Filed under: traditions

Mayor of Ock Street

Mayor of Ock Street
The election of the Mayor of Ock Street took place in Abingdon today. (The Mayor of Ock Street is the leader of the Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers.) There were polling stations for Ock Street residents at The Brewery Tap and  Mayott House. They opened at around 10 am, and then the Morris Dancers processed into town and danced at a number of venues starting at the Black Swan.
Mayor of Ock Street
They were joined by a visting team, Mason’s Apron.
Mayor of Ock Street
The second dance was in the Bury Street shopping street.
Mayor of Ock Street
There was cloud, some showers, and sunshine later on. So flowers and wellington boots made a fitting outfit.
Mayor of Ock Street
In the afternoon the dance at the Long Alley almshouses were cut short by a downpour, then after a short time there were more dances outside Brewery Cottages.
Mayor of Ock Street
The election result was announced at 4:15 and was the closest anybody could remember. Roger Cox got 89 votes and Harry Knight 90. Mr Harry Knight is shown here being congratulated by Stuart Jackson immediately after the result. Stuart Jackson was himself Mayor of Ock Street for 11 years until 2007.
Mayor of Ock Street
The results were announced by Mr Ewart Hemmings (on the left). The sash and sword and cup of office were presented by the Mayor of Abingdon, Cllr Charlie Birks. Roger Cox, the challenger, congratulated Harry Knight. Roger was himself Mayor of Ock Street for several years.
Mayor of Ock Street
There was a big crowd to see the announcement.
Mayor of Ock Street
Mr Knight was carried by members of the Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers along Ock Street, and back.
Mayor of Ock Street
The sun was shining and the traffic gave way for a few minutes to an old tradition on Ock Street.
Mayor of Ock Street
There followed a lot more dancing at different places, followed by an evening of feasting, singing, and quaffing at the Abbey Building.

6 Comments June 15, 2019

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

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