Hello. Just to remind all readers that tomorrow is the summer solstice, the day when for centuries the good folk of Beckworth have gathered at the Hammerite stones for all-day celebrations, from before dawn until past sunset. It’s a wonderful, historical day for all ages, the schools will shut so children can attend and the old folks home is bussing residents down for the occasion. Highlights will include the druids dancing naked through the stones to invoke the sun to rise (and again at dusk to get it to set), animal sacrifice, the Beckworth Bothamers performing morris dances and skinny dipping in the river. This year also sees a revival of the mid-morning “marriage” of Beckworth’s Maiden In White to the Old Slocombe Codger (banned in the 17th century after all the town’s unmarried maidens fell pregnant) and in the evening the burning of a wicker effigy of the Old Dick of Beckworth. Pride of place as always goes to the mummers enacting mystery plays for 18 hours non-stop. There will be much merriment, dancing and singing, food and drink stalls, including one serving the Beckworth Devil’s Punch (alcoholic and non) made from fruits gathered at last summer solstice. Music will be performed by local naturist folk bands and we’re especially lucky this year to have local boys done good Status Quo stripping off to play at midday. For the youngest family members there will be a bouncy castle within the stone circle, pin the dress on the virgin and donkey rides. For older residents the ever popular “throw rocks at criminals in the stocks” (Prisoners courtesy of Septonville Prison) will be in place. So come to the Hammerite stones tomorrow and be at one with mother nature.
Clifford Pinner. The Beckworth Bothamers Morris Dancers
(Above) Mummers on a recent shopping spree