The Ock Street Horns
The Horns of Ock Street date from 1700. The road from Abingdon town centre to the North is called the Vineyard (because it passed through Abingdon Abbey’s vineyard), that leading to the West and South, running parallel to the River Ock is called Ock Street. Following a celebration, in 1700, when an ox was roasted on the marketplace in the town centre, the “Vineyard men” fought with the “Ock Street men” for possession of the ox's horns. The Ock Street men won.
Since then, the original Ock Street Horns, mounted in a carved wooden ox’s head emblazoned with the date 1700 have served as the insignia of Abingdon’s morris dancing side, and also of the independent spirit and character of the inhabitants of Ock Street. By tradition the morris side (Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers) will not dance without the horns. A rosewood cup, reputedly carved from a cudgel used in the fight, forms part of the regalia of the Mayor of Ock Street.
A public house called The Ock Street Horns traded for many years in Ock Street boasting a large pair of replica horns above its front door. On its closure in 1960 these were moved to another Ock Street public house, The White Horse, where they are now on display.
The Ock Street Horns (with the Mayor of Ock Street and friends)