Category Archives: traditions

Mayor of Ock Street 2022

On the day the Mayor Of Ock Street was elected, the outgoing Mayor, Harry,  gave a lesson about Morris Dancing to some school-age children. He explained that the man beside him was the fool – Roger.

Richard was holding the horns, and Dave played the music.

The lead dancer, Rob, shouted the calls so the other dancers could follow the steps. They then did a dance.

Pam & Alick keep the Coopers Tavern down Coopers Lane. After the dance, Pam and Alick supplied beer from Loose Cannon and a local home brew called Mayor Makers Ale, brewed by Colin for the occasion.

The Morris Dancers then went to the Brewery Tap, where Stuart welcomed Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, and announced the result for the 2022 election of the Mayor of Ock Street. Stuart was joined by the two previous Mayors of Abingdon,  Cheryl and Charlie, who helped count the votes.

Richard got 74 votes. Harry got 82 votes. Harry was duly re-elected as Mayor of Ock Street for the coming year.

Harry was chaired by the Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers along Ock Street and back again.

(Thank you to Lesley for the pictures, and Colin for the Mayor Makers brew.

Old Berks Hunt in Abingdon

A meet of the Old Berks Hunt in Abingdon was once a popular event, especially on Boxing Day.

A crowd would gather to see the horses, hunts people and hounds. Pete lent me some old slides so I have added his name to the pictures. They appear to be from the mid 1970s.

Owing to the cold wind, it was not a good scenting morning that day.

The only fox gave them a run round near Bagley Woods, and was lost.

Fox Hunting has been banned since 2005 and since then the Old Berks Hunts have carried out trail hunting. They are based near Faringdon and no longer come to Abingdon on Boxing Day.

June Funfair and Morris Dancers on Ock Street

Along Ock Street are posters for a funfair at Ladygrove Meadow, beside the River Ock. NHS Staff with IDs can ride for free.

Abingdon once boasted seven fairs. The Michaelmas Fair is still very large and successful. There was also a Ock Street Fair in June. And the Funfair says ‘glad to be back’. I am not sure it is the same one.

A sign at the fairground entrance lists the Covid-19 rules and regulations.

The Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers were dancing outside the Brewery Tap, off Ock Street, at around 3 pm.

Mr Harry Knight was made the mock mayor of Ock Street for next year without the usual election – because of Covid-19 rules and regulations.

Also present was Roger Cox, a previous mock mayor of several years. He now prefers to carry the real mantle of power – a pig’s bladder. He is officially called the fool. In Shakespeare, fools are clever commoners that use their wits to outdo Lords and Kings. In Abingdon, fools are clever commoners who use their wit and pigs bladder to drive Morris Dancers.

The horns are taken from a black ox, roasted on the Bury in Abingdon in the year 1700. An argument broke out between the men of Ock Street and the men of The Vineyard over the ownership of the horns. The horns were wrestled over the Ock Street finishing line after a determined battle between the men of both streets. The Ock Street men got to keep the horns and are still showing them off over three hundred years later.

March 1st – St David’s Day

If Trinity Church is anything to go by, a lot of people here in Abingdon have Welsh roots and still mark March 1st – St David’s Day – in some way. Some people may pin a daffodil or a leek to their clothes as these are symbols of Wales.
St David's Day
The Local Excellence Market was held yesterday in Abingdon. It was smaller than usual but vibrant. On the fruit and veg stall were lots of leeks. Most were as straight as those you might get at a supermarket. Others had grown with a distinct curve.
St David's Day
I came away with a very fine curving example. One traditional meal on St David’s Day is Cawl. It is a soup that is made of leek and other locally grown produce.