News Stories

We're Stone the Crows Border Morris from Leyland.

Lytham St Anne’s (the town with the Pier, not the Windmill), 1st Dec 2018

Stone the Crows were kindly invited to dance for charity in the coastal town of St Anne’s, at the fundraising Victorian Market Day, an event which is only in its third year but is getting stronger and busier each year with more and more businesses becoming involved.

We had a fine turn out of Crows, meeting in the very hospitable Victorian Vanilla Tearooms. We were in an aptly named town for our newest recruit Anne Rustidge to perform her first official dance out. Everyone agreed Anne did very well and she looked smart in her new tatters.

The weather was wet and damp and a sea mist lay on the horizon as a reminder that there was more rain to come, but as the weather has never been a deterrent to us dancing folk, between heavy showers, Stone the Crows danced as enthusiastically and energetically as ever.

The town was milling with Christmas shoppers, and wherever we danced, we had a good and appreciative audience. Familiar faces were seen in the crowds and it was good to see Murray and Beth and friends, who came over to say hello.

At lunchtime everyone departed to Wetherspoons for lunch and an opportunity to dry out a little.

Jean and Anne ate their sandwiches al fresco and joined in a live stream interview which was going global. Between chewing and speaking, Jean explained to the world about Morris dancing, who Stone the Crows were and what we were doing in St Anne’s. A viewer from Chicago insisted on knowing what Jean had on her sandwich, and just before she choked, she was able to tell them it was Tuna and sweetcorn.

After lunch, the weather was a little more settled for about an hour, and we were able to literally pick up sticks and enjoy the day once more. The musicians coped very well with the damp and found a smidgen of shelter under the promenade canopy, true professionals. Thank you to Anthony, Chris and Linda who took care of every potential hiccup including sorting out locations. And thank you to our lady host and guide, dressed in her traditional Victorian dress, guiding us around the town.

Everyone agreed it was a fun day. We had some lovely feedback “St Anne’s salutes you Stone the Crows”, indicating our presence enhanced the event and was greatly appreciated by the organisers.

The day ended right on time, when the rain truly arrived with a heavy downpour at 3pm and the dark, but seasonal sea mist arrived in the town. Well done once again Stone the Crows Border Morris Team.

Children in Need fundraiser, Southport, 17th Nov 2018

In aid of a very worthy cause, and to support our very good friends, Newburgh Morris, the Crows went to Southport in order to raise money for Children in Need. Along with other friends, Crown Rapper, Fylde Morris and Singleton Cloggers we spent the day dancing outside of M&S to a very appreciative, if somewhat bemused, shopping crowd. Our dancing started with a mass Tinner’s Rabbit with some students dressed in costume, also raising money for Children in Need. The day went really well, despite the cold. For a change we weren’t the most weirdest people in the town. At one point a man dressed as a bush came up to us and accused one of our dancers of not being a bush and then walked away, much to the amusement of other Crows present.

We enjoyed the dancing so much we were the last to finish and even carried on when Chris, our foreman, decided to teach a dance to a bunch of very keen children. Possible future Crows?

Newburgh Morris managed to raise over £400 over the day, so well done to them and to all the dancers.

Roughlee Halloween & Scarecrow Festival, 28th Oct 2018

Crows met Scarecrows and drank the dark witches brew under the afternoon darkening skies.

Pendle Witch at Sabden, 27th Oct 2018

It was a cold, cold evening when the crows danced, and the witches flew, while the air was filled with the sounds of halloween games and spooky noises.

Reenactment at Ye Olde Man & Scythe, Bolton, 17th Oct 2018

It’s not every day that you get an offer to dance at a beheading. Not just any beheading, but in this case the Earl of Derby’s beheading. And outside a pub, too!

Actually, the occasion was to mark the anniversary of the beheading on the on the 15 October 1651 at the market cross in Churchgate, Bolton, near Ye Olde Man and Scythe pub. Apparently James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby, took part in the Bolton massacre, but was actually executed for treason after defeat with King Charles II in the Battle of Worcester. Seems Cromwell didn’t look too kindly on his application for a pardon. It appears that the Man and Scythe belonged to his family, so after a convivial evening of flagons of cider, he was taken outside and separated from his head. I guess it’s an effective way to prevent a hangover…
So ... oh yes, the dancing … A good turnout (real ale was available!) Dancing (and melodeon playing) was shared with the Horwich Prize Morris Men, then, at what we thought was an appropriate time for a beer, left the ‘arena’ for the Civil War re-enactment gang to carry out the messy bit of the event and behead someone.

Beer was drunk, we went home to contemplate hangover cures. Though none quite as drastic as the Earl of Derby’s.

