Fairwarp in Ashdown Forest is started a new village tradition on Monday 6 May at 11.00am. As part of her dissertation Abbie La Rooy approached Fairwarp Women’s Institute to look at how rural traditions evolve and if they could start a new one in the village.
As a result, Abbie worked with members of the WI to look into Fairwarp’s past and see if there was something that could be developed into a tradition. Well, you might say, you cannot invent a tradition but that is exactly what Brighton did with the contemporary British folk tradition ‘Burning of the Clocks’ which originated in 1993 and what Fairwarp has done with its annual Cricket and Croquet day.
Abbie had undertaken research about the history of Fairwarp from the documents archived at The Keep near Brighton. It was discovered in an article in an old copy of village magazine – the Fairwarp Echo – that Sussex Marble had being found in Fairwarp. The marble is the result of the fossil shells of enormous numbers of tiny pond snails. This was the information that sparked our idea for Fairwarp’s own contemporary British folk tradition by celebrating the shells that make the Sussex Marble and the woodland creatures that live in the forest.
Villagers and other visitors turned out to process around the village green Monday 6 May shaking and ringing their gilded shell sticks wearing woodland animal masks. Following the procession people enjoyed scrumptious cakes kindly cooked by Abbie.
Villagers will be turning out to process around the village green at 11.00am on Monday 6 May shaking and ringing their gilded shell sticks wearing woodland animal masks. This could be the start of a new tradition…who knows.