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Downton Abbey visits Jaffrey

“Jaffrey Center Entertains Downton Abbey, 1923” was the theme of a Sunday evening social at The Inn at East Hill Farm on March 17.

The hairstyles, clothes and music of the guest’s grandparents era were on display at the Jaffrey Center Village Improvement Society’s 2013 spring dinner, which was enjoyed by more than 80 guests.

Inspired by the British television series “Downton Abbey” and the 1923 sesquicentennial celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Jaffrey, the Village Improvement Society had members act as Jaffrey personages of 1923 who had invited “cousins” from the Crawley clan of Downton Abbey to the evening’s festivities.

Acting as Lord and Lady Grantham were Steven Jackson and Lisa Bostnar of Jaffrey. Suze Campbell, current president of the VIS, was MC for the evening, playing the part of Margaret Casson Robinson, a founder of the Village Improvement Society in 1906 and its president from 1908 to 1928.

The evening included entertainment by H. Charles Royce and Ann Royce of Jaffrey. Charles Royce, wrapped in an Indian blanket and with a feather in his hair, told amusing stories about his grandfather, William C. Royce, who dressed up as “Old Greylock,” an Abenaki Indian chief, for the August 17, 1923 Jaffrey Sesquicentennial Parade.

Ann Royce, acting as Miss Cann, the proprietess of the Oribe Tea Room on Main Street in Jaffrey Center, talked about the Oribe Japanese pottery, the atmosphere, the desserts, sandwiches and tea offered there. As a young woman, Mrs. Royce worked for Miss Cann at The Oribe, now a building that The Monadnock Inn across the street uses for receptions and parties.

Randy Morse, Preston Clark, and Gene Pokorny were bartenders at Miss Jenny Whitcomb’s Speakeasy; Judy Hall of Troy, Miss Jenny’s actual niece, told the guests about the history of East Hill Farm. Willa Cather and her companion Edith Lewis were played by Denise Ginzler and Margaret Hawthorn of Rindge.

Louise and Bernie Watson played piano and Janet Grant, Ken Campbell and Bill Raymond led people in 1920s songs.

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