"MAD JACK's" MORRIS has danced in and around Hastings, East Sussex, since its formation in 1976. We dance what is known as “Cotswold Morris”; but in fact there are many varieties. Many of the differences are regional but even in a given area there can be considerable differences in step, costume and style between the “sides”. To our knowledge there is only one Sussex Morris dance ever collected. It is unfortunately seldom danced.
MAD JACK’s is named after a local eccentric, Mad Jack Fuller who was the Squire of the village of Brightling during the 18th century. In his day he built many follies including the “Sugar Loaf” which features on our badge. He was also the local M.P. and a philanthropist most famously employing out of work soldiers at the end of the Napoleonic war to build a wall around his estate, thus giving them work and saving them from destitution.
Our colours are those of the Cinque ports.
“What does it all mean? Why do you do it?” are the questions we are most frequently asked. Well, anyone who dances the Morris will tell you there is a certain magical feeling about it, and although we can talk on and on and on about “ritual origins….pre-Christian fertility cults….scaring evil spirits with bells and hankies…fights between good and evil….weather control etc” the truth is we just do not how. However the most likely explanation is that it was brought over from Spain in medieval times and has, over the centuries, been adapted, taking steps and costumes from contemporary fashion along the way. This process of evolution continues to this day with “MAD JACK’S” recently writing our own unique style of dance into our repertoire.
So talk about Morris we certainly can but of course what we enjoy most is the dancing !