of Oxford; A40 to Witney and A415 to village turnoff
Brief History of Tradition
The village of Ducklington supported an elaborate
Whit-Monday ceremony known as the 'Peeling Horn Ceremony',
in which the young men of the village made horns which were
used as part of the Whit Hunt in Wychwood Forest. They joined
residents from other villages (Hailey, Witney, Leafield and
Crawley), who were allowed to hunt, kill and retain a stag
At 3 a.m. on Whit-Monday the young men of
the village cut withies from which they removed the bark.
This was rolled up into three funnel shaped horns by pinning
the bark with thorns (e.g. blackthorn). A double reed of willow
was fitted into the narrow end, which enabled the horn to
make a loud hooting sound.
The village was roused by this sound at 4
a.m. and all participated in erecting a pre-assembled maypole,
which in total measured some 40-ft. The maypole was
decorated with 'laycocks and golden chains'.
Once assembled the Morris was danced around it; this was thought
to be associated with worship of the vegetable world.
The maypole stayed in position all week with
the Morris being danced around it every morning and a 'youth
ale' held in the evening in a barn. The ale consisted
of several barrels of beer, with Morris dancing through the
These customs were rigorously adhered to and
there is an account of an argument arising from the failure
of one side to dance round the maypole on Whit Tuesday before
going over to Bampton. A village elder threatened to
cut the maypole down if they didn't dance.
Ducklington was stylised by Roy Dommett from
the manuscripts of Cecil Sharp and Clive Carey. There are
some similarities in style with Bampton, and no stick dances.
Ducklington dancers also had a sword and cake ceremony.
It was Joe
Marns introduced Ducklington into the Icknield Way Morris
Men after attending a tuitional at Wokingham organised by
Roy Dommett and Tubby Reynolds. This was in the late
70's and provides a fairly direct link with the Sharp and
Carey manuscript interpretations.
Dances Performed by Our Side
to the Fair
Lollipop Man (sometimes accompanied by an unprintable
Trunkles / Old Tyler