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.
They were joined by a visting team, Mason’s Apron.
The second dance was in the Bury Street shopping street.
There was cloud, some showers, and sunshine later on. So flowers and wellington boots made a fitting outfit.
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.
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.
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.
There was a big crowd to see the announcement.
Mr Knight was carried by members of the Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers along Ock Street, and back.
The sun was shining and the traffic gave way for a few minutes to an old tradition on Ock Street.
There followed a lot more dancing at different places, followed by an evening of feasting, singing, and quaffing at the Abbey Building.
Despite a covering of cloud the sun cast mauve colours
and then appeared burning bronze on May Day in Abingdon – seen here near Abingdon Lock.
The May Day celebrations in Oxford were without the Abingdon Morris Dancers, but some of their members were there with the Oxford teams.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers then danced round Pam.
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.
At 4pm the ballot box was carried, coffin-high, to the back room of the Brewery Tap.
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.
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.
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…