Flagcrackers of Craven Archive

. . . in which old stuff ends up. You might call it an attic. If you were being very very kind to it . . . .


The Flagcrackers of Craven black up their faces in the style of Border morris. There is no racial undertone or implication. Dating back many centuries this make-up has its roots simply in disguise. We welcome members of all race or creed to join us in celebrating the joy of traditional dance in this way.




New officers elected at AGM 17the October 2012

Squire – Nigel Foster

Dance foreperson- Val Southern

Baldrick – Julie Greenwood

Bag- Barbara Bentley

Stick(Y) person- Ryan van Delft

Publicity- Jane Ellison Bates

Wardrobe- Annie Speller

Extramuriel – Alan Perrow

Treasurer – Louise van Delft

Musical Director – George Speller

Crapbook- Viv Doveston


Flagcrackers of Craven

Minutes of A.G.M..

Wednesday 17th. October 2012

Those present: , Kevin Hallam, Joan Ibbotson, Ian Ibbotson, Alan Perrow, Annie Speller, George Speller, Lucy Speller, Louisa Hilton, Jane Ellison Bates, Tom Armstrong, Glynnis Cruice, Julie Greenwood, Val Southern, Anna Foster, Nigel Foster, Kevin Andrews, Viv Doveston, Barry Doveston, Ryan van Delft, Louise van Delft, Alethea Powell, Vienna Powell, Helen Gibbs, Richard Gibbs, Hilary Barrett, Keith Barrett and Carole Rusk.

Apologies:Chris Needham, Barbara Bentley, Paul Hudson, Gillian Hallam, and James Trunks,

Minutes of last meeting: read and approved as true record.

prop. Anna, sec. Nigel

Matters Arising: None

Officers Reports:

Squire- Kevin Andrews

Kevin has finished his 4 years as Squire and can't believe how quickly it has passed. He listed all the good events which happened during this time, including 2009-the big party in Durham. 2010-Upton May Day, 2011-trip to Cornwall and Sedburgh in the mud. This year saw 2 visits to Glusburn school, dance outs at Skipton, St George's Day, Airton (on a postage stamp!), Wath upon Dearne, Chippenham, Scarborough, Dales Care Home, GYM evening, Durham, York -such a good weekend, Otley and Carleton Village Hall. We get so many complements at dance outs, and he thanked everyone for their help and co-operation which makes for a better side. He said he was pleased to see so many new members this year, and that families are the way forward in the future. Next year's 25th celebrations should be a real highlight for the side. Finance and continued recruitment will always be an issue, but with lots of ideas coming forward and fresh input from newer starters, the future looks bright. He reminded us all that we are in this for fun! He is happy to leave the role of Squire in Nigel's safe hands.

Baldrick- Nigel Foster

Nigel confessed that despite good intentions from him and the Squire, they were still challenged, abused and shouted at-but only at home! He didn't get to as many dances as he would have liked this year because of work commitments, but enjoyed those he went to. His difficult challenge of the year was deciding who was the best Bard-Kevin Hallam or the upstart newcomer, Viv Doveston. The jury is still out, but they will hopefully keep on "entertaining" the group with their ditties (you DID say ditties didn't you Nigel?) He also had to cope with the infamous "Farnhill Clog Mark Flooring abuse scandal", which will hopefully all be cleaned up soon. And as to all the shouting, he hopes everyone will kiss and make up just like he and George have done!

Stick(Y) Person -Kevin

It's been another smashing year as far as sticks go!…….. Coppicing over the winter was problematic with 2 dates cancelled due to bad weather, but I did some "guerrilla coppicing" on Otley Chevin, and i was also able to meet up with a couple of the guys at Grasswood (when they were clearing larch and sycamore). I was able to collect around 60 new sticks which covered breakages this year. Good news for Ryan taking over, is that he gets 3 bottles with this position, bad news is that they are full of linseed oil. Kevin also had to handover the tambourine bag after keeping it for 12 years, as Gillian's work commitments mean that they will not be able to manage too many dance outs in the foreseeable future.

Bag- Barbara

We have danced out at 17 different venues this year and have conducted 4 workshops for children. I think everyone will agree that our best performances were at Chippenham, but we have danced well on many occasions over the summer. We began by dancing in April on St George's Day and will probably finish the year by dancing in Skipton during the christmas celebrations. Many thanks to the people who sign up promptly, and a special thank you to Chris who is an example to us all. Remember-A NO IS AS GOOD AS A YES!

Dance Foreperson- Val

Some dance outs were good, some bad and others indifferent. We've danced more Grasswoods and sheepskins than anything and she is looking forward to doing some other ones now!

Treasurer- Gillian

The accounts were passed round for everyone to see-(Gillian wasn't there-Teneriffe on the proceeds???)

Musical Director -George

George is pleased that the band has enlisted a couple of extra musicians this year, they make a welcome contribution to the rich, melodious, vivacious melange of styles. No-one sure whether this was a complement or not! He thanked everyone for working hard.

Wardrobe -Annie

The wardrobe is now in the cellar at Annie’s shop. All money collected has been passed to Gillian.

Our inventory is:

15 new coats

4 old coats, some with badges.

4 waistcoats

5 pairs adult clogs

1 pair child clogs

1 pair Sunday clogs

Lots of tatty jackets and tatters

About 30 bells

6 lots of blacking

1 green man kit with hat

1 top hat

We need more hats, especially small ones. Annie offered to sell the surplus of coats and the Sunday clogs on ebay, which everyone agreed should be done. She will pass half the money onto the person who donated all the coats, and the rest to charity.

Publicity -Jane

Jane needs good quality photos to use for publicity-300dpi, and also wants plenty of advance notice of our dance outs. She would have liked us to dance at the highest and lowest points of Craven for our anniversary as this would have been excellent for publicity purposes.(do they have a special pensioners' bus to get you DOWN there!)

George proposed a special vote of thanks for her excellent work on our behalf, as she does this without the benefits that the rest of the group reap (anyone know what they are?)

Crap Book-Kevin Hallam

Kevin's personal highlight of the year was Chippenham, after so long a gap. The crap book is complete for this year and Kevin recommended it to the house. He particularly asked everyone to note the high number of "flash mobbing" of caravans and campers.

Extramuriel- Alan

Alan feels that it has been a Shakespeare Appreciation Society year. The highlight was "Rocky Horror" amalgamated with "The Scottish Play" in mud, rain and lightening. He also asked for any suggestions for outings, and would appreciate it if people requesting a particular event would actually attend it!

Other Persons –Ian

Ian has had a good year thank you, and will continue taking the tablets.

Appointment of Officers:

Squire – Nigel Foster

Dance foreperson- Val Southern

Baldrick – Julie Greenwood

Bag- Barbara Bentley

Stick(Y) person- Ryan van Delft

Publicity- Jane Ellison Bates

Wardrobe- Annie Speller

Extramuriel – Alan Perrow

Treasurer – Louise van Delft

Musical Director – George Speller

Crapbook- Viv Doveston

Other persons – same as before.

Thanks to Officers standing down

After the Ceremonial Passing of the Ladle, Nigel proposed an official vote of thanks to the retiring officers, and presented Kevin Andrews with a gift. (Hope Brenda doesn't get hold of it!)


1. It was decided to keep subs at the same for this year ie. £35 per adult and children free. These are now due, and Louise will email the bank details to everyone so they can make a BACS transfer if preferred. Joan & Kevin Hallam are still signatories and Joan will get a new form to put Louise onto the account. She will also update the savings book.

