ST GEORGE’S DAY 2015
The traditional start of the season takes us to the village of Lower Brailes. This year we were joined by guests from Adderbury Village Morris Men, Shakespeare Morris Men and the Shakespeare Mummers. Dancing commenced at 7.30pm on the terrace at The George Hotel, at 8.15pm the Ilmington Men danced at the Church of St George – for the congregation & Canon Nicholas Morgan at the end of the service. Further dancing continued with our guests at The George Hotel where a music session continued until very late! The George Mummers Play was given by the Shakespeare Mummers.
As usual The George ‘ graced us with their hospitality for which we thank them sincerely.
An excellent evening in celebration of our Patron Saint!
MAY DAY 2015
The weather this morning was absolutely marvelous- a good audience also made the effort to witness the ritual! The side danced at sunrise 5.38 BST then descended from the summit of Warwickshire (854 feet amsl) down into Ilmington for an early morning tour. Starting in the usual locality of ‘Bennett Place’ – The Howard Arms opened its doors (or at least Magda did!) for a welcome coffee at 6.30 am then on round the village
Sheree Greenhill had come over from Brisbane (with Dennis) to watch us…there is dedication for you! (Sheree’s husband was Chris Green who helped instigate the re-start of Ilmington along with Stan Jones & Paul Bryan in 1974 – sadly we lost Chris to cancer a few years ago- Stan also- RIP both)
Finally we took breakfast at The Red Lion Inn at 9am – thanks Percy & Cath- possibly their last as they move towards retirement
A very Happy May Day- incidentally the Fool’s Red Lips were in aid of DEMENTIA UK who held a fundraising day today.
OPENING OF ‘WILKIN’S WAY’
On the 20th May, a new housing estate was officially opened and the Morris side was invited to commemorate the occasion with a few of the village Morris dances. We were joined by the school Maypole Dancers, with their ‘prtable Maypole’ especially brought in for the event by the Warwickshire Rural Housing Association..
SHIPSTON WOOL FAIR
The annual Shipston-on-Stour Wool fair on the 25th May this year- again, requested our presence to entertain the crowds. This we did admirably for two stands -this year having our Hobby Horse (made in 1899 for Sam’s side) ‘riden’ by Peter Shadbolt out with us – Ilmington Morris at its best !…..a good dancing side, good musicians together with fool and horse….what more could you ask for!
ILMINGTON SCHOOL MAY CELEBRATIONS
On Friday 22nd May the Primary School in the village held their annual Celebrations which have been performed at the school since 1951. Initiated by Mary Cox, Head Teacher at that time, the event involves all of the school with the crowning of the May Queen, a ribald verbal battle between the Town Crier & the Jester together with singing, folk dancing, maypole dancing and a performance of ‘Shepherd’s Hey’ Morris dance by the School Morris Dancers (comprised of year 5 pupils taught annually for the event by TIMM)
A super experience to see this every year! well done to the teachers for keeping it alive and welcome to new head- Carol
GARDENS DAY – 28th JUNE 2015
This year the gardens opening in Ilmington was a two day event for the Saturday & Sunday – however; true to tradition, our ‘day of dance’ was held on the Sunday. This years guest side was Dacre Morris from Lewisham, London. A very fine ladies Morris side who dance a varied repertoire of traditions from the Cotswolds; including Ilmington dances!
There is another connection between Dacre and Ilmington- one of their dancers, Bernadette Newman is a great niece of Jack & Tom Newman (they were brothers and Uncles of Bernadette’s father) who were dancers within Sam Bennett’s side in the 1910 era.
The ‘day’ actually starts at lunch-time with a stand at The Red Lion Inn at 1.30pm then the tour proceeds around certain open gardens around the village, starting at The Manor House. The dance venues are traditional connections with the Morris in the village and tend to remain the same from year to year, finishing with tea at the local primary school.
A great day with a super ladies side – well danced girls!
A RED LION FAREWELL
Friday 17th July an event of entertainment was organised by the village at The Red Lion Inn for the forthcoming ‘farewell’ to Percy & Cath (and Robyn & Charley) as landlords of the Hook Norton owned village pub
The evening was opened at 7.00pm with a performance of the Morris as the pub is our ‘Headquarters’- the evening entertainment continued with a playlet about the forthcoming change of landlord by the village drama group – Dave ‘the poet’ gave a superb display of his verbal poetic dexterity! and the village singers gave forth
A super evening dedicated to the service given to the village by Percy & family over the past 10 years at ‘The ‘ Lion’ – a presentation was also made to Julia – the village ‘Post Lady’ upon her retirement
WROXTON COLLEGE 50th ANNIVERSARY
Wroxton College or Fairleigh Dickinson University (an American University in England) in the village of Wroxton, Oxfordshire held a 50th Anniversary event for past illumini.
The performance was given in the forest area of the grounds – pig roast and refreshments were taken on this superb evening event – we were honoured to be invited to participate.
MORRIS SIDES WE HAVE DANCED OUT WITH
Including Dacre Morris, we have met up with Chipping Campden Morris Men, Faithful City Morris Men, our Swedish friends, Eken Morris and Adderbury Morris Men.
THE RED LION INN – ‘Head Quarters’
It is with great regret we say goodbye to Percy & Cath (not forgetting the girls: Robyn & Charley) as they retire from the pub. We first ‘danced them in’ on the 22nd June 2005 and for the past 10 years they have been most supportive of the village Morris along with many other users of this fine Ale House!
The 1st November 2015 will be Percy’s last night to pull us a pint of Hook Norton beer – we wish him and his family well for the future.
New Landlords – Vikki & Gary have successfully taken over & on Sunday 29th November at 11 am, the side ‘danced them in’ ! A performance of the Morris was given outside ‘The ‘ Lion’ and we danced into the public bar with Vikki & Gary. we were kindly supplied with a round of Hookey & the deed was done – WELCOME TO ILMINGTON
ILMINGTON MUMMERS PLAY
Mummers Play - the Ilmington Mummers Play is performed annually by members of the Morris side and this year we have a number of performances arranged – both private and public: this year we have performed at the following venues:
Friday 27th Nov. -The Bell Inn, Willersey & The Crown & Trumpet Inn, Broadway
Wednesday 2nd Dec. – Wroxton College
Thursday 10th Dec. – Ebrington W.I. & The Plough Inn, Stretton-on-Fosse
Monday 14th Dec. – Bridgetown W.I. & Stratford Folk Dance Club
Saturday 26th Dec. – Boxing Day Tour around Shipston venues finally to Ilmington: The Howard Arms, The Manor House & The Red Lion
This year we have collected a little over £500, which we will dotate to the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance
We are now back in the Village Hall every Wednesday eveining from 8-10 pm so if you are local to Ilmington and would like to consider joining the Morris men – call in and see us
New programme for 2016 to be released soon…watch out!