Several people recalled Lattapouch: Mr Munro Guy, Gorran Haven (1978), Mrs Elsie Millis, Crantock, Mr Claude Parkin, Grampound (1977), The Cornish Guardian, The Old Cornwall Society. Mrs Elsie Millis remembers this dance from her Grandmother, Granny Clemens, and her Father, Edward Veale, all from the Newquay / Crantock area. Elsie remembered her father doing this dance in the kitchen of their home at Pentire in the 1930s when he was aged 50. He commenced the dance from an upright positionstepping around the shoe, and remained vertical even when kicking his legs out from the crouching position. Elsie described him as being able to jump over a handkerchief held in both hands whilst doing the dance.
Edward Veale recounted a Troyl in the old unity cellars in an article in the Cornish Guardian on January 8th 1953. The musicians who had promised to play had not turned up and his mother, Granny Clemens, had been asked to bring along her concertina. Edward described the event and the dance as follows:
"…There was a good supply of two gallon clome jars (2d a pint then) and were beginning to get a little merry by this time and one of the most laughable dances was the Lat-a-pouch an old Russian dance in which they used to fling out their feet in front of them and sing as they danced…"
"…It was more a competition in endurance than a dance and they were continually falling over on their backs. And so the merry-making went on until the early hours of the morning when the final test was returning from the loft across the narrow rickety gang plank to the plat."
Lattapuch may well have Russian origins but there is no suggestion of this anywhere except in the way that Edward Veale described the step. The song as remembered by Edward Veale reflects the competitive nature of the dance:
“Lat-a-pouch, lat-a-pouch in an old hat
I can dance lat-a-pouch better than that
Lat-a-pouch, lat-a-pouch in an old shoe
I can dance lat-a-pouch better than you”
Claude Parkin from Grampound could also remember a very similar dance which he called the 'monkey’s hornpipe'. He described men crouching on their haunches, kicking their legs out and banging their heels on the floor. He went on to say that it was done on a barrel or table top and that the men supported themselves with their hands. He last recalled seeing it in the 1930s when an odd jobbing carpenter and mason called Joe Jago danced on a kitchen table. Claude commented that the speed of the music varied as a challenge to the dancer. Guy Munro from Gorran Haven confirmed that he knew of a very similar, if not identical dance, being performed when he was a young boy. He was not able to add much except that it was performed on a table or on a slate floor and that men would try doing it
whilst eating a pasty, drinking a pint or chewing tobacco at the same time! Both Claude Parkin and Munro Guy described the footwear worn for the dance as clogs or hobnail boots. The clogs had leather uppers and inch thick wooden soles with a metal band nailed into the sole like a horseshoe. These were the type of clogs used by men working in the dryers of the clay industry. The ‘Dialect Society's Glossary of Words used in Cornwall’ (1880) refers to a ‘Letterpouch’ as an old Cornish dance and ‘Lutterpouch’ or ‘Litterpouch’ as a lazy, slovenly person. Jago’s ‘Glossary of Cornish Dialect’ refers to 'Letterpuch' as a dirty untidy person, but also a short hornpipe dance using the heels more than the toes. The Old Cornwall Society Magazine (Vol I page 36) also notes the ‘Letterpuch’, describing it as used in Cornish dialect for a lazy slovenly person and coming from an old dance of the same name. ‘Letter pouch’ was apparently known as ‘leather-e-patch’ and ‘lederdy spatch’ in the North of England. The note goes on to say that a feature of this dance was a rattling of heels on the floor and links it to ‘clapper de pouch’ or ‘clutter de pouch’ and an old 'Cornish manuscript' reference to a clattering dance. Another reference in the Old Cornwall Society Magazine, this time in the 1931 — 36 compilation, mentions Lattapouch under the heading ‘Crying the Neck’,
“The neck was taken to the farm, plaited with ribbons and hung up in the kitchen […] all had supper and fun with singing, fiddling and dancing. I heard some talk of dancing lilliputch, what style this was I never understood.”
A K Hamilton also mentions Lattapuch in 'Cornwall and its People' (1932:34), this time in connection with ‘Geese’ dancing and the performance of mummers plays at Christmas, but gives no description.
Formation: Dance for two people, each dancing around a shoe, old hat, beer glass (full) or similar object (or object of your choice - the example of a shoe or hat is generally used as it appears in the song).
Steps The shuffle step in Lattapuch is slower and more relaxed than that in Boscastle Breakdown. The emphasis is more on the shuffle than the step preceding it.
1 — 4 The first person dances around shoe using eight of the above shuffle steps.
5 — 8 The second person copies this but around the hat.
9 — 12 First person goes down on their haunches and kicks their feet out alternately as if doing a Russian ‘Cossack’ dance. This is in effect the challenge which the second person must copy.
13 — 16 The second person accepts the challenge and copies. The dance is repeated, with the first person improvising new challenges for bars 9 —12.