2.Workshops will hopefully be 28th October and 18th November, but Louise will check on the hall availability. James is also asking at South Craven for a possible venue.

3. George needs plenty of digital photos from dance outs for the website, but especially ones where we are dancing with our feet. Anyone dancing without their feet will not be included.

4.Written articles are also needed from each dance out and event, both for Jane and the crap book.

5.Kevin Andrews is storing one of the gazebos, but will hand this over if he isn't going to a dance out. He requests that everyone share with taking these and also erecting them. Those wanting to use them at the end of the weekend should help take them down.

6, There haven't been many local dance outs this year, but we will need more sticks if we are to dance the Dilwyn. We should find which pubs would like us to dance there and are suitable for us, as it also saves on Hall fees. Julie feels Embsay would welcome us and is to investigate that possibility, and everyone else should chat to their local landlord (Yes, you may buy a drink whilst you chat). Jane would advertise in local papers with plenty of notice from us, and brought a leaflet which the Leicester Morris Men handed out at Grassington. This idea is being considered by Paul regarding our 25th Celebrations. Louise suggested we have template posters which just need the time, date and place filling in and could be used whenever we are going to be local.

7.As the Bag has plenty to do, it would be a good idea to have a separate secretary. They could make notes of all dates etc and items discussed each week, before emailing to everyone not at the meeting. This could be discussed later and added to next year's constitution with a role definition.

Carole Rusk informed the group that she is now hanging up her clogs. She has thoroughly enjoyed this year (apart from the camping!), but doesn't feel she has enough time to commit herself fully, although she would still like to come along occasionally as a Groupie.

Close of meeting 9.10pm

Next AGM 16th October 2013

and Whitby - 2011

Hosted by Yorkshire Coast Morris
Mucky Mountain Morris
Rainbow Morris
The Minster Strays


Flagcrackers proudly accepted the Gordon Crowther Memorial Staff from its previous winners, Minster Strays. We promise not to loose it or use it to clear the gulleys and stuff, honest!
Nominated despite their penchant for "long and boring announcements" - but who does the long ones and who does the boring ones?


Flagcrackers and Earlsdon Morris Jointly Awarded




Festival of Traditional Dance, York 2010
                Screenshot,  Click To Enlarge





. . .  no news is good news . . . .


Flagcrackers of Craven A.G.M. Nov 5 2008

at Farnhill Village Hall.


Meeting commenced 8.20 pm  

Apologies from Keith & Laurie (who was present but said he apologised anyway) .Nigel said he was sorry that he had come to the meeting. Apologies accepted.

Kevin and Joan argued as soon as the meeting started, - about a spelling mistake; Things can only get worse!

Minutes distributed, read, and accepted. George said could we have more time to read the minutes next year? Annie said she would do her best, whatever that means . 

Squire's Report, Not initially available due to a serious senior moment. George did a ladle dance until the mislaid document was found.

Chris ( who had very attractive pieces of firework in her hair) gave thanks to the side for making her third year as squire very enjoyable. The Federation /20th Birthday weekend  was a great success as were Old & New dance outs especially Upton Evesham  Durham etc etc etc .Special thanks to the other officers who helped to pull everything together. To Anna for her brilliant organization of the Bag, to Hilary for the dancing stuff and to Linda  for publishing things. There was a special mention for Kevin H for looking after the sticks & to Gillian for looking after his trolley(s) Chris however felt that 3 years was enough for anyone and so would like to pass the post on to somebody else. At this point we had what is officially known as an interregnum power vacuum.

The Squires T Shirt was  then presented (by throwing) to Kevin A , who accepted it even though it's so small he can only wear it as a hat.

Chris was about to wind up the meeting at this point when she was reminded  that she had missed out all the other officers reports.

Baldrick's Report . Baldrick said her and Mr Baldrick hadn't done much this year but hoped to do more.

Bag's Report  Anna said she had enjoyed the job, and the year's events.

Foreperson's Report.  Hilary said she would like to be known as Foreman and hoped this would not upset any persons.

Foreman's Report. Hilary said thanks for electing me even though I was 1000's of miles away. She had enjoyed the job and was pleased more people were calling the dances – her most surprising task however had been to do up the Squire's bra which she never realized was part of the job.

 Treasurers Report.  Titus Purseus aka Joan said that even though she has a new house the side is still in credit. The hall rent will probably increase next year and we have had no paid bookings recently; also we have slightly fewer members. In spite of this funds are only£100 down so we are not broke yet

 Musical Directors Report : George said that to save time his report was the same as last year. He was sorry that Laurie went, but is glad to welcome him back .

Stickperson's Report: Kevin prefers stickperson to stickman. Of the 10 sticks broken this year the squire has broken 17 of them! He said we didn't need any more sticks  due to excessive closet coppicing . At this point Jane said she had seen a man in Grasswood  who had caught her eye.

Mistress of the Wardrobe's Report:  Linda brought an impressive photo of the Flagcracker wardrobe  which she and Phillip had suspended from the ceiling. Lucy commented that the coathangers should be alternate Black and Red.

Crapbook seekers Report:  Gillian apologised for the lateness of the crapbook due to her being in the technological dark ages!She then went on to justify her costs by saying it was jolly good value because it showed us all enjoying ourselves.

Comments were then invited from other persons present.

Nigel  Not bad really

Euan & Louise said thanks for everything - they've been in a year and have enjoyed it VV much.

Julie & Rob have both enjoyed the year particularly Durham.

Kevin A said it had been a “nice” year (what sort of a word is that) Ian commented that as new squire he would have to slim down a bit to fit into Chris's frocks.

Annie was too bust taking the minutes to say much.

George said his comments were the same as last year, but he can't remember if he made any then.

Jane said she did one more dance out than last year and thanks for making Mark welcome. She will make Flagcrackers a priority next year.

 Lucy said thanks for putting up with her not attending.

 Laurie said he was sorry he went & came back again but he would go next year. He thanked Ian for making a splendid metal Flagracker and Kevin  for the Semmerwater beer (which he bought because he didn't know Laurie wasn't leaving, and would have drunk himself if he had known. )

Hilary spoke - in tongues; for Keith and said that he did practice at home ...honest.

George said Keith was a very valuable member of the band and we would all miss them both but THEY WILL RETURN

Tom thanked everyone for the cards when he was poorly.                             

                               and finally

 Graham said thanks for making him very welcome, and though he got shouted at for his dancing he had reached a point where he didn't care (The John Sargeant of Flagcrackers)

 Any other business  None

Meeting finished at 9.04 a record time of 44 minutes. 


A Cracking AGM

 The AGM of The Flagcrackers of Craven was far from dull, as befits the vivacious Border morris team’s raison d’etre.

 Retiring Squire of four years, Chris Needham thanked the side for their support and added that the team’s successful hosting of the Morris Federation AGM this autumn had been a fitting end to her term of office.  The weekend in October had drawn 15 morris sides from all over the country to dance in Skipton. 

Kevin Andrews stepped to the plate and took up the ladle to lead the Flagcrackers into the new season, which begins with the side’s appearance at Skipton’s Yuletide Festival on 14th December.  

 2009 promises to be a busy year for the team, with invitations to dance as far afield as Lithuania and Prague.

 With members ranging from 11 to 70+ years of age, the Flagcrackers welcome new dancers and musicians to join the side, which meets at Farnhill old post office on Wednesday evenings from 8pm.  Current members travel from as far afield as Leeds and Burnley - sometimes even Australia and Russia, seriously!

