Chipping Campden is a small town in the North Cotswolds approximately 10 miles south of Stratford-upon-Avon and 25 miles north of Cheltenham. The town has a long history stretching back a thousand years and for most of this period it was an important agricultural centre for the area and in particular the wool trade. During the 19th century Campden, like much of rural England, began to decline due to industrialisation but by the turn of the 20th century the town had begun to revive itself again with the help of the Guild of Handicraft that arrived from London under the leadership of C.R. Ashbee. Today Campden is a thriving community in which agriculture continues to be important but where tourism has taken over as the main industry in the area.
The Chipping Campden Morris Men have long been a part of this community and earliest records refer to a side existing in Campden in the 1700’s. (See link below for a history of CCMM). We are one of only four traditional Cotswold sides that exist today who have an unbroken history. The Campden side dances a unique tradition that can be found no where else and the dances and steps form part of a living tradition which is passed on from one generation to the next. No other sides dance Campden and this is something which is respected thoughout the morris community.
Today the Campden Morris men continue to flourish. We dance throughout the spring and summer months and the main events of our year are the Dover’s games and Scuttlebrook Wake which take place on the first weekend in June. The side contains a mixture of all ages and currently includes several fathers and sons who dance together. The Campden Morris men are therefore very much alive and well in the 21st century!
For an outline history of Chipping Campden Morris Men by Keith Chandler click on the picture above.