Follow DevilsDykeMM on Twitter Facebook

Fieldtown

The Fieldtown dances DDMM do

  • Balance the Straw
  • Banks of the Dee
  • Country Gardens
  • Dearest Dicky
  • Jockey
  • Old Molly Oxford (Step Back)
  • Old Woman
  • The Rose
  • Shepherd’s Hey (Signposts)
  • Sidestep (short as in Carrion Crow, The Forester, long as in Walk of the Twopenny Postman)
  • Skirmish
  • Trunkles
  • Valentine

Not done nowadays: Glorishears / Leapfrog.

At the foot of the page you'll find information about four of the Fieldtown jigs:

  • Ladies' Pleasure
  • Nutting Girl
  • Molly Oxford
  • Lumps of Plum Pudding


Last updated 8 4 20

Return to Introduction page

General stuff about Fieldtown dances

Fieldtown is a major tradition, characterised by gracefulness, floating handkerchiefs, some quite complex movements and some long dances. The dances divide into ‘short’ and ‘long’ ones. The latter are longer mainly because each common figure includes more stepping than the short dances.
Usual stepping sequence:. 2 bars Double Step (DS), then 2 hop backs (HB). DS starts with ‘feint step’ – a little hop on the back foot as you start (i.e. if starting rt foot, little hop is on left). Timing needs practice. Here's an instructional video about the feint step. In handkerchief dances hands in front, floaty, gently up, with little flick to stand on end, then gently down again, not snatched. HB are single steps done moving backwards, with the heel of the foot you are not hopping on crossing  lightly in front of the hop foot.  Hands in ‘balance’ – i.e. out to the side, palms up, at just above navel level, elbows close to body, but not rigid.  Here's an instructional video about hands in balance. Long Fieldtown dances may involve ‘slow’ HBs, same as normal but done at about half speed (semi slow motion). HB often but not always followed by FtJ.
In stick dances, stick is held relaxed, at the side of the body, dipping slightly down, moving gently forward and back in the DS. In HB, stick goes out to side, roughly horizontal on 1st hop, then back in front of body on 2nd hop.
Need to be able to start DS on left or right foot.
Usual common figures (cf):  OY, Foot up (FU), Foot down (FD), half gyp (HG), Back to back (BB), rounds (R), Hey (H)
Other general info:

