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"Maypole Dance in the Twentieth Century: Further Studies of a North Cotswold Town" (1)

Craig Fees

Traditional Dance, Volumes 5/6 (1988), pp. 97-134.

Proceedings of the Fifth Traditional Dance Conference held in March 1985, and the Sixth Traditional Dance Conference held in March 1986

Edited by Theresa Buckland

 

 [For copyright reasons, the photographs which originally accompanied this talk are not included]

 

In its early heyday, folk studies looked at customs as survivals, and saw around itself the continued demise of customs under the machinery of "Progress". Recent research - as Theresa Buckland pointed out in a paper delivered to this conference in 1982 - has tended to replace this intuitive (and culturally pre-determined) apprehension with detailed contextual studies; she herself was offering a study in the survival of a custom, and pointed to an increasing number of studies into the demise or suppression of customs. This paper is a contribution to the study of the modern 'revival' and invention of customs, for which there is also a growing literature (2). Specifically, I am looking at the maypole dance in the town of Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, which was first performed in 1896 (3) and is now a secure and richly meaningful part of the town's annual Scuttlebrook Wake, the day which, more than any other of the year, is set apart for the celebration of Campden.

The question I put here, for the consideration of this conference, is: how does an item of culture become a custom, and how does a custom become a tradition? That is, how does a thing that people know about or perhaps read about (the item of culture) become a thing done, and done in such-and-such-a-way (the custom), and how does that then become a tradition, that is, something taken for granted, which can be counted upon to happen as a matter of course, and to happen in a certain way?

There are a wide variety of ways in which a maypole can be done. There can be wooden poles or metal poles, tall or short poles, mobile or fixed poles, and so on. The dancers might be adults, or they might be children, and they might be all male, all female, or mixed male and female. The dancers might wear special costumes, Sunday dress, school uniforms or everyday clothes. The music might be provided by a fiddler, a harmonium, a band, a piano or tape recorder. Particular songs might be suitable for the performance of the custom; there might be a particular order in which the dances must be done, and so on. The item of culture becomes a custom when all of these decisions are made and the result is performed. The custom becomes a tradition when these decisions, and the process of decision-making, are taken over from previous performances of the custom and implemented rather than, in any material sense, remade.

 

1896-1897

In 1860, when my familiarity with the area begins (4), Campden was a fairly prosperous market centre in the North Cotswolds, servicing an agricultural district whose difficult climate and soil are emphasised by the fertility of the Vale of Evesham, which lies just below. Labour troubles in the early 1870s and the Agricultural Depression from the late 1870s disrupted the smooth course of the never easy agricultural industry. The decade of the 1880s consequently sees the ascent into relative prominence of the tradesmen in Campden, and over the 1880s and 1890s we see the active cultivation of tourism - first on the basis of Campden's healthy and bracing Cotswold air, but very quickly on the basis of her "Old English" antiquity. Campden is only twelve miles from Shakespeare's Stratford-on-Avon and connected at that time by rail.

As a consequence, the way in which Campden had been seen began to change. From a centre for servicing the agricultural industry, part of an agricultural parish, she emerged as a marketable entity in her own right, an Old English town, a tourist attraction whose attractions could be studiously developed and advertised. Agriculture remained the principal industry but leisure became increasingly important. It was in this context that the maypole dance was first staged.

In 1895 the seaside resort of Eastbourne staged a grand floral parade which was reported widely in the national press (5). The Campden traders decided to do the same thing. Thus, on the Cirencester Conservative Working Men's Club Day in 1895 - Whit Monday - they put on their own floral fête and parade which the local press claimed "eclipsed Eastbourne" (6). Following a fancy dress parade came the heart of the fête which was the procession of decorated tradesmen's carts and which carried, quite naturally, advertisements for the tradesmen involved. The parade was followed by sports and the usual amusements of a Club Day.

Following the success of 1895 more entertainments were added for the Whit Monday fête of 1896 (7). The Bidford Morris Dancers were hired in. After the tradesmen's carts in the parade there was an extended section of pageantry carts: Robin Hood and his men, the Yeomen of the Guard, twenty-four girl maypole dancers, a band, the May Queen (not a local girl, but a girl brought in from Gloucester), the Queen's pages, a 'bevy of maids of honour in a carriage' (8) and more. At the site, the maypole dance was fitted in before the crowning of the May Queen, apparently, and after a stand-up comedian, in the midst of other sports and entertainments.

