Longsword activities

Ryburn Longsword’s 2018 season starts this coming Sunday 7 January, when we travel to Durham for the Plough Sunday celebrations.

See us in Durham Market Place at 1.30, and then in the Cathedral.

Past Ryburn Longsword appearances:

Ryburn Longsword at Hebden Bridge Day of Dance 22 October 2017

The second Hebden Bridge Day of Dance took place over the weekend of Friday October 20th to October 22nd. A full and varied programme of 26 dance events was hosted in four venues including the Town Hall where Ryburn Longsword gave a workshop in traditional Yorkshire Longsword dancing on the Sunday morning. Despite the flood warnings for Hebden Bridge on the Saturday and the steady drizzle that persisted on Sunday morning, a group of about 15 festival-goers turned up.

Longsword Workshop in Hebden Bridge 22 October 2017. Photo: Steve Jones.

Sue Coe was in charge and divided up the novices into three groups adding a couple of Ryburn Longsworders to each group. After a brief introduction to Yorkshire Longsword, a few words on Longsword safety and five minutes of gentle stretching exercises, Sue taught a few figures from the North Skelton dance. Despite displaying a range of dancing abilities, the attendees soon picked up the basics of the dance and the 90 minute workshop sped by.
Festival director Ralph had joined the group for the majority of the workshop and thanked Sue, Ryburn Longsworders and band (which included concertina player Gill Baldwin) for a stimulating and interesting session.

Ripponden Village Dance 29 September 2017

Read the REVIEW of the Ripponden Village Dance organised by Ryburn Longsword on 29 September.

Sowerby Bridge Rushcart 2 & 3 September 2017

Ryburn Longsword was delighted and privileged to be invited to dance at the Sowerby Bridge Rushcart Festival  on Saturday and Sunday 2nd and 3rd September.

Ryburn Longsword at the Sowerby Bridge Rushcart September 2017. Photo: Andy Day
The Sowerby Bridge Rushcart, September 2017. Photo: Andy Day

This was the 41st Festival since the Rushcart tradition was revived in 1977 and it was a wonderful spectacle over the two days. On Saturday we started dancing in Warley and then processed in the fine sunny weather down into Sowerby Bridge, stopping at intervals on the way to dance. On Sunday we started in Sowerby and processed along the picturesque Ryburn roads to Triangle Cricket Club before ending up at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Ripponden. We had a bit of rain but that didn’t distract from our enjoyment of the event.

Shrewsbury Folk Festival 26 – 28 August 2017

Photo: John Allport

Ryburn Longsword was one of the dance teams booked for the Shrewsbury Folk Festival this year. It was a lovely festival – Shrewsbury is very picturesque – and the weather was fantastic.



Photo: John Allport


Littleborough Rushbearing 23 July 2017

Photo: Andy Day

Littleborough Rushbearing, organised by Oakenhoof, took over the town on Saturday and Sunday. It was a spectacular event and the weather was kind so a good time was had by all. Ryburn Longsword danced on Sunday 23 July with Oakenhoof, Horwich, Thieving Magpies, 400 Roses, and the wonderful Bacup Coconut Dancers, complete with their glorious concertina band.

Photo: Michael L Jackson
Photo: Andy Day
Photo: Andy Day

More photos on the Galleries page.

Hexadaisy Day of Dance 2017

On Saturday 1 July we joined the Hexadaisy Morris side  for a most enjoyable day of dance in Greenhead Park in Huddersfield.  Thank you Hexadaisy for a lovely event.

Ryburn Longsword at Hexadaisy Day of Dance. (Photo: Ivy Oldroyd)
Ryburn Longsword at Hexadaisy Day of Dance. (Photo: Hexadaisy)

Spaw Sunday 2017
On Sunday 7 May the Longsword team danced in Cragg Vale at the Spaw Sunday celebration and afterwards at the Robin Hood pub. Celebrating Spring at the spa in Cragg Vale is a tradition which dates back to the 19th Century. Look at more photos in the Photo Gallery.

Photo: Kevin Cutts
Photo: Andy Day





Mayday 2017:
On Mayday, Ryburn Longsword were up and dancing before dawn to welcome the Mayday sunrise. The Dancers then went on to dance at local events in Ripponden and Sowerby Bridge.