  • OY is 2 HB, followed by Feet together Jump (FtJ), hands going high up mid line. No set rule on whether you HB on rt first or l (?)
  • In ‘short Fieldtown’ dances:
    • FU is 2 bars DS, then G (galley) out (i.e. 270°) to face oppo, then FtJ still facing across. FD Turn down, 2 bars DS G out again to face oppo, FtJ, ready for DF. You must start DS on outside foot (or else you won’t be able to G correctly). Here’s a whole document about how to do galleys.
    • HG Cross with oppo, passing rt shoulders (i.e. go to his left), starting l foot. 1 bar ds across, 1 bar on spot, then HBs to return, and FtJ on your spot. Repeat on other side (starting rt foot)
    • BB as HG but crossing behind your partner in the 2nd bar of DS
    • R middles move back out a pace to form a circle (keep it round!). DS cw one bar, DS in towards middle 1 bar, back out to reform circle on 2 HB (all the way out). FtJ to turn and face out of circle. Then back ccw (keep it round!), as above, backing out to re-form the set.
    • H ‘normal’ pattern. 2 ss turning as you go, then go backwards into place on 2 HB. Tops turn out, into ss with outside foot. Middles follow them up. Bottom couple face down, go out, ss on outside foot then up, through gap between tops and middles, back into place. Leading hand goes straight up, full height as the foot lands, same if it has a stick in it. If the H is the last figure in the dance (i.e. followed by ‘all up’), turn only enough to face up, then 4 plain capers to face up instead of the 2 HB.
  • In ‘long Fieldtown’ dances:
    • FU is 2 bars DS, 4HB, gradually turning in to face partner, then 2 bars DS, facing, then G to face down the set (i.e. 90°) , FtJ facing partner. Then repeat for FD. This time G to face partner is 270° ready for DF. You must start DS on inside foot  for both FU and FD (or else you won’t be able to galley out on the correct foot).
    • HG Cross with partner, passing rt shoulders (i.e. go to his left), starting left foot. 1 bar DS across, 1 bar on spot, then 4 HB to return, 2 bars DS on the spot facing across, G left out of the set and round 360° then FtJ on your spot. Repeat on other side (starting rt foot, G right)
    • BB Same pattern as HG, but going behind partner on 2nd bar of DS
    • R middles out, circle. Start right foot, cw one bar, in towards middle 1 bar, back out to circle on 4 HB. G right 360°, then FtJ to turn and face out of circle. Then back ccw, as above, starting left foot backing out to re-form the set on HB, 2 bars DS, G left, 360°, then FtJ.
    • H Hey is the same as in short FT.
  • Specific moves which occur in df
    • Galleys (G), need to be able to do with either foot, and to be able to combine with turn. Guide to galleys goes into detail, including ‘slow’ galleys found in some long Fieldtown dances. And we've made an instructional video on galleys.
    • Short side-step (ss) = ss right (ssr), usually followed (as here) with ss left (ssl). Ssr: Essentially a DS, in which your rt leg comes across left, turning body 45°. At same time rt hand shoots up so it is at full height as foot lands. Complete the DS with body turned, then on the hop at the end. If (as usual) going straight into ssl,  turn to face 45° the other way, doing 2nd bar of DS, with left hand shooting up. Move finishes on the hop, leaving rt foot in air for what comes next. First part of hey involves ss, but turning as you go, with your ‘trailing’ foot coming behind the leading foot as you do. You need to be able to start the hey with ssr or ssl depending on where you are. Here's a DDMM instructional video on short and long sidesteps
    • Long side-steps (lss) As ss but with a bar of DS, facing front, with normal hand movement, in between the ssr (facing 45° left) and the ssl (facing 45° right). But, there's no hop after the ssr, before the DS. It might help just to count through the lss sequence: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 hop.
    • Fore capers (FC) aka beetle-crushers. Two halves, start w rt foot in air, hands in ‘balance’, tap rt foot down in front of you (crush that beetle), bring foot down under body, transfer your weight onto it, then spring off it, hands going in front, high, landing on left foot. Bring hands down to balance as you quickly shift your weight back onto the right foot, leaving left foot in air. Repeat, starting left. Emphasis is on the spring. If doing FC on the spot, try to stay on the spot. If doing FC to travel, use the spring to go forward – keep high, don’t ‘bunny hop’.
    • Upright capers (UC) Start with rt foot in air, hands in balance. Tap your right toe (or some men move whole rt foot and your weight) behind your left, bring rt foot back onto floor alongside left one, bend knees and spring off both feet, body erect, hands high. Hands back to balance as you land on both feet. Then do a little hop leaving left foot in air, ready to repeat starting left. If travelling, use leap and hop to go forwards. Keep leap high though! Here's a DDMM instructional video on Fore capers and Upright capers.
    • Salute: Just stand on the spot, nicely upright and wave right handkerchief over head, across from right to left, embellished as necessary / according to personal preference.

About how DDMM do specific Fieldtown dances

Balance the straw

Short FT stick dance, which DDMM can do in 4 different variants. Pattern is OY, FU, FD, df1, HG, df2, BB, df3, R, df4, ending on df hey.
df1 = sticking  (First part: stick vertical, lean back a bit, tap butt on floor ground behind you and then on floor by your side. Then clash tips forwards and back with partner. Second part:  tap butt on ground, behind you, then by your side, then clash tips forwards 3X). Third part: do half hey. Then repeat all 3 parts). In plain version, (rare for DDMM to do this plain) dfs 2,3,4 are exactly the same as df1.
In long- throwing version df1 as above, df2 throw stick across to partner instead of 3X tips clash, df3 as df2, but in 2nd part reach back before butt tap behind, and throw the stick from there, upwards for partner to catch. Df4, complete part 1, then, as music slows, throw stick high across corners, after 3rd corner has caught, all clash across, half hey, repeat. NB middles back out on df 4 to make the set nearly circular, in order to give space for the long throws. As your stick leaves your hand, don’t watch it, look at the stick coming towards you that you must catch. Throw high and to land in front of your man, avoid the stick turning end-over-end, do your best to catch the stick one handed!
Fire-sticks version same as long-throwing, but using sticks with burning ends – done at dusk, carefully!
In fast- throwing version as long-throw, but in df 4 throwing across the corners is fast, horizontal, and the music keeps up normal pace. We can do this while other sides do the plain version
Devil’s Dyke Morris Men, “Balance the Straw” Video by Sally Tooley, taken at the Red Lion, Great Wratting, July 2010  https://vimeo.com/90805526
At the Chestnut Tree 2015, by Ian Trouse, Fieldtown Balance the Straw with firesticks
https://vimeo.com/131860029
Blurry DDMM Ale video. DDMM doing ‘fast throw’ version
https://youtu.be/v2-95uif0HI

Banks of the Dee

Short FT,  handkerchiefs. OY, FU, FD, df1, HG, df2, BB, df3, R, df4, ending on df hey
Df1 = facing up, top couple flick handkerchiefs in air above head - both hands up on 3rd beat. Then, middles do it, then bottoms, then all 6 together, then half hey (as if facing in), then all rpt (facing down), df2 as df1, but with G (G on outside foot, then, when all do it together, on inside foot), df3 as df2, with FC, df4 as df3, with UC.

