A TRADITIONAL dance ceremony once again attracted hundreds of history enthusiasts to a small village near Uttoxeter.
The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, an iconic annual event in the Abbots Bromley village calendar, which is believed to date back to pagan fertility rituals, took place on Wakes Monday.
This is the oldest traditional rural ritual dance in the country, with the current reindeer horns used carbon-dated to more than a 1000 years old.
Originally the dance was held over three days, but is now just held on Wakes Monday.
The dance consists of a number of morris-type dancers from the village population - in the roles of six deer men, a hobby horse, a bowman, and Maid Marian.
The dancers follow a 10-mile course and perform the ritual in a selection of 12 different locations in and around the village, accompanied by a musician who plays tunes on a melodeon and another on a triangle.
The deer men who make up the dance spend 12 hours wearing sets of antlers that range in weight from 16 pounds to a huge 25 pounds for the Leader’s Horns.
Since the early 1800s, the Fowell family of Abbots Bromley have been the lead deer men.
The rituals are always guaranteed to bring tourists from far and wide to the area, for a ‘fascinating day out’.
Attractions during the day included exhibitions, craft stalls and, of course, the local pubs.
Further information on the horn dance and it’s origins can be found online at http://www.abbotsbromley.com/horn_dance