Ebor Morris started in 1973 when a bunch of young people in York from Rowntrees, the Railway, and the University had too many beers at the Bay Horse Folk Club one night, and decided to form a morris team to give them some exercise between drinking pints of lubricant.
The first dance out was on May 1st 1974 outside the Lord Collingwood in Poppleton. After some early media coverage on Play School for the BBC (through the Round window), Ebor Morris (named after Eboracum, the Roman name for York) soon got a reputation for being a lively and fun morris team. The first use of the term 'slightly notorious' is lost in the midst of time, but could be due to refusing to dance at a John Smiths pub, dancing backwards up Grassington High Street, tap dancing on the ceiling, or disrupting formal feasts by throwing bread rolls and firing peas out of the sides staff of office, a bicycle pump with ribbons on it.
Ebor Morris appeared on the Eurovision Song Contest in 1982 (click here and fast forward to 5:56), on BBC Children in Need, and famously on Radio York. They made the national papers when they disrupted a 4 star dinner in the Station Hotel, when they unknowingly danced in the room above the ballroom, causing the chandeliers to clank a bit - The headline 'Cloggies spoil 4 star dinner' was above the misquote from the Squire at the time, John Cranford-Lunch, that 'we dance to assert our masculinity',
The side have always enjoyed drinking curry and eating beer, and the other way round.
The colours in the baldrics represent the colours of York City's football strip - which then changed shortly after we adopted them. The badge in the centre is the York coat of arms, worn with the permission of a Lord Mayor of York. Its also the badge of the former Mill Mount girls Grammar School!
In more recent times Ebor Morris performed for Ellie Goulding’s wedding guests at Castle Howard, including Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom, with free beer served by the Theakstons.
Past members of Ebor Morris have spread their ethos and other things with other sides including Blackheath Morris, Leicester Morris, Box Hill Bedlam, Wadard Morris , & Lincoln & Micklebarrow Morris .
The slightly notorious..... People often ask why the Morris team that I’ve been in since I was 16 call ourselves “The slightly notorious Ebor Morris”. The precise reason is lost in the mind of the late creator of the phrase, Richard Atkinson .
One day in 1976 he turned up at practice with lots of badges he’d designed with this phrase and a marvellous logo. See the image below. The original had red lettering on a light blue background, to match our baldrics of the time and York City Football Club strip! He never divulged the reason for the epithet, but we suspect it’s because of this….
Earlier that year we went to a Blackheath Morris Ale in London . The morning after the ale there was some beer left, we were thirsty so we drank some. When we got to our minibus someone had siphoned all the petrol out of it, so John Lundie went off on foot to find a garage open on Sunday morning in Lewisham.
It took him a while , so we had no option but to drink some more beer ….
About an hour later we set off , but as we drove through the centre of a very quiet London many of us had an urgent need to spend a penny . John stopped the minibus next to a large building, got off and watered the wall . Then we looked up and saw the street sign - Threadneedle Street!!!
We reckon we must be the only Morris team to have relieved themselves against the Bank of England …….
In memoriam Gone before, but never forgotten: Keith Raw; Richard Atkinson; Eddie Griggs; Ian Robertson; Ernie Darrell; Mike Cook, Dave Stead, Chris Brownbridge, Mick Winstanley, Mal Kirby
We are one of the most experienced and entertaining morris dance teams in York and North Yorkshire with over 40 years of delighting our audiences with displays of traditional morris dancing and Yorkshire longsword dances. Morris dancing is one of the best hobbies for keeping fit and making new friends. The morris dance teams all over Yorkshire and the world bring joy to all who watch morris dancing and longsword dancing.