Events run by the Order
Unconventions are planned for
Yeovil in 2016.
This was hosted by Ripley Morris Men at Cromford from 23rd to 25th October 2015.
The Unconvention was based at Cromford Community Centre,
7/9 Market Place, Cromford, Derbyshire DE4 3RE
It involved workshops, a Saturday bus tour to Carsington Water and
various other delightful beauty spots!
Sadly the weather was not kind to us, so audiences were small, but who
cares when you are having fun!
The excellent feast was at the Greyhound Inn in Cromford.
On Sunday morning the AGM was held.
This was hosted by Trigg Morris with Tywardreath Morris and Plymouth Morris at
St. Mabyn, Cornwall, 17th-19th
the programme of the weekend click here
Unconventions are open to all budding or
experienced Fools, Beasts and Morris Characters from any team from the Ring,
Open or Federation.
The role of the fool or beast is to supplement, and not
detract, from the main purpose of the show – the dancing!
Attending the Unconvention and taking part in the workshops gives delegates
the chance to learn or revise techniques in which standards of fooling and beasting can be enhanced.
This has always been the aim of the Illustrious Order of Fools and Beasts from
So, whether you are a budding, novice or experienced Fool
or Beast, please come along to next year’s Unconvention! details here in due
Unconvention was held at
Fulwood, Sheffield. 25-27th October
finally managed to pull out the hat, a plan for this Unconvention!
Sadly there was
no guest side, but FAB Morris provided their own unique displays!
The Unconvention was based at 142nd Fulwood Scout Hut,
551 Fulwood Road, Sheffield, SOUTH
YORKSHIRE S10 3QH.
workshops, a Saturday City Centre walking tour and more. The Feast was at the "Shiny Sheff
was on Sunday morning givng fools and beasts the chance to have their say!
indoor camping as usual, Parking was limited, in dedicated parking on the road
outside of the hut.
There are toilets and a shower available.
Sadly for Rodney, no dogs were permitted on site.
We can arrive anytime after 4pm on Friday 25th.
Address, in case you can't find details, is 142nd Fulwood Scout Hut, 551,
Fulwood Road, Sheffield, S10 3QH
Parking is limited, and unfortunately on the road.
there is enough space for all for indoor camping.
The Feast is not as advertised because the Fulwood Inn is closed for
refurbishing; we are booked in at the Shiny Sheff which is walking distance, but
if anyone wants to drive there they can.
Ale is from Kelham Island Brewery. We are not really supposed to have alcohol
for sale in the Scout Hut, so there will be a "contribution Box" that won't even
mention a suggested price - but £2 a pint sounds reasonable.
We can't take beer to the Feast, but the menu is cheap, so I think we can run to
1 free drink per person to make up for it.
Plymouth crew - you do realise Julian has dobbed you lot in it and you are
cooking breakfast ... Ju and I will get the provisions on the Friday. If anyone
from Plymouth has a couple of large pans/frying pans it might be helpful, so too
a microwave. And a big toaster, anyone?? Perhaps someone has a 4 slicer we can
Despite contacting over a dozen sides, I have not been able to find a Morris
team to dance for us; BUT there are plenty of us who are fit enough to dance,
and if you combine Plymouth and Dartington we do have a side!! Plus YOUR
opportunity to show us your Jig!!
I do have possibly one trick up my sleeve with respect to late sat afternoon or
Sunday morning post AGM - so the schedule might change a little.
Cost: approx. £60 per
person. (Costings have yet to be finalised; some
arrangements are still provisional and maybe subject to change – but hopefully
click here for the application form
This year's Unconvention will be based at 142nd Fulwood Scout Hut, 551
Fulwood Road, Sheffield, SOUTH YORKSHIRE S10 3QH, and will involve workshops,
Saturday City Centre walking tour and more tba! The Feast is planned to be at
the Fulwood Inn Hotel. Plus the AGM of course - your chance to have your say!
Accommodation is indoor camping as usual, but there is no space for outdoor
camping – anyone wishing to bring a tent will have to camp at a nearby Camp site
– please ask me for further details. Parking is limited, and is in dedicated
parking on the road outside of the hut. Camper vans are welcome, but there is no
hook-up. There are toilets and a shower available. Sorry, but no dogs are
permitted on site.
Robert needs to know at the time of application which sort of
accommodation you prefer.
Cost: approx. £60 per person. (Costings have yet to be finalised; some
arrangements are still provisional and maybe subject to change – but hopefully
Closing date for Applications 12th October 2013.
