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Longsword Dancing on Boxing Day

Longsword dancers appear on Boxing Day in three places in Yorkshire. North of Sheffield Grenoside Sword Dancers march down the street to perform at 11am outside the Old Harrow Inn. After their one dance it is just possible, if you know your way around Sheffield, to be at the parish church to see Handsworth Traditional Sword Dancers at midday. Both these appearances are currently followed by pub sessions of the ‘Sheffield Carols’ native to their locality.

Away over on the east coast the Flamborough Sword Dancers also come out on Boxing Day. This team dance with wooden swords or ‘lathes’. They have had an up and down history over the last hundred years or so, but seem to be flourishing currently. An unusual aspect is that for a long time the dance has been taught in the local school, thus ‘revivals’ are made easier as everyone in the village knows it – and boys, girls and even women’s teams have sprung up from time to time. Flamborough are much less well-known than other Yorkshire sword dance teams, but that is because the place is too remote to get to on Boxing Day and in any case all the folkies are in Sheffield.