As the dance became more of a 'performance' rather than a folk celebration, the Morris as danced in the villages of the Midlands and Eastern England was in decline throughout the nineteenth century. The one exception was in the north-western counties, where the tradition of 'rush-bearing', which had long been connected with Morris, survived longer. 'Rush bearing' originated at a time when rushes were used to cover bare-earth church floors, and were renewed annually. The process became part of a celebration which often included morris dancing, and a decorated rush-cart.
RUSHBEARING IN MANCHESTER, 1821
- Richard Samuels