 For further information on joining the side, or booking The Flagcrackers of Craven to entertain at an event, contact squire@flagcrackers.co.uk

Flagcrackers play host to Morris Federation


 A Yorkshire morris side is honoured with hosting the key event of the Morris Federation year including the AGM, weekend of dance and open ceilidh on October 4th.

 Skipton based team, the Flagcrackers of Craven, offered to host this year’s event as part of their own 20th birthday celebrations and will be welcoming a host of morris sides from all over the country to the town.

 A minimum of 15 sides will be sending representatives to the Federation AGM, at least 9 of which will be turning out dance sides in Skipton over the course of the weekend.

 Dance displays will be taking place around the town, alongside the picturesque canal basin, in Victoria Square and behind Craven Court throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday.

 A wide cross section of morris ‘traditions’, or dance styles, will be represented, from the sticks and distinctive black faces of Border morris sported by the Flagcrackers to the impressive ‘knot’ of swords performed by rapper and longsword sides and the frilly frocks of the North West tradition.

Following the AGM at the Soroptomists rooms, the visiting sides will be given a meal prior to the evening ceilidh.

Open to members of the public, the ceilidh is to be held at Skipton Rugby Club from 8pm.  Popular ceilidh band Spinning Jelly will provide the irresistibly danceable tunes, with Clogfest aficionado Barbara Bentley calling the dances so even beginners can enjoy the fun. 

 Ceilidh tickets are available on the door at £6, £3 for children.  For further information about the event or joining the Flagcrackers of Craven, who practise on Wednesday evenings at Farnhill village hall, call 0113 274 3120.

Flagcracker  AGM  5th Dec 2007

Meeting opened at 8.00 something.  Plenty Chair shuffling and two ladles

PRESENT                   Everyone BUT:

APOLOGIES.                   TV who did not give a good enough excuse,  Beryl,  Hilary  and Keith (too far),  Joanie,  Boltons,  Catherine and Family and possibly the Fosters but then they were just late (Tut Tut) - Rubbish excuse.

 Minutes  of last year –   No Matters arising (no one read them) again!!


SQUIRE                  (See squires report )  Definitely  last year !!!                        

GILIAN                  Baldrick and Crap Book keeper.   Off the top of her head again like last year.  Apologies for lack of crap book but left it at Mums and Dads.  Did not thank anybody as she was that way out !!  Gillian will continue to organize the announcements.                                   

 VAL                      Foreperson.    Thanked people.  Different people will teach different dances until Hilary takes over in March.  Annie thanked Val for making her like some dances.            

JOAN                    TREASURER.  (See report)      Still careful with the money  but Chris pointed  out that Joan had a New caravan New house and a posh jacket!  Anna rattled some bottles and Joan became aggressive.   George made a joke about the Labour party donations (current news item)

GEORGE                 (MD).       George said it was good to have a lot of people in the band and thanked all.  As web master he is short of photos can he have some (they have to be good).    He will also accept drivel!!

KEVIN                   STICK TSAR.   What can he say about sticks.  Squire smashed the most sticks over the year.  Enough sticks so we won’t have to coppice until 2020

LINDA                   KIT AND PUBLICITY.   Comments about Lindas jacket and shoes (nice where from)  she spends time climbing over piles in the attic,  no not Philips piles..  There is an article coming into the Dalesman ( the real Magazine)                           

OTHER PERSONS.   Tom spent most of the year lying down and Chris said Ian could speak if he wanted to but Joan would not let him.

 Elections of Officers      see sheet

 Extra Office            Nigel -   Bover Causer

 Proposals:              George proposed to Chris (on one knee) as she said she had not had any.

 Any other business 

 Graham thanked everyone and said he enjoyed coming with Julie.  Thanks for making them feel welcome as Oakworth would not speak to him.

 Lucy said James may join!!!!  Baby Daisy is good and learning to hold a pint.

George again  -  says it is an  exciting time for the side except rumours Philip may join with a Banjo.  Linda said she needs help with Philips instrument.

 Glynnis asked are we having a 20th Birthday  - to be sorted..

 Laurie   requested a picture  Don’t know of what. 

Tom   No comment

 Nigel   Nowt to Say (well that makes a change)

 Anna wants to plan more spontaneity  ( Nigel is smiling)

 India to be considered as a Bover Causer

 Kevin said Beryl collected £91 from Skipton from 3 adults and a baby in a pushchair

 Meeting  Declared ended at 9.05 as everyone was starving and there was some lovely grub waiting.  Special mention of Joans quiche  and Lindas glittery buns


Meeting opened at 8:01, (10 seconds after Val walked through the door), with lots of chair shuffling and two loud ladle bangs.

Present;  Chris, Joan, Ian, Kevin A., Kevin H., Gillian, Beryl, TV, Anna, Nigel, Linda, Tom, Glynnis, Joanie, Val, Hilary, George, Annie (who wished it to be recorded she was not late).

Apologies:  Lucy, Val, who apologised for apologising, Laurie who will be late as he is singing, Keith and Skippy (but I forgot to give these last two as I was busy doing the minutes - Hilary).

Minutes of 18th A.G.M.  Val proposed they be accepted, seconded by Tom and carried unanimously.

Matters arising:  None.

Officer Reports


Copy of Chris’s report given with agenda, in which thanks were given to everyone for their loyalty and commitment to the side and special thanks were given to all office bearers: – to George for the music, to Val for being Bag and teaching the dancing, to Gillian for organising announcements, to Joan for keeping us solvent, to Ian for his record ten years as stick tsar – (“But what’s he going to rub down now?” being heard from the crowd), to Kevin for his amazing scrapbooks and to Linda, (especially for the sweeties).

At this point Gillian spilt her wine and made a mess on the floor between Ian and Kevin.

Chris reported a quieter year with the side acquitting itself well at a weekend away each month and she was pleased the new gazebo had been   well used. 

She reported that the average age of the side had gone down thanks to the Foster family and finally reminded everyone to check the ticklist!

Baldrick’s Report: (off the top of her head)

Gillian thanked Chris, and thanked all those who had helped with announcements and said that although they were drivel good efforts had been made. She also declared that while most people were fairly well-behaved at meetings there were always one or two (same ones) who were not.

The arrival next at 8:15 of Peter and Sylvia caused much excitement with the suggestion that traffic problems in St. Petersburg were a possible cause for their late arrival.

Foreman’s Report: (Sorry, I just can’t bring myself to say foreperson – it sounds so daft. How about forehuman?)

Val reported a rocky start but all ended up well (dancing or bag?), raised her glass, said cheers to next year and handed over the Bag file to TV.

Daniel arrived next with apologies at 8:20.

Treasure’s Report:

Joan gave her report with special thanks to Beryl for collecting, a thank you to all for keeping expenses down e.g. photo copying etc. and for us to note that Barbara’s clog was really only £4.99, not £499!

Jane arrived next at 8:25, excuse - missed the bus – but where had she been for the last five minutes?

Band Leader’s Report :

George thanked all those who’d helped him in his efforts to learn the box and declared that the music for the year had been entirely satisfactory.

Stickman’s Report :

Ian reported that despite not coppicing, (was he looking for sympathy?), as he had forgotten to organize it, there were still loads of sticks.

Kit Person/Publicity :

Linda thanked people for their donations of kit and informed us that little red hen feathers were available and also pheasant feathers, courtesy of the Spite Inn at Otley. She is looking to feature the side in the glossies next year, “Yorkshire Life” being a possibility.

