Mudcat Café message #2540039 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #117529   Message #2540039
Posted By: MikeofNorthumbria
15-Jan-09 - 05:49 AM
Thread Name: Morris joins the Dodo?
Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
Regarding a possible Bacup-Cornwall connection: what follows is only hearsay plus speculation, but for what it's worth

A few years ago, when his side and mine happened to be dancing at the same festival, I asked one of the Bacup dancers about the origin of their kit. He said they believed the general idea for it had come from Cornwall, by way of a Bacup man who saw someone dressed as a "Moorish Pirate" in a carnival procession down there, sometime in the 19th century.

This story might repay further investigation. There is plenty of historical evidence that during the Middle Ages (and even on into the 1500s and 1600s) Cornish fishing villages were often raided by Moorish pirates. These corsairs carried off anyone they could catch, and if their relatives couldn't afford a ransom, the captives were sold in the slave markets of North Africa.

So, it would be understandable if a "Moorish Pirate" had appeared alongside other costumed figures in a 19th century Cornish carnival procession. And if someone from Bacup had been there to see, why shouldn't they have taken the idea home with them? As yet I've seen nothing in print to support this hypothesis but perhaps better informed catters may have. Any suggestions?

Wassail!