The third and last of these Whit Monday fêtes, which 'fairly eclipsed its previous efforts (9), took place in the Queen's Jubilee year of 1897 (10). There was a lower participation by tradesmen and an increase in the number of elaborate and thematic pageantry carts. The signal event of the day was a grand pageant of living whist (this was a highly-rehearsed display in which girls in white dresses wearing number cards, and men and women dressed as face cards, acted out a pre-arranged game of whist 'played' by a group of gentlemen in view of the audience) but once again there was a maypole dance and a May Queen (this time a local girl). The cart carrying the maypole dancers came behind the band, and was immediately followed by the May Queen in one cart, and her retinue in another. Coming as the last of a number of pageant carts was a car representing Queen Victoria on the day of her coronation. Interestingly enough, no connection seems to have been explicitly drawn at this time between Queen Victoria and the May Queen.

 

The maypole dance in 1897 followed the crowning of the May Queen. Both were preceded by a series of sports and the performance of the pageant of living whist. The maypole dance was followed by more sports and entertainments. Neither the crowning nor the dance appear to have been particularly highlighted.

 

From a photograph taken by Oxford photographer Henry Taunt (11) we can see that the maypole itself was some twenty feet or more high, set into the ground, and surmounted by a sizable garland. The girls, who seem to be preparing to dance a treble plait, wear white dresses with coloured sashes to match their ribbons, dark stockings and shoes, and many of them wear white hair ribbons. In the parade, white hats were worn. The instructor was Colour Sergeant G. New, drill sergeant of the local Volunteers and a regular soldier in the Gloucestershire Regiment, who had also trained the performers in the living whist pageant, and was later memorialised by the town for his efforts (12).

 

The site of the dance is important. The fête took place, as it had in 1895 and 1896, in what are called the Ruins - the ruins of Old Campden House, a mansion on the outskirts of Campden which was built by Sir Baptist Hicks under James I and was burned down by Royalist troops during the Civil War. The Ruins are part of the Old Court House Grounds, the usual site of fêtes in Campden until the Recreation Ground (again, on the outskirts of Campden) opened in 1928. The church overlooks the site: the May Queen's throne was set against the wall of the ruined mansion's banqueting houses, and the maypole dances took place in front of the throne. The site was redolent of festivity and antiquity, an ideal venue for what was a tourist-oriented festival, in which "items of culture" were essentially pulled out of a book for the purpose of attracting and entertaining visitors. The May Queen and the maypole were entertainments rather than functions with genuine symbolic content.

 

The Jubilee Year of 1897 was the last in that series of Whit Monday floral fêtes and consequently of the maypole dances. As photographs and memories, however, both became specifically local "items of culture", which could once again be enacted, with the changed content that they were now parts of local culture. They were, that is, candidates for tradition.

 

1903-1905

 

In 1902 a London manufacturing firm called the Guild of Handicrafts removed itself to Campden (13). To call it a manufacturing firm is somewhat misleading. It was a socio-industrial experiment inspired by the writings of John Ruskin, run on guild socialist principles, and dedicated to nothing less than the reformation of British industry and the quality of national life. The essential insight of the Guild's director, C.R. Ashbee, was that the conditions of modern industry had robbed the workplace of its traditions, its fellowship and humanity; and that this industrialism had sucked these qualities out of British culture generally. The countryside, no less than the city, was in decay.

 

The Guild was dedicated to restoring the balance between man and machine in the workplace and to restoring the kind of pre-industrial communitas of Elizabethan and mediaeval England. From the Guild itself as a nucleus of fellowship, Ashbee wanted to re-extend to the community at large the life-giving bonds of the traditions of communal activity whether it be in work, in sports, art, or particularly in civic pageantry - celebrations of the genius of place.

 

In the spring and summer of 1902, the Guild brought forty or so workmen and their families to Campden for the healthy and inspiring "Old English" environment of the place. The mainly city-bred Guildsmen immediately set about to revitalise (as they saw it) the Campden community. That first November they organised a Guy Fawkes parade and display, an interesting innovation given that the lord of the manor and principal local landlord was a Roman Catholic (14). They financed the construction of a public swimming bath and opened it in 1903 with a set of sports with deliberate echoes of the young Olympic movement (15). They opened a School of Arts and Crafts, in which Ashbee lectured the town on their beautiful old English architecture and responsibility to preserve it in 1903 (16), and in which he delivered a lecture in 1904 titled 'The Cotswold Games and Their Place In History' (17), in which he laid out the theory of sports and pageantry which underlay the Guild's activity. He drew a quick picture of the history of English sports and particularly of the Cotswold Games (once held annually at Whitsun on Dover's Hill which overlooks Campden), which were also called Dover's Games after a pre-Commonwealth benefactor. Seasonal festivities, Ashbee said