Keeper of the Scrapbook :

Kevin reported that the scrapbook had been finished at 4pm on this very night and that he had concentrated on the good times as there were already thousands of photos of the dancing.

Webmaster :

George said he needed electronic photos sent directly or on disc and some half-page write-ups would be welcome too.

Enter Laurie at 8:30, very suavely dressed it must be mentioned, in purple shirt, maroon jacket and multicoloured waistcoat.

Other Person’s Report :

Tom has had his hair cut so didn’t have anything to say -  for precedent see Judges, chapter 16, verse 20.

Gillian is not as disruptive as she used to be or maybe Gillian said we were not as disruptive as we used to be, and there were no “Bother Causers” any more. Annie pointed out there was some bother in Ulverston.

(Gillian, just to prove herself wrong about “Bother Causers”, hit TV with her ladle because he’d wired up music on the roof of their campervan  at Ulverston.) 

To signify the end of reports, Chris banged the ladle.

Election of officers :

There were no elections as all positions were unopposed. Val proposed that all officers be accepted, seconded by Chris and the motion was carried unanimously.

Squire – Chris

Baldrick – Gillian
Foreman – Val
Bag – TV
Treasurer – Joan
Musical Director – George
Stick Tsar – Kevin H.
Kit Person – Linda
Webmaster – George

Scrapbook Keeper – Kevin A.
Publicity – Linda
Other Persons – Tom, Ian. 

Any other business :

There were no written proposals.

Chris proposed the subs go up to £30, with children free, to cover rent.
Seconded by Val and carried unanimously.

A discussion followed as to the whereabouts of the gazebo (little one).

Ideas: Lost, still at Reedham, in someone’s car, used for a whist drive.
No conclusion reached.
(George doesn’t know where the big one is either.)

 George proposed that announcements should be worked into dance practices.

(Proposus interruptus by Titus Purseus who reminded us that we should start practices on time.)

Hilary suggested practising announcements on the week before a dance out only.
This proposal to be tried with Baldrick being responsible for the announcers.

 Chris proposed an acknowledgement of service to the side for Paul and Barbara. Everyone agreed. Joan and Chris to discuss.

 The meeting was declared over by Chris at 8:55 with two impressive bangs of the ladle.







Teesdale Thrash - Barnard Castle May 1st 2004

Up at dawn to welcome in the May O at the Bowes Museum, with many appreciative phone calls from the local nobs. Why they thought the police would forward these messages is a mystery.

Blessed by beautiful weather and cheered by our able hosts Black Sheep we rounded off the day with a Jes Lowe concert. What more could we wish for? Triffic beer at the Turk's Head.

As usual the photographs may not include everyone, but are just what I could grab between playing in the band - so sorry if I missed anybody out.


Redbornstoke at Harrogate

Flagcrackers were treated to the Redbornstoke Flying Circus at Harrogate during the Federation AGM dance out

"Thanks for the picture - no doubt Brian (our foreman) will use it to point out errors in style. Cliff "(Redbornstoke)


Durham 2004


Skipton Medieval Fayre 2003

York 2003

Furness Festival 2003 




Thanks, Fezheads for a another brilliant Fig and Date Fayre - happy memories and a slight case of morris ring . . .FEZHEADS PICS 

Another great day with the Fezheads - this time at Dunford Bridge near Penistone. Another great turnout by sides too numerous to mention, and a special treat - a visit by The Mighty Zulu Nation  

All the usual games - fig and spoon, chille fig roulette, camel's eye spitting etc etc

We even got some dancing in. Thanks to the Fezheads for all their hard work fun and enthusiasm.


Flagcrackers Winter Break 2003 - pics 

York Festival of Traditional Dance 2002 

Lichfield Folk Festival 2002

Upton Folk Festival 2002

Mayday danceout 2002  

Sergeant Musgrave's May 2002 

York 2001 Pics and text 

Durham Folk Party 2001  

Not even wonderful weather, good company, fine architecture, a birthday party, a spot on television and decent pubs can dampen our spirits!!! In spite of all these trials, the Flagcrackers had a wonderful time at Durham. High spots included the tomato cricket, the undersea antics of Gillian in a shell bra, and Val's VERY SPECIAL COCKTAIL - Black Brrrrrrrr. Oh !- and the dancing was quite nice as well.

Crook Morris 20th Anniversary Weekend of Dance 
Fuelled by a special mixture of chick-peas, some beans and some more beans, the Flagcrackers blasted their way through sleepy lakeside villages and sites of great natural beauty. Once or twice it looked as if our tour bus was about to fail on the tricky gradients of Ambleside, but we were not alarmed. We had all the power the driver needed; she had only to ask!

On Sunday we sampled the delights of Kirby Lonsdale - chips, ice cream and beer- and watched some fine examples of Border Morris dancing by an unknown side wearing black and red. They should go far, if they try hard.

Singleton Cloggers Weekend 2001

Slubbing Billy's Weekend 2001

Oyster Morris 2001

Weekend of Traditional Dance 2001 - programme

Weekend of Traditional Dance 2001 - pics

Conwy Morris w/e June 2000 

Alnwick Holiday 2000

Chipenham Folk Festival  1998




(or as best as I can remember 6 weeks later) 

Present: Paul, TV, Laurie, George, Annie, Linda, Joan, Gillian, Kevin, Ian, Chris, Jane, Glynnis, Tom, Daniel, Sylvia

Apologies: Lucy, Barbara, Val, Peter, Beryl, Hilary & Keith, Joel, Joanie, Willy Wombat & Kirsty Koala

Minutes of last year's AGM: Laurie approved, seconded by Kevin (memories like elephants)

Matters arising: None (that anyone could be bothered with anyway)

Squire's report: (George went on a mission to the kitchen and found a ladle in the absence of Chris's official Flagcracking utensil)

Copy of Chris's support supplied with agenda, in which she thanked may individuals for their hard work, highlighted France and Whitby along with other successful events, regretting only that the gazebo had seen less action this year and made a plea that everyone should regularly look at the ticklist and indicate their intentions as soon as possible STAMP STAMP

Meanwhile Linda's sweets were going down nicely, particularly with Daniel

Baldrick's report: not supplied (tut!)

Bag's report: (from sickbed)

Barbara had had an enjoyable and educational year and met some interesting characters.  (And some people from other teams). She thanked everyone who signed the ticklist promptly

Treasurers report: (why does this office not have a ‘morris' name?)

Joan gave a report (basically the team is doing OK financially) and explained she was going to get IT and not a dining suite.

Foreperson's report:

A good year and thank you..

Musical Director's report:

Some more thanking, and reminiscing how scary it had been in France for the musicians in a stadium 100yds away from the dancers.

Stickman's report:

Ian noted that the sticks might last longer if we didn't keep banging them together.  Other people requested straighter sticks but were told he doesn't take custom orders.  Someone else noted the huge increase in oil cost.

Kitperson's report:

It was noted that the kit purse had made a bigger profit than Rover.  Bells becoming hard to come by.  Linda to take over storage and Joan to look after the money side.

Scrapbook-keeper's report:

Sylvia thanked everyone for rallying around when her hard disk passed away.  Lucy putting the scrapbook on disk.


George advised that the website hosting has now been moved to UK2 which provides substantially more web space.  He asked everyone to help supply pics with text captions.

Other person's report:

Alan said no (to what?)

