Film ID: NEFA 21604 A VILLAGE IN NORTHUMBRIA 1971 Visitor TabsDescription This film by South Shields amateur filmmaker Lilian Wincote is about the village of Ovingham in Northumberland and includes it's famous Goose Fair, which has ancient origins. The film also gives an impression of village life. Title: A Village In Northumbria The film begins with a view of the river Tyne. Title: Ovingham on Tyne A general view of the river from a grassy bank. Cars pass over the single lane Ovingham bridge. The film cuts to the front of the White Swan pub in the village. Views follow of the window of a general store, advertising Ross's and Bird Eye frozen food. Shots of villagers chatting on the pavement and generally going about their business. The film cuts to St Mary's church and it's 12th century tower, then to a man making roof repairs on a stone built house. A farmer drives a tractor out of a farmyard towing a piece of agricultural machinery. The film cuts to the information board of St Mary's listing daily and weekly services. The film cuts again to show the old church tower in close up. A close up of a tablet mounted on a wall in the interior of the church that commemorates Thomas Bewick the famous naturalist, artist and engraver. Both he and his wife are buried in the church grounds. Title: Bewick of Cherryburn General views follow of a number of stills showing wildlife engravings and rural scenes by the artist. Views follow of a tethered goat on the old village green, then items of washing on a clothes line. A woman walks across a stone footbridge, a 17th century construction leading from the village green to the west of the village. A close up shows the arches and stonework of the bridge with the Tyne flowing below. A brief shot of a stone chimney belonging to redundant bleach and dye works follows, with wild flowers on the riverbank. The film cuts to a marching group of morris men or sword dancers possibly the Newcastle Kingsmen sword dancers at Ovingham goose fair. A man in the parade carries a placard which advertises the goose fair(?). Mike Neville is the mystery celebrity, (the mystery celebrity a tradition in the village) who opens the fair. Behind, others in the parade are in fancy dress. Some of the Kingsmen perform a dance as the parade moves along. More dancing from the Kingsmen with music from Northumbrian pipes. Title: Bewick Book Fair A display of books (published by Frank Graham?) of local history topics is spread across a table. Film cuts to someone baking using a bowl to mix ingredients for a 'singing hinny' a Northumberland type of griddle cake, which are then baked on an iron skillet(?). Two women sample the end result. Other women pour tea at a stall. Hot dogs are cooked in bulk! More dancing from the Kingsmen, who hold swords up which are locked together in a star pattern. The film cuts to examples of crafts on display including wrought ironwork and ceramics. A man sings and plays guitar. A game of skittles follows, others use fishing rods to hook onto bottles, some throw coins into an artificial pond. More traditional dancing follows and children play in fancy dress. The film cuts to the stone footbridge seen earlier. Two women and a young girl walk away from the camera down a track. This is followed by a brief shot of the tethered goat and of a cows in a field. The film ends with a general view of the river. Title: 'The End Context A fair day’s fun in Ovingham Take a gander at the modern Ovingham Goose Fair and its mystery guest. Captured by a film-maker in the thick of it, the modern Ovingham Goose Fair erupts into the slow life of a Northumbrian village in the Tyne river valley. Entertainments include athletic Morris and rapper dance, fancy dress, bike wheel roulette, and, for the peckish, singin’ hinnies on the griddle. The mystery celebrity is genial TV news presenter Mike Neville in a pair of star quality sunglasses, surrounded by enthusiastic autograph hunters and lapping it up. At the peak of Britain’s post-war embrace of the modern, the 1960s saw a revival of folk traditions and rituals, including music, crafts and vanished rural festivals such as the Ovingham Goose Fair. Perhaps, a note of disapproval creeps into the commentary of this well-crafted documentary by amateur filmmaker Lilian Wincote MBE. She also covered the quirky New Year’s Tar Bar’l festival in Allendale in 1979, but seems to have found more authenticity in this celebration. Wincote was a retired headmistress who had taught in South Shields since 1924, a Justice of the Peace until 1972, a past president of Soroptimist International, and a founder member of the South Shields Amateur Cinematographers Association. The original Ovingham fair was organised by the Umfraville family in the 13th century and held on St Andrew’s Day. “In 1471, the Earls (later Dukes) of Northumberland became Lords of the Manor and held the rights of the fair. By 1826, the Fair was principally for the sale of cattle and business was preceded by a procession, which was called “Riding the Bounds”. Latterly and certainly by 1939, the bounds were walked not ridden, by the Duke's two pipers, agent, bailiff and constable who were followed by the tenant farmers and householders. After the procession, rents were collected. This was followed by a dinner in the evening in the Adam and Eve, Low Prudhoe, at the Duke’s expense.” A fair selling geese for Christmas was still held on the village green in the 1840s. The geese were walked from the Carlisle area, despite the opening of the Tyne Valley railway line to Newcastle in 1838. It’s not known when the fair ceased but villagers revived it in 1969, moving it to the third Saturday in June. Mike Neville was the much-loved face of TV news in the north east for more than 40 years. Born in Willington Quay in 1936, he launched his broadcast career with Tyne Tees Television in 1962. He later became the presenter of BBC Look North and Nationwide, known for his easy-going style and ability to ad-lib through any crisis in the TV studio.