On Wednesday 1st May we experienced one of the best May Days so far! the weather was superb. The temperature was around zero degrees Celcius when we commenced our dancing at sunrise, 5.37 BST, on Ilmington Downs. The sun rose over Edge Hill – visible over Nebsworth from our location on the summit of Warwickshire near the Larkstoke transmitter site. The tradiiional ‘tot of Famous Grouse’ set the scene for the morning then three dances to a small audience- including the Squire of Exeter Morris Men, who joined us in a dance. The tour of the village followed with a breakfast at The Red Lion Inn, our headquarters.(See photos)
ST. GEORGE’S DAY 2013
On Tuesday 23rd April we danced, as usual, in Lower Brailes. First at the Church of St George for Cannon Nicholas Morgan & his congregation, prior to the service and then with our friends from other local Morris sides at The George Hotel.
‘The Big Morris Four’ – Chipping Campden, Pebworth, Shakespeare Morris Men & ourselves….were all on form, sadly Adderbury Village Morris could not be with us this year. The weather was absolutely superb so the evening was ‘pleasant & delightful’ – the Hook Norton dray was present and we followed up with a cracking session of music & song with a presentation of the Snowshill ‘George & the Dragon’ Mummers play from Shakespeare Mummers.
Supper was provided by the establishment- thanks Bill!…the Hooky was flowing well too…Cheers to everyone who was there. (See photos)
GARDENS DAY 2013
On Sunday 7th April we welcomed our guests for the event 2013- West Suffolk Morris Men, who not only dance a few of our tradition of Ilmington dances but visited the village last year (May 2012) whilst participating in the Cotswold Olimpicks Morris Meeting (a Morris Ring event organised by Ilmington, Chipping Campden & Shakespeare Morris Men).
The day was fine and the dancing was good- we were graced with the presence of our two new dancers who danced out for the first time ‘in kit’ – a splendid effort from both men.
Our guests gave a splendid performance of their dances, photos of the day can be viewed on this web-site.
ILMINGTON SCHOOL ANNUAL MAY CELEBRATIONS
The annual school ‘May Day’ was held on the 24th May- as usual, the Morris side gave instruction to the year 5 pupils to form a Junior Morris Dancers side for the event. We spend about 4hrs, in 1hr sessions, the week before – teaching the ‘chosen’ six to dance Shepherd’s Hey. This year they reached an admirable standard and despite the bad weather managed an indoor performance much to the delight of the assembled audience.
We hope that they may be able to join the Ilmington side at the annual Flower Show for a further performance. Well done year 5!!
SHIPSTON WOOL FAIR
On May Bank holiday Monday (27th May) the Morris was performed at the Wool Fair in Shipston-on-Stour. A good day’s weather treated the event to success all round. The Morris was performed in Granville Court and then in The Square – following this, the finale to the event gave a big band electric folk version of ‘Bold Nelson’s Praise’ to which a solo Ilmington man danced the jig. (See photos)
KIRTLINGTON LAMB ALE
The annual festival in Kirtlington village this year (2nd June) attracted 15 sides from various parts of the country (see Kirtlington Morris website). We participated in the procession to church for the dedicated service and then continued to process to the school for further dancing around the village. A special Lamb Ale had been brewed for the event.
Good dancing-good company-good weather!!!
ILMINGTON FLOWER SHOW & FETE
The annual show in Ilmington was as popular as ever….an estimated 3500 visitors this year! ….the Morris was present again, much to the delight of a number of show goers.
We were able to re-unite with our friend Roger from Hook Norton Brewery who was there with the dray; we also partook of ale!!!! The Hurricane flypast interrupted our third stand of dances- so we paused to witness the venerable aircraft, a marvellous sight (see our photos) sadly the Spitfire was unable to attend due to an oil leak, better luck next time.
ILMINGTON MUMMERS – CHRISTMAS 2013
Wednesday 18th December the Mummers performed at The Manor House in Ilmington – a private pre-Christmas performance in the Flower’s old family home at the invitation of Martin Taylor- what a do! there were over 100 people present and a number of the villagers were reciting the lines of the old play with the Mummers during the performance. Then at 9 pm The White Horse Inn, at Ettington followed at 10 pm at The Norman Knight Inn at Whichford – due to the inclemency of the weather only a handful of people were present at each of these venues. We had a glass of mulled cider at the ‘Knight before retiring to our homes.
Boxing Day Thursday 26th December saw the traditional Mummers Tour- at 11 am Rainbow Fields – in Shipston-on-Stour, a private sheltered accommodation for elderly citizens, just a handful of residents were there to see us this year. Then on at 12 noon to The Plough Inn – Stretton-on-Fosse whereby the audience gathered after we had finished (deliberately?) nevertheless we were made very welcome by the landlady. Finaly to our home village- at 1 pm The Howard Arms - Ilmington; a good reception with a fine presentation of a glass of mulled wine to the Mummers after the performance. At 2 pm we performed at The Red Lion to a large gathering, outside the pub- what an enthusiastic audience……. a superb day, see the photos.
On the 6th February our previous musician, George Renton, lost his battle with cancer.
George had played for the side from its recommencement of operations in 1974. He was a Scot, from Hawick originally, and learned the Ilmington tunes from notation, instruction and guidance from ‘Fiddler’ Harry Sturch (from Shipston-on-Stour). He gave up his Morris in the early 1980′s for his continued love of Scottish Dancing however he was frequently present on May morning to support the side at sunrise. We will miss this ‘gentle man’ with is soft Scottish lilting voice but remember him always for his support and musicianship which allowed the Morris to flourish in Ilmington once again some 40 years ago.
Rest peacefully George.
Wednesday night practice (8-10 pm) through until April 2014 – so if you are interested in taking up the Morris; get in touch with us, just drop in and see us in the Village Hall or catch us in The Red Lion Inn afterwards.
Our 2014 programme will be released at the end of March in which we expect to start the season off on St. George’s Day = 23rd April