of course, would have meant the loss of wages.

Nevertheless, the men insisted, and marched together to cast their vote. On arrival in Long Melford, the angry men of Glemsford proceeded, in time-honoured fashion, not only to vote, but also to slake their Glemsfordian thirsts at the various hostelries of their host village.

As the day progressed, so did the level of inappropriate activity, including the looting of the odd pub or two and the concomitant terrorising of the fair burghers of Melford.
In the end the authorities felt obliged to summon law and order assistance, in the form of troops from the garrison in Bury St Edmunds, who duly arrived, by train, in the late afternoon, to be met by the still-drinking and ever-so-slightly disorderly Men of Glemsford. The Riot Act was read, and arrests followed.

The legend goes that the troops had lately returned from the Sudan (and Egypt) where they had been fighting against the forces of the Mahdi. So fiercely did the Men of Glemsford fight that the troops are reputed to have declared that they fought like "them Egyptians". Since then, Glemsford has been known as "Little Egypt" - at least, that is one of the legends.

When, in 1992, some free-thinking and free-drinking Men of Glemsford determined to undertake the noble art of dancing the Morris, it seemed totally appropriate that we should adopt our village's honoured nickname to label our own activities: hence, The Morris Men of Little Egypt.


The Rest of the Morris


Page maintained by Stephen Clarke, Copyright(c) . Created: 24/03/2004 Updated: 06/04/2004