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britman Abbots Bromley - A travel report by Brit
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Abbots Bromley,  United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom
4341 readers

britman's travel reports

Home of the Horn Dance

  22 votes
Page: 1 2

The Goats Head & Ancient Buttercross from the Village Green
The Goats Head & Ancient Buttercross from the Village Green

Abbots Bromley in Staffordshire is one of England’s most picturesque and ancient villages set in a Conservation area in the East of the County. The history of Abbots Bromley goes back long before the 1066 Norman Conquest. It is mentioned fully in the Domesday Book. (The Domesday Book was commissioned in December 1085 by William the Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066) In fact King Edmund's charter of 942 granted the land to Wulfsige the Black. In 996 the charter of King Ethelred granted them to Wulfric and defined the area boundaries. Between 1002 and 1004, “Bromley”, was given to the Benedictine Abbey at Burton upon Trent – hence it became “Abbots Bromley”. A Charter to hold a weekly market was granted in 1221 with an annual fair of two days duration, later increased to 3 days. The market was held under the Buttercross seen here in the photographs. The fair was originally held on Saint Bartholomew’s Day when the date of the ancient village Horn Dance became fixed.

Favourite spots:
The Village also sees many Morris Dancers - another quaint English tradition.
The Village also sees many Morris Dancers - another quaint English tradition.
The Horn Dance tradition is still kept alive annually using the six sets of antlers kept in the village Church. These antlers were carbon-date tested to be pre 1000AD. This unusual spectacle draws many visitors from all over the world to the village each September. The formula now used for calculating the Horn Dance date is “the first Monday after the first Sunday after the 4th September” So in 2006 it will be on Monday 11th September. After collecting the horns from the Village Church at 7.30am the Horn Dancers comprising six Deer-men, one Bowman, one Fool, one Hobby Horse, and Maid Marian, perform their dance to music provided by a melodian player at locations throughout the village and its surrounding farms and pubs. A walk of about 10 miles (16 kilometres) keeps everyone sober(ish) .



What's really great:
The Horn Dance being performed outside The Goats Head pub just after 8.00am
The Horn Dance being performed outside The Goats Head pub just after 8.00am
An unspoilt non touristy traditional English Village with 5 excellent pubs serving tasty well presented food at sensible prices. The Inns asterisked below ** have accommodation at very reasonable prices:-

Attractions in the village on Horn Dance Day include exhibitions, craft stalls, BBQ's and pubs licensed all day!

Traditionally, on the 1st May each year Morris Dancers also visit, as they do on each Horn Dance Day. Morris dancing records date from the 15th Century; it features in Shakespeare's Elizabethan plays and is said to derive from the "Moorish" dances seen by the Crusaders or the ritual ceremonial dances of Spain. Morris dancing was outlawed by the Puritans after the English Civil war and revived in Victorian times. These days Morris Dances are usually conducted on Abbots Bromley's Village Green. Again, the atmosphere is festive and the pubs of course are very busy. Dancing often continues late into the evening and the costumes are most colourful.






Sights:
The horns have been carbon date tested - the results showed them at least 1000 years old
The horns have been carbon date tested - the results showed them at least 1000 years old
Monday 11th September 2006 - Annual Horn Dance
see www.abbotsbromley.com

Abbots Bromley Horn Dance Timetable:-

The performances accord to ancient ritual and custom and therefore the scheduled times shown below are only approximate timings.

