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Taken at the Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival www.strawbear.org.uk/ . More information on the Pig Dyke Mollys can be found here <a href="http://www.pigdyke.co.uk/" View largerel="nofollow">www.pigdyke.co.uk/

Fenland entertainers who travel from village to village, playing music and dancing in the streets. Dressed in black and white, their faces made up so they're hardly recognisable. And the historical significance is found here - www.pigdyke.co.uk/what-is-molly.php

The 35th Straw Bear Festival

Pig Dyke Molly

 

www.pigdyke.co.uk/index.php

 

In Whittlesea, from when no one quite knows, it was the custom on the Tuesday following Plough Monday (the 1st Monday after Twelfth Night) to dress one of the confraternity of the plough in straw and call him a 'Straw Bear'. A newspaper of 1882 reports that "... he was then taken around the town to entertain by his frantic and clumsy gestures the good folk who had on the previous day subscribed to the rustics, a spread of beer, tobacco and beef".

 

The tradition fell into decline at the end of the 19th century, the last sighting being in 1909 as it appears that an over-zealous police inspector had forbidden 'Straw Bears' as a form of cadging.

 

Revival

 

The custom was revived in 1980 by the Whittlesea Society, and for the first time in seventy years a 'Straw Bear' was seen on the streets accompanied by his attendant keeper, musicians and dancers, about 30 in all. Various public houses were visited around the town as convenient places for the 'Bear' and dancers to perform in front of an audience - with much needed refreshment available.

 

www.strawbear.org.uk/

 

In Whittlesea, from when no one quite knows, it was the custom on the Tuesday following Plough Monday (the 1st Monday after Twelfth Night) to dress one of the confraternity of the plough in straw and call him a 'Straw Bear'. A newspaper of 1882 reports that "... he was then taken around the town to entertain by his frantic and clumsy gestures the good folk who had on the previous day subscribed to the rustics, a spread of beer, tobacco and beef".

 

The bear was described as having great lengths of tightly twisted straw bands prepared and wound up the arms, legs and body of the man or boy who was unfortunate enough to have been chosen. Two sticks fastened to his shoulders met a point over his head and the straw wound round upon them to form a cone above the "Bear's" head. The face was quite covered and he could hardly see. A tail was provided and a strong chain fastened around the armpits. He was made to dance in front of houses and gifts of money or of beer and food for later consumption was expected. It seems that he was considered important, as straw was carefully selected each year, from the best available, the harvesters saying, "That'll do for the Bear".

 

The tradition fell into decline at the end of the 19th century, the last sighting being in 1909 as it appears that an over-zealous police inspector had forbidden 'Straw Bears' as a form of cadging.

The tradition was revived in 1980

more details of the whgittlesea Straw Bear Festival can be seen on various web sites,

this is one

 

www.strawbear.org.uk/

 

www.pigdyke.co.uk/

The 32nd Straw Bear Festival

Pig Dyke Molly

 

www.pigdyke.co.uk/index.php

 

In Whittlesea, from when no one quite knows, it was the custom on the Tuesday following Plough Monday (the 1st Monday after Twelfth Night) to dress one of the confraternity of the plough in straw and call him a 'Straw Bear'. A newspaper of 1882 reports that "... he was then taken around the town to entertain by his frantic and clumsy gestures the good folk who had on the previous day subscribed to the rustics, a spread of beer, tobacco and beef".

 

The tradition fell into decline at the end of the 19th century, the last sighting being in 1909 as it appears that an over-zealous police inspector had forbidden 'Straw Bears' as a form of cadging.

 

Revival

 

The custom was revived in 1980 by the Whittlesea Society, and for the first time in seventy years a 'Straw Bear' was seen on the streets accompanied by his attendant keeper, musicians and dancers, about 30 in all. Various public houses were visited around the town as convenient places for the 'Bear' and dancers to perform in front of an audience - with much needed refreshment available.

 

www.strawbear.org.uk/

 

Candid of a molly dance performer.

Bronica SQ-A camera

Zenzanon PS 150mm f/4 lens

Ilford HP5+ medium format film

Rodinal

Crop in Gimp.

Pig Dyke Molly

 

Pig Dyke's dances are loosely based on the collected molly dances. The collected dances are very simple and repetitive, and the approach of most currently active molly teams is to use those dances as a starting point and develop them to make them more interesting. It's very much a "make it up yourself" tradition (and always was).

