Amble is a port on the Northumberland coast, around 30 miles north of Newcastle, and 15 north of Ashington. As well as being a fishing and coal port, there were mines around the town.

The rapper dance in Amble was taught and performed mainly by members of the Flanighan family from the late nineteenth century until their last performance in 1931. The family also supported rapper teams in the nearby villages of Widdrington, Broomhill and Hemscott Hill.

Photo of Amble team
The Amble Sword Dancers

A characteristic feature of the Amble version of the rapper dance was the use of processional figures, which were rarely used then, and even less so now. Of the other notated traditions, only the Bedlington side also used processional figures (although it would be safe to assume that the village teams around Amble also used them). This feature allowed the Amble side to perform all day, performing a few figures at each dance spot before processing to the next.

The traditional performace days were Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day, with performances usually starting at 8am and kept going continuously all day except for a few beer breaks (nothing changes that much in rapper!).

Although the team do not seem to have put in many appearances at the North of England Musical Tournament, they were active in local tours and had met up with a number of sides from south-east Northumberland, and had joined Earsdon on occaison at Alnwick Castle.

Members of the King's College rapper team travelled to Amble in the late 1950s and met up with Mark and Eddie Flanighan, who taught them the figures of the dance. A notation was published by Bill Cassie in 1966.

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