07:45 Collect Horns from Village Church
08:15 Dancing on the Village Green
walking down Goose Lane
to Yeatsall
11:00 Over the reservoir to Stanley’s then Admaston Village
12:00 BLITHFIELD HALL
(Followers allowed into the Park by kind permission of Lady Bagot)
13:45 Little Dunstall Farm
14:15 Rugeley Turn
15:30 The Bagot Arms
16:15 The Royal Oak
16:50 The Goat's Head
17:30 The Crown Inn
18:30 Schoolhouse Lane
Bagots View/Swan Lane
Radmore Lane
Lichfield Road
19:15 The Coach and Horses
High Street
20:00 Village Green
20:15 Horns returned to Church



Accommodations:
"The Fool" carries a stick with special properties (see text opposite)
Those asterisked below ** have accommodation at reasonable prices:-

Coach & Horses**
Crown Inn**

see www.goodguides.com
www.touristnetuk.com/Wm/southstaffs/acco---mmodation/ ac-serviced/abbotsbromley.htm


Legend has it that if a girl of child bearing age meets "The Fool" and, comes into contact with the inflated pig's bladder that he carries on a stick, then she will fall pregnant within 12 months of the contact. Remember, that the Horn Dance has been around for over 1000 years and it is in essence a "Fertility Dance". Many local witnesses testify that females who have been touched by the stick during the dance have become pregnant shortly afterwards.

Hangouts:
6th September 2004 caught the horn dancers silhouetted against the early morning sun.
6th September 2004 caught the horn dancers silhouetted against the early morning sun.
All these pubs are well worth a visit:-

Bagots Arms
Coach & Horses
Crown Inn
Goats Head
Royal Oak

An independent report on The Goats Head can be seen in the Good Pubs Guide - www.goodguides.com - where it is both highly recommended and rated.

For nearby live music venues look at:-
http://www.beat.co.uk/gigs/homepage/east---staffs.html



Restaurants:
Music accompanies the Horn Dancers - provided by the travelling band of accordian players
Music accompanies the Horn Dancers - provided by the travelling band of accordian players
Food at reasonable prices:-
Bagots Arms
Coach & Horses
Crown Inn
Goats Head
Royal Oak

To build up your appetite try one of the many shorter walks around the village. (Call in at the Post Office on High Street to pick up a leaflet).

The finest walk is the 147km (92 miles) Staffordshire Way that passes through the village - see

(http://www.ramblers.org.uk/info/paths/s-taffordshire.html)

Abbots Bromley village is an ideal stopover on this walking route for good food, drink and accommodation.

Other recommendations:
View from under the ancient Buttercross towards High Street, Abbots Bromley
View from under the ancient Buttercross towards High Street, Abbots Bromley
Getting There:-
By Air:-
Birmingham International Airport – 32 miles
East Midlands International Airport – 33 miles
Manchester International Airport – 50 miles
Heathrow (London) International Airport – 133 miles

Rail:-
Uttoxeter – 7.5 miles
Rugeley – 5.7 miles
Lichfield – 12 miles
Burton upon Trent – 11miles

Nearby:- Blithfield Reservoir,
the market towns of Rugeley, Lichfield, and Utoxeter and
Alton Towers Theme Park (17 miles)

See these web-sites for nearby attractions and info:-
www.abbotsbromley.com
www.alton-towers.co.uk
www.lichfield.gov.uk
www.eaststaffsbc.gov.uk





Published on Wednesday April 21th, 2004


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Mon, Aug 07 2006 - 09:10 AM rating by marianne

Brit,
What a graphic description and what beautiful photos. A true gem

Thu, Sep 29 2005 - 08:38 PM rating by eirekay

Brit, what wonderful pictures! Great report, with lots of terrific detail!
Eire

Tue, Apr 26 2005 - 05:29 PM rating by carolr

If you go on writing such good reports, these lovely places will fill up and not be so accessible! If I didn't already know it, I would have been charmed - and I am fascinated at the age of the "horns"!

Thu, Feb 10 2005 - 04:28 PM rating by davidx

At last I've got round to looking - it's a terrific report on what sounds a most interesting place.

Mon, Aug 23 2004 - 05:12 PM rating by nedkelly

Thanks Brit fella nice work

Thu, Apr 22 2004 - 06:55 AM rating by christianj.

Hi Brit, that's an interesting report with it's background informations and pictures. Thank you! It could be helpful if you add internet-Adresses of the town, the hotels .... Regards, Christian

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