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Oxford Inscriptions: Cecil Sharp & William Kimber


Plaque at Horwood Close

 

HERE ON BOXING DAY 1899
CECIL SHARP FIRST HEARD
WILLIAM KIMBER PLAY THE
HEADINGTON QUARRY MORRIS
DANCE TUNES.

This inscription is on the side wall of a house at the entrance to Horwood Close. It was originally attached to Sandfield Cottage, a large house owned by Mrs Blackburn (the mother of Barbara Woodhouse) that stood on the site of the Close.

William Kimber (1872–1961) was a famous Headington Quarry morris dancer. He came with a group of morris men to dance at Sandfield Cottage on the London Road on Boxing Day 1899, to earn some money, as there was no building work available because of the bad weather. Cecil Sharp happened to be staying there with his mother-in-law, Mrs Dora Birch, and made Kimber return the next day and play the tunes on his concertina as he wrote them down. This led to the revival of English morris-dancing.

In 1959 the above plaque was erected on the wall by the front porch of Sandfield Cottage with the permission of the owner at that time, Mrs Blackburn, and William Kimber himself unveiled it.

In 1965, just six years after the unveiling, Sandfield Cottage (which was in fact a large house in two acres of ground) was demolished, and the 39 houses of Horwood Close were built in its place. The plaque was preserved and attached to the side of the house nearest the entrance to the close.


More information on: William Kimber

Wikipedia: Cecil Sharp

More information on: Barbara Woodhouse

Stephanie Jenkins, 2013