The history of Swalcliffe Village

Swalcliffe, At the end of the summer, when the hay and the harvests had been gathered in, Mr Norris gave a ‘harvest home’ to the people he employed Everyone in the house was allowed to ask two friends. The butler, the coachman, the head gardener and others came with their wives. The dancing was in the courtyard of the house, on the clean stone floor and a local fiddler supplied the music on his fiddle.

“Up the middle and down again”, was the merry tune to begin with. The dancers stood in long lines, men and women facing each other. They were led by the coachman and a granddaughter of the house on one occasion. Every movement in the dance was quick, “Hands across”, first one hand then the other was warmly grasped. Then they whirled away, first to one side and then to the other side, opposite to one couple, then to other, up the middle and down again with the partners together till, breathless, the dance ended. A large supper was spread in ‘the hall’ (which was distinguished from the ‘front Hall’) before the party ended.

At Christmas there was sometimes a dance in the kitchen. A story goes that on one occasion when the room was very full, the little fiddler was hoisted onto the dresser where a chair had been placed, to put him out of the way…. to read on click here>>>