2001 Weekend Tour 1
11.00 a.m. Cripple Creek Inn, Bryngwyn
The tour started with a lively pub which lies alongside the main A40 dual carriageway, although set back from this busy road, and with a large bar with a range of real ales. Plenty of room to dance on the old road outside and you never know, perhaps one day we may entice our enthusiastic landlord to join in. After displaying a variety of dances the tour moved on to:
12.30 p.m. Crown Inn, Pantygelli
A lovely scenic old pub with a flower fringed patio at the front and a warm welcome, together with excellent real ales and home cooked food inside. The pub is be reached by turning left off the main Abergavenny to Hereford Road just before the slip road to Llanvihangel Crucorney and then travelling 2 mls along a quiet lane to find this little gem with views over towards the Skirrid Mountain nearby. After some dancing and an excellent lunch, the dancers moved on at 2.00 travelling down the old Hereford Road into Abergavenny.
2.30 p.m. Horseshoe Inn, Mamhilad
A fine pub just over the canal bridge which has been used by Isca many times (ask us about the Boxing Day tour!) and which we hope you'll enjoy. The landlord expanded his normally wide range of ales served in the Horseshoe bar with good views over open countryside.
2001 Weekend Tour 2
11.00 a.m. Hen & Chickens, Abergavenny
A local institution in Flannel Street now owned by Brains Brewers after a tasteful modernisation. The pub is just off the main shopping street with a strong local clientele and one of the largest real ale consumptions in Abergavenny. Let's hope that the audience continue to be as enthusiastic about our dancing!!
12.20 p.m. Red Hart Inn, Llanfapley
A very friendly pub that has won a number of awards over the last couple of years and stocks a wide range of Cottage Ales. After visits over the last few years when Jim, the landlord, has put on some excellent ales, including Normans Conquest (a fine 7% ale), only for us to drink the lot. Another treat was laid on with Jean serving a special menu for the dancers. An excellent spread and a chance to toast our 25 years before the dancers moved on at around 1.50 p.m travelling down towards Abergavenny and then to Mamhilad.
2.30 p.m. Star Inn, Mamhilad
The Star stands atop a hill opposite the historic Mamhilad church of St Illtyds with its 2,500 year old Yew Tree - older than the Morris perhaps? - certainly much older than our excellent and late lamented musician Harry de Caux who provides most of our superb illustrations. The pub was commemorated in 1931 in a memorable poem entitled "The Star, Mamilad" written by John Gawsworthy:
Let us forgather at Mamilad
11.00 a.m. Nags Head, Usk
An old pub set on the main Twyn Square which specialises in selling only excellent Welsh ales and food. The Nags Head is a friendly free house in the centre of Usk and an establishment that we visit regularly. After topping up their pints, Adlington were quick off the mark:
swiftly followed by Alford
and then by Brisingamen, resplendant in colourfull costumes.
All the dancers had a large welcoming crowd and after a chance to relax, the tour headed off at 12.00 to Trellech which was larger than Chepstow in the 13th century. The original town of Trellech was largely destroyed in 1291 as a result of a raid following a dispute over alleged deer poaching. The Black Death in 1349 and the ravages of Owain Glyndwr in the 1400's further reduced it's prosperity and importance.
12.30 p.m. Lion Inn, Trellech
A church was endowed on this site by Kings Ffernwael and Meurig, rulers of Gwent in the 7th & 8th centuries. This was probably a wooden structure and the surviving preaching cross in the churchyard and the Saxon font may well date back to this time. The present building is well over 600 years old and records held by the Church go back to the year 1692; a complete list of Vicars and Churchwardens from the year 1359 hangs by the entrance to the south aisle.
The Lion is a split level pub with two real fires and a collection of model lions and sits opposite the church. It has been one of our regular performance spots over the last few years where we are always guaranteed a warm welcome. Trellech village is also justly famous for three stones, called the Harold Stones, which are in a field on the left of the road to Llanishen, to the south of the village. The date of the stones is much earlier than King Harold and like the ancient Morris Dancing, their real significance is unknown.
The village is also renowned for two other ancient attractions. A Norman mote or tump, some 40 feet high, is situated in a farmyard to the south-west of the church and there is a local superstition that calamity will overtake anyone who attempts to excavate it. There is also a virtuous well, sometimes known as St Anne's Well, which can be found in a field on the left of the road to Tintern, a little way out of the village to the east. The water is impregnated with iron and has been thought to possess curative properties. After an excellent stop with fine food and a range of well kept real ales, the tour moved on at around 2.00.
