Handsworth Traditional Sword Dancers


This page is called the ‘Tup’ page, because I didn’t know what else to call it.

Hopefully this will show a few of the other things the sword team gets up to. Such as The old Tup Play, other traditional mumming plays and carol singing.

Handsworth Tup

In the village of Handsworth there is not just the sword dance tradition. Like many of the villages in the area of North Derbyshire and South Yorkshire, there is the tradition of the Old Tup. (Also known as Derby Ram or the Derby Tup) This was performed round the New Year by the local boys. They start by singing about a very large Ram. They call for the butcher to kill it, and then they sing about what they are going to use its body parts for (nice).
It is known that a 100 years ago there were 3 Tup teams in Handsworth, going round the houses performing and collecting money. The last team stopped in the 1950’s and the Sword Dancers started doing it in 1971.

Jim Goodison danced with the sword dancers from 1927 to 1973. As a boy he had gone out with the Tup play, and helped the team by remembering the tune and words. Harry Pitts made the Tup, copying  from the old picture. It’s been repaired a few times, but we are still using the same one.



Charlie Peace Play 2005

A play about Charlie Peace (Christmas 2005). About a local villain and murderer from the 1870's.

What a lovely pair!

Relaxing after another Boxing Day mumming play is over. Photo by Brian (the celtic heathen) Mitchell, 2002.

tee hee

More to be added soon.