ST GEORGE’S DAY 2014
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. Due to the adverse weather conditions the Ilmington Men were invited to dance in the Church of St George by Canon Nicholas Morgan. 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.
An excellent evening in celebration of our Patron Saint!
MAY DAY 2014
First dance was commenced at sunrise – 5.37 am BST. The weather was fair, the audience (about 10 people) were enthusiastic. The men danced well, having been primed with a shot of whiskey!
Down to the village for the remainder of the morning’s tour – The Howard Arms opened their doors at 6.30 am for a welcoming cup of coffee, then on to a further celebration in Washbrook Place for an ‘old’ villager’s 65th birthday!
The tour continued around the village finishing at The Red Lion Inn for the usual ‘full English’ breakfast. Then it rained!
ILMINGTON SCHOOL ANNUAL MAY CELEBRATIONS
The annual school ‘May Day’ was held on the 23rd May, 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. Once again they reached an admirable standard.
Well done year 5!!
SHIPSTON WOOL FAIR
On May Bank holiday Monday (26th May) the Morris was performed at the Wool Fair in Shipston-on-Stour for the second year running. We met in the White Bear before the first stand in Granville Court and then in The Square – following this, the finale to the event was ‘The Morris Ons’ band who gave a selection of folk tunes.
KIRTLINGTON LAMB ALE 2014
The annual festival in Kirtlington village this year (15th June) attracted many 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!!!
TRINITY MONDAY MONDAY 16TH JUNE 2014
The Ilmington side were invited guests at the annual Shakespeare Morris Men’s celebrations. These started outside The Bull’s Head in Bidford on Avon, where we were also joined by the Pebworth Morris Men. Following this fine stand of dancing we went to The Golden Cross, at Ardens Grafton for a brief stand of dances and supper courtesy of our hosts.
Our thanks to Shakespeare M.M. for a good evening.
WORLD WAR I COMMEMORATION – FRIDAY 11TH JULY 2014
“One hundred years on” Ilmington Village is remembering WWI from Friday 4th July to Sunday 13th July.
On Friday 11th July ‘Wine, Women and Wartime Song’ at The Red Lion, saw the performance of the Morris given by the women of the village. In 1914 our Morris Men went to war – there was to be no men’s morris side in the village again until 1974! In 1914 Sam Bennett taught a number of village women dances that ensured the continuation of the tradition through the war years.
This year 6 women stepped up to the mark and again performed a morris dance in our village. They danced Cuckoo’s Nest with the men, then after we had danced Bean Setting – we presented our sticks to the women to do likewise, and thus ceremoniously continue the Morris in Ilmington.
We were joined by Sam Bennett! ….. In the persona of Ben Law (10 years old) who, dressed as Sam, scraped his fiddle in time with the current Morris musicians.
A super evening with loads of good photos and videos taken – the women were excellent – they are on a four year contract to be seen again in 2018!
LONG LIVE THE MORRIS
GARDENS DAY – SUNDAY 13TH JULY 2014
The annual village tour takes place on ‘Gardens Day’ when a number of villagers’ gardens are open to the general public under the National Gardens Opening Scheme. This day has moved from April to July as the gardeners feel that they can put on a better show at this time of year.
So, the Ilmington men have moved with this request and this year we welcomed our guests The Taunton Deane Morris Men to join us.
An excellent day.
ILMINGTON FLOWER SHOW & FETE
Sadly the side could not perform due to the heavy rain. Better luck next year!
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 2015 – 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.