Tuesday, November 06, 2018

OUR MAYFLOWER MORRIS MEN GO TO YPRES

WE  DID  REMEMBER  THEM 

On 11/12 October our famous local Mayflower Men based in Billericay together with enough friends and family to fill a coach, travelled to Ypres in Belgium.The purpose of the visit was to lay a wreath commemorating the many Morris Men who fell in the Great War. Members of the wreath-laying party had relatives who were killed in the area. A very moving ceremony was held at the Menin Gate at which all the visitors attended and at where number of wreaths were laid. The Last Post and Reveille were sounded, as has been since 1923, except when Ypres was occupied during the Second World War. Amongst the party were several Morris Men from Blackmore Morris, Thames Valley Morris Men and Albury Morris Men, in total there were 12 dancers and a musician. Dances were performed in the Grote Markt on Thursday in two sessions, and beer was taken! Visits were also made to the Sanctuary Wood and the In Flanders Fields museums by members of the group.

The visit was proposed by the late Tony Motley, a great Morris dancer, ex King’s Trooper and British Legion standard bearer. The visit was also in honour of Tony.
Our wonderful friend from Mayflower Morris Men, the late Tony Motley from Billericay


 
 



Friday, November 02, 2018

FELICITY GREEN - OUR FLEET STREET QUEEN OF FASHION WRITING

I am so lucky to meet and photograph many of today's people in the news as I've  done for many years. My latest lovely interviewee was the famous Felicity Green Hill, who, incidentally, grew up within a few hundred yards of my own home.


Last month's venue was Conran's in London's Marylebone High Street. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet up with Felicity, whose ideas on fashion and reporting during the mid-'60s appeared regularly in the Daily Mirror.   Felicity was one of the famous journalistic names in Fleet Street and was happy for me to photograph her.  I had already read her book Sex, Sense and Nonsense and loved the images she used to illustrate the various aspects of her career. Some of these coincided with my own experience of meeting people such as Hugh Cudlipp, Eve Pollard, Billy Walker, Sandie Shaw, Penny Vincenzi, Vidal Sassoon, Sandra Paul (now our SWWJ Patron Lady Howard), and so many others. Still it continues, with some nice interviews coming up. Our SWWJ is still linked to the London Press Club and when possible, our members try to get along to their super gatherings in London's Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street.

MY TALENTED PLAYWRIGHT FRIEND DAWN KNOX PRESENTS THE OTHER SIDE OF PEACE - FULL DETAILS BELOW

Andrew Lindfield DOT Productions

Thursday, November 01, 2018

HALLOWEEN AT BRENTWOOD ESSEX


ALL  SOULS  EVE AT GALLOWS GREEN, BRENTWOOD
 
Today is All Souls' Day and we reflect on last night's spooky goings on in Brentwood, Essex. Glowing pumpkins, spiky hats, furry spiders, weirdy wands almost sold out  in local shops as the witching hour approached. Children dressed as witches and wizards, devils and imps were tricking and treating as darkness fell - all fun during this proverbial evening.  
 
But witchcraft was no laughing matter a few hundred years ago in England.   Mere suspicion that someone was dabbling in the black arts could mean a death sentence. Medieval folk had long suspected that the Devil was carrying out his evil work on earth with the help of his minions. In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII declared this to be the truth in his Papal Bull. This kicked off the big European Witch Craze, which lasted for nearly two centuries.
 
The hotbeds of the witch-hunts were the German-speaking lands, France and Scotland.  In 1645 England, notably Essex, was in the grip of witch-fever. Between 1560 and 1680 in Essex alone 317 women and 23 men were tried for witchcraft, and over 100 were hanged. In 1645 there were 36 witch trials in Essex. Some of them were held at Brentwood. At least half a dozen Brentwood women around 1575 were hanged, so the records tell us. All appeared to be old, lived alone, except for their companion cats.
 
Brentwood Assizes  (which used to be in the High Street) were where the trials took place. The three-gabled Assize House had been built under a deed of 1579 and sited where 84 High Street is now. Judicial luminaries such as the celebrated Chief Justice Parker became associated with Brentwood Assizes. The infamous Matthews Hopkins – known as the Witchfinder General – who tyrannised the Eastern Counties during his two-year search for witches - was known to have visited Brentwood. 
 
Trials were held here for local felons, some of whom received death sentences.  South Weald registers tell of seven people who had been hanged and were buried on the same day.  These heartless events often attracted huge audiences.  The condemned were taken by cart along the Ongar Road to Gallows Green, a point close to the triangle leading to Doddinghurst Road where the unfortunates met their end. In past centuries phantoms have been recorded around Gallows Green (shown on the 1777 Andre & Chapman map) but these days, the constant traffic flow would undoubtedly frighten them off.