Item BCA - 2017.249 - Program of the day for electing the Abingdon Mayor of Ock Street 1982

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BCA - 2017.249

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Program of the day for electing the Abingdon Mayor of Ock Street 1982

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  • 1982 (Creation)

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1 scanned p rogram

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The Mayor of Ock Street is elected each year by the residents of Ock Street and the streets which depend on it. The election traditionally took place on the Day of the annual horse fair, and nowadays takes place on the Saturday nearest June 19th. The election is organised by the Morris side and is used as an excuse for inviting other Morris sides to Abingdon and having a day-long festival of dance. Residents of Ock street all have the right to vote, and the election count takes place in the Brewery Tap at 4pm. The successful candidate, as Mayor, is then chaired along Ock Street and spends the next year as squire of the Morris side. Dancing usually continues until 8pm with the last dances performed on the marketplace, and a supper follows. A pair of ox-horns on a pole are carried by the dancers – they date back to 1700 and the men won’t dance without them; the horns and other regalia including a wooden cup are associated with the founding of the Abingdon Traditional Morris Side and their ancient rivalry with the Vineyard men from the town centre. The Mayor of Ock Street is in the tradition of ‘Mock Mayors’. In the year of this program Bampton Traditional Morris Men, Handsworth Long Sword from Sheffield and Ravensbourne Morris Men were invited to join the Abingdon Morris Men. In times gone by mock mayors were widespread. A mock Mayor's job, analogous to the court jester's job, was to keep the civic mayor up to scratch. He could be as rude as he liked, and made sure that the civic mayor fully understood the townspeople's point of view.

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