Laurie thanked Dan for use of his bodhran (pardon?)

Election of officers:

Squire - Chris - another year

Baldrick - Gillian - cos she can do ‘bugger all' better than Peter

Foreperson - Val has done 3 years but will do one more with Glynnis as a trainee

-          Jane asked if a list of dances planned on a practise night could be made available so she could try to at least get her brain in gear before she attempts to dance - doh!

Bag - Val volunteered

Treasurer - Joan to carry on

Musical Director - Paul to carry on

Stickmaster - Ian to carry on

Webmaster - George to carry on

Kitperson - Lynda

Scrapbookperson - Kevin

Publicity - Lynda to carry on

Other person - no one proposed


Any other business

It was agreed unanimously that our official name should revert to Flagcrackers (one word) not Flag Crackers (two words)

Glynnis proposed weekend of dance to celebrate 20 year anniversary in 2008

Joan reminded everyone to cough up their £20 subs

Lynda asked that all should note her name change to Hartnell and all thanked her for sweeties

The AGM closed at 9.15pm with the smashing and breaking of the borrowed ladle (oops)





Flagcrackers A.G.M. November 17 2004

Those Present: June Banks, Dave Banks, Linda Hartell-Payne, Chris Needham, Laurie Farrar, Barbara Bentley, Alan Perrow, Annie Speller, Daniel Ellison-Bates, George Speller, Gillian Hallam , Glynnis Cruice, Ian Ibbotson, Jane Ellison-Bates, Joan Ibbotson, Kevin Andrews, Kevin Hallam, Lucy Speller, Paul Hudson, Peter Bolton, Sylvia Bolton, Val Southern, Heather Chapman, Simon Chapman                   .

Apologies: Beryl Fox, Tom Armstrong

Minutes of last A.G.M.: The minutes were read and approved as a true record.( Prop. Paul Hudson, Sec. George Speller)

Matters arising: (Longish pause while everybody reads minutes again - or is it for the first time?)

1.Annie was asked for a progress report on the proposed visit to Stratford. She defended vigorously the notion that nothing had happened because she couldn't be bothered to organise it. She had in fact looked into it carefully, and all suitable dates conflicted with other events. She offered to do the same thing next year, that is, organise it or not organise it as the mood took her.

2.Lucy was asked how far the idea of putting all the Flag Cracker Archives onto disc had progressed. She defended vigorously the notion that nothing had been done because she couldn't be bothered. She had in fact looked into it carefully, but all suitable times for doing it conflicted with other events. She offered to.....etc etc

3.We now have a publicity officer. Linda Hartell-Payne was co-opted (bullied) to this position in the Spring. She apologised for not doing much, but all suitable times for doing the job had conflicted with other events.etc. She promised to do better next year. George Speller pointed out that she had got us into the Craven Herald twice, and as nobody had been able to do this before, Linda was given a vote of thanks. 

Officers Reports.


Annie said that she had enjoyed her year as Squire and had considered it an honour and a privilege. She felt we had danced well all year, and put it down to good management on the part of the dance foreman, and a willingness on everybody's part to work harder and try new ideas.

She had enjoyed the socialising in spite of the poor weather this year. She was pleased with both the new gazebos, which had sheltered us from many a rainstorm this year. She reminded us that, as we now knew how to lower the gazebo in bad weather, it was unlikely that the Cleckheaton incident would be repeated...unless we forget.

She thanked the Christians of Dent for the loan of their drum, when our own dear drum was beaten to pieces by person or persons unknown (- although, actually, we know it was those little gits in the tent at the far end of the camp-site.)

 She thanked Barbara for being such a brick- (I think it was brick!).

She thanked Val for her patience and her ability to rearrange dances so that O.A.P.s could manage them.

She thanked Joan for her meticulous attention to F.C. finances.

She congratulated George on being her husband and secondly, though this post was obviously a lot less prestigious, a good musical director.

The high spot of Annie's year was the Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing Festival. She acknowledged that the theft of Glynnis's handbag and the painful injury to Barbara's ankle had been severe blows to them as individuals, but said that she personally had had a great time, thank you very much.

The downside of her year in office was without doubt the vandalism of the drum, though dancing at Cleckheaton came a close second.

                        (Short break here while various people told their tales of how they had suffered in Cleckheaton).

She also felt that it was a pity that we had done so many dances locally and not been more adventurous in our choice of venues.

Ti tus Pursius's Report:

Joan delivered the accounts, which were immaculate as usual.

She said that all outstanding fees had arrived and that subs would remain at £20 for next year. (Cheers!!!!)

Questioned about the accuracy of her figures, she confessed that she hadn't been able to account for 5p, but that Ian had given her the money to keep her quiet. (No change there then, Ian!)

Balance stands at£3995.35

Bag's report:

 Barbara commented that she had noticed how good the dancing looked when she was forced to take some time out, due to injury. It was suggested that there may have been a connection of some sort. She rejected this completely and utterly. However, she did express a hope that next year Flagcrackers would be more adventurous when deciding where to dance, so that more people could have the benefit of our expertise.


Foreperson's Report:

Val picked out Joel's first dance at Clapham as a high spot for her.  She also congratulated us on obeying the caller when Joan invented a new dance at Barnoldswick. She recalled how proud she was when someone from another side said that Flag Cracker women were “women with attitude”. She thanked us all for working so incredibly hard all year, perfecting our style and listening to instructions, so that we can now be said to be dancing at the peak of perfection. Actually, she didn't say that last bit!


Chris  had particularly enjoyed Teesdale and Ingleton this year, and felt we had a good mixture of local and away events. She was delighted that Joel had fitted in so well and made such great progress. She thanked all the officers for their hard work, and also congratulated everyone for their enthusiasm throughout the season. Chris said she was looking forward to France next year, if it comes off, and reminded everyone that ”a no is as good as a yes”. Now why has she never mentioned that before? It's so obvious when you think about it!

Chris was also the only officer who had typed up her speech to give to the minuting secretary (me), so that there was no need to make it up later.

 Musical Director:

George has spent the year taming that most ferocious and uncooperative of musical beasts, the melodeon. He was pleased with the increasing squeeze-box squad and hoped it would continue to grow.

He thanked Paul for contributing the music crib sheets, which are now on the web-site, available in FCS format.

George is now retiring from the post to spend “more time with his family,” confident that the position of Musical Director will be in good hands next year.

 Crap Book Keepers:

Both Glynnis and Gillian are retiring from this post. They both defended vigorously the notion that this was because they couldn't be bothered to do it any more, and said it was due to lack of proper equipment (ie: automatic cameras that will take photographs while they are both busy dancing).

 Stick Tsar:

Ian said that, although we need to go coppicing soon, we have enough sticks to last us another year. He will be putting up a tick list shortly to get some “volunteers” for this. He said he was thinking about inventing an electric stick trolley, (and obviously some electric sticks to go in it??). Peter was worried that this might make us look a bit silly.

Kevin Hallam was worried about the pet beaver. So he should be; most of us didn't even know we had a pet beaver!

 Kit keeper's:-

This year the kit keepers have made a big profit (£105.29 float in November 2004)),which is bigger than Sainsbury's and Rover Cars together. They have plenty of blue shirts in stock, and even some black ones, and also tail coats, although none of them fit Peter. Top hats are becoming difficult to find, but Kevin is on the trail of some possibly maybe perhaps.

 Other Persons:

They had nothing to say. This was fair, because they have done nothing all year.

