Border Morris as we know it today has changed since Dave Jones researched the Border tradition 35 years ago and published the Border Morris bible 'The Roots of Welsh Border Morris’ in 1988. Dave started Bromyard Folk Festival, which has been going since 1968, and was one of the founders of Silurian Morris.
In the mid 1970s, John Kirkpatrick created a new
border tradition with the Shropshire Bedlams,
seeking to capture the spirit of the border sides,
but not recreate any specific tradition or dance.
Their dances feature much "whooping" and this
has become characteristic amongst many other
Most Border Morris sides wear rag jackets and
black their faces. However, because we also
dance Cotswold Morris we have hoods adorned
with rags that match our jackets which we can
quickly put on and take off to cover our faces.
These hoods are similar to those worn by the
Gullivers associated with the Minehead Hobby
One theory behind disguise may be that Morris
Dancing was done to supplement people’s income,
and so disguise prevented recognition. Another
theory is that the black face tradition derives from earlier forms of the dance involving a Moroccan king and his followers.