2.40 p.m. Horse & Jockey Inn, Llanfihangel Pontymoile
With a new landlord installed in the last month, the Horse & Jockey boasts good food and a range of well kept real ales which for the day were selected from our choices by the landlord. The pub is reputedly from the 15th century and sits next to the church in the old parish of Pontymoile.
2001 Weekend Tour 4
11.00 a.m. Star Inn, Llanfihangel Tor-y-mynydd
One of the few pubs that has been visited by the side every year since their formation back in 1976 and one where we are guaranteed a very warm welcome from Alan, the landlord. And it wasn't long before Sgt Musgraves Dance soon threw themselves into some dancing . . . . .
The pub is an outstanding country inn reputed to have been visited by John Wesley in 1798 and which still keeps a range of traditional real ales. Along with a couple of real fires, two large bars and accommodation, it is an ideal base from which to perform. At around 12 noon the tour moved on to the lunch spot.
12.25 p.m. Fountain Inn, Trellech Grange
The tour now ventured a couple of miles into the woods to a small village, where nestling on a bend in the road is an ancient staging post inn situated just to the north of Tintern. After topping up the refreshments, John O'Gaunt were soon in action . . . . .
The Fountain Inn is one of a select group of pubs which has been on our 'A' list for many years and where Jeff, the new French landlord, continues the tradition of keeping a fine range of both real ale and food. As usual, the dancing took place on the road in front of the pub followed by a musical session inside.
2.40 p.m. Wain-y-Clare, Cwmoody
Another new addition to our itinerary following a dance spot two years ago for the local police choir and their visitors from Germany. Inside is one very large bar and a friendly landlady who looked forward to the day's visit and provided a well kept range of real ales. After a few dances, including one from Sweyns Ey pictured on the left, the groups relaxed in the large gardens.
2001 Weekend Tour 5
11.00 a.m. Punch House Inn, Monmouth
For this tour, the dancers travelled to the north east of our dancing area to Monmouth, home of the infamous Monmouth Caps worn by the side. The Punch House is an historic inn now owned by Brains and set in the centre of Monmouth on one side of Agincourt Square. First up were the ever popular Belles and Broomsticks from Guernsey . . . . .
The groups admired the statue of Rolls in front of the historic Market Building and the tour moved on a couple of miles across the border to the lunch spot at 12.00 noon.
12.25 p.m. Ostrich Inn, Newland
A lovely scenic old pub set in Newland, a beautiful village on the western side of the Forest of Dean with origins traceable to the time of Edward I. Beside the village is a hill which was strongly fortified by the ancient Britons. The pub is opposite the church and nearby stands a huge ancient oak tree with its trunk measuring 46ft in girth. The Ostrich Inn provided an ideal venue in which to dance the traditional Morris. Apart from an excellent menu, the landlady prides herself on her range of real ales and usually keeps a range of eight on tap.
Also close to the church can be found the old almshouses which were founded by a London haberdasher in the 1500's. All Saints church in Newland is known locally as the Cathedral of the Forest because of it's proportions, history and setting, and it is well worth a detour. The church was first established by Robert de Wakering (1215-1237). All the early builders of the church were important men in the affairs of the State, and this may help to explain the unusual size of the church. In 1305 Edward I added a small chapel (adjoining the south porch) and founded the chantry of King Edward's Service.
The church comprises a west tower, nave with five arches, adjoining very large north and south aisles, south porch and chapels. There are many interesting monuments within the church including an effigy of Jenkin Wyrall, Forester of Fee (d. 1457), which shows interesting details of hunting costumes of that period. Also within the church is an old brass engraving known as "the Miners Brass" which depicts a helmet, crest and figure of a mediaeval miner of the Forest of Dean with a hod and pick in his hand and candlestick in his mouth. This has become one of the "symbols" of the Forest of Dean and at just one foot high, has been adopted as the badge of the local Freeminer Brewery.
2.20 p.m. Boat Inn, Penalt
A lovely little pub set on the banks of the Wye and reached by foot using an old railway bridge which crosses over from our temporary incursion into England. The pub has a large number of real ales which change regularly and are chalked up on a board by the bar. It also stocks a range of home-made wines for the vini-culturists amongst you.