We don't publish our dances. We'd rather you did what we did and make up your own. You can get some ideas by watching us and other molly teams. As for music - anything that works, including making up your own!

 

www.pigdyke.co.uk/index.php

  

www.strawbear.org.uk/

Whittlesea Straw Bear 2014

 

The 35thStraw Bear Festival

Pig Dyke Molly

 

www.pigdyke.co.uk/index.php

 

In Whittlesea, from when no one quite knows, it was the custom on the Tuesday following Plough Monday (the 1st Monday after Twelfth Night) to dress one of the confraternity of the plough in straw and call him a 'Straw Bear'. A newspaper of 1882 reports that "... he was then taken around the town to entertain by his frantic and clumsy gestures the good folk who had on the previous day subscribed to the rustics, a spread of beer, tobacco and beef".

 

The tradition fell into decline at the end of the 19th century, the last sighting being in 1909 as it appears that an over-zealous police inspector had forbidden 'Straw Bears' as a form of cadging.

 

Revival

 

The custom was revived in 1980 by the Whittlesea Society, and for the first time in seventy years a 'Straw Bear' was seen on the streets accompanied by his attendant keeper, musicians and dancers, about 30 in all. Various public houses were visited around the town as convenient places for the 'Bear' and dancers to perform in front of an audience - with much needed refreshment available.

 

www.strawbear.org.uk/

 

From Peterborough, Pig Dyke Molly...

The 32nd Straw Bear Festival

 

Pig Dyke Molly

 

www.pigdyke.co.uk/index.php

 

200-1 my orse in the 2-30ish Newmarket tomorrow!

 

In Whittlesea, from when no one quite knows, it was the custom on the Tuesday following Plough Monday (the 1st Monday after Twelfth Night) to dress one of the confraternity of the plough in straw and call him a 'Straw Bear'. A newspaper of 1882 reports that "... he was then taken around the town to entertain by his frantic and clumsy gestures the good folk who had on the previous day subscribed to the rustics, a spread of beer, tobacco and beef".

 

The tradition fell into decline at the end of the 19th century, the last sighting being in 1909 as it appears that an over-zealous police inspector had forbidden 'Straw Bears' as a form of cadging.

 

Revival

 

The custom was revived in 1980 by the Whittlesea Society, and for the first time in seventy years a 'Straw Bear' was seen on the streets accompanied by his attendant keeper, musicians and dancers, about 30 in all. Various public houses were visited around the town as convenient places for the 'Bear' and dancers to perform in front of an audience - with much needed refreshment available.

 

www.strawbear.org.uk/

 

tlesThe 32nd Straw Bear Festival

Pig Dyke Molly

 

www.pigdyke.co.uk/index.php

 

In Whittlesea, from when no one quite knows, it was the custom on the Tuesday following Plough Monday (the 1st Monday after Twelfth Night) to dress one of the confraternity of the plough in straw and call him a 'Straw Bear'. A newspaper of 1882 reports that "... he was then taken around the town to entertain by his frantic and clumsy gestures the good folk who had on the previous day subscribed to the rustics, a spread of beer, tobacco and beef".

 

The tradition fell into decline at the end of the 19th century, the last sighting being in 1909 as it appears that an over-zealous police inspector had forbidden 'Straw Bears' as a form of cadging.

 

Revival

 

The custom was revived in 1980 by the Whittlesea Society, and for the first time in seventy years a 'Straw Bear' was seen on the streets accompanied by his attendant keeper, musicians and dancers, about 30 in all. Various public houses were visited around the town as convenient places for the 'Bear' and dancers to perform in front of an audience - with much needed refreshment available.

 

www.strawbear.org.uk/

 

The 32nd Straw Bear Festival

Pig Dyke Molly

 

www.pigdyke.co.uk/index.php

 

In Whittlesea, from when no one quite knows, it was the custom on the Tuesday following Plough Monday (the 1st Monday after Twelfth Night) to dress one of the confraternity of the plough in straw and call him a 'Straw Bear'. A newspaper of 1882 reports that "... he was then taken around the town to entertain by his frantic and clumsy gestures the good folk who had on the previous day subscribed to the rustics, a spread of beer, tobacco and beef".

 

The tradition fell into decline at the end of the 19th century, the last sighting being in 1909 as it appears that an over-zealous police inspector had forbidden 'Straw Bears' as a form of cadging.

