CONSTANT BILLY - THE ESMM HOBBY HORSE

Billy has proved to be the continuity link of Morris in the Suffolk area during the C20 .

George Parsons made Billy for the Suffolk Morris Men in 1935 at Summerhill School near Leiston (it may well have been a special project on craftsmanship at the school). He danced in the Horse (left) at Aldeburgh and then at Thaxted Ring Meeting - where the Suffolk Men danced Jockey to the Fair.

With the onset of WWII it looks like Billy was put out to grass around 1939 and vanished from sight. The war took a heavy toll on the Suffolk Men and by the late '50 the side was declining.

During the 1960s, a new side the - East Suffolk Morris Men was born out of the Ipswich Folk Dance Club, and in 1968 Billy was found in an old sack and was presented back to the East Suffolk side at the Derby Morris Ring Meeting that year. The picture right shows Des Herring wearing Billy during that year.

Billy has been with ESMM ever since - and is still worn by Des and is much travelled. Shown left, Bill is in Jordan at the Jerash International Folk Fesival where he met Queen Noor.

Billy is a Tourney Hobby Horse modelled on the horse shown in the Betley Window.

More information on Hobby Horses can be found here.