Mayor of Ock Street

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One of the few remaining mock mayor ceremonies in the country, the Ock Street Mayor is said to date from about 1700, although this is probably wishful thinking, as the first recorded reference only occurs in the 1860s (see Chandler, 1993). Legend says that in 1700 the men of Ock Street, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, fought a pitched battle against the men from the Vineyards, for possession of the horns of an ox which had been roasted at the town's fair. Having won the horns, the Ock Street men paraded them in triumph, and they are still carried before the annually elected Mayor on the Saturday nearest 19 June. The Mayor is always a member of the Abingdon Morris Men, and is elected by the inhabitants of the street and the Morris Men. He is then borne aloft, in a chair decorated with flowers, by his fellow dancers, bearing his ceremonial sword, bowl, and sash.

Keith Chandler, ‘The Abingdon Morris and the Election of the Mayor of Ock Street’, in Buckland and Wood, 1993: 119–36;Kightly, 1986: 166–7;Shuel, 1985: 43–4.

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