 

Revival

 

The custom was revived in 1980 by the Whittlesea Society, and for the first time in seventy years a 'Straw Bear' was seen on the streets accompanied by his attendant keeper, musicians and dancers, about 30 in all. Various public houses were visited around the town as convenient places for the 'Bear' and dancers to perform in front of an audience - with much needed refreshment available.

 

www.strawbear.org.uk/

 

If there were prizes for painted faces, Pig Dyke would sweep the dancefloor !

Pig Dyke Molly, Straw Bear Festival, Whittlesey, 10 Jan 2015

Pig Dyke Molly

 

Pig Dyke's dances are loosely based on the collected molly dances. The collected dances are very simple and repetitive, and the approach of most currently active molly teams is to use those dances as a starting point and develop them to make them more interesting. It's very much a "make it up yourself" tradition (and always was).

We don't publish our dances. We'd rather you did what we did and make up your own. You can get some ideas by watching us and other molly teams. As for music - anything that works, including making up your own!

 

www.pigdyke.co.uk/index.php

  

www.strawbear.org.uk/

 

The 32nd Straw Bear Festival

Pig Dyke Molly

 

www.pigdyke.co.uk/index.php

 

In Whittlesea, from when no one quite knows, it was the custom on the Tuesday following Plough Monday (the 1st Monday after Twelfth Night) to dress one of the confraternity of the plough in straw and call him a 'Straw Bear'. A newspaper of 1882 reports that "... he was then taken around the town to entertain by his frantic and clumsy gestures the good folk who had on the previous day subscribed to the rustics, a spread of beer, tobacco and beef".

 

The tradition fell into decline at the end of the 19th century, the last sighting being in 1909 as it appears that an over-zealous police inspector had forbidden 'Straw Bears' as a form of cadging.

 

Revival

 

The custom was revived in 1980 by the Whittlesea Society, and for the first time in seventy years a 'Straw Bear' was seen on the streets accompanied by his attendant keeper, musicians and dancers, about 30 in all. Various public houses were visited around the town as convenient places for the 'Bear' and dancers to perform in front of an audience - with much needed refreshment available.

 

www.strawbear.org.uk/

 

Pig Dyke Molly, Straw Bear Festival, Whittlesey, 10 Jan 2015

View on Black

 

The 32nd Straw Bear Festival

Pig Dyke Molly

 

www.pigdyke.co.uk/index.php

 

In Whittlesea, from when no one quite knows, it was the custom on the Tuesday following Plough Monday (the 1st Monday after Twelfth Night) to dress one of the confraternity of the plough in straw and call him a 'Straw Bear'. A newspaper of 1882 reports that "... he was then taken around the town to entertain by his frantic and clumsy gestures the good folk who had on the previous day subscribed to the rustics, a spread of beer, tobacco and beef".

 

The tradition fell into decline at the end of the 19th century, the last sighting being in 1909 as it appears that an over-zealous police inspector had forbidden 'Straw Bears' as a form of cadging.

 

Revival

 

The custom was revived in 1980 by the Whittlesea Society, and for the first time in seventy years a 'Straw Bear' was seen on the streets accompanied by his attendant keeper, musicians and dancers, about 30 in all. Various public houses were visited around the town as convenient places for the 'Bear' and dancers to perform in front of an audience - with much needed refreshment available.

 

www.strawbear.org.uk/

 

This woman handled a puppet dog. She complained to me that people always took photos of the dog, but never her. So here's her photo. I hope she sees it.

 

Pig Dyke Molly at the Straw Bear Festival, Whittlesey, Cambridge, UK.

 

www.pigdyke.co.uk/

 

www.strawbear.org.uk/

Pig Dyke Molly come from the Cambridgshire Fens. Wearing striking black and white costumes, they were dancing in The Square, Shrewsbury, as part of the Shrewsbury Folk Festival.

 

www.pigdyke.co.uk

Holmfirth Folk Festival 2019, Photograph Wendy North

38th Whittlesey Straw Bear 2017

www.pigdyke.co.uk/index.php

 

In Whittlesea, from when no one quite knows, it was the custom on the Tuesday following Plough Monday (the 1st Monday after Twelfth Night) to dress one of the confraternity of the plough in straw and call him a 'Straw Bear'. A newspaper of 1882 reports that "... he was then taken around the town to entertain by his frantic and clumsy gestures the good folk who had on the previous day subscribed to the rustics, a spread of beer, tobacco and beef".

 

The tradition fell into decline at the end of the 19th century, the last sighting being in 1909 as it appears that an over-zealous police inspector had forbidden 'Straw Bears' as a form of cadging.

