Last Updated 23rd February 2001
Meeting at Thaxted 29-31 May 1959
The sixty-eighth meeting of the Morris Ring and the twenty-sixth annual gathering of Morris Men in Thaxted was held on the week-end May 29th-31st 1959.
About 160 men attended the meeting, representing 17 clubs.
On the Friday evening a buffet supper was available at the Church Hall and there was dancing at Bolford Street Hall. After breakfast on Saturday the men collected their packed lunches and five tours assembled at their appointed places each with two Thaxted men as guides and timekeeper. The itineraries were as follows: -
Tour 1: Colchester, London Pride, Northhampton & Standon danced at Sampford, Hempstead, Steeple Bumpstead, Birdbrook, Ridgwell & Yeldham.
Tour 2: East Suffolk, East Surry & St. Albans danced at Henham, Mole Hill Green, Hatfield Broad Oak, Hatfield Heath & Bishops Stortford.
Tour 3: Benfleet Hoymen, Cambridge & Woodside danced at Castle Headingham, Holstead, Bocking & Braintree.
Tour 4: Bedford, Leicester & Oxford Morris Men danced at Debden, Widdington, Wicken Bonhunt,
[p137 - Duplicated programme for Thaxted Ring Meeting]
Arkesden & Saffron Walden.
Tour 5: Greensleeves, Offley & Roding Valley danced at Finchingfield, Great Barfield, Sailing Oak, Felsted & Dunmow.
All the tours were successfully completed and the men reassembled for tea in the British Legion Hut, after which they dispersed again to there different points (the Swan Yard, near the Wind Mill & the Rose & Crown) in preparation for three simultaneous Wheatley processionals which converged on the Market Square and then merged to form a single Abram Circle dance. The usual succession of club displays interspersed with a few general dances was witnessed by the usual large crowed of spectators and lasted until about 7.15 p.m.
After an interval of liquid refreshment the Feast followed at 8 p.m. The men were divided between the Bolford Street Hall where, in the absence of the Squire, Kenworthy Schofield presided and the Church Hall where Fred Hamer took the chair.
At Bolford Street after a first-rate meal the formal toasts were drunk and the toast of the Morris Ring was proposed by Don Wilby, Squire of the Colchester M.M., who spoke
of the good health of the Morris Ring being exemplified pre-eminently by the Thaxted Morris itself which has established its own tradition over many years. He also paid tribute to the work of the Ring Bagman, who, in replying to the toast, drew attention to the fact that in spite of all successes the Morris revival had problems to face, one of the most difficult being the problem of reconciling the natural and inevitable development of club styles with the maintenance of the distinctions between the old Cotswold traditions. These remarks led to a short discussion in which Kenworthy Schofield urged clubs to concentrate on a few dances only at any one time. The toast of Thaxted was proposed by Kenworthy and replied to by Wilfred Abbs. The Bagman read from the Log Book the accounts of the Meetings held at Cecil Sharp House and Thaxted last year. He also spoke briefly of the plans for the meeting for club instructors which would be held at Birmingham in the autumn through the kind offices of the Jockey Morris Men. The chairman then called on the Squire of the Woodside Morris Men to step up and receive his clubs staff of association in the Ring. After an
expression of thanks to the caterers the feast closed at 9.30 p.m. Those who feasted in the church hall were entertained and edified by a critique on fooling for the Morris by Morris Sunderland of Letchworth & Bedford, and especially potential Morris Fools, should have had the benefit of his excellent advice.
There was dancing in the streets in various parts of Thaxted until about 11 p.m.
Breakfast on Sunday morning was followed by a meeting of Club Representatives in the British Legion Hut.
The Church service was preceded by the dedication of the Memorial to Alec Hunter, which had been presented to Thaxted church by the Morris Ring. The memorial consisted of a Vestment Chest, designed by Alecs friends, Sir Herbert & Lady Worthington, and made of English Oak by Messrs L. Brown & Son of Wimslow. It had been installed in the Lady Chapel a few days earlier and Fr. Jack dedicated it in the presence of the club Squires and other Morris dancers. On the underside of the lid the following inscription was to be seen: -
GIVEN BY THE
IN MEMORY OF
It was appropriate that Alecs son John, was able to be present though Margaret (his widow) was far away in Vancouver at the time.
For the second year in succession the church service included the performance of a Morris dance (this year "The Rose") by one of the club teams. Afterwards there was dancing in the inn yards until lunchtime. As usual, those teams able to stay for the afternoon were invited to give displays during the Country Dance Party held in the Vicarage garden.
The Ring is deeply indebted to the Thaxted Morris Men for yet another most enjoyable and successful occasion in the long series of annual Morris Weekends at Thaxted.
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