Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | May 3, 2011

That Filthy Habit

In the 7th century St.Augustine chastised the British for that ‘filthy habit’ of dressing up as stags. Well I’m delighted to say his advice has been ignored for centuries by the Abbots Bromley Horn Dancers and it’s being ignored by others too – such as poet Barry Patterson, who is depicted here wearing ‘Donald’ – a stag’s head and skin that was originally used in a film version of Robin Hood. I took this photo last weekend at the OBOD Beltane camp, where another poet, Liv Torc, was being handfasted in what became known as ‘the other Royal Wedding’. Glorious sunshine bathed us as we stood in a circle around the central fire just beneath Dragon Hill, with Barry & Donald acting as Master of Ceremonies along with Mistress of Ceremonies Boann. The couple looked very happy!

Barry Patterson & Donald at the OBOD Beltane Camp


  1. Looking good staghead!

  2. Lovely news about Liv – couldn’t happen to a nicer Bard!

  3. 500 years ago, our equivalent of MPs wore stag horns. (I’m in Toronto, Canada) The horns followed the office, passed down as people died or were voted out. They’re not just for weddings.

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