Ripponden Village Dances 11 March 2017
The  afternoon Family Barn Dance for children and the evening  ‘Village Barn Dance’ on Saturday 11 March at the Victoria Hall in Ripponden was a great success. Around 120 people of all ages came along to the two dances, and had a great time dancing to the music of ‘Offcuts‘ called by Pauline Jones and Sue Coe.

Photo: Alan Day

Sowerby Bridge Rushcart 2016
Ryburn Longsword was one of the dance teams invited to the Sowerby Bridge Rushcart on 3 and 4 September, to celebrate 40 years since the custom was revived in 1976. We enjoyed the dancing and the processions, especially on Sunday when the weather was much kinder than on Saturday.

Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing festival, at Sowerby St Peters. Photo: Bruce Fitzgerald
Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing festival, at Sowerby St Peters.
Photo: Bruce Fitzgerald

We were privileged to dance inside Christ Church after the blessing of the rushcart. On Sunday the procession from Sowerby to Ripponden via Cottonstones and Triangle was a wonderful line of Rushcart pullers, dancers, and audience, stretching over many hundreds of yards. The final display outside St. Bartholomew’s in Ripponden was a wonderful finale to a great weekend.

Photo: Gill Loomes
Photo: Gill Loomes



Visit to Brittany as guests of Cercle Celtique Liviou Kerrien,
12 – 18 August 2016
We spent a week in Britanny as guests of the Breton dance group ‘Cercle Celtique Liviou Kerrien’   http://livioukerien.e-monsite.com/.  This group  perform display dances and social dances in the traditional Breton style.

Cercle Celtique Liviou Kerien

The women’s traditional costumes are beautifully embroidered velvet dresses and aprons with elaborate starched lace coifs, while the men wear traditional full velvet trousers and waistcoats.

Dance Exchange 2016 237
Ryburn Longsword in Port Manech, Brittany

We arrived in the village of Querrien late afternoon on 12 August where we met our hosts and enjoyed an evening of Breton dancing, Longsword dancing, social dancing and fine Breton food and drink.


During the week we danced in Batz-sur-Mer as part of the ‘Pardon’, and Port Manech in the Carnival, and we also danced in and around Querrien itself.  We also had time to visit several other beautiful places with our hosts and enjoy their warm hospitality, and we were sorry when the time came to say goodbye and return home.

Breton dancing – Liviou Kerien and Ryburn Longsword

See more photos of Ryburn Longsword in Brittany at  http://www.bfpix.co.uk/longswords

Next year (August 2017) Liviou Kerien will travel to stay and dance with us in and around Ripponden, so watch this space for further information as our plans progress.

Cercle Celtique Liviou Kerien

Chester Folk Festival, 28 – 30 May 2016
Ryburn Longsword were one of the featured dance teams at the Chester Folk Festival this year. In the glorious weather we danced at the ‘Lord Binning’, the ‘Farmers Arms’, and the ‘Royal Oak’, and posed and paraded for the audiences (see below).



A good time was had by all, thanks to Chester Folk Festival for booking us, and we hope to be back soon.

Hornbeam Molly Weekend of Dance, Knaresborough, 8 May 2016

Ryburn Longsword_Knaresborough_8may16_3
Photo: Andy Day


Photo: Andy Day
Photo: Andy Day

It was wonderfully hot and sunny on Sunday – what a difference from 1 week earlier! In the picturesque town of Knaresborough we joined 9 other dance teams to perform throughout the day, at the castle, the marketplace, and Henshaw’s.

Photo: Andy Day
Photo: Andy Day

May Day 2016
Ryburn Longsword danced the May in at 5.25 a.m. by Scammonden Bridge this year.  It was extremely cold!Ryburn Longsword May Day 2016

Later in the day we danced at the Spaw Sunday celebrations in Cragg Vale. After dancing at the ‘Hinchliffe Arms’ we walked to the ‘Spaw’ in the company of local admirers, performed a couple more dances, and then ended up in the ‘Robin Hood’. It wasn’t so cold, but it was a bit damp. But that doesn’t matter – Longsword dancing is always hugely entertaining and enjoyable!

Ryburn Longsword 21st Birthday 2015
Ryburn Longsword is 21 years old this year! On Saturday 24 October members past and present enjoyed a party in Ripponden with mass longsword displays, dancing to the Black Box Band, and lots of cakes.Longsword 21st_24oct15

Longsword 21st(2)_24oct15

Here’s to the next 21 years!

An Independent Folk Development Project in the Ryburn Valley