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Yorkshire sword dancers to march on Richmond

Longsword dancing dates back as far as the 11th century Credit: PA

Richmond will play host to an ancient Yorkshire tradition when teams of sword dancers from across England take part in a tournament this weekend.

Around a dozen teams of dancers will perform around the centre when the Sword Dance Union holds its annual longsword dance competition in the town.

Longsword dancing is particularly associated with Yorkshire and teams from Newcastle will be travelling to London to take part in the event.

Organiser Vince Rutland, a member of Sallyport Sword Dancers from Newcastle, said the event visits a different town or city each year:

We'll be performing in various public places around the town before the judged competition takes place in Richmond town hall.

Sword dancing is a tradition which dates back hundreds of years in Yorkshire and many towns and villages in this area once had teams of their own.

Much of it died out in the late 19th century but new teams have taken their place in recent years, while Yorkshire still has four teams which can date their history back centuries. One of these, from Goathland, will be taking part in the tournament.

– Vince Rutland

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