Illustrious Order of Fools and
Unconvention, Southampton, 2012
Illustrious Order of Fools and
Unconvention, Berkshire, 2011
Click here for pictures
Fools and Beasts Unconvention
2011 – Bracknell 28th- 30th October
event, hosted by Kennet Morris Men in Bracknell, Berkshire,
was a well run and thoroughly enjoyable occasion. The base
was at the headquarters of the 9th Bracknell
Scout Group. While lacking some of the facilities of a five
star hotel, this venue was adequate for our needs and the
friendly and helpful support of the Scout leaders made up
for the shortcomings. Unfortunately, the planned extension
to the building which was scheduled for completion before
this event had not materialised, although the builders had
kindly left a skip which made access to the outside
accommodation rather difficult, especially for the Ashley’s
the extension, most of the activity, (as well as night-time
inactivity), was in the main hall, with small rooms for the
ladies and the children. These were not large, but hardly
warranted Jenny’s description as a “spider filled cupboard”.
Why do spiders get such a bad press? Much manipulation of
chairs and tables for meals, dancing, singing and playing
made best use of the available space.
was good and various dietary foibles were well catered for.
The scout leaders did well to produce Friday supper, two
cooked breakfasts and an excellent feast in the small
kitchen. They managed to server the meals hot and on time,
something we do not always see at such venues. They even
managed to keep the supper hot for those members, who needed
to see Leicester Tigers play on Friday evening! On both days
the lunches were at outside venues.
arrival, we were welcomed by Peter and Clive, the two people
mainly responsible for organising this Unconvention,
provided with updated programmes and shown to our
accommodation. The weather was kind to the outside sleepers,
as indeed it was for the whole of the weekend, the rain just
starting as we departed for our returns home. Perhaps two
spots dancing outside churches paid off!
the customary opportunity to meet old friends and make new
ones was well exploited and the usual suspects, having
participated in the song and music session, took the
opportunity to exchange anecdotes until about 3 a.m. despite
the 8 a.m. breakfast scheduled for later in the morning.
Julian clearly takes his responsibility to heart by ensuring
that everyone else is asleep before he begins his nocturnal
symphony concert. He always travels to our gatherings with a
pocket full of ear plugs, but few requested them this year.
Remarkably, this Unconvention had the unique spectacle of
fools and beasts being early for the published activities.
Even the return to GMT for the Sunday did not change this
although the extra hour’s drinking / sleeping was very
welcome. This feature has been a traditional aspect of
Unconventions for many years. Clearly, folk at Westminster
and elsewhere talking about permanent or double summer time
know nothing about the importance of clock shifting to Fools
dutifully gathered at 9.15 for the bus tour and the hobby
horses were impressed with the attention to detail of Peter
de Courcy in booking Horseman Coaches for this task.
Richard, our driver quickly got to grips with the strange
cargo that needed to be unloaded at each stop. He even dealt
with the beasts, instruments and sticks as well!
stop was the ‘Frog and Wicket’, as displayed prominently
below the pub sign, “The home of Yateley Morris”. For fear
of seeing his carefully planned programme go up in smoke,
Peter had urged us not to get off the bus while Yateley got
on. As a result of Eliot Brady having trouble catching up
with his masked horse there was a short delay, so a few
disobeyed Peter’s request and were rewarded with jugs of
free beer. A fact that did not come to light until well
after it was too late for the ‘goodies’ to complain.
Yateley now in the party we travelled to our first spot in
Reading. This was outside the old town hall where we met up
with a fine contingent of Kennet Morris Men. Fortunately,
both sides were very tolerant to an inordinate number of
fools and beasts interfering with their dances. For those
involved in “communicating the dance to the audience” an
excellent leaflet entitled “What on earth am I watching” had
been produced. This was welcomed by many of the ‘watchers’,
who did seem a little perplexed as to what Reading had done
to deserve this invasion of weird and wonderful characters.
spot in Reading, Broad Street, had an even bigger audience,
with many nationalities included, needing further
explanations. It was a privilege to be able to meet so many
people supportive of our folk traditions from home and
abroad. What a pity the organisers of the Olympic opening
ceremony are not amongst them, as many people felt that
traditional activities, such as ours, are just what should
be portraying British culture. Apparently, permission could
not be obtained to dance in the large Oracle shopping centre
nearby, but Knotty took his rider shopping there and caused
a bit of a stir. Does Reading not see hobby-horses on
escalators every day?
quick pub stop at the Allied Arms, the dancing continued
next door in front of the Minster of St Mary. Again, an
appreciative crowd gave John, Clive and others the
opportunity to encourage them to defray our expenses, which
was very successful over the weekend which will help to keep
the Illustrious Order solvent for another year. At this
spot, never to be upstaged by anybody; Henning saw fit to
commandeer a bicycle and go through his fooling routine on
two wheels, rather than two legs. A feat that later gained
him the special award for the weekend’s most innovative
manoeuvre. Next time we expect him to carry his Maypole on
the bike as well!
