Molly Dancers – a rural tradition explained

Ramsey’s Plough Monday – a rural, Fenland tradition explained.



Molly Dancers group


Ouse Washes Molly Dancers at the Jolly Sailor, Ramsey on Plough Sunday January 11th 2016



“Molly Dances developed in East Anglia: these dances were performed in January, as part of the Plough Monday celebrations. It was the custom for local farmhands to take a plough around the local villages and, if payment (including beer and food) was not forthcoming, they would cut a furrow across the house holder’s front lawn. The figures of the dances are based upon the local country dances, and are performed in vigorous style.

The costumes worn by Molly dancers are very individualistic, but largely based upon working outdoor clothes and hobnailed boots. Dancers may have their faces blackened or otherwise disguised as in the photograph above. Disguising the face in this way is well-known in English social history: men wishing to pursue proscribed activities would black their faces to avoid recognition: such activities could include both smuggling and morris dancing!”

For more information please take a look at this website from which these words were taken.