ProcessionRoute MapDance Order

Potty Festival

Sat 6th July 2019


Procession through Sheringham Town

10.30 - 12.45

Dancing round town

13.00 - 14.00

Sheringham Shantymen at Lifeboat Plain

14.00 - 17.30

Dancing around the town then all together at the Lifeboat Plain


Sing around in the Little Theatre Hub.

Sun 7th July

10.30 - 13.30 (approx)

In morning - dancing from the Town Clock to the Promenade
In the afternoon - dancing in the Main Arena only

July 6th & 7th 2024

Guinness World Record July 2018

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Reg Grimes - Founder

Potted History

The Potty Festival was started by the Lobster Potties Morris dancers in 1993, by Reg Grimes the then Squire (Chairman), Clive Rayment Foreman (Dance teacher) and Penny Shepherd Bagman (Treasurer), as a way of saying thank you to the sides that had invited the Potties to visit them for a weekend of dance. So the following year in July with Briggate Morris, Belchamp and Old Bull Morris, we set forth on a coach tour of North Norfolk stopping off and dancing at various spots along the way.

The weekend proved such a success that it was decided to hold it again the following year. And so it began. Firstly in a small way inviting one or two more sides and still travelling out and about. Two years later it was decided to make it a static event along the lines of the Rochester Sweeps Festival which we had first been invited to in 1993 and had enjoyed meeting and making new friends there.

Early Days

To begin with the sides just danced in Sheringham High Street and Lifeboat Plain. We relied on donation/sponsorship from the town council and the Lobster Landlords Barry and Jill Horner to help fund the festival.

Gradually over the years the Festival has grown and grown with more sides coming along each year, including several European groups, so much so that we now also have to close and use more roads to fit everyone in.

Because of this increase we now have to restrict the number of sides we can safely have coming to the festival to about forty four.

Development into a Sheringham Festival (aka Potties)

In 2013 after 27 years the Lobster Potties sadly disbanded due to the lack of dancers, but it was decided by several ex-Potties not to let the festival go the same way. A new committee was formed to keep the festival alive now headed by Clive Rayment (ex squire) as chairman. We intend to build on the experiences gained over the years.

With the help of the traders and townspeople the festival now draws a large crowd of visitors and holiday makers into Sheringham each July. Its popularity with the dancers and visitors keeps them coming back, some booking their holidays to coincide with the festival each year.

Incredible as it may seem, 2018 will be the 25th Anniversary of the Potty Festival  here in Sheringham, we've come a long way since our early beginnings in 1993.

Guinness World Record 2018

To celebrate our 25th anniversary in 2018, it was decided to have a go at the Guinness World Record for the Largest Number of Dancers all doing the Same Dance at the same time. Everything was meticulously planned and the attempt took place on the Saturday morning of the Festival.  

On the 17th  September 2018, it was confirmed by Guinness that the Potty Festival with the help of 369 Morris Dancers from 33 sides, had set a new world record for the Largest Morris Dance. An amazing feat by any standard.

Thanks to everyone that helped us achieve this record.        

The Sides who took part were :-
Aald Heilpen, Alive & Kicking,  AnnieMation, Bakanalia Border, Barley Brigg, Beorma Border, Black Pig Border, Bows 'n' Belles, Briggate, Bury Fair, Crosskey Clog, Danegeld, Dark Horse Morris, Fenstanton, Fiddlesticks, Gong Scourers, Green Dragon, Holt Ridge Morris, Hoxon Hundred, Kemp's Men, Lady Bay Revellers, Little Egypt, Loose Women, Manor Mill, Peterborough Morris,
Pretty Grim, Rattlejag, Rumburgh Morris, Slack Ma Girdle, Sutton Masque, Westefelda, Wicket Brood, and Young Miscellany.

In 2020 and 2021 the Festival had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We are now back  up and running.

On this weekend we would love to hear your comments and see your photos and videos on Google Maps.

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Illustration of William Kempe Morris dancing from London to Norwich in 1600

History in England

While the earliest (15th-century) references place the Morris dance in a courtly setting, it appears that the dance became part of performances for the lower classes by the later 16th century; in 1600, the Shakespearean actor William Kempe Morris danced from London to Norwich, an event chronicled in his Nine Daies Wonder (1600).

Almost nothing is known about the folk dances of England prior to the mid-17th century. While it is possible to speculate on the transition of "Morris dancing" from the courtly to a rural setting, it may have acquired elements of pre-Elizabethan (medieval) folk dance, such proposals will always be based on an argument from silence as there is no direct record of what such elements would have looked like. In the Elizabethan period, there was significant cultural contact between Italy and England, and it has been suggested that much of what is now considered traditional English folk dance, and especially English country dance, is descended from Italian dances imported in the 16th century.

By the mid 17th century, the working peasantry took part in Morris dances, especially at Whitsun. The Puritan government of Oliver Cromwell, however, suppressed Whitsun ales and other such festivities. When the crown was restored by Charles II, the springtime festivals were restored. In particular, Whitsun Ales came to be celebrated on Whitsunday (Pentecost), as the date was close to the birthday of Charles II.

Morris dancing continued in popularity until the industrial revolution and its accompanying social changes. Four teams claim a continuous lineage[clarification needed] of tradition within their village or town: Abingdon (their Morris team was kept going by the Hemmings family), Bampton, Headington Quarry, and Chipping Campden. Other villages have revived their own traditions, and hundreds of other teams across the globe have adopted (and adapted) these traditions, or have created their own styles from the basic building blocks of Morris stepping and figures.


Cotswold Morris:

dances from an area mostly in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire; an established misnomer, since the Cotswolds overlap this region only partially. Normally danced with handkerchiefs or sticks to accompany the hand movements. Dances are usually for 6 or 8 dancers, but solo and duo dances (known as single or double jigs) also occur.

North West Morris:

More military in style and often processional, that developed out of the mills in the North-West of England in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Border Morris:

From the English-Welsh border: a simpler, looser, more vigorous style, traditionally danced with blackened faces.

Longsword dancing:

From Yorkshire and south Durham, danced with long, rigid metal or wooden swords for, usually, 6 or 8 dancers.


From Northumberland and Co. Durham, danced with short flexible sprung steel swords, usually for five dancers.

Molly Dancing:

From Cambridgeshire. Traditionally danced on Plough Monday, they were Feast dances that were danced to collect money during harsh winters. One of the dancers would be dressed as a woman, hence the name. Joseph Needham identified two separate families of Molly dances, one from three villages in the Cambridge area and one from two in the Ely area.

(The above is extracted from this Wikipedia reference)

Sides on Show

potty festival Sides

Booking for 2024 opens on the 1st November 2023

Dates for next year are 6th and 7th July.
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