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A Short History of Whitchurch Morris Men In 1948 some of the men who danced with the country dance group at Whitchurch and Princes Risborough became interested in Morris dancing. They had no instructor, but they started to teach themselves using a book and records. Whitchurch six as they were known in the early days were the two Alderman, and four Hogston brothers. The first class on record was held at Queen's Park School, Aylesbury, on 5th November 1948 and they were then joined by (the late) Jack Newton with his wife at the piano and Lionel Bacon as instructor (he had just moved into the area). Jack later became the fiddler of the team. The first Whitchurch day of dance was Saturday 8th July, 1950 when we were joined by clubs from Bedford, Headington, Oxford and St Albans. They danced all day round the villages north of Aylesbury, ending up with a massed show in the upper half of the Market Square in Aylesbury, an estimated 400 people watched this show. In our log it says "the cobbles were not ideal", over the years the Whitchurch men have got used to them, and still continue to make this the main show of the day. Transport on that day was one coach and two cars,one loaned from the Vicar of Whitchurch; nowadays we don't have to ask him but use two or three 50-seater coaches. We have only missed one day of dance when this clashed with a London Ring meeting, this was lucky as it poured without letting up all day. Morris Ring Logo The side was admitted into the Morris Ring at the Thaxted Ring meeting on 27th to 29th May, 1949.
We still regularly dance with the Thaxted Morris Men each year at their Ring meeting which is held around the end of May/beginning of June each year.
Back to today. Most of our members come from around Aylesbury but we have others who have moved but still dance with us when they can. We have members in West Wales, Somerset, Cumbria and even Scotland. In case you were wondering, Whitchurch Morris is now a mixed side so gender is not a barrier to Morris! We meet weekly on Tuesday evenings, to practice in the winter (in Wilstone Village Hall) and to dance at local pubs in the summer. We also perform at fetes and festivals, accept private bookings. Like most Morris sides, we also visit other sides in other parts of the country for events so don't be too surprised to see us in the Yorkshire Dales, down in the Forest of Dean or down in the West country.
More information to download

The Late Rev. Leonard Pepper was in the process of writing the history of The Whitchurch Morris Men from the beginning in 1948 up until 2018. However, Leonard was unable to complete the history, stopping at the beginning of 1997. The original intention was to electronically publish this but since this has not been possible, there is so much interesting information available in the book, we thought that it would be a good idea to at least release it as it stands here on our website.
There may be the odd spelling error but that shouldn't interfere with your enjoyment. There are a number of interesting photos included in the book so we hope you enjoy it.

The content is copyright of the Whitchurch Morris Men and Leonard's family so please bear this in mind. The download is around 100mb.

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Click to download the book

Site Last Updated
16th May 2024
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