 

are older than all religions, indeed, in a sense they may be called an integral part of every religion, for every religions has taken them and made them part of itself. (18)

 

Much to its credit, and in its wisdom, the mediaeval Church had gathered the joyful celebrations of the pagan religions into itself, and thus "The Maypole was set up in every English village hard by the church.' (19) But then came the Puritans:

 

Out once again went Jack-in-the-Green and all his crew, and during the dark time of the war and the Commonwealth, when Sir Baptist Hicks' house was burned to the ground and there was sorrow in the streets of Campden, the Maypoles were pulled down, and destroyed as idolotrous and papistical....(20)

 

thus establishing maypoles as symbols of joy and humanism, and of the time before the Puritan wars. He went on that during the Restoration: 'The sports were revived, but they never got back their old world beauty after the revival.'(21) After this came industrialism which 'degraded and destroyed what Puritanism had once already deflowered....' (22). He then laid out the intellectual basis upon which Guild-inspired pageants would proceed for the next twenty years. It is clear that Ashbee and his core Guildsmen themselves considered the Guild to be a kind of Jack-in-the-Green:

 

And I am inclined to think that Jack-in-the-Green - he is a sort of spirit of humanism - Jack-in-the-Green and the games that go with him, will fight his way out of industrialism...You can as soon crush out this healthy, happy love of mirth, of brightness, of colour, as you can stop the young sap rising or stay the streams from flowing. (23)

 

On their first spring in Campden the Guild of Handicraft organised a May Day festival for the benefit of the children of Campden which, not surprisingly, included a Jack-in-the-Green and a maypole (24). The committee which organised the fête was chaired by Guildsman Jim Pyment whose name will recur later. There was no previous tradition or custom of May Day celebrations in Campden: Campden celebrated at Whitsun. The May Day celebration survived under Mrs. Ashbee's personal oversight for three years.

 

In the first year, 1903, the 350 children who took part, men in fancy dress (mainly Guildsmen), and a costumed band mainly of townsmen assembled in the Town Square. Under the direction of Mrs. Ashbee 'the children sang the Padstow May Song (adapted to Campden) and the Oxfordshire May Song....' (25). There was a dance around the Jack-in-the-Green (26) and a procession to the Old Court House Grounds, where what was essentially a conventional children's treat took place. The maypole dance was part of the festivities prior to a sit-down tea. Both boys and girls danced on this occasion and, in this sense, it was another anomaly. It was in the spirit of a quote from Ashbee's 'Games' lecture which had been put into the mouth of Robert Dover, the founder of the Cotswold Games:

 

You say 'mix'd dancing is a wicked horrid horrid sin.' Well, upon my word! you blackcloth gentlemen seem to know much more than did 'our Churches' Elders, the wise men of the past who gave us our religion....(27)

 

This was a direct challenge to the "black people" of Campden, her "Puritans" who disapproved of recreational cycling on Sunday and forced the swimming bath to have separate times for men's and women's bathing. Even the annual swimming sports were required to be segregated (28). But more on this in a moment.

 

The teachers of the maypole dance in 1903 were the wife of Campden plumber, Will Haines (she was a native of nearby Aston Subedge: her husband's sister was a teacher in Campden's infant school and among the Ashbees' staunchest allies in Campden, Mrs. Dunn) (29): and Mrs. Ashbee. The children in an extant photograph (30) appear to be younger than those of 1896-97; the girls wear white dresses and sunbonnets; the boys wear their Sunday knickerbockers, white shirts and ties and best cloth caps. Both music and dances were reported in the press to have been seventeenth century, pre-Puritan and pre-Industrial. Mrs. Ashbee was an excellent pianist and may have played for the occasion. The fête took place in the Old Court House Orchard.

 

In the revived Whit Monday parade at the beginning of June, 1903 (31), the maypole appeared as part of a walking tableau representing 'Spring', but was apparently not performed. Significantly enough, in terms of later developments, 'Spring' led the procession; the tableau was arranged by the wife of Jim Pyment, the Guildsman and the chairman of the May Day Committee. For the tableau, a banner proclaimed 'Spring'; then, in the midst of a bevy of white-dressed children came two men carrying a little girl on a kind of throne-sedan chair on their shoulders. Though not proclaimed a May Queen - this had not yet been re-instituted in Campden - she represented the symbol of the reviving and youthful spirit of Spring. The Guild later in the parade explicitly identified itself with this Spirit (32). Immediately behind the spirit of Spring came a man (presumably a Guildsman) pushing the maypole on a cart, with the ribbons held by children walking alongside, dressed as on May Day. A photograph by Henry Taunt (33) gives us a fairly clear picture of this maypole which is, again, some twenty feet or more tall. There is not, however, a garland affixed to its top. The symbolic importance of the maypole in the parade will have been that outlined by Ashbee: a spirit of those ancient and joyful seasonal games which Puritanism and Industrialism had combined to destroy, and which the Guild was dedicated to restoring.

