Grenoside Sword Dancers

The Village Walking Tour

This year's Traipse programme

On the Saturday after the first Sunday in January, the team tours the village on foot, dancing at different locations. The first ‘Traipse’ as it has come to be affectionately known, took place on 8 January, 1994.  It was an attempt to recreate, in a modest way, the well-documented walking tours of previous teams.

Early records confirm that the Grenoside team used to tour a large area on foot, visiting many of the large houses en-route. It is reported that tours would begin on or around Christmas Eve and continue to the end of January.

The 'tribute' was considerable and an article in the Pall Mall Gazette, recalling a visit by the team to Wortley Hall in 1895, reports that each man could expect between 30 and 35 shillings over the thirty-day period.

After the Great War, the length and duration of the walking tours were less ambitious than those reported in 1895.  However, in an interview with John Mitchell circa 1973, Harrington Housely, who danced with the Grenoside Sword Dancers for 51 years, said

"The team would go for many miles on foot to perform for the local gentry, calling at all the public houses on the way. Even if they arrived home at 2 or 3 in the morning, they still insisted on their white trousers being washed and pressed for the next day’s outing."

Eventually, Boxing Day became the focal point of the Christmas outings.  Fred Myers, who also danced with the team for over 50 years, recalls his first Boxing Day tour in 1937:

"At 11am, the Captain rapped on the door of Sharp’s shop and the dance began.  After that, we rolled our white trousers up over our knees and were ready to start our round, dancing at all the big houses, Greno Lodge, Whitley Hall, Chapletown Club and Dr Moles at Ecclesfield, where we finished our long and tiring day.  I would like to add, that we walked from place to place."

The traditional outing has been slimmed down even further to a single event outside the Old Harrow on Main St. where guest teams are invited and the Grenoside dance is performed twice in front of large crowds on Boxing Day morning. 

In addition to Boxing Day, the Traipse is an attempt to promote the dance in the village and gather to it friends and benefactors and, it is hoped, some new recruits.

This year's Traipse programme

Joe Dunn, Grenoside, Jan. 2006