Mad Jack's Stick
Jack Fuller's grave
Jack Fuller's Pyramid (his grave)TrophyHasting Achievers Awards - Best Community Group winner 2006

About Mad Jack's Morris

Mad Jack's Morris, based in Hastings, East Sussex since 1976, have a women's and men's side and dance in the Cotswold Style. We are named after John 'Mad Jack' Fuller, one-time squire of the nearby village of Brightling who, was regarded in his lifetime, as bit of a character: he built many follies, one of which is the "Sugar Loaf", shown on our badge. He also saved Bodiam Castle from demolition; financed the building of the Belle Tout Lighthouse atop Beachy Head; instituted the first Eastbourne lifeboat; and supported Brightling's church, bells, and organ, amongst other things.

Whilst John Fuller's local philanthropy is well documented, he was also an anti-abolitionist; a supporter of slavery and owned plantations in Jamaica. Today we recognise that this is unacceptable. We cannot change history, nor should we try, however, we can raise awareness of old injustices. We acknowledge that the man whose name we have maintained, was, by today's standards, flawed.

Our colours of red, gold and blue are the colours of the Cinque Ports of which Hastings is one of the originals. We welcome new members both as dancers and musicians, who enjoy keeping the tradition of Morris dancing alive, having fun, and dancing.

“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 !

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