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Published on Sep 11, 2007
The official records of the dance go back to at least the time of Henry the Third, who in 1226 granted that the dance be performed to the Abbots of Burton at the Barthelmy Fair celebrating St Bartholomew's Day August 24th. Although this shows the dance has been performed for over 800 years, carbon dating on the horns used in the dance shows that they are actually over a thousand years old! This means that the dance was most likely a very ancient tradition going far further back than 1226, and, given its strong symbolism and time of the year, could well be a very ancient, possibly even Paleolithic or Neolithic ceremony to celebrate the start of the hunting season in that area. In any event, it is certainly the oldest traditional dance in all of Britain, and possibly the oldest tradition in the country, being performed faithfully each year for hundreds, if not thousands of years.