2019 Mummers Show

John Graham, Big Head (Roy Parsons), Mr Finney (Lawrence Kelly, The Turkish Knight (Dave Townsend) and Chris Kimber-Nickelson).

Photo Courtesy of The Oxford Mail.

SWORD battles broke out at Oxford pubs today as an eccentric Boxing Day tradition returned.

‘King George’ and the Turkish Knight went head-to-head in the streets, for the annual Mummers’ play staged by Headington Quarry Morris Dancers.

The series of performances entertained crowds in Headington Quarry, starting at the former Crown and Thistle pub at 11.15am before moving to the Six Bells, The Chequers and finally the Mason’s Arms at 1.45pm.

Hundreds of people turned out to watch, with an estimated crowd of 400 people at the latter venue.

Dave Townsend, squire of the Morris side, said: “We had an extremely good turnout, it amazes me every time.

“Every year people come out and watch, despite the weather.

“It seems to have become a regular part of people’s Christmas, with people meeting up with family and friends. It’s very much a community event.”

Mummers’ plays are a type of folk play, loosely based on the legend of St George and the dragon. They are thought to date back to the 18th century, and usually involve a sword fight between King (or St) George and the knight.

The Headington shows were followed by traditional Christmas carols by the Oxfordshire Folk Dance Association Hand Bell Ringers, and a performance from the Rapper Sword Dancers.

Mr Townsend, who lives in Littlemore, said the Mummers’ plays and Morris dancing is ‘great fun’ to be part of.

Report courtesy of The Oxford Mail