Country Gardens

Short Fieldtown stick dance OY, FU, FD, df, HG, df, BB, df, R, df, ending on the df hey
Df (same each time) = Odds hold stick out horizontal, eye height. Evens hit odds once (both stamp rt foot down), then repeat, odds hitting evens (both stamp lt foot down), then 4 capers clashing butts, tips, butts, tips, half hey, all repeat.
DDMM at Reach Fair 2011. Country Gardens https://youtu.be/rp0G8vMSeUk

Dearest Dicky

Long Fieldtown handkerchief dance. OY, FU, FD, df1, HG, df2, BB, df3, R, df4, ending on 4 capers.
Df1 = 1st, 2nd, 3rd corners in turn. Start with lss, stride sneeringly across to opposite corner, galley rt to face across (next corner HB as you galley), all step in as 3rd couple complete, and HB to place, facing across the set. Df2 as df1 but cross corners on 4 capers. Df3 as Df1 but cross on 2 FC, (G and HB are ‘slow’), Df4 as Df3 but cross on 2 UC, (G and HB are ‘slow’). After all do final slow HB, all up on 4 capers, turning to face up.
Blurry video from DDMM Ale 2009
https://youtu.be/ku0JFwlKYow

Jockey

Long Fieldtown handkerchief dance. OY, FU, FD, df1, HG, df2, BB, df3, R, df4, ending on 4 capers.
Dance ends after middles do uprights on the spot, then all do 4 capers up to finish. We put together detailed notes on how to do this (used it as a show dance). So for details, see .pdf of the dance.
Uppingham Ring Meeting 2012 Jockey to the Fair, shot by Matt Whitby. https://youtu.be/-D4bAqzDVaI

Old Molly Oxford (usually known as Step Back)

Long Fieldtown handkerchief dance. OY, FU, FD, df, HG, df, BB, df, R, Unusually, finishes at the end of rounds with 4 plain capers up (instead of the galley FtJ). In this dance, wherever you would do HB (in cf and in df) you  ‘step back’ instead (step back = 4 X foot stamped down as move back, each step striking your chest with alternate fists, starting right fist). DF is lss half hey, then repeat. When turning to face across (in FU, FD, hey, turn at the last moment (end of last step back)

The starting foot in cf is as normal, which means that you may be starting the step backs with your right or left foot depending on stage of dance, side etc. The breast striking is however always R,L,R,L irrespective of which foot starts the step backs. This is particularly important in the hey: at the end of the first half hey you must start the lss with your right hand going up just before the first beat, which you can only do if you struck R,L,R,L. The lss also requires you to have your right foot raised ready to cross, so if your set position meant starting the hey with a left foot lead you will need to adjust during the hey or at the end of the step backs or else you will find your left foot is raised rather than the right.

Old Woman Tossed Up

A short Fieldtown handkerchief dance. Other sides may do longer versions of this (can go on 7 min plus!). Pattern: OY, df1, R, df2, H and all up.
Df1. Corners, each corner in 3 parts. Part 1: start with 3 ss on the spot, (ssr, ssl, ssr again), FtJ. Then do 2 bars ds across to opposite place (no feint step), galley rt to face partner, FtJ to face across. 2nd, 3rd corners come in on hop backs before their turn. Part 2: each corner does 2FC followed by 4 plain C with hands going round and round, not up and down. Next corner comes in without preparatory steps. Part 3: same as part 1. At end of part 3 all face across, step in and HB ready for rounds.
Df2. Same as df1, but with UC instead of FC
Blurry video from DDMM Ale 2009
https://youtu.be/7TiTilUutu0

The Rose

Different pattern, quite hard dance to do well (we’ve tried!), and tiring too. Pattern is: OY, df1, df2, df3. All up on 4 capers after last hey. Df2 & 3 pattern still being debated!
Df1  1 bar ds round, then 1 bar in, HB to reform circle, FtJ to face out, rpt all back to place, then a whole hey consisting of (2 bars ds, galley out, FtJ) repeat. There a slight pause between rounds and hey.
Df2 Rounds with FC. 2 FC round in circle, starting right foot (?), then 1 FC moving in. This FC is cut off, no hop, to give time for 2 slow HB, followed by a FtJ, turning to face ccw, and finally a hop to put the left foot in the air, then do the same, going ccw, starting left foot. Then hey as df1 whole hey.
Df3, as df2 but with UC.

