About Lamb Ale
The 2016 Lamb Ale Morris Festival will be held over the weekend of 20-22nd May 2016
One of the ancient Whitsun Ales, the Lamb Ale can be traced back to the early 1600’s, and took the form of a village festival and feast.
Lamb Ale is held on the weekend of Trinity Sunday, which is 56 days after Easter Sunday.
… the custom is, that on Monday after Whitsun week, there is a fat live lamb provided, and the maids of the town, having their thumbs tied behind them, run after it, and she that with her mouth takes and holds the lamb is declared `Lady of the Lamb’ … attended with music and a Morisco dance of men, and another of women, where the rest of the day is spent in dancing, mirth and merry glee.” (Blount, 1679)
It is recorded that in 1732 Sir George Dashwood, of Kirtlington Park, paid “five shillings to Kertling Morris” at the annual feast, which still takes place on Trinity Monday, following the Morris Festival.
Morris dancers were always closely associated with the festivities. When Kirtlington Morris was revived in 1979, based on Cecil Sharp’s notes from early this century, it was fitting that they join with the village to help recreate the atmosphere of the Lamb Ale as it once was, with as many as twenty or more morris sides gathered together in celebration, if not in the rivalry and competition, of the earlier days.
Our thanks to the following for their help and support:
School, Governors and PTA
Village Hall Committee
Lamb Ale Committee
Kirtlington Church Wardens
Kirtlington Scout Group
The Villagers of Kirtlington
Amier & staff, Kirtlington Stores
Thames Valley Police
St. John’s Ambulance
The Oxford Arms
Oxford Designers & Illustrators