TĘPPA'S TUMP NORTH WEST MORRIS DANCE TEAM FORMED ON THE 13th JANUARY 1981. BASED IN MAIDENHEAD BERKSHIRE.
Documented by Viv Rushton (Foreman) February 2006
After watching the local Ellington morris men dancing, Shani Houltby, who was a schoolgirl at the time, and a member of Maidenhead Folk Club, decided it was something she would like to do. She provided the initial spark to start a ladies morris dance team to dance the Northwest style of morris, that had its origins in Cheshire and Lancashire, rather than the Cotswold style danced by Ellington. She liked the history and the old traditions.
Shani and some interested friends from the folk club approached the men about joining, but they were not keen on including women, so the girls decided to form their own team. They put notices in the library and travelled round the local folk clubs, to put the word around requesting ladies to dance, and men and women to form a band. Shani was the only one out of the original group that never danced out with the team. She left within her first year. Maybe a dream that never became true
Tęppa's first few practices took place at Furze Platt Memorial hall. They then moved to Clifford's diaries staff canteen within a couple of weeks, as it was free of charge. They soon grew out of that, and moved once again into a room at the Stag and Hounds at Pinkneys Green. Within a short space of time they had to move on because of space, back to Furze Platt Memorial hall, in Furze Platt Road, Maidenhead, where they are still practicing twenty-five years on. Pat and Alan Simpson from Flowers of May taught them the Northwest steps, and Ashton and Knutsford, Tęppa's first two dances. Roy Dommett spent a day teaching dances, and Mac McClaren from Mayflowers/Pilgrim Morris came along to a few practices with more dances. Now they were up and running and raring to go!!!
They soon formed a committee, and voted in the traditional positions: - Viv Rushton for Squire who leads the team, Angela Spufford as Foreman (the only member who had ever Morris danced before) and Ruth Sanderson as the Bagman (treasurer and booking office)
With so many very enthusiastic members the team were soon dancing out. First they had to choose a name for the team. Tęppa's Tump's name was taken from an old term for one of the area's outstanding archaeological sites, the burial mound of "Tęppa" a Saxon chieftain who gave his name to Taplow. The mound was opened at the end of the last century and yielded a collection of Saxon grave goods, which are now in the British museum and are second only to the Sutton Hoo burial hoard.
Next thing on the agenda was a costume, this was a difficult one, with fourteen women, and fourteen different idea's. !!! The original costume was white blouses, and burgundy shift dresses. As these ended up looking like maternity clothes, it was changed after a year or so to burgundy shirts and emerald green aprons. The band over the years changed their uniform too, and most of them ended up with burgundy shirts and white trousers.
The team's first performance was on the 28th August 1981. They danced in Maidenhead town centre, and at the burial mound of Tęppa in Taplow. By then there were twelve to fourteen dancers and quite a big band.
They soon started getting bookings and performing at folk clubs. In June 1982 they danced at their first festival. The Berkshire Midsummer folk festival. They were even featured on the front page of the Hobgoblin music catalogue 1982/83. What an achievement in one year.
1984 They were hitting the folk festivals big time!!! There was no stopping them now.
1986 Saw Tęppa's Tump dancing in Bologne and being treated to drinks all round by a local bar. They danced at Sidmouth International Folk Festival.
1987 They attended the Morris Federation AGM weekend at Crystal Palace.
1988 At the request of Windsor Morris, the team hosted, for several days, 'Ha penny Morris' a ladies 'Cotswold' team who were touring from the Boston area U.S.A. This gave them the opportunity to sample the various styles of dance being performed by local teams.
1995 They had a return visit to Sidmouth Folk Festival, also running a North West Morris workshop there.
1996 At short notice Tęppa's Tump ran the Morris Federation AGM. They hired a school in Windsor for the weekend, and twenty-two teams came from all over the UK. The Mayor attended to welcome our guests. We only panicked a lot during that time.
We only panicked a lot during that time.
Tęppa's have danced at many festivals over the years including Beverley, Bracknell, Chippenham, Hastings, Kirtlington Lamb Ale, Nettlebed, Towersey, Rochester, Wimbourne, Upton On Severn. Each year since formation the team has nominated a charity to support, and over the period they have collected a considerable amount for those charities.
2004 Tęppa's Tump was invited to Gibraltar to join in the celebrations of their tercentenary. 300 years of independence from Spain. They took over the local hostel and spent their time dancing and visiting the sites. They were featured on Gibraltar's television, and local newspapers. When they left they donated all of their collection the local children's charity. A wonderful time was had by all. We all look forward to being invited again in 2304 !!
We all look forward to being invited again in 2304 !!
2005 They attended the Morris Federation AGM held in Hastings.
2006 Was Tęppa's Tump's 25th anniversary. In August they performed at the World Rowing Championship at Dorney Lake, near Eton. This was also the year that Viv, who had been Squire for 6 years and Foreman for 20 years, stepped down to the younger generation. Looking forward to taking a 'back seat' the team, however, decided that she should be publicity & keeper of the scrap-book. So much for a quiet life !
2007 Tęppa's donated £384 to "The Parapet Breast Cancer Clinic" in Windsor.
2008 The charity chosen for the year is "Rosie's Rainbow Fund". Rosie was a very musically talented 11 year old girl, a student of the local Redroofs theatre school, that had been founded by her Grandmother, and was run by her family. In 2002 she became ill and was diagnosed as having vasculitis, a rare and devastating illness that affects the blood vessels. Whilst undergoing hospital treatment she decided that when she recovered she would raise money for sick children in hospital. Sadly Rosie never got the opportunity as she died in 2003. Following her tragic death her parents and sister determined to make Rosie's dream come true, and so formed the charity "Rosie's Rainbow Fund" for the benefit of other sick children. www.rosiesrainbowfund.co.uk
2008 In July we have been asked by the mainly expat community of the French village of Viry, near Lyon, to perform at their famous "English Tea Party" This has become an annual event enjoyed by the many visitors who attend to ' take tea'. We follow in the steps of The Merrydowners Morris from Harrow. Though the thought of Morris and Tea is a little disconcerting.