A bit of a
trek to the Nags Head for a pie and beans lunch outside in
the yard gave a bit more time for a natter, which is more
than could be done inside as the clientele were glued to a
number of TV screens showing the Chelsea v Arsenal match. We
were treated to the company of one of the country’s most
respected fools, Geoff Hebditch, (late of King John's
Morris), who is now sadly confined to wheelchair.
This restriction seems to have had precious little effect on
his ability to participate in the Morris, or his sense of
humour. Julian, who introduced him, later said that it was
Geoff who had inspired him to take up fooling, leaving the
assembled company to muse on whether that had been a good
fed and watered the Unconventioners boarded the bus to the
‘Frog and Wicket’ for another dancing spot. There the
relatively small, but appreciative audience were rather
surprised to witness such an influx of strange characters.
Following the dancing, the pub’s skittle alley was pressed
into service for a match between Fools, Beasts, Maidens and
Musicians. The match was very close with the Fools and
Maidens being declared equal first, as the coach had to
leave for Bracknell before a decider could be played.
Perhaps Yateley should prevail upon the landlord to widen
the pub entrance pending further coach-loads of fools and
short period of rest and recuperation fortified by tea or
coffee and chocolate biscuits the company got spruced up for
the feast, for which the tables had again been rearranged,
this time with a ‘top table’. The occupants of that table
were the Squire and the Convener of the Illustrious Order,
the Squires of the supporting teams and our guest of honour
Roy Dommett and his good lady. The excellent meal
accompanied by copious beer and cider, was followed by the
traditional toasts and some great singing by people
nominated from each table. At the end of the feast
certificates were awarded to new full and associate members.
This year was notable as the Unconvention where we admitted
our first sentient canine associate member, Rodney, who had
done a great job entertaining the crowds during the day.
were then cleared for dancing, which gave a number of folk
who had been encumbered by their beastly friends, to join in
the session. When exhaustion of bodies and ideas terminated
that activity, the musicians took the stage. This
Unconvention was remarkable for the high proportion of
participants who could play instruments, many and varied.
Beginners and experts were welcome to participate in this
fun aspect of the Morris. Most of us heard some new songs,
but whether we will remember them all is very doubtful,
possibly due to the rate the barrels were being emptied and
various hip flasks sampled. By 2 a.m. the bulk of the crew
had retired for the night, but a few felt that they should
witness the official return to GMT. However, an attempt by
one of the Kennet men to override the radio controlled clock
in the hall failed completely, but the clock got its own
back by cleverly being right in the morning.
breakfast at 8 a.m. seemed a more reasonable time than on
the previous day and once again everyone was ready for their
bacon, scrambled eggs, mushrooms and toast. A short while
was allowed for packing up ready for departure at 11.15.
another rearrangement of the furniture set the scene for the
AGM. This was attended by some 35 members, possibly our
biggest turn out for some years. The details of the meeting
are recorded elsewhere, but matters were discussed in an
efficient and businesslike manner to ensure that we were
ready for the next session at 10 a.m.
honoured that Peter had persuaded Roy Dommett, to come out
of semi- retirement for our benefit. Roy has made an amazing
contribution to the preservation and development of the
Morris in this country in parallel with his work as a rocket
scientist at Farnborough for which he was made a CBE. Roy
regaled us with words of wisdom about the philosophy and
practicalities of being ‘Morris Characters’ based on his
many years of experience. The talk was inspirational for
both long standing and new members of our organisation and
made us think about how we could make our individual
contribution to the tradition. He has provided us with some
documents setting out some of his thoughts and advice on the
subject, which will appear on the “foolsandbeasts” web site.
thanking our scouting hosts for helping to make this weekend
so enjoyable, numerous cars and vans departed for Henley on
Thames for the next tour. After some trauma in parking, we
arrived at the first spot on the river towpath at Mill
Meadow, where Winsor Morris the local ladies team were
already entertaining a substantial crowd. The arrival of
lots of fools and beasts added much colour to the occasion
and generated many more questions from the onlookers. These
were expertly answered by the members of the order, although
some of the mute hooden horses had a bit of difficulty in
explaining the finer points of Morris history.
session outside the church of St Mary by Henley Bridge,
again with an interested, but moving audience completed the
dancing programme for 2011. We than repaired to the
Catherine wheel, a Wetherspoons establishment, to enjoy our
pre-ordered lunches. We counted the last of the collections,
which resulted in the weekend breaking even on costs, which
was an added bonus.
spending another hour or so over our meal, putting the world
to rights, we departed to our homes having experienced a
well organised and fun-filled weekend. We were all grateful
for the hard work done by our hosts to make this such a
successful Fools and Beasts Unconvention.
