AN ancient custom once widespread across the north was recreated today (Wednesday, December 26).
The Greatham play and dance involve the “beheading” of one of the actors and his miraculous cure by a doctor.
The play had been performed each year for at least 100 years until the last one in 1922, but it could date back centuries. In 1967 the Redcar Sword Dancers revived it and now more than 100 people come to watch each Boxing Day.
The Greatham sword dance was recently featured in the BBC4 programme, A Very English Winter, about English winter customs and traditions, which was broadcast on Sunday, December 16.
Traditional long sword dances were once performed in mid-winter across Yorkshire and the custom could pre-date Christianity and have a ritual significance.