Handsworth Sword Dance

Where: Woodhouse, Yorkshire in the Market Square; Handsworth, Yorkshire outside St Mary's Church
When: Boxing Day 26th December
Time: 11.15 at Woodhouse; 12 noon at Handsworth


The Handsworth Traditional Sword Dancers perform every Boxing Day wearing unique military style uniforms and carrying metre-long swords. The team of eight are accompanied by musicians and perform an intricate dance featuring a “lock” of intertwined swords. Performances are also made throughout the year but this is the event where they perform “at home”  – when the tradition began the team were based at Woodhouse but eventually most dancers moved to nearby Handsworth, so performances are made at both venues. Dances last around 10 minutes, and end with the Captain holding aloft the “lock” of swords. The team also perform a mumming play -in 2011 it was the Derby Tup (click for info) – and the local Yorkshire Carols are sung led by the dancers and their musicians (click for info).

Helpful Hints

There is a similar tradition at Grenoside (see separate listing) – midwinter was the customary time for such dances- and it is possible to get to both on the same day (we did in 2011).

Click here for the event website : http://www.handsworthsworddancers.org.uk/index.html


View larger map