Druce, Joseph


Collection date: May 1910

Area: Oxfordshire

Joseph Druce of Ducklington morris (1830-1917): age 80, he gave Sharp 1 tune ‘Old Taylor (Trunkles)’ FT2494 on 14 May 1910. Click vwml link above: Druce explained that dancing in Ducklington finished ‘about 20 years ago’ (i.e.1890) and that he was the sole surviving dancer. One family called ‘Fisher’ had supplied several dancers and he remembered that the side had at least 5 dances in their repertoire. No sticks, only handkerchiefs. They usually danced Mon, Tues & Wed in Whitsun week, when each day they would dance round the specially erected Maypole in the village before setting off. It was not a ribbon maypole. Sharp recorded these notes in FDN (Folk Dance Notes) vol 1 p144.

Sharp visited Druce again on 4 August 1912 and took more notes (FDN2/121). He published the notes (but no stepping) in Morris Book I (2nd ed 1912) p23. Clive Carey then visited Druce in August 1912 on behalf of the Espérance Club and collected 4 dance tunes but these were never published either. Much later, in 1960, Roy Dommett borrowed Carey's original notes (see CC/1/584 at vwml) and was able to reconstruct some dances. Finally, 3 jigs and 3 set dances could be presented in Lionel Bacon’s Handbook of Morris Dances (1974 p130).

Joseph Druce was baptised at Ducklington on 11/4/1830, youngest of 4 children of Joseph Druce, agricultural labourer and his wife Mary. In January 1834 Mary died and Joseph Senior initially got by with the help of his daughter Sarah (b1820). In 1851 Joseph Senior was a widower, 54, with 2 sons John, 23 and Joseph Jr, 21. When the latter got married on 5/11/1859 at Ducklington, he stated that his father Joseph was by then deceased. Joseph was marrying Sarah Townsend. Neither could sign their names. They had 7 children and remained in Ducklington all their lives. Joseph was an agricultural labourer in most censuses but called himself a small farmer towards the end (1901). He died in Jly qr 1917 (3a 948) aged 87.

There is a mixed morris side today, search http://www.ducklingtonmorris.org.uk

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