The English Folk Dance and Song Society websites use cookies.
You can read more about cookies and how we use them here.
Continued use of this site implies that you agree to our use of cookies.  
At the heart of English folk
Construction of Rapper swords

#7: Construction of Rapper swords

The evolution of the flexible steel rapper swords used in the rapper dances is cited as having first come from either old mining tools or “Bed slats made from a spring-steel framework designed to support a mattress on a bed frame.” 

Before the dance began to elicit greater interest resulting in the props getting constructed by craftsmen, these innovations would’ve probably been discovered by accident. There is also mention of the swords sharing close resemblance to horse-scrapers, which were used to scrape the sweat off the back of the pit ponies.

Construction of rapper swords

F. Forster, ‘Tales of High Spen’, Heaton MSS, 1980 [In] P. Heaton, Rapper: The Miners' Sword Dance of North-East England, English Folk Dance and Song Society



National Youth Folk Ensemble

National Youth Folk Ensemble


Donate now

There's never been a better time to support English Folk