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The Folk Festival

Wimborne’s Folk Festival started in 1980 and

After a change of management in 2013 has continued to present Folk, Morris Dancing, Appelation and all things folk - and to draw large crowds to the historic town and businesses of Wimborne Minster, ever since.

In such a rural county as Dorset where, until the railways came in the mid 1800s life was much the same as it had been hundreds of years previously with the old way of life and tales persisting into more modern times. The Dorset dialect has its roots in the Old Norse and in ancient Saxon languages and with 1,500 ancient monuments in the county and 12,850 listed buildings it is hardly surprising that folk tales, legends and stories have prevailed here for centuries.   Stories and legends naturally find their way into folk music and poems; music and conversation often being to the fore in communities and in social life.    And with that as a background the worlds of music and dance have been close to everyone living here for many years.  Tales of the hated Judge Jeffreys, who in the 17th century, as Lord Chancellor, tried and hanged so many associated with the well-known rising against catholic Charles ll in favour of the exiled protestant James Scott, the First Duke of Monmouth - who returned to England via Lyme Regis.  The Judge - ‘The Hanging Judge’ was remembered in the popular 1960s recording by Julie Felix

The rising known as the Monmouth Rebellion [also known as the Pitchfork Rebellion, the Revolt of the West or the West Country rebellion  ] , appears in many and affected many in this locality.  

[ See the History Trail pages

about the Wimborne area local magistrate Anthony Ettrick - The Man in the Wall whose task it was to take the captured Duke to London..   

Other tales - some happier - finding their way into songs are often more easily understood by their titles alone - The Sheepstealer,  Robin Hood and the Bishop of Hereford, The Jolly Ploughboy,The Sprig of Thyme, Betty and Her Ducks, Poor Sally sits a-weeping, Nancy of London, It's of a Sailor Bold,  The Cuckoo, The Rambling Comber, Fair Susan, Fair Margaret and Sweet William, The Turtle-Dove, Lady Maisry  and probably a thousand more have laid a foundation of songs, music  and dance.  

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