The slimmed down and tidied up version. It still doesn't have frames and it doesn't use masses of oversize distracting graphics.

Morris Dancing

East Kent Morris Men were founded in 1953 as part of the Coronation celebrations by members of the International Folk Dance Group in Folkestone. From the start this connection was maintained by our support of the Folkestone International Folk Festival.

Over the 47 years of its existence the side has been involved in the maintaining of 2 local events: Spring Bank Holiday at Charing and Hop Hoodening

Is there any connection between English Morris dancing and Brazilian Moçambique and Congada. Follow the link and see what you think. I'm sure there is a doctorate in there for some folklore student!



Spring Bank Holiday at Charing

Started originally by the side's 1st fool, Johnny Burke and Margeret Ruglys, a fellow teacher at Charing Primary and a long time churchwarden, there was a service in the Church at the end of which the side danced and Invicta the Hooden Horse chased the Vicar. There are photos in the scrapbook showing the side dancing on top of the tower. This was restricted to a solo jig in later years before being prohibited altogether due to the state of the roof. These days the service is followed by a display in front of the Bishops Palace.

Years ago this was followed by an extensive tour ending up on the Leas in Folkestone. These days we are all older and less fit so it is restricted to a lunch spot and a gentle meander up the road to The Wheel Inn Westwell, the site of our present fool being made an Honorary Brownie.

Hop Hoodening Canterbury

Until recently Kent was the main hop growing area in the country and had many traditions associated with it. Now unfortunately the growing of hops has declined dramatically due to imports and the cost of harvesting. However there are still several festivals that celebrate the harvesting of the hops. One of the longest running takes place on the 1st Saturday of September at Canterbury Cathedral. This has been run by a mixture of the local branch of the EFDSS and the local morris sides (Wantsum and East Kent) since 1954.

The day starts with a Procession through the precincts into the Cathedral by the Hop Queen in a Hop Bower, followed by country dancers and Morris Men. The procession is usually accompanied by 2 Hooden Horses . They are met at the door of the Cathedral by one of the senior clergy and process down the main nave for the service.

During the service East Kent Morris, Wantsum Morris and Kings Boys usually dance in front of the altar along with The Handbell Hoodeners and the local country dance team. Following the service there is a display of dancing in the cathedral precincts and a walking tour of the city.

For a couple of years there were problems with the service. In 1996 we were displaced from the Cathedral by the Police Choir who had a concert in the evening and blocked up the nave of the Cathedral. The service was held in the Methodist Church which gave a very different feel to the event. The most amusing part was the sermon with the Methodist minister skillfully going all around the subject of hops and beer without actually blessing either. We were very grateful to the minister for letting us use the church

In 1997 the whole event fell foul of the funeral of Princess Diana. For some reason the seat of the Anglican Church decided that it would not be appropriate to have Hop Hoodening going on at the same time as the funeral in Westminster Abbey. For the last two years we have been back in the Cathedral without problems and will be again on 2nd September 2000. In 1999 we were joined for the first time by Oyster Morris who danced in the Cathedral

The Morris Ring

East Kent have been a member of the Morris Ring since 1955. The Morris Ring was founded in 1934 as an association of mens morris sides. For many years it was the only organisation concerned with morris but about 20 years ago with the increase in womens and mixed sides The Morris Federation and The Open Morris were formed. There is now a great deal of cooperation between the 3 organisations on maintaining proper archives of historical materials as well as presenting Morris in a favourable light.


East Kent are basically a Mens cotswold side who over the years have done a wide range of traditions. These days we do mainly Adderbury, Fieldtown, and some Bledington and the odd dance from another half dozen traditions. We also do some of the figures from the North Skelton Longsword. Dances are selected for two main reasons, firstly we should enjoy the dance and secondly we should be able to put together a programme with sufficient variety to attract and retain an audience.

From October to May we practice at 8pm on Wednesday nights at the George Inn on Stone Street. This is about 6 miles north of Hythe on the road to Canterbury. Any man who would like to join us either as dancer or musician would be very welcome to contact the side for more details or simply turn up.

During the summer we dance at a mixture of fetes and other paid stands (usually at weekends) and on Friday nights we do pub stands. We have some excellent pubs in the area, many of which we will visit during our summer programmme


We are also taking part in two bits of the modern tradition. Over the May Bank Holiday we are dancing with Oyster Morris and their other guests at Whitstable and in September the Faversham Hop Festival

Morris Sides in Kent

There are more than 30 morris sides of various types in Kent. They cover men, women and mixed cotswold, border, clog, mumming, hoodening and sword.

  • Blackheath
  • Boughton Monchelsea
  • Copperfield Clog
  • Dead Horse Morris
  • East Kent
  • Frog Island
  • Greenwich
  • Hartley
  • Headcorn Morris
  • Invicta Morris
  • Kent Korkers
  • Kettlebridge Clog
  • Kits Coty
  • Loose Women
  • Maenads
  • Motley Morris
  • Mr Jorrocks
  • Offcumduns
  • Oyster Morris
  • Rabble
  • Ravensbourne
  • Royal Borough
  • St Clements Clogs
  • Sandgate Hoodeners
  • Seven Champions
  • St Nicholas at Wade Hoodeners
  • Tonbridge Morris
  • Tonbridge Mummers
  • Wadard
  • Wantsum
  • Weald Of Kent
  • White Star Sword Dancers
  • Wolf's Head and Vixen Morris
  • Woodchurch Morris
  • Fabulous Fezheads

    Most of the sides that have their own web sites will have their own calendar posted. Just follow the links

    This page continues to grow and any comments or feedback would be very welcome.

    If you are a Morris Side in Kent and I have left you out, I apologise, drop me a note and I will add you in.

    Return to Pete Thomas's Homepage

    East Kent Morris Men can be contacted via The Bagman Roger Bryan on 01303 268290, the Squire Peter Brun on 01303 891959 or by email to Pete Thomas on pete.thomas@btinternet.com.

    Page Updated on 21st April 2000