Chanctonbury Ring Morris Men

Doug Parrott

Doug was elected as a member of ‘Chancs’ in the Autumn of 1978, the intake that year also including Ninian Bowman, Jeff Chapman, Rex Dumbrell, John Gregorzek and Peter Rogan. His managerial skills were quickly appreciated when he became Squire for the years 1981-83, and then again ten years later in 1991-93.

Doug had become an excellent dancer; however later on when his knees began to fail, he took up playing the melodeon and became a key part of our ‘band’.

As a musician, he’d stand at the top of the set and could see the whole dance, and he was very vocal about our dancing standards, ”lines!”, and the overall look of the set. I will miss his regular comments and concerns. He was a man where the highest dancing standards mattered.

Doug was instrumental in recruiting many members to the side, and as Cliff Marchant who joined Chancs in 1984 (and later became Squire of the side, and also Squire of the Morris Ring of England for a time) recalls:

“The reason I am dancing is because of Doug. I first met him on a building site - he was a carpenter and I was working for a firm installing the boilers. The next time I saw him some months later he was in Morris kit! After some banter, he talked me into coming to a practise, so it was all his fault, as I had often reminded him”.

Doug was more than just a Morris Dancer. For many years he organised and MC’d our Annual Apple Howling (Wassail) in Henfield, and later at Bolney. Dressed in his top-hat and tail coat he had an impressive appearance. For many years he was also a member of our ‘Tipteering’ team where, on Boxing Day, he’d played the part of the Valiant Soldier.

During the 1980s, Doug was the main caller with the local barn dance band, Baker’s Dozen. Barn dances are often used for family celebrations, such as birthdays or weddings, As John Samuels a past Chanctonbury member and regular fiddle player in various barn dance bands remembers, Doug had such an easy manner in communicating with people, this came across in his calling.

Our Squire Sean Goddard says

“We regret to announce that our team member Doug Parrott died on Wednesday 5th May from cancer.

Since the early 1960s, its Wednesdays that have been Chanctonbury Ring Morris Men’s dancing day.”

Doug Parrott, 10th February 1944 - 5th May 2021

Among Doug's many skills and interests one which his friends will remember was his ability to do wonderful things with wood.  There were many recipients of exquisite examples of joinery and decorative woodwork, from skilfully extending items for St. Giles' church (Shermanbury), to making a locking glazed notice board for Chancs, a proper wooden casket for the Chain of Office of the Morris Ring, undetectable repairs to antique furniture; the list would go on and on, and the many who have been lucky enough to benefit from one of these will no doubt treasure their example and the memories of Doug which it elicits.

I joined Chanctonbury in 1992, having previously danced with the University of Sussex Morris Men, and then later Brighton Morris. Doug welcomed me into the side immediately and saw me through my first year when I had to change my dancing style to the ‘Chanctonbury way’.

Doug was a key part of the heart of Chanctonbury Ring Morris Men. He will be greatly missed by us all.

Sean Goddard - Squire of Chanctonbury Ring Morris Men