Election of Officers

Squire:- Chris Needham

Baldrick: -Peter Bolton

Bag:- Barbara Bentley

Foreperson:- Val Southern

Musical Director:- Paul Hudson

Titus Pursius:- Joan Ibbotson

Archivist:- Sylvia Bolton

 Stick Tsar:- Ian Ibbotson

 Kit Keeper:- Kevin or is it Gillian Hallam

Publicity Officer:- Linda Hartell Payne


Dave and June Banks were made Life Time Members of Flagcrackers whether they wanted to be or not.

Linda received an official thanks for the sweeties.

Gillian asked whether Linda could make a crap book cake, because if she could, Gillian would be happy to take over the job again next year.

Annie was presented with a bottle of brandy as a token of our appreciation for all the hard work she has put in this year.

Some concern was expressed that our Squires are getting shorter each year. Alan Perrow said that it would be his turn in another 10 years or so.

Morris minor

A glimpse of last weekend's waterways festival in Skipton, as seen through to innocent eyes of a little boy toddler perhaps two years old.

Being led on reins by his parents past the Narrow Boat Inn from Albert Square, he did not see the thirsty Morrisman sinking a well-earned pint after a day's hard dancing.

As the family approached, said dancer - faced blackened, huge hat stuffed with fiesh flowers - leaned out from behind a pillar and wished the group a bright hello. The little boy screamed as though scalded, threw himself at his mother, and climbed up into her arms like a monkey up a tree.

Not a lot of people know that the term Morris dancing comes from Moorish and the hobby can be traced back to the Arabs who terrorised southern Europe centuries ago.

Can be pretty scary by the Leeds- Liverpool canal in the 21st century too. 

(Craven Herald)

Dear Mrs Ann Cryer,
I notice your name does not appear on the list of MPs who have signed EDM 331 relating to the licensing of live music. I am sure you would hopethat the state does not actually wish to arrest people like myself for performing music and traditional dance in the streets and byways, but it appears that it is trying to assume the power to do just that. I wonder why? . At present the activities of my morris side would, I understand, be illegal, and as squire of the side I could be sent to prison. Please lend your respected voice to the movement to preserve freedom of cultural expression

You might wish to visit the website of our morris side which is www.flagcrackers.co.uk
Thanks for your help,

AGM 2003 

Squire’s report: (reading by Annie Speller, nodding by George Speller)

Annie thanked everybody. She said she enjoyed the challenge of turning up on time. She finished by saying that she at last felt she understood the role of Squire. Apparently something happened at Ingleton,( though she wasn’t saying what!) that had made everything clear to her, and she was willing to stand again next year. She said that George would be standing down from his role as Squire to concentrate on the music, and she thanked him for his help and support.


Baldrick’s report: Chris also thanked everybody, though she gave a special mention to Joan for not destroying Chris’s caravan at York. (This incident is linked to alcohol in some way!) She thanked Laurie for being so obliging, hitching up the caravan and setting off for each venue, without really knowing where they were going or why. When it was suggested that this had always been the case, she agreed but said that she was grateful to him anyway.


Treasurer’s report: Joan told us we had loads of money in both our accounts. We looked at her financial report and nodded wisely as if we understood it. Alan Perrow asked if we could spend some of the money on something useful, though, when questioned, couldn’t think of anything. “Maybe some charcoal”, he suggested after a while.


Bag’s report: Barbara didn’t have much to say, as she knew she would be typing the minutes. She thanked everyone for coughing up money on time. Some-one suggested that this was due to fear of the treasurer, rather than a willingness to part with cash. She reminded everyone to sign for events as quickly as they could, and uttered the traditional cry of the Morris Bag “A no is as good as a yes!!” At this point she was offered the Squire’s husband, but as she already had one of her own, still new and hardly used, she turned the offer down.


Forepeople’s Report:(Written by Emily and read by Val). Val and Emily agreed that their policy of forcing people kicking and screaming into new positions has worked, as most people can now do most dances from anywhere, and don’t have a nervous breakdown every time  something goes wrong with the dance, and they end up in the wrong place. This is a great achievement and it is usually only very ancient Morris dancers who reach this happy state of affairs, by which time, of course, they are too knackered to dance. They thanked the band for their patience and the Squires for their support.


Musical Director: Paul is retiring as M.D. this year and he felt that his greatest achievement had been in encouraging people to understand the link between music and dance. He particularly picked out the double Upton at Sergeant Musgrave’s weekend as the high-light of his musical career with the Flagcrackers, and regretted the fact the tambourettes have been in decline lately, due to falling numbers.


Crap Book Keeper’s Report: The Spaniards got the blame for everything, as usual. However, the archive is nearly up to date now. Kevin apologised for going over budget this year, but felt he was on safe ground, as he had a letter from Titus Pursius giving him carte blanche to do anything he liked, just as long as he granted certain requests of hers (unspecified).


Kit Keeper’s report: Basically, Gillian has been operating all year on no funds. How she does it is a marvel etc. etc. Due to an injection of cash from the treasurer of the richest Morris side in the world,(£25), the  balance of the kit account now stands at £35.89. She confessed that she never saw the kit herself, as it was in the loft, but that Kevin saw it on a regular basis!!!


Stick Keeper: Ian said he had been coppicing on his own this year, though, obviously, this was not as enjoyable. He had now found two places in which he could coppice, which is quite an achievement for a man of his age. Consequently, the side has plenty of sticks for the moment. Ian also reminded people to have a go at pulling the stick trolley next year, as it is a very rewarding experience. The idea that his title of “Stick Czar” be amended to “Sticks Czar-Us”, was rejected on the grounds of Bad taste (there wasn’t enough of it!).


Election of officers:

Squire:-Annie Speller

Baldrick:- Chris Needham

Treasurer:- Joan Ibbotson

Bag; Barbara Bentley

Foreperson: Val southern

Musical Director:- George Speller

Keeper of the Crap Book:- Gillian Hallam and Glynnis Cruice

Kit person: Gillian (or is it Kevin?) Hallam

Extra Persons: Alan Perrow and Tom Armstrong




Flagcrackers AGM 9th October 2002

Election of Officers:

Squire Annie & George Speller

Bag Barbara Bentley

Foreman Emily Lewis & Val Southern

Money-bag Joan Ibbotson

Musical Director Paul Hudson

Baldrick Chris Needham

Seeker of the Crap Book Gillian Hallam

Stick tsar Ian Ibbotson


Bloody but unbowed Annie nurses a cracked ankle after a particularly difficult sack-to-sack and birkles. The pot will be off in time for Canterbury. Annie says she's waiting either for the ankle to heal or the heel to ankle.

First aid in the form of Neurofen and Special Brew was administereed ad lib.

Here she is recovering along with some other members of the granny section.

Fez Head Fig and Date Convention - Chippenham March 30th

We were warned that this event was not for the faint hearted - and  we believed it - sort of! But really, if you've never been to a Fig & Date, you don't know what this means. In the event, it turned out rather well for us, because we were awarded the prestigious Blind Ned Clegget Award: seems that this goes to the side that makes the most EFFORT. We made a tremendous effort to win the Fig and Spoon race. Well, readers, we CHEATED. This impressed the Fez Heads no end. So did Annie's Fig and Senna -Pod Roll : I'm sure the guy who ate all the senna pods off the top was VERY impressed! Extra points were gained by being in the bar while the presentation was going on else-where, and by refusing to go in and collect it. The Fez Heads understand this kind or psychological warfare.Those of you who have had the honour to win the Blind Ned Clegget award in previous years know exactly what responsibilities this brings with it. Flagcrackers don't- but I've a feeling we're about to find out!



