Click to return to homepage
A History of Mayflower
You are visitor number 370713
Otford Click here for a history of the Club Officials

The Mayflower Morris Men were formed in 1973, although Morris dancers in Billericay are first mentioned in a church warden’s accounts during the 1550s. The side's name and Puritan colours are a link with the Pilgrim Fathers, five of whom, including Christopher Martin, Governor of The Mayflower, came from the town.

As part of Cecil Sharp’s attempts to effect a Morris revival, he gave instruction in the Morris to students at the Chelsea Physical Training College during the first decade of the twentieth century. One of his earliest students was Lady Bellairs. She trained one of the earliest revival sides in the country - Clevedon Morris Men - in 1911.

In the early 1950s Peter Boyce became the musician for Clevedon. Peter was a biology teacher at Weston Grammar School where he started a boys’ side and whom he gradually brought across to Clevedon. By 1956 Weston members outnumbered those from Clevedon, so the practice venue was transferred to Weston and the side changed its name to the Mendip Morris Men.

In 1961 Peter Boyce moved to Chingford in Essex where he started another boys’ side in his new school. That boys’ side became Chingford Morris Men and two of the ‘boys’, Jim Tidmarsh and Paul Warwick, went on to become Chingford squires.

Jim moved to Cranham and Paul to Billericay in 1971. They formed the Mayflower Morris Men of Billericay in May 1973 of which both eventually became squires.

There are currently eighteen Men including a traditional pipe and tabor player, the Fool, and the Animal. The side can regularly be seen dancing throughout the summer months at pubs and fairs around Billericay but also has performed in venues all over England as well as in Germany and France.

A Potted History
May 2013Fortieth Anniversary Day of Dance, Southwold Tour
June 2012Danced in Stock to celebrate the Queens Diamond Jubilee
April 2011Danced in Billericay to celebrate the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton
April 2010Danced at the Ring Meeting in Helmond, Holland
April 2008Organized for the first time 'An Evening with St. George and Friends' A celebration of England and Englishness (organized every year since)
December 2007Reconstructed and learnt the 'lost' longsword dance of Penshaw, Co. Durham and became the 1st side in the country to perform it since it was last recorded in 1857
March 2007Learnt the 'lost' tradition of Ravensthorpe, Northants in and became only the 2nd side in the country to perform Shepherds' Hey (Apr) and Beaux of London City (Dec) since 1930s.
July 2005Danced in Billericay's twin town, Chauvigny, France
April 2005First performance of St. George and the Dragon Mummers' Play on St. George's Day in Billericay High Street (performed every year since)
May 2003Thirtieth Anniversary Day of Dance, Cambridge
September 2000Danced at the Millennium Dome, Greenwich
May 1998Twenty-fifth Anniversary Day of Dance
November 1995Danced at the Unveiling Ceremony of the Statue commemorating the Sailing of The Mayflower from Rotherhithe 1620
November 1993Danced in Meaux, France
May 1993Twentieth Anniversary Day of Dance
May 1987Danced in Cuijk, Holland
May 1986Danced in Boulogne, France
May 1984Attended Morris Ring Golden Jubilee Feast in Birmingham
May 1983Tenth Anniversary Day of Dance
June 1982Danced again in Heiligenhaus, West Germany
June 1979Danced abroad for the first time in Heiligenhaus, West Germany
September 1978Presented with Ring Staff of Office at Ludlow Ring Meeting
July 1978Bill Badger joins the side
November 1977Accepted into Morris Ring of England. A double first: two sides and The Mayflower Ceilidh Band perform for the first time - South Green Ceilidh
August 1977Applied for full Ring membership
July 1977Attended first Ring Meeting - Colchester
June 1974First public performance - Sunnymede fete
May 1973First practice session held - the first time the side danced together
November 1972Preliminary planning meeting at The Chequers - 5 present