A cutting from the Reading
Post November 2nd 2011
Other pictures on the F&B Facebook site at
Cost: approx. £60 per person. (Costings have yet to be finalised;
some arrangements are still provisional and maybe subject to change
— but hopefully not!)
Closing date for Applications 10th October 2011.
Robert Chisman, Scrivener and Convener
here for the application form
(FOR YOU TO PRINT,
COMPLETE, AND SEND WITH PAYMENT)
INFORMATION ISSUED FOR EARLIER EVENTS
Hosted by Bloxham Morris and Adderbury
22-24 October 2010
Open to all Fools, Beasts and Morris
Characters from any team from the Ring, Open or Federation.
This year's Unconvention will be based in the Village Hall at
Cropredy, near Banbury, and will involve workshops, dancing tour
with Bloxham and Ducklington to Stow on the Wold, a visit to Hook
Norton Brewery, and a presentation on William Cutler (Old Mettle),
Fool for Adderbury and other sides in the first half of the 19th
Plus the AGM of course - your
chance to have your say.
Costings are still being worked out, but we are aiming for approx.
£60 per person.
Click here for printable Application Form
or here for .pdf version
Closing date for Applications 4th
(First come first served)
Hosted by Utrecht
Morris Men 23-25 October 2009.
It was hosted by the Utrecht Morris Team, who gave
us a great time and lots of old friends renewed their acquaintances and lots of
new friendships were made. A full report will be posted here in due course, but
suffice it to say that a good time was had by all and that grateful thanks are
due to our hosts. Any pictures can be sent to the Scrivener, the U.M.T, or forwarded to this
site via Knotty by clicking here.
This is the link for the majority of the
Some 500 pictures just to be getting on with!
Maybe more to come.
And here are some You-Tube videos of the event -
On the website for the 2009 Unconvention,
a booklet with some essential information for the guests has been made
available for download.
Most of the information in it (itinerary, travel
directions for public transport) is also to be read on the website
but as extra's there are some maps in it and some cell-phone numbers of
the organising committee (might come in handy for those planning to get
lost on their way to Utrecht).
It is a 400kB pdf-file, which should pose no
problems for the majority of the internet users.
Those wishing to do so, might print it and take it with them whilst
travelling into foreign countries.
Details here Open to all Fools and Beasts.
Friday 23rd of October
17:00 onwards Fort aan de Klop will be open to receive visitors
A light supper will be served.
(Visitors arriving early can drop off luggage, but
accommodation will not be available yet)
Saturday 24th of October
10:30 Depart from Fort de Klop by bus to the city centre
11:00 Arrival city centre
Helmond Morris Men
Maids of the Mill
Utrecht Morris Team
Perform at Stadhuisbrug
Meet up for mass show on De Neude
16:00 Return to Fort by boat
17:00 Arrive at Fort
25th of October
10:00 Annual General Meeting
Here for Minutes and Agenda
12:00 Final performance at Fort de Klop
13:00 Lunch and Farewells
This and more information can be found at:
including how to reach the accommodation.
For all questions contact us at:
Application form downloadable
The 2008 Unconvention
Click here for pictures (as
they come in).
Colton, Rugeley, Staffordshire.
Hosted by the Stafford Morris Men
17th to 19th October
here for a map)
(click here for the Village Web
(click here for the Stafford web-site)
For more details click here
Accommodation was Indoor Camping, as usual.
The tour on Saturday included Rugeley,
Bromley, Lichfield, and the
The tours were followed by an excellent evening Feast, and local osteleries were
patronised throughout the weekend.
Various Workshops took place over the
weekend, including instruction in the recently discovered Manx Scallop Dance by
the two fools responsible for much of the research, Dr Sercombe and Professor
The cost is £50 per person.
A report will be published here shortly, or you can contact Knotty
or O1785 823O67 for more information..
