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The History of Wickham Morris

Wickham Morris first performed in 1981 and have gone from strength to strength in recent years. Since we invited the ladies to dance with us and became a mixed side, we have enjoyed performing in festivals at Winchester, Sidmouth, Isle of Wight, Chippenham, Rochester and Swanage and made foreign tours to Villers sur Mer and Maneglise, the twin towns of Wickham and Swanmore, and to the International Festival at Bray in Ireland. We have danced in the London Millennium Parade in front of the Queen, in the grand Easter parade at Maastricht and at the Millennium Dome.

The origin of the side is best explained by this note from the husband of the first Dance Master Anjie Swayne

"We arrived in Wickham in July 1980, six weeks after our son was born.

We got to know (Wickham's vicar) Colin George and Ann very quickly our son was baptised shortly after our arrival.  At supper at our table that winter Colin said that he needed something special for the church fete as money was needed for the roof and, when dance teacher Anjie said she could teach Morris Dancing, agreed that a side would be created for the church fete in 1981.

Rehearsals commenced in the church then on our lawn in Spring 1981 ready for the fete.

We had two sides, Nic Holladay, John Morton, Colin (decd.), me (David Swayne), Brian Hall (decd.), Brian Sharpe (decd.), Roger Moore, John Rolfe, Dougal ? (decd.), Roger Bentote, Ed Bellis (decd.) and David Roger Jones.  Old Dr. Tom Moore (decd.) was the Fool.

Musicians were an ENT surgeon (decd.) on fiddle and his wife on tambourine.

John Morton got stuck in an airport so Anjie filled in for the performance at the fete which went down a storm.

We decided to repeat it in the Square for the street party in the Square (hay bales, bbqs, etc.) for Charles and Di’s wedding in July.

David Swayne May 2020"

David has put some names to this 1981 photo (click on it for a larger versions) taken at a rehearsal before the event.on the lawn at the back of  the vicarage:- 

"John Morton on the far left flew to Berlin after the rehearsal and was stranded there on the day of the fete. Anjie stepped up in his stead and the audience thought she was a young boy who knew how to dance.

Note the bells – we used ribbons until John Gale (King John’s Morris) introduced us to hovercraft skirts. He worked for Vosper Thorneycroft. On the same day as the rehearsal Colin attended TVS studios in Southampton in his (priestly) robes and was featured on local TV news that evening advertising the fete."

We dance in the Cotswold and Border styles. The Cotswold dances come from the villages of Stanton Harcourt, Bampton and Adderbury, plus others that we have invented in similar styles. The Cotswold dance style is with hankies and/or sticks and usually in a 6 dancer set. The Border dances are originating from the villages on the England-Wales border. These dances are more wild and often have furious exciting sticking sequences. We have gradually developed a unique Wickham Style, with our own dances and a laid back happy go lucky 'stance', best viewed over an emptying ale barrel.

Our main dancing circuit from May to September encompasses the pubs and fetes along the Meon Valley, but we have entertained, too, at social dances, barn dances, opening ceremonies and weddings, in the process raising funds for our charities. If anyone would like to book us, then please call our Baggie, see contacts page for details. We meet every Thursday and new members are welcome to contact the Squire.

The History of Morris Dancing

Our ex-squire, Dennis Wheeler, has penned two separate histories of the tradition which can be found from the following links. The one is reasonably substantial and attempts to be accurate, and the other is lighthearted.

The first incarnation of this Wickham Web site went live on 1st October 2000 as part of "geocities" provider, authored by Dennis Wheeler

Below is the roll of honour of the current and past officers of the side (as best we can remember!).

Also listed are the all the previous "World Tour" flyers from previous years - well those that we can find anyway!

Honorary President 2019
Eric Bright

                                                 

Squire Dance Master Bagman Swagman World Tour Programme

May Day Badge  (click to open larger image)

2020 Jake Jukes Ian Nichols Vicky Woods Dennis Wheeler World Tour 2020
2019 Sarah Burgess Ian Nichols Allan Jones, Dennis Wheeler Dennis Wheeler World Tour 2019
2018 Bob Randell Ian Nichols Ian Nichols Dennis Wheeler World Tour 2018
2017 Penny Munday Ian Nichols Dave Sawdon Dennis Wheeler World Tour 2017
2016 Julie Collett Ian Nichols Penny Munday Dennis Wheeler World Tour 2016
2015 Cath Watkins Ian Nichols Penny Munday Dennis Wheeler World Tour 2015
2014 Pam Storey Ian Nichols Penny Munday Adrian Mori World Tour 2014
2013 Bernard Brombley Ian Nichols Ian Nichols Adrian Mori World Tour 2013
2012 Stephen Hayes Ian Nichols Ian Nichols Adrian Mori World Tour 2012
2011 Maggie Wilson Ian Nichols Kate Hearn Adrian Mori World Tour 2011
2010 Julia Dean Ian Nichols Maggie Wilson Adrian Mori World Tour 2010
2009 Yvonne Wheeler Ian Nichols Maggie Wilson Adrian Mori World Tour 2009
2008 Ian Nichols Ian Nichols Dennis Wheeler Adrian Mori World Tour 2008
2007 Ian Nichols Ian Nichols Dennis Wheeler Adrian Mori
2006 Rob Mills Ian Nichols Andy Folkes Adrian Mori World Tour 2006
2005 Dave Rudland Ian Nichols Bernard Brombley Adrian Mori
2004 Fred Toomer Ian Nichols, Keith Davis, Andy Folkes Ian Nichols Adrian Mori
2003 Jackie Randell Ian Nichols, Keith Davis, Andy Folkes Andy Folkes Adrian Mori
2002 Pam Folkes Ian Nichols, Keith Davis, Andy Folkes Vonne Wheeler Adrian Mori
2001 Pam Folkes Dennis Wheeler Vonne Wheeler Adrian Mori
2000 Andy Folkes Dennis Wheeler Maggie Wilson Adrian Mori World Tour 2000
1999 Andy Folkes Dennis Wheeler Maggie Wilson Adrian Mori World Tour 1999
1998 Dennis Wheeler Dennis Wheeler Andy Folkes Adrian Mori
1997 Dennis Wheeler Pete Boyce Andy Folkes Adrian Mori World Tour 1997
1996 John Shillitoe Pete Boyce Andy Folkes, Fred Toomer Adrian Mori
1995 John Shillitoe Pete Boyce Andy Folkes, Fred Toomer Dennis Wheeler World Tour 1995
1994 Bob Randell Geoffrey Hebditch Dennis Wheeler Kim Lees World Tour 1994
1993 Bob Randell Bob Swallow, Geoffrey Hebditch Dennis Wheeler as Bagman
1992 David Evans Bob Swallow Ted Fitzgerald as Bagman World Tour 1992
1991 David Evans Bob Swallow Ted Fitzgerald as Bagman World Tour 1991
1990 David Swayne John Gale Neale Fray as Bagman World Tour 1990
1989 David Swayne John Gale Neale Fray as Bagman World Tour 1989
1988 David Swayne John Gale Neale Fray as Bagman
1987 David Swayne John Gale John Sudbury as Bagman
1986 Nic Holladay Anjie Swayne, John Gale David Swayne as Bagman
1985 Nic Holladay Anjie Swayne, John Gale Eric Bright David Swayne
1984 Nic Holladay Anjie Swayne, John Gale David Swayne as Bagman
1983 Nic Holladay Anjie Swayne David Swayne as Bagman
1982 Colin George Anjie Swayne David Swayne as Bagman
1981 Colin George Anjie Swayne Brian Sharpe as Bagman
Squire Dance Master Bagman Swagman