At the beginning of the 1900s up until the First World War in 1914, Heyford celebrated together at their annual sports day organised by a special sports committee, and at which everyone in the village attended.
The sports ﬁeld was situated beyond the children’s playground where the houses in Hillside Road / Hillside Crescent now stand. The ﬁeld belonged to a local farmer who removed his cows for the day, which usually meant a bit of clearing up had to be done ﬁrst. The date was usually set for Whitsuntide, and a beer tent and tea tent would be organised by the ladies.
The men would probably be dressed in striped jackets, baggy trousers and straw hats, the ladies in blouses, long skirts and large hats, the little girls in ankle length dresses and the little boys in jumpers and knickerbockers.
A local band (probably from Bugbrooke) would begin the proceedings and set the mood, and the races would be mainly for the children and fathers, possibly followed by an egg and spoon race for the mums, although they found it rather difﬁcult to run in long skirts. Winners names would be taken after each race for prize giving at the end of the afternoon.
At the interval the lancers from Weedon Depot would give a display of horsemanship, including the spectacular attraction of tent pegging. A peg much the same as a tent peg but softer would be placed in the ground at the centre point. The lancer would mount his horse with his lance at his side, charge at the peg, picking it up with his lance and raising it above his head amid cheers from an enthusiastic crowd.
Prize giving would be the highlight of the afternoon, and the prizes would be something for the home, possibly linen or cutlery which would be acceptable to any family.
The band would play a ﬁnale and everyone would go home tired but well satisﬁed with the days events, and this day would be talked about for a long time.
(Reprinted from issue no 3 of The Prattler, dated January 1978)
Extract from “The Story of Heyford” – Local book series published in the late 1990’s
Volume 2 of 4 | Chapter 6 of 11 | Page 18
Extract from The Story of Heyford – Volume 2 of 4 – Page 18