The Annual General Meeting also took place
during the weekend. For more details please contact The Convener: Robert Chisman,
The Flat, Robert's Pharmacy, The Coombes, Polperro, Cornwall, PL13 2RG. Tel: 01503 272250 (day) 01503 272437 (eve)
The 2007 Unconvention: Seavington,
Hosted by Wyvern Jubilee Morris 19th to 21st October 2007
Unconvention pictures for the 2007 meeting
Notes from Wyvern
We are looking
to get a "music" tent which will allow for those late-nighters to play without
upsetting the cocoa and early night brigade.
There is one pub within walking distance and another which we can drive to if
Jed is organising the Saturday tour which will be centred around Glastonbury and
Street. these venues have lots of shops/pubs/etc and give us a captive audiance
Guests will be coached to the venues for ease and speed and there is enough
bodies around to cater for the beasts that need individual care !
Support from our own Wyvern Morris will be assisted by a couple of other local
teams (we hope!)
We have considered the issue of Saturday lunch and have decided that we will NOT
have an organised sit down.
This will allow for individuals to select their own eating house. (Burger and
chips or full English roast)
We felt this allowed for those who either wished to wander around the local
sights or wished to have a break from the rest of us for an hour or so !!
It will also mean we can reduce the price of the w/e for guests. (Currently
looking at £40 approx)
The rest of the programme will run as previous w/e's.:
Friday night Arrival 6 p.m.
onwards. Light supper available. Ale & music at hall or pubs.
Saturday Tour during day.
Feast in the evening.
Workshops. Discussions, etc. Finish approx 2.00p.m.
Please get this provisional programme to all members...Many thanks and keep
The 2006 Unconvention Old
was held from 27th to 29th
under the direction of Roger, The
Squire's Fool, and hosted by
Letchworth Morris Men
at Old Warden Village Hall,
near Biggleswade, Bedfordshire.
It is expected that a few ladies and/or
junior fools can be invited for the weekend, but the venue has limited capacity
comply with new regulations.
Those who cannot be accommodated will, however be welcome to join
the tour during the day. Priority will be given to current members of the order.
Village Hall from 6pm onwards. Ploughman’s supper.
Beer at hall, or
in Hare and Hounds across the road.
Saturday 28th October
Workshop -and Briefing
Assemble for tour - in private vehicles.
11 am Show in
Biggleswade Town Centre.
12 noon Show in
Biggleswade at other end of Market, by card shop.
12.30 pm Travel
back for lunch at Old Warden - soup roll etc, beer.
2.00 pm Leave
Old Warden for Ashwell
2.30 pm Show
outside Ashwell Museum
3.00 pm Show
outside Bushell & Strike
3.30 pm Leave Ashwell for Broom
3.45 pm Show at
The Cock, Broom
4.45 pm Leave
Broom for Old Warden
5.00 pm Tea and
Cakes in the Hall
7.30 pm Free
time before Feast
7.30 pm Feast,
followed by singing, drinking, dancing, whatever.
Sunday 29th October
8.00 am Breakfast
11.15 am Coffee
11.30 am Official
Business and Discussion Forum
12.30pm Lunch and
depart by 4pm
The plan to go to
Plymouth's twin town of
Brest has not been possible this year
The 2005 Unconvention,
The 2005 Unconvention
was held at an old mill in Cromford, near Matlock in Derbyshire. The event was
masterminded by two members of the Ripley Morris Men, John, (The Ripley Fool)
and Roger, (The Ripley Beast). They did a fantastic job and gave all the
participants a memorable weekend. The Mill has been converted to a community
centre, with many rooms set up as bedrooms, workrooms, a dining room and
kitchen. In fact everything that the unconvention needed.
Once the building had
been found, which for many was rather a challenge, and parking which would have
done credit to a car ferry, the atmosphere within was, (as always), friendly and
The old hands met
familiar faces and the newcomers were introduced to some of the more eccentric
members of the Fools and Beasts fraternity. However, that word may have been
rendered obsolete at this event, as ladies were present for the first time.
Last year it was decided
to invite "Non-Ring" sides to send representatives, and several gentlemen from
the Morris Federation came to the Plymouth gathering.
This time there were
female fools and beasts at the unconvention as well as another first: the
participation of a Junior Morris Club. Three young ladies and their
musician/instructor from Ashley's Rise Morris of Bristol brought their hobby
horse Ashley and his rather bigger friend, Dennis to entertain the crowds at
Cromford and Matlock.
For the full unexpurgated version of the Unconvention
report click here