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Processional Dances

There is an extensive section on dances elsewhere but some dances are at least partly processional. Helston Furry Dance is nothing else. John Knill made his claim to immortality by building an obelisk above St Ives, Cornwall, and leaving money to pay for elaborate ceremonies, involving the Mayor, Vicar, Customs Officer, 10 young girls, a fiddler, two widows and the Town Clerk, to be carried out at ‘Knill’s Steeple’ every fifth year. The fiddler leads the girls in a processional dance through the town, later they have to dance around the monument singing ‘All people who on earth do dwell’. A feature of NW Morris is that they do not shamble from one dancing place to the next, they dance. They also dance along in bigger processions, like at Knutsford, or accompanying Rushcarts. Winster looks pretty Cotswold but they have a fine processional dance. Rowlandson’s ‘Harvest Home’ is there because we like it. Helston has four dances on Flora Day, 8 May, each with its own traditional route through the town streets, gardens, houses, shops, led by the redoubtable Helston Town Band, who must be exhausted by the end of the day.