modern abbots bromley horn dancers

Discovering the horn dance

Article by Jayn E. Winslade

When you celebrate a tradition such as Easter, Halloween, Bonfire Night or Christmas, have you ever wondered how it would have been celebrated long ago, when the tradition first began? How would the people have dressed, what would they have eaten, where would they have lived? Of course, it would be amazing to take a trip back in time, to mingle amongst them like a ghost and see for ourselves just what it was like. We cannot physically do that, but with a little bit of research to get us started, our imagination can. Tradition provides a wealth of stimulus for creative endeavour; you simply need to learn how to go about it. It was seeing the amazing sight of six sets of antlers hanging in St Nicholas Church in Abbots Bromley, and discovering the Horn Dance, that inspired me to write Emily and Jen Dance for Deeron, proving that an ancient tradition can be used as stimulus for your own creative interpretation.

Upon seeing the antlers I headed for Birmingham Central Library to begin my research. I knew the library well from my school days, so I was sure I would find information about the Horn Dance there. Unsure of exactly where to begin, however, I went up to the 6th floor to Archives and Heritage. With the help of the staff I discovered the wealth of information contained within its somewhat gloomy, austere walls.

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