To most people, a widder is slang for the infamous black widow spider but to those who have seen us in action, a widder is a strange looking creature covered in coloured rags, wearing a top hat and waving a stick whilst jumping around frantically trying to dance border Morris.
During the 2001 Guildford festival, a group of friends were reunited after many years. Some of the group were old bikers (still into bikes, but much slower now!). One of the group, Rockin Robin remarked that we used to look like the Black Widows, a mob of hapless bikers in the Clint Eastwood film ‘Every Which Way But Loose’. He then coined the phrase ‘weem am the widders’, Chepstow dialect for ‘we are the widows’. For those of you who haven’t yet seen the film, the black widows were a hapless, misfortunate bunch of would be bikers, feared throughout the land, whose every attempt at success was sadly thwarted by the intervention of fate, and the occasional orang-utan! Anyway, on with the story! It was suggested that we try to organise a border Morris dance side in the Chepstow area. Everyone greeted this idea with great enthusiasm and started throwing empty beer cans around. The more we drank, the more the idea became feasible. So with the parallels illustrated, it was decided that we would adopt the Black Widows catch phrase, call ourselves The Widders, and set about creating The Widders Border Morris side.
…WEEM AM THE WIDDERS, FEARED THROUGHOUT THE LAND!
Unlike the above mentioned film, The Widders are not a bike gang or club, nor are we greasers, or hells angels – we are ordinary friendly loonies, who love to sing, play music and dance border Morris. An easy going mixed side who welcome anyone who doesn’t take life too seriously!
At present The Widders are dancing all over the country at various festivals and dance weekends. We are working on new dances in the Border style based on local places and industry. We are based in the Chepstow area, which is on the estuary of the River Wye (Afon Gwy) and the River Severn, bordering both Avon and Gloucestershire. Widders have been partly responsible for some new traditions in Chepstow, namely the Widders Weekend of Music and Dance and The Chepstow Wassail and Mari Lwyd, which we host and help organize. We are interested in passing on our tradition by organizing and performing Border dance workshops for kids and adults at various festivals. We have several qualified CRB vetted members who teach the dances.