August 21st - 22nd 2010
The rushcart festival has historic origins, its purpose being to bring
to the church rushes with which to strew the floor, often to a depth
of 12 inches or more. These acted as insulation to help keep the parishioners
warmer during the winter. The festivities took place during August
wakes week and were the cause of much celebration, sometimes apparently
degenerating into riotous revelry and drunkenness.
The custom died out, but was revived in the 1970s. It is organised
nowadays by the Saddleworth Morris Men, who pile the rushes on a cart
to a height of 14 or 15 feet, on the top of which is perched the Morris
Man known as the Jockey. Morris Men teams from all over the country
are invited to take part, with often over 20 different teams visiting.
The cart is pulled from village to village with frequent stops for
displays of Morris dancing - generally adjacent to a pub!
Saddleworth Morris Men
The official website for the Saddleworth Morris Men