Abbots Bromley Horn Dancers

The Horn Dancers were top of my list of subjects to shoot for my British Folklore project and after months of planning we finally arrived in the village and took residence in the back room of the local pub which became our pop up studio for the day.


The Horn Dance is a curious and mysterious dance with Pagan roots performed in the Staffordshire village of Abbots Bromley (near to my home town of Burton on Trent) every September on Wakes Monday. Reputedly it is the oldest surviving folk dance in England with records dating back to the thirteenth century and involves twelve performers including six "deermen" carrying ancient horns, a jester (complete with real pig's bladder), a young bowman, a hobby horse, musicians and an unusual representation of the Maid Marion character.


I think I'm right in saying it has been performed in the village every year since records began and the original reindeer antlers that are still used to this day are over a thousand years old and it is said that they are possibly of Viking origin. The horns themselves weigh upto an impressive 50 pounds and the shoulder blistering ten mile dance circuit must be gruelling to say the least. Having held them up for myself and can honestly say I'd be done for after half an hour!


I'm quite proud of this curious set of portraits and am encouraged to delve further into the world of British Folklore to see what else I can find. To see the complete series go to the new Horn Dance gallery on my folio site here.