Collection date: Sept 1911
Edward Mitchell, informant for Spelsbury morris sides (see also Rachel Sturdy profile): aged 79, Mitchell was not a dancer himself but he could remember the men’s side dancing. They continued dancing into the 1840s but he never saw the women’s side, as they ceased in the early 1830s. He was interviewed by Sharp in Sept 1911 and said that his parents had told him a lot about the women's side (see Folk Dance Notes 2/47). Sharp was, of course, unable to reconstruct the Spelsbury dances, as no surviving dancers remained.
Sharp started his Folk Dance Notes books in the summer of 1909 and in 1910 he received the 1894 research notes of Percy Manning, the Oxford antiquarian. He transcribed details into his Folk Dance Notes vol2 and information on the Spelsbury women’s side is on p123 as follows: ‘About 70 years ago (i.e. 1820s) a set of women morris dancers used to dance on WhitMonday. They were mostly farmers’ daughters, girls of 18-20…they wore headdresses of ribbons and flowers, short skirts and bells on their legs of the same kind as those worn by the men…one day they danced on the top of the tower. This information was supplied by John Corbett, 88, of Spelsbury Aug 1894.'
Edward Mitchell was baptised at Spelsbury on 30/9/1832, son of John Mitchell, labourer and his wife Mary. He married Ann Smith on 31/3/1858 and they had 6 children, 2 of whom died young. His date of death is yet to be determined.