Squire's Report for 2002 season

Squires Report  -

                              “When I was nominated as Squire a year ago , I must admit I did view the role with a certain amount of trepidation …… after all 2 of the previous Squires now dance with another side , and the last incumbent appears to have emigrated !

                I thought if I don’t do it they may never ask me again ….. , I also thought if I do do it they may never ask me again !  So it is more than a little flattering that so many of you wanted me to carry on for another term. As most of you are aware it is really the uncertainty of my work that has made me deem myself as “unable to stand” (so no change there) , I am a person who would want to be around all the time if I was Squire again , but cannot afford to turn down possible occupations if I have to limit hours of work etc.

                I am certain that the new Squire , whoever he or she may be, will do a great job , and can rely on my full support , and that of the side.

                Looking back over the season I would say we didn’t have the best of starts with the events that led up to Jackie and Gordon leaving the side at the end of May. I suppose I should say there are lessons to be learned following this. I don’t really know what those lessons are , apart from it is far better to speak openly with our  feelings or grievances , rather than “behind closed doors”  -  that is after all one of the reasons we have a meeting at the end of every practice.

                I’d like to say thanks to everyone who pulled together and helped following their departure.The fact that we danced ( and danced well , mostly) for the majority of the season without a dance Foreperson speaks volumes for the people who helped week in / week out at practices.

                Once again this season  we have had a “mixed bag” of venues and events – I have counted a total of 14 dance outs in Yorkshire and East Lancashire , so we have really “done it in our own back yard” …………… (slight pause for faint laughter).

        The 3 where we travelled ……

a)       Upton on Severn ……

I have to say I have enjoyed Upton more on previous visits. Maybe it is a victim of its own success , as in my opinion it has possibly grown too big.

Still I did get a nice new dress out of it ………..

b) Sgt Musgrave’s weekend (Hose)

This one I really did enjoy – a good sing around /session on Friday night , coach tours to nice village pubs (albeit dancing to smallish audiences) , some very good sides there.

And THE BEST dance we did all year (well the best dance YOU did …. Chris and me were whiffling) . I am of course referring to the Double Upton in the Hall on the Sunday which was nothing short of spectacular – what a good call to invite the other musicians to join in , the whole hall was alive with sound and movement (did Sgt Musgraves video it I wonder ? ).

b)       Lichfield ….

Again a very good weekend, we were very popular (except for the campsite steward – Mr Moving Units) and again acquitted ourselves very well..

 Of the local dance outs , the one I probably enjoyed the most was the  Settle weekend (with the exception of the sad loss of my tit) – we proved that we can perform with only 9 dancers , one squeezebox , a fiddle and a drum. We have once again been very well received in Skipton , Settle ,Ingleton and the Old Swan at Gargrave , where we do fulfill one of our “Constitution” aims of encouraging the Younger Audience. I am not certain how we can encourage or involve “The Gargrave Gang” more , but they could certainly be “our “ future. 

        At this point Barbara asked if anyone had a copy of the Constitution , whereupon the Squire held up a piece of paper saying “here it is” . He then confessed that it was actually the canteen menu from his work for the next day , at which point Ian demanded to know the price of the sausage sandwiches.We all agreed that 27p was excellent value , but could this be the main cause of Kirkstall Forge going down the pan ?

 I am very glad we did the Morris Federation AGM at Ripon …….. again we saw some very good sides there , performed very well ourselves and demonstrated that we are still quite definitely “on the scene”.

 At this point Phillipa walked in , approximately 20 minutes late.

The Squire remarked (rather obscurely I suppose ) that it is bad enough people pinching towels from Hotels , but pinching them from Tents was the lowest. Phillipa defended herself by saying that she had washed our towel , ironed it , and was now using it as some sort of doormat!

She also asked for another offence to be taken into account , the matter of a black shirt (which has also been washed and ironed and is being used as a black shirt).

 So , to the people who made all these dance outs possible :-

 Chris Needham , Baldrick.

                                        I’d like to thank Chris for the help and support she has given me this season.Her knowledge and expertise have been a great help , and re-assuring , especially when I have wondered” have I done the right thing “?  Once again she has given an enormous amount of her own time putting together the Dance lists for both practice nights and dance-outs , a task which I know from experience can be very time consuming. Chris was also a big help in the times when we were without a Dance Teacher. I am glad Chris is once again standing as Baldrick , whoever is the new Squire will surely feel comfortable knowing this.

 Barbara Bentley , Bag

                                Once again Barbara has worked extremely hard and tirelessly for the side , sorting out the travel and accommodation arrangements for us all , keeping and updating the tick list , and arranging many things on the social side (over and above the call of duty) such as bunk barns , Christmas dinner etc. She has also ( without complaint) taught the Dilwyn all over England this season. Again I am glad is standing for Bag again this year.

 Joan Ibbotson , Treasurer

                                      Joan has once again “cooked the books” ( in the nicest possible sense) with her usual enthusiasm and attention to detail (only last week she was heard to shout “oh no – I’m out by one penny “!    -  when a penny was offered to her she said “no , no – it doesn’t work like that”   -  minutes later she was heard to say “I found it , I found it” …..Ah , the joys of Accountancy ).

                So thanks Joan for another job well (and thoroughly ) done.

 Paul Hudson , Musical Director

                                        Paul has once again done a fine job as MD. Whether it has been with a large band , or a very small one (as at Settle , mentioned earlier) the standard of music has been of the highest. Besides the music , and along with his partner in crime , George , he has delivered the best announcements in the Morris world today.

                Paul is obviously a key figure in the side , and I hope he continues to be so , well into the future.

 Gillian Hallam , (S)Crap book keeper.

                                        Not long after taking over the job , Gillian  found exactly the same problem I had encountered earlier – how do Dance , sing , whiffle and ping AND take photos ?

                Well , despite this and after a fairly slow start ( 9 months of collating she insists !)

she has sprinted for the line and produced an extremely good scrap book , and no more will I accuse her of keeping all the crap to herself.

 Anyway , that concludes my ramblings , except to say thanks to :-

 Ian for arranging the coppicing (that we might have sticks to hit each other with ) , for preparing them and dragging them round all year.

George , for his announcing , keeping up the website , and dragging the new Gazebo around all year.

 And to everyone else who has helped in any and every way , large or small , to make this another enjoyable season.

 Squire then finished off by holding up a bar chart (no. of pubs in the year) , a pie chart ( you guessed it- no. of pies consumed in the year) , and a piece of card with grey hairs cellotaped on which he attributed directly to the side (and not the fact that he was a year older than before)

These articles will probably be found in the scrap book ……… 

Flagcrackers AGM 14th November 2001

Election of Officers: 

Squire Kevin Hallam
Bag Barbara Bentley
Foreperson Jackie Perry
Money-bag Joan Ibbotson
Musical Director Paul Hudson
Baldrick Chris Needham
Kit person Jackie Perry
Seeker of the Crap Book Gillian Hallam


Constitution formally adopted 10th January 2001

The following officers were elected at the Flagcrackers AGM, November 2000


Both Sides of the Tweed (2000) (From Morris Dance Discussion List)

The Scottish Borders had a taste of border morris last weekend at BSOTT -Both Sides Of The Tweed - festival at Kelso. Leaving aside the Borders/border confusion, punters had a chance to enjoy both dry border in the town square and wet border in Kelso swimming pool.

