The £10 Ring Meeting
The meeting the never was
In early 2010 a call went out from Brian Tasker, then squire of the Morris Ring for a team to organise an additional ring meeting for 2011. As a team with a fairly robust membership, and having worked up a ring meeting plan only 3 years before, Wath Morris volunteered and were accepted as host for the 328th meeting of the Morris Ring.
Our pitch was that there must be other teams in the country, like us, who would willingly pay for a little comfort and some of the finer things in life like a comfortable bed, a personal shower and a night’s sleep. We accordingly planned a meeting based on Wath’s own 4 star hotel offering twin rooms with en-suite facilities, TV’s etc a full weekend of dance with feast etc and all for £100 per man.
Alas, two other teams were also accepted as hosts for meetings in 2011 and instead of a dearth of meetings we ended up with a glut. The Ring officers gave us excellent support in marketing this “up-market” meeting, but in the end there were insufficient takers to proceed. Wath Morris decided to revert to their annual Pretty Villages tour (traditionally on the same weekend) and opened up the opportunity to any interested sides to join them. In November 2010 the meeting was formally cancelled from our end and Wath set about organising the annual family event……………
Until 10 days before our Pretty Villages tour we had an email from Harthill Morris Men asking for details of our weekend and saying they had a team coming!!! Clearly there had been a major breakdown in communications. Pretty Villages has never been a weekend and with 10 days notice our diaries were full of alternative engagements. Harthill were most understanding and agreed to come along for the day (using their own transport).
On the following Wednesday 3 days before Pretty Villages, we received an email from Charlie Corcoran, Ring Bagman, asking us for details of the weekend and what colour candles we wanted. A hurried flurry of emails established that although we would be doing exactly what we do every year on the Pretty Villages tour, this year it would be the 328th meeting of the Morris Ring.
Setting off on Saturday morning at 10.00 we met Harthill Morris at our first pitch, the RSPB Nature Reserve at Old Moor, Wath. The weather was fast improving as we performed our first set in the courtyard to an appreciative, if select, audience before retiring to the first floor terrace for our first meal – Bacon Butties.
The next stop was the magnificent Wentworth Castle, described as "a remarkable and almost unique example of Franco-Prussian architecture in Georgian England". Here our hosts provided tea and biscuits to fortify our flagging strength as we put on a comprehensive and much applauded set against a magnificent backdrop looking over beautiful South Yorkshire rolling hills and valleys.
Lunch next – yes you are getting the picture – this is a gastronomic day out – at the Wortley Arms, a celebrated local gastro pub. Excellent dancing was followed by some equally good singing in the bar and the chips just kept on coming. A leisurely lunch spot was followed by a trip across the valley to Bolsterstones village, at 1000 feet above sea level this offers some panoramic views of the Pennine foothills. An excellent performance from both sides was followed by Wath Morris setting what they believe to be a new World Record of 7 morris men in an old fashioned red telephone box. In the absence of proof to the contrary Wath claim this as the New World Record and throw down the gauntlet to all you portly dancers out there to try and beat it.
Our next stop was deeper into the Pennines at High Bradfield and on the first day of high summer, this was probably the only place in Britain with precipitation. However, the very gently drizzle didn’t stop our intrepid teams and once again the views were to die for, overlooking the famous rebuilt Dale Dyke Dam which, when the dam-head collapsed on 11th March 1864 killed 250 people as the waters swept down through Sheffield. A demon jig by ring squire Peter Halfpenny accompanied by past Ring Squire, Bert Cleaver on pipe and tabor was surely one of the highlights of the day.
Our final stop of the day was at Low Bradfield (as you can imagine , this lies in the valley below High Bradfield). A final show was completed and into the pub for home made meat and potato pie and peas and more singing. An excellent musical ending was rounded off with a joint Holmfirth Anthem before each team went their separate way home at 7.30.
An excellent day out was the general verdict – A Ring Meeting? Well officially yes, the Ring Squire and Bagman were there, as were the silver candlesticks, though they never left the comfort of Charlie’s boot. Financially, the most expensive ring ever planned morphed into a ring which cost just £10.00 per man.It is for the membership to debate whether this is an alternative for the future or whether it was just an aberration, but from Wath Morris’ point of view, we had an excellent day and we’ll be doing it all again around midsummer next year, give us a call if you’re interested (but don’t wait until 10 days before!!!)
Tags: "morris ring" "old moor nature reserve" "wentworth castle" "wortley arms" bolsterstone "high bradfield" "low bradfield" "ring meeting"