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Stag Hill MorrisStag Hill Morris

The emblem was appliquéd onto the front and back of the tabard.

I can first remember seeing Stag Hill Morris at the Freshers Ceilidh held in the Union on the Sunday Night at the end of Freshers Week '73.
They did a spot and I thought it looked like fun. I finally got round to joining up in the second term. Apart from a couple of years, when I had a job with lousy hours and a young family, I've been dancing the Morris ever since.

So thank you Dave Kettlewell for starting Stag Hill Morris. I think our time overlapped a little and I think I can remember you at one or two of my early practices, teaching the Brimfield Stick Dance.
I remember Mog.( see Dave Kettlewell's entry ) He mainly danced as the "Fool", around the set of 6 dancers. I still remember with admiration how he danced a solo jig ( Fools Jig from Bampton). At one point in the dance a short stick should be passed from hand to hand, under a raised leg. Mog was able to hold the stick at both ends and jump over the stick forwards and backwards, and do it with style. I've not seen this done since.

When I joined Simon Diegan was Squire, and Graham Cox was Bagman.
Repertoire at that time, according to some duplicated music sheets I still have, were dances mainly from the villages of Bampton, Adderbury, Longborough.

This was the entry in the 1974 Union Handbook
Dancers:
LH column front to back. Steve Marsh, Mike Ruff, Myself.
RH column front to back: Simon Diegan, Ian??, Unknown. In the background: "Hamish".
He was the sides "animal" / mascot, a Stag's Head with a motor cycle helmet fixed into it's neck. He was far too heavy to actually wear on the head, as was intended and so he had to be held above the head. The antlers were sharp and he needed to be handled with care.

The article taken from the Union Handbook '74 made reference to the fact that traditionally Morris is a male only dance. I think this upset the sensibilities of the Union officials and the side was required to be open to ladies as well at the Freshers Fair in '74.
Two ladies joined and stayed, forming the core of the ladies side in later years. They were Alison Hayes and Carol Ashton. As I remember Stag Hill did not generally dance with a mixed side. The ladies danced double Bampton jigs, until a full side was recruited in the following year.

Names I remember of men that joined the side that year were Mike Jones, Andrew Jones (no relation) Simon Brooke-Taylor. That year Graham Cox became Squire, and I became Bagman. When Graham finished his postgraduate studies, I took over as Squire.

Stag Hill went to the Intervarsity Folk Dance Festival in London in 1975.
The main show was compared by the Rev Kenneth Loveless, a "character", and major figure in the Morris and in traditional folk music, who held traditional, male only, views about the Morris.
I remember how he looked down his nose when I told him about the dance the Stag Hill Ladies were to dance. To give him his due, he did introduce the Ladies, who danced the Nutting Girl Jig well.

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