Sidestep (Carrion Crow / Forester / Walk of the Twopenny Postman)

A Fieldtown handkerchief dance which can be done 'short' (tunes Carrion Crow or Forester), or 'long' (Walk of the Twopenny Postman). The pattern and the df are the same for all. Pattern is FU, FD, df, HG, df, BB, df, R, df, ending on df hey. df same each time: lss all facing across (emphasise ftj at end), half hey, repeat.

Shepherd's Hey (aka Signposts)

Classy short Fieldtown  handkerchief dance. Pattern is FU, FD, df, HG, df, BB, df, R, df, ending on df hey. Df same each time – a hey consisting of 3 ss, each facing in direction of travel (no HB in hey), then FtJ facing across the set . Instead of normal FtJ, all (at mid and end of cfs and heys) are done with hands going up round and out to side, horizontal at shoulder height (‘the signpost’) as you jump, landing on toes, and holding that position for a count of 3 before starting next movement. End dance on hey, with FtJ facing up instead of capers.
2017 Krefeld visit Signposts https://youtu.be/1W_1I56X4sY

Skirmish

Short FT stick dance OY, FU, FD, df, HG, df, BB, df, R, df, ending on df hey
df = 'strike' = strike tips twice, forehand then backhand. First, all strike partner across the set. Then 1st corners strike across the diagonal, then 2nd corners strike, then 3rd. During first two corner clashes the middles move back a little, turn towards and strike with the man on same side who is not striking on the diagonal, which has the effect of seeming to turn the set through 45°.  As 3rd corners strike, the two end couples face across and strike across. After 3rd corners strike, all do half hey then repeat whole sequence.
From Wandlebury 2012, shot by Ian Trouse. After atmospheric intro and Chris’ ‘Morris Call’, shows whole of Fieldtown Skirmish https://vimeo.com/41359936

Trunkles

A short Fieldtown handkerchief dance. Not danced out much but good practice for lines and figures. OY, FU, FD, df1, HG, df2, BB, df3, R, df4, H ending on 4 capers.
Df1 = ds across starting rt foot, ds on spot (while facing out of set), galley rt to face across, FtJ, 1 bar ds on spot again (left foot start), galley left, FtJ, return to place on 4 ss then g right to face back across the set, FtJ. In crossing back, space the ss evenly (2 to the middle etc), and don’t go beyond the set. Df2 as df1 but return to place on 8 plain capers (same idea of not going beyond the set). Df3 return on 4 FC. Df4 return on 4 UC. Finish dance on hey.

Valentine

A short Fieldtown handkerchief dance. OY, FU, FD, df1, HG, df2, BB, df3, R, df4, ending on 4 capers.
Df1 (each corner in turn): 1st couple ssr, ssl, salute, then on 1 bar of ds move across the corner, just past your partner, and use the hop to turn round him so you land facing backward, c 1m apart. Hands go up high while you jump. Then in place, still facing partner, do 2nd bar of ds. The HB to place, FtJ. Next couple meanwhile step in (ideally forming nice rectangle with dancing couple), then HB and FtJ as dancing couple do the same. Then 2nd couple ss etc, followed by 3rd, at end all step in, HB, FtJ ready for next cf.
Df2. As Df1, but with 2 galleys – galley rt then immediately galley left – instead of salute. Df3- 2FC (don’t move in while doing these). Df4, 2 UC.

Fieldtown jigs

Fieldtown jigs has detailed instructions (and some interesting factoids) for dancing four of the Fieldtown jigs: Ladies Pleasure, Nutting Girl, Molly Oxford and Lumps of Plum Pudding. Thanks Graham for these notes!

Here are links to Youtube videos of each jig - danced the Devil's Dyke way (more or less)

Ladies' Pleasure https://youtu.be/ws56VWqawJE
Nutting Girl https://youtu.be/AFVZc7TGZps
Molly Oxford https://youtu.be/J29fByClNdc
Lumps of Plum Pudding https://youtu.be/ChRwH7zLBqM

 

Here are links to the music on its own (played by Chris Harris).

Ladies' Pleasure

Nutting Girl

Molly Oxford

Lumps of Plum Pudding