From: SEFAN [admin_at_sefan_dot_org_dot_uk]
Sent: 29 May 2008 17:31
Subject: SEFAN 2008-05-29_03 More Dwyle flunking: musicians wanted, Sunday 8th. June, Lewes Arms

Begin forwarded message:

From: ValmaiGoodyear_at_aol_dot_com
Date: 28 May 2008 18:30:48 BDT
Subject: Dwyle flunking: musicians wanted, Sunday 8th. June, Lewes Arms

Dear Everyone,
On Sunday 8th. June at 3.00 p.m. the Lewes Arms international dwyle-flunking team, fresh from their victory over the Cliffe Bonfire Society (, more pictures to come) will be playing at home. A challenge has been issued by the East Grinstead Hash Harriers under their fearless captain John 'Yogi' Allen, melodeon player of Brighton Morris, who describes his team as 'a drinking club with a running problem'.
As usual, musicians are welcome and will be bribed with free beer by both teams, who can increase their scores by doing so. A fine collection of pictures from the last home match can be seen at .
Here is a brief summary of the rules and history of the game as played at the Lewes Arms:
For those of you who have not witnessed this ancient and almost mystical sport, there are two teams of twelve. They dress themselves in bucolic gear and their kit is inspected by the umpire before play begins. Points are deducted for poor turn-out, such as the absence of twirlers (string tied round trouser legs to keep rats out) and excessively flarksy weskits.
The first member of the batting side takes a position next to a bucket of carefully-matured beer in which is a swadger (broom handle) with a dwyle (bar towel) wrapped round the end. At a blast on the umpire's duck whistle, music strikes up and out desperately and the members of the fielding team join hands and dance round the ‘Batsman’ (or woman) in a girter (circle). When the umpire blows again the dancing team must immediately stop, but must not break the girter. The Batsman must then flunk the dwyle at any member of the opposing team. Scoring is one point for a hit on the arms or legs, two for a hit on the body and three for a hit on the head. If they miss, they have to drink a pint straight down in less time than it takes the fielders to pass the swadger from hand to hand round the circle or lose a point. Musicians are protected by heavy fines from being splashed with stale beer and eligible for bribes in the form of free drinks.
The Batsman may be fined for hesitation; the fielders may be fined for breaking the circle or moving after the whistle. Anyone may be fined for intimidation. A Batsman who splashes the band or onlookers is fined. A side whose score is weak can improve it by bribing the umpire, scorer or the band with drink, gifts or sexual favours. One year every member of a team gave the umpire a scented candle, so this is not necessarily as attractive as it might sound. Bribes are declared to the scorer and registered in the score book. At the end of the match the losing side may empty the bucket over the umpire.
 This is obviously a pagan survival which has evaded religious persecution by adopting a faintly Christian disguise. Students of folklore will recognize elements from the Grail legends: the Holy Spear, the vinegar-soaked rag and the vessel of bitter drink. The dancers in their circle echo the twelve apostles, but also the members of a coven. The Batsman is a sacrificial victim who spreads blessing in the form of a stylised asperging before being dispatched for the good of the community. The umpire's fate would have originally been ritual drowning, but appears to have been converted to stylised baptism in accordance with the practices of the more modern religion.


Tootle pip,


Valmai Goodyear
20, St. John's Terrace, Lewes, BN7 2DL

01273 476757

Lewes Arms Folk Club, Mount Place, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 1YH
Residents: Bryan Creer, Dave Earl, Sandra Goddard, Valmai Goodyear, Suzanne Higgins, Steve & Diane Nevill, George Oakley, Robert O'Mahony, Derek Seed

The workshops last a full Saturday and the tutor performs at the club in the evening.
Booking forms can be printed from the website about four months before the event.

15th March     Alistair Anderson     Northumbrian music (any instrument)
19th April     Martin Carthy     Guitar & song
7th June     Cloudstreet     Vocal harmony
5th. July     Will Duke     Scan Tester's tunes
19th July     Mick West     Scottish song
19th July     Frank McLaughlin     Scottish music for guitar
6th Sept Marian Button Ballad forum
20th Sept     Mary Humphreys & Anahata     Fenland tunes (any instrument)
18th Oct     Coope Boyes & Simpson     Vocal harmony
18th Oct     Georgina Boyes     Seminar: Wassails, Carols & Winter Customs (pm)
25th Oct     John Kirkpatrick     Modes (any instrument)
22nd Nov     Roy Clinging & Neil Brookes     Cheshire tunes (any instrument)
6th Dec     Paul Hutchinson     Accordion
6th Dec     Paul Sartin     Fiddle
                Belshazzar's Feast (evening)

Bryan Creer, Suzanne Higgins, Valmai Goodyear 

Penny Allen  -    General Manager
Anthony John Allen - Chair of the board

Charity registered in England and Wales No: 1111883
Company Limited by Guarantee No: 5114495 registered in Cardiff


89 Hollingbury Park Avenue, Brighton,  BN1 7JQ
Tel.  +44 (0)1273 541453
Fax. +44 (0)1273 554189