 

Revival

 

The custom was revived in 1980 by the Whittlesea Society, and for the first time in seventy years a 'Straw Bear' was seen on the streets accompanied by his attendant keeper, musicians and dancers, about 30 in all. Various public houses were visited around the town as convenient places for the 'Bear' and dancers to perform in front of an audience - with much needed refreshment available.

 

www.strawbear.org.uk/

  

Pig Dyke Molly at the Straw Bear Festival, Whittlesey, Cambridge, UK.

 

www.pigdyke.co.uk/

 

www.strawbear.org.uk/

Holmfirth Folk Festival 2019, Photograph Wendy North

(No sex, please, they're British.)

38th Whittlesey Straw Bear 2017

www.pigdyke.co.uk/index.php

 

In Whittlesea, from when no one quite knows, it was the custom on the Tuesday following Plough Monday (the 1st Monday after Twelfth Night) to dress one of the confraternity of the plough in straw and call him a 'Straw Bear'. A newspaper of 1882 reports that "... he was then taken around the town to entertain by his frantic and clumsy gestures the good folk who had on the previous day subscribed to the rustics, a spread of beer, tobacco and beef".

 

The tradition fell into decline at the end of the 19th century, the last sighting being in 1909 as it appears that an over-zealous police inspector had forbidden 'Straw Bears' as a form of cadging.

 

Revival

 

The custom was revived in 1980 by the Whittlesea Society, and for the first time in seventy years a 'Straw Bear' was seen on the streets accompanied by his attendant keeper, musicians and dancers, about 30 in all. Various public houses were visited around the town as convenient places for the 'Bear' and dancers to perform in front of an audience - with much needed refreshment available.

 

www.strawbear.org.uk/

  

Holmfirth Folk Festival 2019, Photograph Wendy North

members of Pig Dyke Molly a morris dancing group from Peterborough www.pigdyke.co.uk; impressive make-up and costumes; not your usual men with sticks!

Holmfirth Folk Festival 2019, Photograph Wendy North

Holmfirth Folk Festival 2019, Photograph Wendy North

Holmfirth Folk Festival 2019, Photograph Wendy North

Holmfirth Folk Festival 2019, Photograph Wendy North

Holmfirth Folk Festival 2019, Photograph Wendy North

And who said that man could not multi task?

38th Whittlesey Straw Bear 2017

www.pigdyke.co.uk/index.php

 

In Whittlesea, from when no one quite knows, it was the custom on the Tuesday following Plough Monday (the 1st Monday after Twelfth Night) to dress one of the confraternity of the plough in straw and call him a 'Straw Bear'. A newspaper of 1882 reports that "... he was then taken around the town to entertain by his frantic and clumsy gestures the good folk who had on the previous day subscribed to the rustics, a spread of beer, tobacco and beef".

 

The tradition fell into decline at the end of the 19th century, the last sighting being in 1909 as it appears that an over-zealous police inspector had forbidden 'Straw Bears' as a form of cadging.

 

Revival

 

The custom was revived in 1980 by the Whittlesea Society, and for the first time in seventy years a 'Straw Bear' was seen on the streets accompanied by his attendant keeper, musicians and dancers, about 30 in all. Various public houses were visited around the town as convenient places for the 'Bear' and dancers to perform in front of an audience - with much needed refreshment available.

 

www.strawbear.org.uk/

  

38th Whittlesey Straw Bear 2017

www.pigdyke.co.uk/index.php

 

In Whittlesea, from when no one quite knows, it was the custom on the Tuesday following Plough Monday (the 1st Monday after Twelfth Night) to dress one of the confraternity of the plough in straw and call him a 'Straw Bear'. A newspaper of 1882 reports that "... he was then taken around the town to entertain by his frantic and clumsy gestures the good folk who had on the previous day subscribed to the rustics, a spread of beer, tobacco and beef".

 

The tradition fell into decline at the end of the 19th century, the last sighting being in 1909 as it appears that an over-zealous police inspector had forbidden 'Straw Bears' as a form of cadging.

 

Revival

 

The custom was revived in 1980 by the Whittlesea Society, and for the first time in seventy years a 'Straw Bear' was seen on the streets accompanied by his attendant keeper, musicians and dancers, about 30 in all. Various public houses were visited around the town as convenient places for the 'Bear' and dancers to perform in front of an audience - with much needed refreshment available.

 

www.strawbear.org.uk/

  

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