Rivington Morris Day of Dance in Bolton, 13th Oct 2018

On a very windy day in October, the Crows descended on Bolton to join in with Rivington’s day of dance, along with Horwich Prize Medal Morris Men and Persephone Women's North West Morris. We spent most of the day in the town hall square, holding onto our hats and dancing with gusto. When we went to perform in the indoor market, was where we met one of our biggest fans, Alan, who runs Nkono, the Jamaican food stall. He had apparently been waiting all day to dance with us, so, of course, we had to dance a Tinners' Rabbit with him. He wrote about us in his Twitter feed:
It was also a good day for one of our newest members, Anne, who only joined us in September, as she was loaned a hat and tatters so she could dance for the first time in public with us – and she did very well.

As usual, lunch time was a highlight for hungry and thirsty Crows, some of whom went to try the delicious vegan menu at The Kitchen co-op café, whilst others went to wet their whistles (and other instruments) at the oldest pub in Bolton – and one of the oldest in the country – Ye Olde Old Man & Scythe.

Dancing outside the Market Hall was fun, despite the difficulty of dancing on cobbles, particularly for the clog wearers! The day ended back in the town hall square dancing outside the Town Hall, with a very appreciative audience sitting on the steps, including the stone lions who watched on with amusement as all the Morris dancers rounded off the day with excellent performances, despite the blustery gusts trying to blow off hats, feathers and anything else not properly tied down. Thanks to Rivington Morris for a great day.

The Hollins Conservation Group’s ‘Go Wild Day’ in Bury, 23rd Sep 2018

A family fun day out, that had lots of activities and was raising money for conservation - the Crows had a great time. The weather was kind to us as the sun shone right up until the point when we stopped dancing, when the heavens opened. We think that the message there is … never stop dancing! We didn’t let this dampen our spirits though, as we all retired inside to look around the mix of stalls and have a try on the tombola - which is becoming a bit of a habit!

31st York Festival of Traditional Dance, 8th Sept 2018

We were guests of Ebor Morris for the Saturday of their annual dance weekend. The day was somewhat wet but the sides danced on (mostly). We started with our processional dance from St Helen's Square along Davygate to Parliament Street. We then danced in various spots around York city centre with the multitude of other sides who joined Ebor Morris for what was a damp but highly enjoyable day.

Moulton Crow Fair, 14th July 2018

On Saturday 14th July we were proud to join the long-established Moulton Crow Men at their annual Crow Fair in Cheshire. As the Calendar Customs web site says:

The Crow Fair, held every July at Moulton in Cheshire, includes a dance which is unique to the event. With its origins dating back to the Depression of the 1920s and 1930s, when local unemployed men first performed the dance incognito as a way of raising money before the days of the Welfare State, the dancers are completely unrecognisable in their crow costumes and even today the identities of the dancers are a closely guarded secret. The dance also features a Scare Crow character, and scarecrows decorate the village for the event. As well as the Crow Dance there is a host of other activities and events and plenty of stalls, music and entertainments; it's a real family event.

Ilkley with 400 Roses Belly Dancers, 23rd June 2018

This Saturday saw up flying off to Ilkley for a full day dancing hosted by the unique 400 Roses Belly Dancers, and also joined by Saddleworth Clog & Garland. We started off at the Bandstand with a very appreciative audience and we all had a go at belly dancing with 400 Roses. Then a tour around Ilkley, some nice cool beers for lunch, and a lovely final spot at the Riverside. And we kept our hats on so we wouldn’t catch our death of cold, obviously. Smashing day out.

Midsummer dance out at Croston, 21st June 2018

On Thursday 21st June, Stone the Crows had a lovely evening dancing on the longest day. We danced at the Lord Nelson pub in Croston from 19:30 until late, joined by the schoolchildren of Trinity & St Michael’s Primary School in Croston, Rivington Morris, Royal Preston Morris, Newburgh Morris, Fylde Coast Cloggers and Amounderness Ladies Morris. The evening was warm and the company was warmer.

Preston People’s Festival, 16th June 2018

Stone the Crows performed at Preston People’s Festival. Well done to the organisers and all who took part in the event, especially during the torrential downpours. We, the Crows, were lucky in that respect – the rain had mostly eased off when we danced in front of The Black Horse pub, which was enjoyed by ourselves and the audience. Then it was up to the Flag Market for a free drink and chat to everyone. Altogether an enjoyable day despite the weather.

