Phillips, John

Collection date: Sept 1906

Area: Worcestershire


John Phillips re White Ladies Aston: Phillips wrote to Sharp on 15 Sept 1906, saying that there were dancers at White Ladies Aston who formed a side most winters. They blacked their faces and had an accordion, triangle and tambourine for music. This stray bit of information was exploited by Sharp in the Morris Book 1st edition (April 1907) as part of his proposition that morris dancing was Moorish (Moroccan) in origin. He later moved away from this idea in the 2nd edition of the book.

John Pinniger Phillips was an Elementary School teacher for 20 years at Bredicot village 1.7 miles from Spetchley and 2.5 miles from White Ladies Aston. He was in fact an Oxfordshire man, having been baptized at Benson on 24/6/1861. It was actually his wife Kate who was the local source of information on the dancing. She was born Kate Sherwood c1864 at Windmill Hill, nr Stoulton village, 2.5 miles S of White Ladies Aston. Her father John Sherwood was a gamekeeper and sawyer; her mother Elizabeth was a gloveress. Kate was a pupil teacher and probably met John Phillips when he took up his teaching post nearby. They were married in April qr 1891 (Pershore 6c 517). Kate had lived at Stoulton until her marriage and would have known the White Ladies Aston dance tradition well. She died in 1922 and her husband in 1935.

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