miles East of Oxford near junction of A40 with A418
Brief History of Tradition
Royal palace once stood at Headington when this was an Anglo
Saxon domain. Headington is famous for its stone quarry,
which supplied the stone for most of the Oxford colleges between
14th - 18thC, and the Parliamentarians
camped here in the Civil War. The church dates from
12thC and was built by a Breton Knight; William
(Merrie) Kimber's grave is in the churchyard.
Jim Phillips (Ring Squire 1958 - 60) and C. S. Lewis are also
buried here. The current sexton is Charlie Kimber (85),
At the end of the 18thC
the Morris was well entrenched in Headington and included
the names of families who were well established in Headington
ca. 1700 suggesting earlier activity. The Kimber family seemed
to have been involved from at least the 1820's (Anthony Kimber)
and there is good evidence for continual performances from
1842 to 1885 with fiddle playing from Frank Cummings.
In the 1870's the Chequers was the
team's headquarters and dancing commenced the Monday before
Whitsun. They then went on tour dancing in Headington, Wheatley,
Milton, and Long Crendon sleeping rough and getting drunk.
They also danced at Easter and Christmas; William Kimber Snr.
was the leader at this time and the routine seemed to consist
of regular dancing and fighting with Wheatley.
William Kimber Jr. made his debut in 1887
(Jubilee Celebrations) and after that dancing faded to just
private shows. It was Percy Manning who organised the revival
in 1898 and he paid two old dancers to train a young set.
It was this group who were seen by Sharp on Boxing Day 1899,
and the rest is history!
A solid dancing
side didn't really get underway until 1921 and this included
Arthur and Fred Kimber and Jim Phillips who later helped to
establish the Icknield Way Morris Men. The present team's
headquarters is The Mason's Arms. William Kimber's grave
is in the Churchyard just past The Masons Arms.
(Charlie Kimber at Merrie Kimber's grave, Headington, Oxford, UK, 1994)
Men have made several visits to Our Side to give instructionals
in an attempt at improving our style.
Dances Performed by Our Side
Hunt the Squirrel