Lancre Morris Men

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Against intuition, morris dancing is popular among various worlds of the multiverse. Not only has it achieved popularity, but it has recovered from near oblivion to world-wide acceptance; it shows a marvellous resilience. On Roundworld, it dates to medieval times; fifteenth-century writers think of it as ancient. The usual explanation of the name is from the Spanish Morisco dances, but another school holds that it derives from the Latin mores - customs : a folk dance. The history fits nicely with the end of the Moorish occupation of Spain; the Latin name might have been handed down through the church.

Morris has evolved in many traditions, but it is usually a competitive form of group dancing using props (handkerchiefs, bells, sticks, swords) and pitting sides against each other in team precision and individual skill in athletic steps. Sides may have from four to ten performers but the Ramtops version calls for teams of eight: six dancers, a musician and a spare (in the very likely event of injury). The extra man may also act as the "Fool", mocking and pretending to interfere with the dancers or passing the hat among the spectators. Outside Lancre Town there are eight standing stones known as The Dancers; one of the named individual stones is "the Piper".

The Lancre Morris Men are six-time champions of the Fifteen Mountains All-Comers tournament. The Ramtops style is rather more athletic and, perhaps, competitive, than many, and seems similar to Rugby in potential for injury. The Stick and Bucket Dance, particularly, has resulted in many long-term disabilities.

As one of their number said he once watched a bunch of cissy townsfolk trying it and there "wasn't even a groinin' in an hour", it seems that the whole point of the Lancre version is to triumph through the artistic application of fighting moves. Which explains how the Lancre Morris Men manage to so effectively batter so many elves during the long night's dance during the events Lords and Ladies.

The Men

Jason Ogg - Smith, Nanny Ogg's son, maybe the most sensible, although only for lack of competition and very big. The leader.
Obidiah Carpenter - Tailor, poacher, approximate carpenter ("with a couple of nails it'll stay up").
Bestiality Carter - Baker, the "Piper", actually accordionist.
Baker - Weaver
Tailor - Weaver, too
Thatcher - Carter
Weaver - Thatcher
Tinker - Tinker ?

The same cast can be assembled almost any time from Jason's forge or the local pub for any project from Little Theater to repelling Vampire attacks. The Lancre Morris Men have featured parts in Lords and Ladies when their stone namesakes fall, and appear elsewhere in the Witches series.

See also: L-Space


Part of the inspiration for the Lancre Morrismen might well have been a long-running cartoon strip by Bill Tidy, which ran for nearly twenty years in Private Eye and several popular volumes of reprints.

The Cloggies were a morris dance side who competed in the Lancashire Morris-Dancing Premier League. Adopting a "take no prisoners" attitude to dancing, their favourite moves had names like the "Groiner", the "Triple Arkwright", and the "Heckmondwycke with Reverse Spin". Unwary sides taking them on, such as a university team with big ideas, could be despatched within seconds by a technical knock-out. The team captain was Stan, a big riotous bloke in a flat cap, who came across like Jason Ogg with attitude.