Ryburn Longsword

Ryburn Longsword dancing at the Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing 2019 – St. Bart’s Ripponden.

Dancing at the Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing 2019 – Ryburn Longsword at St. Bart’s Ripponden, on 8 September.

Some people who watched us at the Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing in 2019 were obviously impressed because they came to talk to us about it. Their comments were like music to our ears: “intricate“, “complicated“, “impressive“, and “elegant“! Praise indeed!

Keep up to date with Ryburn Longsword on our Facebook page:

See Ryburn Longsword in 2019:
Our 2019 dancing-out season is nearly at an end, and we’ve had a wonderful time at festivals and events around and about. We’ve got two events left where you can come and see us:
Friday 1st November – we’ll be dancing at an evening Ceilidh at St. Thomas’s Church Hall in Greetland for the Motor Neurone Disease Association;
18 December – Ryburn Folk Club Christmas Party at the Malthouse in Rishworth.

Want to see what we’ve been doing?  Look HERE or download our Longsword 2019 programme


Longsword dance is a Yorkshire-based form of traditional dance performed by five, six or eight dancers dancing together in a circle, making a number of movements in which the dancers go over or under one of the swords. The dance normally ends with the production and display of a ‘lock’ where swords are intertwined in one of a variety of shapes.

Ryburn Longsword has been dancing since 1994. Some of our dances are traditional and come from villages across Yorkshire, others have been created by members of the group.


Members range in age from eleven to seventy, most of them living in the Ryburn Valley near Halifax in West Yorkshire. Most years we can be seen dancing at local events such as Spaw Sunday in Cragg Vale, Todmorden Folk Festival, Littleborough Rushbearing and Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing, and also at festivals and events further afield.

Sue Coe dancing with Ryburn Longsword at her EFDSS Gold Badge award on 16 November

If you would like to try Longsword dancing, please contact Sue Coe on 01422 822569.

We welcome dancers of all ages and abilities to our Wednesday evening practices which take place from 7.30pm to 9.00pm at 103 Oldham Road, Ripponden. We are very lucky to be able to dance to traditional live music for our practices, which are very friendly and informal.

The Ryburn Longsword Band. Photo: Bruce Fitzgerald

Our ultimate aim is to dance  with precision and style to public audiences, so dancers and musicians are encouraged to attend practice regularly.


Photo: Andy Day
Photo: Andy Day

Adult dancers wear a velvet surcoat or vest with applique panels showing scenes from the Ryburn Valley, which were originally designed and made by Chris Coe. Recently, new panels were created by Emma Smith, one of our dancers. The younger members wear velvet tabards whose backs show creatures found in the Ryburn valley. They were also designed by Chris in consultation with young people themselves. The beautiful colours of the velvet and satins combine to dramatic effect during the twists and turns of the dances, especially in sunlight.

More information about Ryburn Longsword activities can be found HERE.
And you can keep up to date on our Facebook page:

An Independent Folk Development Project in the Ryburn Valley