Collection date: Dec 1909
Mrs Hill of White Ladies Aston: Sharp interviewed Mrs Hill in December 1909 regarding what we now call the ‘Border Morris’ tradition in the town of White Ladies Aston, 6 miles SE of Worcester.
Mrs Adelaide Hill was baptised Adelaide Lewis on 18/9/1845 at White Ladies Aston, 3rd child of William Lewis, shopkeeper and his wife Mary. Her father was listed as a ‘baker’ in censuses 1861-81. She married Thomas Hill, farm bailiff on 29/3/1870 at White Ladies Aston and they had 7 children. When her father died in 1888, Adelaide and Thomas took over the bakery business and remained in White Ladies Aston for the rest of their lives. She was thus well placed to offer her reminiscences to Sharp about the dancing in the village. In Folk Dance Notes 1/91 Sharp wrote: ‘Dancers blacked their faces. A Fool. Sticks not bells. Violin with tambourine.’ He took down no tunes nor dance movements.
A.L. Glover wrote to Maud Karpeles in 1927, giving much more detail about the White Ladies Aston dance. He confirmed that the dancers went round at Xmas and that in between dances they sang carols and did step dancing on a small door carried about for this purpose. See MK/1/1/4504 at vwml.org or click vwml link above.
Note: White Ladies Aston village is so named after the Cistercian nuns of Whitstones Priory N of Worcester, who owned land in the area.