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Covid-19 diminished Morris Dancing & Garlands Spring Bank Holiday 2020

  • BCA - 2020.2383
  • Item
  • May 25th 2020

The pandemic of covid-19 affected every aspect of the lives of people all around the world and the fun over the whole Bank Holiday weekend in Bampton should have started with the Shirt Race on Saturday May 23rd which had to be cancelled and the day of Morris Dancing on Monday May 25th, which, as you will see below, just managed to maintain an unbroken tradition of 102 years. There would normally have been many spontaneous music sessions in our pubs as well but the pubs are closed because of the virus. There would also have been a competition to see which group of children could make the best flower garland and one family made sure there was a garland to be seen and it was place in the west porch of St Mary's church, because the church is locked because of the virus.

The last time there was no Morris Dancing at all at Whitsun in Bampton was 1918. The Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971, moved this bank holiday to the last Monday in May, following a trial period of this arrangement from 1965 to 1970.

Here in Bampton our dancers were determined not to have another year like 1918 and so three different pairs of dancers from squire Craig Godwin's side danced a jig, one in New Road, another outside Churchgate and the third one outside their headquarters of The Romany. A pair from Laurence Adams side danced outside the Church gates also. No times were published so a crowd did not gather.

Keith Chandler took the photographs and Jamie Wheeler posted the following on Memories of Bampton.

"In 1960 Bampton Morris didn't have a musician. Reg Hall came to the rescue. In 2020, 60 (yes 60!!) years later Bampton Morris didn't have a musician (albeit for very different reasons). Reg Hall came to the rescue. Let no-one ever doubt the debt we owe to Reg (and don't forget Rod Stradling either). Reg would, of course, be the first to admit that it is a double edged sword and that he has gained plenty from it too in the form of fun and friendship. Roy Shergold once said to me that he (Roy) had taken more out of the Morris than he had ever put in. I don't think that was particularly true of Roy. It certainly isn't of Reg. Thank you!!"

When Keith Chandler sent me these photographs he wrote the following:-

"There was some morris dancing today, and you could see it as long as you knew the when and where in advance. Two-man jigs only. Matthew Green didn't turn a set out at all. Craig Godwin's side did three stands, two dancers at the first (New Road), a different pair at second (Church Gates) and third (outside The Romany). Lawrence Adams' side did one stand only (Church Gates), himself and his son Jonathan. So, a handful of jigs as a token gesture to maintain continuity. The last time there was no public performance was 1918. Hopefully, things will be back to normal next year."

Bampton Community Archive