Pendle Witch Fayre, 28th May 2018

On Bank Holiday Monday 28th May, the Crows were invited to perform for the Pendle Witch pub fayre alongside a talented singing duo and the Gypsy Dancers. The weather was incredibly hot so we had to sample the cool beers on offer. We danced two sets always starting with our signature dance, Ragged Crow. Some of the Crows were showing off their strength and managed to break a couple of our sticks with their enthusiastic dancing! We finished with a group Tinners Rabbit and got lots of the crowd participating, including the landlord, Jim. We hope the day was a success for him and his pub!

Cuerden Valley Country Park, 19th May 2018

On one of the hottest days on record for May, the Crows descended on Cuerden Valley Country Park, to perform at their annual carnival. There were stalls as diverse as Lancashire Wildlife Trust, sword fighting, vegan food and tombolas, the latter exciting many members of the side, particularly our secretary, Clare, who has a very penchant for tombolas and seeks them out wherever we go. Dancing was good, despite the heat, and we did two very successful sets, both culminating in a Tinners Rabbit. We danced both sets outside the St John’s ambulance tent, who were luckily not needed to deal with dehydrated or injured crows, but who were happy to participate in our massed dance, which they apparently they always do when they are somewhere we are dancing. It was all round a very good day and Linda came away with a strawberry plant, a wild garlic plant and a tombola prize, but that was only because it was win a prize every time.

Upton upon Severn Folk Festival, 5th-7th May 2018

All the Crows are back safe in their nests from what was a wonderful weekend, as score upon score of Morris (and other) dancers and musicians filled the streets and pubs of Upton upon Severn at their Annual Folk Festival on the May Day weekend with music, dance and sheer enjoyment. A massive hats off and thanks to the organisers and all the volunteers who made the festival so much fun for everyone, performers and audiences alike. If you’ve seen any of the many styles of Morris dancing and enjoyed it why not contact your local side about having a go, you won’t regret it. We Crows dance in the border style of Morris and will be having fun performing most Thursday evenings throughout the summer at various pubs around Lancashire and at other events so come along, have a fun evening, have a chat to us – we’re a friendly bunch and always happy to help with anything you’d like to know.

Dance up the Sun, 1st May 2018

4.30am on 1st May found us rising much earlier than usual to head off to Bolton to dance the sun up to our signature dance ‘Ragged Crow’ on May Day morning. We were very lucky and despite the almost freezing temperatures the sky was clear and the sunrise was spectacular. A few hardy souls came to watch us and we were almost joined by some bemused cyclists who were up and about surprisingly early. Once dancing, we soon warmed up and danced the sun high above the horizon. We then retired to eat a hearty breakfast at a nearby Crow’s nest.

Amounderness day of dance, 28th April 2018

Amounderness Ladies Morris presented a free Day of Dance in Chorley on Saturday 28th April and Stone the Crows Border Morris were kindly invited to take part. It was a sunny, if cold, day and the Crows flocked to Chorley in good number. We shared our dance spots with the energetic Powderkegs Morris which ended with a joint ‘Worcester Monkey’ dance to end our set. We also danced alongside the the amazing Flash Company, 400 Roses belly dancers, and Fylde Coast Cloggers. It was a very enjoyable day and the beer flowed as we sampled some home-cooked Turkish wraps. We look forward to dancing out with them again next year.

Border Teams congregate in Ledbury, 15th April 2018

Invited by Silurian Morris to their annual gathering of border morris teams in Ledbury, Herefordshire, we travelled in style by coach. All teams showed off a dance under the roof of the Market House, then teams dispersed around the town for more dancing. At tea time we were all back at the Market House for a final fling, where we were very grateful of the roof (as the weather was a tiny bit inclement). Other teams there were: Bakanalia, Beorma, Beltane, Domesday, Ledbury and Styx of Stroud. A great day, thank you Silurian for inviting us.

Two 50th birthdays on Good Friday, 30th March 2018

Crows were hosted by John O’Gaunt Morris in Lancaster on their annual coach tour on Good Friday, with guests Southport Swords and Yon Lot (cloggers).

The weather was good, and in the morning we danced in Milnthorpe market square and bought goodies from the farmers’ market stalls (amazing olives), then repaired to the Malt Shovel in Warton for a great lunch (amazing chips) and not one, but two, birthday cakes (amazing cakes) to celebrate John O’Gaunt Morris and Southport Swords both being 50 years old this year.

It was the first outing for our new animal mascot (amazingly large crow) which was much admired.

In the afternoon we danced in Arnside opposite the pier before heading back for an evening social at the Lansil in Lancaster.

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Lytham St Anne’s (the town with the Pier, not the Windmill), 1st Dec 2018
Stone the Crows were kindly invited to dance for charity in the coastal town of St Anne’s, at the fu[...]

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