Filed under: traditions

May Day Morning in Abingdon and Oxford

 May Day Morning
Despite a covering of cloud the sun cast mauve colours
 May Day Morning
and then appeared burning bronze on May Day in Abingdon – seen here near Abingdon Lock.
 May Day Morning
The May Day celebrations in Oxford were without the Abingdon Morris Dancers, but some of their members were there with the Oxford teams.
 May Day Morning
The Oxford Morris are led on May Day morning by Jack-in-the-Green, who appears only on May Morning after the Magdalen College Choir sing from the tower.

Leave a Comment May 1, 2019

Dressing the Cross on Easter Sunday in Abingdon and Cumnor

Dressing the Cross
At the start of the 10:30 Service on Easter Sunday at Trinity Church, Abingdon, a wire framed cross was decorated with flowers – some brought from people’s gardens. Prayers were said for the people of Sri Lanka after the deadly bomb attacks in churches in that country early this morning.
Dressing the Cross
There is a growing tradition in Oxfordshire of dressing the cross with flowers on Easter Sunday. At Cumnor URC Chapel they have been doing it for years. Thankyou for the Cumnor Village magazine for the picture of daffodils from a previous year.

Leave a Comment April 21, 2019

Mayor of Ock Street 2018

Mayor of Ock Street 2018
Last Year, on the Day of the Election of the Mayor of Ock Street, an artist called Ben Edge (website: www.benedge.co.uk) was taking lots of pictures of the event. He has now produced a painting based on the Day.
Mayor of Ock Street 2018
Last year was very hot. This year was cooler.

After dancing at locations along Ock Street and in the town centre, the Morris Dancers, and invited teams, rested for a much needed drink outside Pam’s House. Pam was supplying Free Beer to the Morris Dancers and their followers. In so doing Pam has inadvertently created the first Free House in Abingdon for many a long year.
Mayor of Ock Street 2018
The Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers then danced round Pam.
Mayor of Ock Street 2018
After Pam’s Dance it was back to the Brewery Tap where the ballot box had been all day. A few more votes were cast by the dancers.
Mayor of Ock Street 2018
At 4pm the ballot box was carried, coffin-high, to the back room of the  Brewery Tap.
Mayor of Ock Street 2018
The Mayor  of Abingdon and Town Clerk were there to ensure all votes were fairly counted.

It was a close contest, and the Town Clerk asked that the votes were recounted to ensure there were no errors. Only 3 ballot papers had been spoiled this year.
Mayor of Ock Street 2018
The President of the Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers, Ewart Hemmings, announced the result, and the Mayor of Abingdon, Councillor Margaret Crick, presented the winner, MR HARRY KNIGHT, with the sash, the goblet, and the sword of office.
Mayor of Ock Street 2018
Mr Knight was then carried in processions along Ock Street by the Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers.

A short video follows for anybody curious how the procession appeared in 2018…

1 Comment June 16, 2018

Boxing Day Traditions on Abingdon Market Place

Boxing Day Traditions
On Boxing Day, in days gone by, the Old Berks Hunt would sometimes meet on the Market Place in Abingdon. Nowadays the horses have been replaced by MG Cars, and the ride is around the lanes of Oxfordshire, not Berkshire, to give the cars a winter run.
Boxing Day Traditions
Before the off there is a chance to look under the covers of the MGs. Combustion engines may have replaced horses but their mechanical power is still measured in horse power.
Boxing Day Traditions
The chrome and paintwork need a good polish, as did the horse brasses.
Boxing Day Traditions
Before the off there is the chance for people to chat about the idiosyncrasies of their rides, and to have a warming drink from one of the coffee houses that do so well in Abingdon, round the Market Place.
Boxing Day Traditions
Youngsters may recall, in years to come, seeing the Old Boxing Day MG gathering on the Market Place.
Boxing Day Traditions
Unlike the Old Berks Hunt, where the horses and hounds left in a pack, the MGs leave in ones and twos to follow the Boxing Day route. In 2017 it ended at The Black Horse at Gozzards Ford.

2 Comments December 28, 2017

Mayor of Ock Street 2017

The date is June 19th 1700. A line has been drawn in the dust of the Vineyard alongside the brewery. Another line has been drawn at the top of Ock Street near the Square. The people of Abingdon have just enjoyed ox roasted on the Market Place. A famous battle then ensued between the men of the Vineyard and the men of Ock Street for the ox. The combat was fierce as each side fought to bring the ox over their own line. Legend has it that the Vineyard men had nearly succeeded when a man named Hemmings crashed an apple wood cudgel on the head of a Vineyard opponent, cut the ox head from the carcass with a sword, and made it back to the Ock Street Line.
Mayor of Ock Street
Those same horns were on display again 317 years later on a glorious Saturday in 2017 – the nearest Saturday to the original June 19th, when there is a day of morris dancing.
Mayor of Ock Street
The president of the Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers is still a Hemmings, namely Mr Ewart Hemmings. His Uncle was the famous Mayor of Ock Street, Tom Hemmings, and his Grandfather was Henry Hemmings – also Mayor of Ock Street.
Mayor of Ock Street
The Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers, with a visiting team from Oxford, danced at many venues along Ock Street and in the town centre, including a new stop outside the Broad Face.
Mayor of Ock Street
After dancing round a tree planted in honour of former bagman, Tony Russell, at the almshouses,
Mayor of Ock Street
they went to another new stop where free beer was provided by Pam, and danced there too.
Mayor of Ock Street
Meanwhile the poll to elect the 2017 Mayor of Ock Street was taking part all day. All people living or working down Ock Street have a vote.
Mayor of Ock Street
The count took place at the Brewery Tap, officiated over by the Town Clerk, the Mayor of Abingdon, and Mr Ewart Hemmings.
Mayor of Ock Street
Roger Cox graciously conceded to Harry Knight who had got double the amount of votes – 61 to 122 . Roger will continue in the role of the fool for the next year, having been Mayor every year from 2007 and 2013.
Mayor of Ock Street
The Mayor of Abingdon, Cllr Jan Morter, presented the Mayor of Ock Street with the sash of office, sword, top hat, and the applewood bowl, whose wood dealt the legendary blow in 1700.
Mayor of Ock Street
Mr Harry Knight was then carried in honour down Ock Street by his men. He has been elected in 2014, 2016, and 2017.

3 Comments June 17, 2017

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