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The Beasts Gallery
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We can only put the pictures and details of Fools on this site if you tell us about them and preferably supply a picture. Send details to knotty@foolsandbeasts.org.uk
 

Picture

Name

 Affiliation(s)

Regular Master

Notes

 

Dates of appearance, type, construction, appearance, history, current status, etc.

Dobbin

Stafford

Usually under the control of the late
Ken Tattersall.

Dobbin was made in the 1970s by Ken and Ethel Tattersall. He is a tourney horse based on a belt and frame construction. He is a friendly sort of fellow with button eyes, an nice furry coat over his 'chicken wire' scull fixed to an aluminium frame. He has an opening mouth with a fine set of 'clam shell' teeth.

His leather halter and reins are adorned with Stafford colours and his ornate saddle cloth leads down to his beautiful dark velvet skirt. Ken's demise and Ethel's sentimental attachment means that he seldom danced out for some years although he did a good job when Ethel took him to schools etc to explain about his job.

When she died, he decided to share a stable with Knotty at Church Eaton near Stafford. He come out occasionally when Knotty is indisposed or when his master feels he needs a lighter beast.

Bilge

Plymouth

Currently under the command of
Doug Herdson

Bilge's grey head with pink ears and whiskers, above a black cotton cloak, makes him stand out from the crowd, as there are not a lot of rats in the Company of Beasts. However, coming from Plymouth, where the navy has probably transported more of his kind round the world than they have sailors, his appearance should not be a surprise.

Bilge has had several incarnations, starting a humble rat, progressing to the rank of Admiral under the command of Tim ? and more recently, returning to his below deck status. He is a pole mounted hooden beast with piercing eyes that have been known to glow in the dark, making him a little fearsome. His real nature is more one of mischief than menace.

Ashley

Ashley's Rise

Here under the control of Ellie ?

 
Ashley is an unusual beast being one of the few carried beasts. This is a cloth pole mounted beast with a rather doleful expression. The colours are mainly yellow with green decoration to math the colours of this junior side from Bristol.

Ashley is quite a modern creation, who can boast a personal dance called the horses hey, (or should that be hay?)

Mr Fox

Leicester

Although the master of this beast is unknown there is a rumour that this particular fox aspires to be a Ring Officer.

This Fox evokes the long tradition of hunting in the Leicestershire countryside. He is however, a very superior kind of fellow, with his large furry head surmounting his black, gold trimmed gown emblazoned with the Leicester quintrafoil emblem. The white gloves give him the chance to communicate without speaking, but one feels that he would probably not speak to menials like humans, even if he could. There have been occasions when his innate sly and wily attributes come into play, particularly in the presence of large numbers of hobby horses and hobby hounds.

He is a shoulder mounted beast permitting the user to behave naturally and even dance.

Dobbin

Revensbourne

Born in 1936 hes the oldest revival horse we think

The Hooden Horse
A fugitive from East Kent, Hoodening was a winter custom probably pagan in origin linked to the winter solstice. The horse has been part of the Ravensbourne tradition since the side was formed.
There are references to a horse operated by Balgowan School in Beckenham (see History) appearing at Aylesford Folk Dance Festival, and later at Herne Hill in 1936.

Horse

Mendip

 Peter Higgs seems to know a lot about the inside of this beast.

 
Another Hooden Horse with a distinctive spotty appearance. Friendly but with quite a dominating effect on the crowd and the dancers.

Champernowne

Dartington

This horse, named after one of the old families of Dartington Hall is under the command of Lionel.

This tourney horse is a bit of a lightweight compared with his similar but solid wood predecessor. However he is much more manageable when snuggled up in an anonymous black bag.  He is popular with the children and usually allows his rider to converse with the crowd. He and Knotty are old friends, having met most recently on the Bristol tour at the Mendip Ring Meeting in July 2006.

Champernowne has been a regular supporter of the Fools and beasts and made the headlines by appearing on the cover of the Banbury Hobby Horse Programme. He and Lionel are now on every page of their web site. (see links page)

Captain Clegg

Cinque Port Morris Men

Captain Clegg's regular master is Dave Mason -
one of the younger members of Cinque Port Morris Men

Information supplied by Tony Kulikowski

July 2011

 

Captain Clegg, the constant companion of Cinque Port Morris Men from Kent, is modelled on the traditional hooden horse commonly associated with the east of the county.  He has a carved wooden head and mouth which is very efficient at swallowing coins of the Queen's Realm.  The hessian sack-cloth body would traditionally have been made from a 'hop pocket' (a large sack for holding hops after harvesting and drying). 

Named after a character who frequented the Romney Marsh area of Kent in the Doctor Syn novels by Russell Thorndike,  Clegg's first public appearance was at the 'The Bell & Jorrocks' in the village of Frittenden on 1st January 2008.

Captain Clegg is the name of a pirate in the series of Doctor Syn novels  Our horse is named after him because Cinque Port Morris Men represent the historic 'Cinque Ports' of Kent, East Sussex and particularly the area of Romney Marsh which is the location in which the novels are based.  These novels do contain a black stallion called Gehanna but we thought Captain Clegg made a better 'stage name'.  
 
The horse was made by me in late 2007.  I wanted to retain the traditional look of the original hooden horses from East Kent (a simple caricature rather than a life-like horses head) .  When I looked at earlier models I frequently saw that the bottom jaw was operated by a simple string that came through into the mouth. However I wanted to keep the mouth and throat free from obstructions so that the horse could accept donations by swallowing coins. I achieved this by pivoting the jaw off-centre and having the draw string attached to the back end of the jaw.

Knotty

Stafford Morris Men

Knotty's regular rider is
John Edwards.

When his rider died, Dobbin was unable to support Stafford Morris regularly, so it was decided to create another tourney horse, so Knotty was born. He is a rather splendid, but quite heavy beast with a head made of wood, carved by David Bradley of Stafford Folk Dance Club. His body is a 3" aluminium band with a fibreglass back. He occasionally talks to children he likes. they say that he can move his tongue, but his rider has never seen this happen. However, without his bit in place he used to be able to collect coins when they were placed on his tongue, even if he had a habit of dropping them on the floor if the rider forgot to block off the slot in the back of his head. Knotty's is supported by heavy shoulder straps and even carries young passengers, (under six years old), if his ride is feeling fit enough.

He originally had a floral skirt, then the pink velvet one, but now he sports a lightweight red skirt, decorated with rosettes showing the Stafford Knot - hence his name. He is based on the Hobbyhorse in the Betley Window - another Staffordshire ikon.

Knotty has been a big hit with folk from many lands including Denmark, Germany, and Turkey as a Chameleonic Horse. He gained a big international following when he had his hour as a "Plinther" in Trafalgar Square in 2009. 

 

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