Yes, the Flagcrackers of Craven have proved that synchronised swimming is a poor substitute for proper wet morris. We danced the appropriately-titled Noah's Ark in the pool in our wet kit of tee-shirts and cossie, but without blacking by request of the Health and Safety Commission. Dancers joined the dance in successive pairs - you could say we made a splash - building up to a circular hey for eight, before dancing (sinking) off in pairs. It may be just a drop in the ocean, but we like to keep the fun in morris. Wet tee-shirt competitions will never be the same again.

Yours, with damp Castagnari bellows


Flagcrackers of Craven

. . . and also from MDDL,

Bloody hell - how did we manage to miss the wet Flagcrackers? Belfagan danced with them in the square on Saturday, but missed completely the opportunity to see their damp alter egos. Damn! I knew we should have stayed over! We might have added some wet Belfagans as well! BTW the Saturday was brilliant - warm autumn sunshine, good music, wonderful dancing (of course :¬) an appreciative crowd, proper Scottish beer . . . .



Fully aware that our Squire,Dave (Beethoven) Banks ,would not be with us - he was at Castle Howard with his lady Squire for a Culturefest- the intrepid Flagcrackers set out for a weekend at Whitby F.F.
Putting aside our usual reluctance to accept any form of personal responsibility or decision making, Flagcrackers managed to;

1) Arrive at the right town(Whitby)

2) Meet at the correct spot (Captain Cook's Monumentals)

3) Dance all day

4) Get to the Pub

5) Drive home again

We would like our readers to join with us in celebrating the glorious achievement of going away ON OUR OWN. and in getting Home again,in time for Wednesday's practice.

Oh yes------ we did some Morris dancing too.We shared a stand with some guys with hankies - they were good !

Flagcrackers perform at Skipton Sheep Day!! - 2nd July 2000

Today morris fans and sheep lovers ( not always the same thing , apparently ) witnessed an amazing display of aqua-morris, as the North Yorkshire rain poured ceaselessly down on plucky Flagcrackers of all ages and sexes. The Band made their contribution by playing the ukele as the ship went down, providing a heart rending rendition of Moon River, followed by our dance Captain's Farewell in the key of glug!

Are we downhearted ? Well.............


Flagcrackers attended the Federation A.G.M. Weekend in Burton on Trent, on the last weekend in September. Anyone who thinks the Morris is dying should have been there to be disabused of the notion. More than twenty sides strutting their stuff was a glorious sight indeed!

We would like to say thankyou to the organisers - Ryknild Rabble - for putting us on twelfth in the mass dancing display in the Bass Brewery Museum. If we had been placed twenty-third or twenty-fourth we would surely have over-indulged in the Brewery Museum's principal attraction and then what would our dancing have been like? Presumably it would have been like the dancing of that team who were twenty-third or twenty-fourth; you know, the ones who had to retire 'tired and emotional'.......

Our world-famous version of Bedlam (the one that upset Cecil Sharp so much !)  - we haven 't been doing it that long, surely? Ed  - went down well, thanks to the ancient stones and the tranquil waters of Lichfield. Apologies to the vet who claimed we were driving his animals mad!!


Morris Dancers from all over Yorkshire are asking for details of the double handed double cross over (performed without a safety net) in our demonstration dance , witnessed by the amazed public at the Eye of York on Sept.9th. Well, we're not going to give them, as we've only just got over the shock ourselves!

The amazing move was devised by our very experienced and even more elderly Baldrick who has seen a thing our two I can tell you!! Many people thought it would fail , not least the Baldrick herself, but yet again the great god of Morris(Janice) smiled on the Flagcrackers - the goat sacrifices have obviously paid off!

What's next?? Can we top that one?? Oh yes!! But not until we've all had a complete rest and had time to disembowel another innocent animal. (I've already suggested a refinement - Ed)

Halifax here we come!!

November 2000


At the the Flagcrackers AGM in November Dave Banks was elected squire. There has been no change of BAGMAN - so please mail or email re bookings as before. Other officials elected - see ABOUT FLAGCRACKERS


When the plea went out for someone to prop up the bar at the Old White Bear Inn, little did I realise that this was Yorkshire humour at its best; and in reality, the plea was for someone to take the position of Squire for the next year.

Drooling at the prospect of many happy hours at the Old White Bear Inn (also known as 'The Laugher' due to the hilarious melancholy of a former landlord), I was joyously elected Square, sorry Squire, for 2000. Nobody has told me as yet what the '2000' represents; maybe it's 2000 hours community service at the OWB.

Anyhow, just for the record, below are mug shots of what the Squire looks like on a good day. If you do see me in the street, then please give generously; a wife, two mistressess and a loft full of racing pigeons costs a fortune to keep.

Thank you

Dave Banks

Other officials - see ABOUT FLAGCRACKERS

The Craven Flagcrackers morris dancers will soon raise their glasses to celebrate a brand new ale named in their honour.

A Flagcrackers’ performance at the Orkney Folk Festival clearly made a lasting impression on the locals, for the island’s brewery has decided to launch the Flagcracker Ale.

The group’s founder Dick Taylor explained: “Many moons ago we danced at the Orkney Folk Festival and we maintained some contact with various people there. They came back to us and said they wanted to produce a beer in our name and we said fine.”

And while the Skipton-based Flagcrackers don’t get anything out of the deal themselves they have made sure that local charity SCAD (Skipton and Craven Action for Disability) · does.

“We have done a deal with the distributor, Clarke’s of Wakefield, the brewery and the landlords who will contribute a penny each for every pint sold,” said MrTaylor, “SCAD will get three pence for every pint sold.”

Flagcracker Ale will be officially launched on Saturday October 2 when the Flagcrackers will be out and about dancing in Skipton and the beer will be on sale at local outlets.

The launch will also see the first public screening of a new film about the group.

Bradford-based Acorn Video has been filming the dancers over the past six to nine months as part of a unique new project with the Yorkshire Media Consortium.

July 1st 1999 . . . Flagcrackers Venue changes: after 8 years at Carlton Working Mens' Club near Skipton North Yorkshire the Flagcrackers are on the move.  New practice venue is Farnhill Community Hall, near Kildwick - practice 8-10 pm every Wednesday.

Visitors and prospective members always welcome


What a year, 2 weekends run by us, 5 major folk festivals i.e. Upton, Chippenham, Towersey, York & Otley, as well as Middleham Stables Day, Littleborough Rushcart, Dancing with friends both local and further afield no wonder I’m tired.

The two new festival venues of Chippenham & Towersey were the highlights of the year for me, where the standard of our dancing was high. Other people thought so too, from these we have invites back to Chippenham and to Sidmouth as a Booked side (a rare honour indeed). I’ve never come across any workshop run by a Morris side at a festival where there were over 100 people, as we did at Towersey. The Reception and applause from the Arena at both of these venues did make you feel proud to be part of this side.

I am now getting phone calls inviting us to other festivals as a result of our performances this year like, “ I am ______ and I book the Morris sides for ___ festival, I have not seen your side personally but I have been instructed by the directors that I must get the Flagcrackers to perform this year”. It’s good to be in demand.

As I believe you all know Sandy and I are moving back down south, when our house is sold, which will probably be next spring. I have said I am happy to continue with the bag until then but the side need to consider if they are happy with that and to have someone ready to take over. We will certainly have a beer or two before we go.