OXFORD JOURNAL 1926 : WOMEN'S INSTITUTE FETE AT CUMNOR
|No more charming
setting could have been provided for any fete than the delightful
grounds of Cumnor Place, which is rich in historical associations, with a fine
old church in the background. It was here, with the permission of the Misses
Jervois, that the Cumnor Women's Institute held its fete on Thursday on behalf
of a village hall. The Countess of Abingdon had promised to perform the opening
ceremony but, owing to the Earl's illness, her place was taken by Sir Arthur
Evans, Mr.Thomas taking the chair. Among those present during the afternoon and
evening were Major ffennell, Councillor Miss Thackeray, Miss Venables, the
Misses Jervois, Mr Russell Lewis (chairman and genral organiser), Messrs E.
Colegrove and Henry Webb (joint secretaries), Miss Earp, Mr and Mrs May, Mrs
Druce, and many others.
Mr Thomas, in introducing the speaker, said how sorry they were Lady Abingdon was not with them, but they were pleased to have Sir Arthur Evans. He thanked the Misses Jervois for lending their grounds.
Sir Arthur Evans, in declaring the fete open, spoke of the need for an institute or centre in Cumnor, with something like 1,000 inhabitants. A hall for club meetings was required, as well as a centre for recreation. There was no place for the Women's Institute, although it had been founded nine months and had 76 members. A hall represented the unity of the village. A good example was provided by the neighbouring parish of Wootton, with its Recreation Room, built under exceptionally favourable circumstances. It had become a
|by men and women in equal proportions, each sex arranging its own
days and hour of meeting. It housed the Women's Institute and contained a small
library, billiard table etc.
The name of Cumnor must make a wide appeal as a centre of romantic history. Meeting here in these grounds, which formed part of those belonging to the original Cumnor Place, they did not need to be reminded of Sir Walter Scott's 'Kenilworth' and the tragic tale of Amy Robsart. But he did not think that Anthony Forster was quite the man Scott made out, and possibly his epitaph in the church, which described to him all the virtues, came nearer the truth.
Personally, he had a stake in the parish as owner of Henwood, one of its most ancient appurtenances, and, as such, he might tell of a tragic mystery attaching to that part of the parish, much more ancient than that of Amy Robsart. There was a very old mound and dyke that bounded the parish of Cumnor on that side, and from the Saxon Boundary Deed, it appeared that the wood that still covered the hillside below the bank was still known as 'Wishte hanger' - the hanger or hanging wood of 'the dark deed'. What tragic act had been committed there in the remote past? At Cumnor it seemed mystery went beyond mystery. He must, however, dwell no longer upon such episodes, but must turn to the purpose of their meeting, which was to collect funds for the foundation of a village hall. They had especially to thank Mr Russell Lewis for devoting his great organising powers to the scheme. And he felt sure that a movement so spontaneous as
|that had been
could not but achieve its object.
Miss Alice Jervois proposed a vote of thanks to Sir Arthur Evans, which was seconded by the Rev. D. Wilkinson (Vicar of the parish).
The fete was well organised by Mr Russell Lewis and his many helpers, including Misses E. Colegrove and H. Webb (joint secretaries). There were the usual sideshows in the hands of Mr Launchbury and the members of the Cumnor Slate Club. Additional attractions were provided by by a baby show, arranged by Nurse Tiptaft and Nurse Murtagh, with Dr Stobie and Dr Robinson as judges, a tennis tournament, arranged by Miss Walker and Mr Thomas, and a motor-cycle football match arranged by members of the Oxford Motor Club, among other things. Mr Frewin organised the dancing, and the various stallholders were: Produce, Miss Mary Earp, Mrs May, Mrs Cornish, Mrs Cole, Mrs Frost and Mrs John Smith; china and fancy, Miss Wilkinson, Miss Lisemore, Miss Pike and Miss Hewer; clothing, Mrs Brooks, Miss Stanford, Miss M. Pratley, Miss G. Cust and Mrs and Miss Hicks; second-hand clothes, Mrs William Webb, the Misses Webb, the Misses Bennett, Mrs Costar and Mrs Curtis. Mrs Duce and a number of willing helpers were in charge of the refreshments, and Mr Webb made the various garden arrangements.
The winners in the baby show were as follows: Class A - 1. Isabel Willoughby, 2. David Franklin, 3. Rosemary Clemence. Class B - 1. Hugh Holifield, 2. Muriel Floyd. Class C - Paula Hawkins and Michael Colegrove tied.