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!