Northampton

Brackley Morris man copies 1600 London to Norwich dance

Tome Clare
Image caption Tom Clare aims to dance the 120 miles from London to Norwich just like Will Kempe in 1600

A Morris man from Northamptonshire is dancing his way from London to Norwich to raise money for community projects and boost awareness of the tradition.

Dancer Tom Clare, from Brackley, set out on Friday from the Mansion House.

He is following in the footsteps of Shakespearian actor Will Kempe who danced from London to Norwich in 1600, also starting out on 11 February.

Mr Clare said it was something had wanted to do since he joined Brackley Morris Men and heard the story.

"After falling out with Shakespeare, probably because of his tendency to halt performances with his own improvised routines, Kempe danced the 120 miles from London to Norwich.

"He wanted to steal public attention and raise money by taking bets against his success," Mr Clare said.

'Spirit of dance'

Kempe travelled with a servant and an official witness and, although it took him nine days of dancing, he did not dance on consecutive days.

He took his time to enjoy the huge welcome and support he received from the people along the way.

It was a whole month before he returned back to London on 11 March 1600.

"Earlier this year I was trying to come up with original and unusual ideas to raise sponsorship money for community projects, when I remembered Kempe's stunt and figured my chance had come," Mr Clare said.

"Although I can't spend a whole month or expect anything like the reception that Will Kempe received, I'm hoping to at least recreate the spirit and timing of the original dance," he said.

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