High Days and Holidays - Introduction

In 1901 the population of Brook and Hulverstone was about 221, and Mottistone about 90, but even so, social life was astonishingly rich for so small a community and relatives and friends from Brighstone and elsewhere joined in many social events.

In 1901 the population of Brook and Hulverstone was about 221, and Mottistone about 90,but even so, social life was astonishingly rich for so small a community and relatives and friends from Brighstone and elsewhere joined in many social events.

Apart from marking national celebrations such as Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and the coronation of George V at Brooke House, there were annual gatherings such as the Lifeboat and Harvest Home suppers.

Village life included a vigorous cricket club, tennis parties, musical evenings at the school and whist drives at which 90 people might sit down together.

Social life was astonishingly rich for so small a community. Familiar family names appear and re-appear among the organisers, singers, entertainers, actors, sportsmen and competitors from one generation to the next.

Everyone seems to have taken part in everything; the men who competed in the regattas and played cricket also obliged with a song, dressed up for the pageant and took part in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

While country dancing took place in the Rectory garden and maypole dancing at the school, most social events were held in the Seely Hall.

During the Second World War there were dances for the troops stationed in Brook and a Valentine’s Dance took place every year. When the Reverend and Mrs Bowyer came to the parish in the 1950s, the villages were brought ‘up to date’ and much changed.

The Reverend Bowyer started a youth club in what had been the school at Hulverstone and organised ballroom dancing lessons which were very popular, with many a match made. One couple is still happily married 50 years on.

One year Mrs Bowyer put on a Passion Play which she had written herself. It took place in the grounds of Mottistone Manor with almost everyone in Brook and Mottistone involved. She was very persuasive!

Carol singing at Christmas around the village involved calling in at various houses for refreshments.

The annual children’s parties were held in the Seely Hall and these continued well into the 1990s.