Maid (s) of the Mill – click on the thumbnal image to enlarge.

For those who haven’t seen Perth Morris perform Maid of the Mill here is a brief explanation.   Maid of the Mill is a dance in the Eynesham tradition which involves four dancers and a lady selected from the audience.  The dancer’s hats are piled one on top of the other on the head of the fair maiden.  The foreman will normally inform the audience that it is a dance, like lots of other Morris dances, related to fertility and he proceeds to suggest that the number of hats that fall to the floor during the dance will equate to the number of children that the lady will give birth to in the next twelve months.  During the dance some good natured jostling will occur in an attempt to dislodge the hats.  The author hastens to add that, to his knowledge, no fair maidens have suffered injury as a result of this dance!   However, the author has no knowledge of the number of offspring produced within twelve months of any performance or indeed whether there is any correlation with the number of hats dropped.  The dance finishes with the fair maiden being raised aloft by the dancers.  Finally a thanks to all the young ladies who appear below and indeed all the ladies who have been maids through the years.