Goathland Plough Stots recruiting for new dancers

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For those who are new to Goathland and might wonder why there are people dressed in pink and blue costumes accompanied by musicians, fear not – it’s the Annual Day of Dance.

It is the day when the village sword dance team, recognised as having the oldest tradition of this dance form in Great Britain, continues a custom that is part of the cultural heritage of the village and one that is recognised worldwide.

Now the Plough Stots is looking to recruit new dancers.

The team gets invited to various festivals and functions across the UK and abroad – a trip to Nashville is planned for 2019 – and there are many other trips scheduled before then.

This year’s day of dance is on January 13.

What began as pagan fertility dances has, like many things over the centuries, become an integral part of the church calendar with Plough Sunday celebrated in many places of worship, although Goathland seems to be the only one that knows this date changes year to year.

The Blessing of the Plough is always the first Sunday after Twelfth Night – if Twelfth Night is a Sunday it moves to the next week, which this year is Sunday January 7, 10.30am in St Mary’s Church, Goathland.

In times past, the team would set out on the Plough Tour for the whole week, travelling from farm to farm, village to village dancing and collecting as they went finally ending up in Whitby the next Saturday.

Monies collected through the week were divided, after expenses, between the team members. The exception being the money collected in Whitby on the Saturday which was used to pay for Doctors and hospital medical treatment for the village inhabitants, prior to the NHS.

If you are interested in joining the Plough Stots, call Keith Thompson on 07870738467 or 01947 896311.