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Stag Hill Morris Men - 5/1972
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Stag Hill Morris Men - 5/1972

Notes from David Kettlewell on The Stag Hill Morris

As far as I remember, it was essentially me who got it started: I'd been on the organising/artistic staff of the English Folk Dance and Song Society before coming to Guildford, and it seemed natural to offer people the chance of doing the things I knew most about then: there was a nucleus of music students and then a fair sprinkling of human-biologists and linguisticians, and later things spread out to a wider base.

We started a Ceili Club, a Ceili band, a performing folk group called Trotto, and put together a choreographed dance team, both sexes, 16 strong, complete with costumes and music, for a tour in Holland as guests of an outfit called something inspiring like Klank en Beweging ('Sound and Movement'). You can see the girls in their white blouses and coloured skirts in both photos.

Then there was the 100-man strong performance of the "Streams of Lovely Nancy", a folk pageant presenting traditional English customs throughout the year, with speaker, dancers, singers, band and orchestra, and incorporating people from Guildford town and further afield too ... We had the incredible stimulus of the recording studio and the Tonmeister students - most of them far better musicians than those of us studying 'pure' music - where we could try out all kinds of crazy things in perfect safety ... People I'm in touch with, or remember: -
Tim Wilmshurst played a pretty mean fiddle -
Andrew Peggie showed what a virtuoso pianist could do to a Scottish reel -
Chris Rock on double-bass, ginger-haired and dancing without a hat -
Carolynne Denwood, now Cox, was the other primus motor on the girls' side, and was in Trotto Mk I - I wonder if that's not her in the centre of the second photo, in a red skirt; -
fiddler for the Morris and in Trotto was Pete Hallifax, last heard of in California: nearest the camera in the second photo - fool in the Morris was a delightful mechanical engineer called Mog, on the left of the second photo: he'd fixed a real cow's-bladder-on-a-stick, and I think he was a gymnast too, wasn't he? -
Mike Newbold, chemical engineer -
Chris Evans, who was going to do a study on the 17thC. composer
John Jenkins -
Steve xxx, pianist -
Mike Franklin
Libby xxx -
Lizzie xxx -
Carol xxx -
Thelma, who played harp with Jonny Matthis, was in Trotto and I think sometimes played tabor for the Morris.

Notice the neat way of constructing a Maypole on a concrete base ...

Now that I live in a timber farmhouse in a northern-Swedish forest, I really can't think how any of us survived those inhuman concrete bunkers for three years, but it was stimulating time, perhaps the awful surroundings made the creativity all the more necessary ...
Then there was the trip to dance in Yorkshire, and a pilgrimage to the village of Kettlewell - I wasn't there, I don't remember why. As I remember, other people took over running things as I got more involved in working in Sweden - perhaps someone else knows what happened after I left in 1973?

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