The Britannia Coconutters.
We are beyond excited and very honoured to have The Britannia Coconutters at The Clog Market. They will dance at our Christmas market, Saturday November 25th on the town square in Rawtenstall. Clog Market is all about heritage and traditions so this makes our last market of the year extra special.
Read about the Britannia Coconutters here.
Here’s what the Britannia Coconutters have to say (edited from the website) –
“Garland dances open and close the seasons whereas nut dances and figures – portray a story from when the men got trapped down the mines. Dances performed are ‘folk dances’. It is thought that the custom of blackened faces reflect a pagan tradition as a disguise from the evil spirits / and also because of the mining connections.
Clarity on historical tales, relayed by word of mouth, does not exist. However – the dances are known to be originated from Moorish pirates. Costume are what Moorish pirates would have worn.
Moorish pirates originated from North Africa and are said to have settled in Cornwall where they became employed in the local mines. As mines and quarries opened in Lancashire in the 18th & 19th centenary some of the Cornish men headed north. They brought their mining expertise with them. It is with these men these dances were, reputedly, brought into this area. In particular by two men who came to work in Whitworth. (this was relayed by a former team member many years ago).
Dances spread throughout Rossendale and around the turn of the century there were at least four troupes. One of which was the Tunstead Mill troop who celebrated their half century in 1907. From this troop – the Britannia Coconut Dancers descend”.