 

 

Mrs. Ashbee's May Day was celebrated again in 1904 (34). Significantly enough, and unlike 1903, the costumes of the Catholic school children were judged separately from those of the Church of England school children. If this represents a further accommodation on the part of the Guild to local pressures, it may indicate that in 1904 the maypole dancers were all girls as well. This certainly was the case by May 1905.

 

The treat at the Old Court House Orchard in 1904 opened with tea and was followed by the maypole dance and sports. The music was apparently supplied by the Town Band which, by 1904, included a number of Guildsmen and was under the leadership of Guildsman Jim Pyment.

 

Once again the maypole formed part of the Whit Monday Fête later in the spring, although it again was not a feature of the main entertainments of the day (35). Rather, as with the walking tableau of 'Spring' in the year before, it formed a prelude to the day. The fête proper began in the afternoon. In the morning Mrs. Ashbee organised a performance by children of a specially written play called 'A May Day Interlude' (36) which essentially dramatised Mrs. Pyment's tableau promenant of the year before. In this play the spirit of Winter died, Jack-in-the-Green sang, the spirit of Spring was carried in the procession, and the May Queen - interrupting the maypole dance - ordered her subjects to place green everywhere. The press reported that the maypole dance 'we gather should be danced as wildly and unrestrainedly as possible' (37), an indication that it was not a complex figure. It may, indeed, have been only a brief and indicative part of the play. The play is reported to have taken place in the Market Hall in the centre of Campden. The maypole dance itself, at least as it had been danced before, is not likely to have taken place in the Market Hall, with its low ceiling and numerous pillars. It might have been performed in the street below, with the Queen issuing her command from the Market Hall, as from a throne or Elizabethan inner above. Just conceivably it may have been performed in the Market Square, some fifty yards away, but this is unlikely - it was not a maypole dance for its own sake, but a theatrical maypole, part of an on-going play. As such, in any event, it is the first time the maypole was danced in the centre of Campden.

 

The first time it was danced in the Market Square as an event in its own right would appear to be 1905, if my dating of two photographs is correct. The first of the two photographs was issued by Campden photographer Jesse Taylor as a postcard (38). The other is from the private collection of a member of the Ashbee family (39). These unmistakeably show a maypole dance in Campden Market Square. The performers are girls in white dresses and sunbonnets, similar to the costumes of the girls in the 1903 maypole. In the lower left-hand corner of the postcard are two members of the Campden Town Band in uniform. This tells us that the Town Band played for the maypole, as they probably did on May Day 1904, but it also tells us that it could not have been the theatrical Whit Monday maypole of 1904, because the Town Band was first uniformed in April 1905 (40). There is no report in the local press of a May Day celebration in 1905, however, nor did the Whit Monday fête of 1905 include a floral procession or programmatic pageantry of any sort of which the maypole could be a part (41). The maypole dance was performed in the Ruins of Old Campden House in 1906 (42); in 1907 there was no pageantry (43); and from 1908 to 1910 the maypole dance was performed on the periphery of Campden and not in its centre (44).

 

The May Day pageantry was less elaborate in 1904 than it had been the first year. In 1905, when Janet Ashbee became involved in a tiring and losing race for the local district council and the Guild itself was beginning to suffer financial and staffing cutbacks (45), the pageantry and publicity may have been more attenuated still. The most significant point, if my dating is correct, is that this was the first time - apart from the theatrical maypole of the year before - that the maypole was danced in the centre of Campden. This reflects the Guild tendency toward Civic pageantry - that is, towards celebrations not just in Campden or for Campden, but of Campden, and therefore the tendency to stage in the middle of Campden rather than on the periphery.

 

 

1906

 

In 1906 there is a complete break with this Guild tradition.

 

The thrust of the Ashbee/Guild customs was to re-introduce (its interpretations of) pre-Industrial, pre-Puritan traditions into the genuine life of the countryside. Because of its own difficulties and pre-occupations, however, the Guild withdrew to a degree from local pageantry in 1906-1907 (46). The Whit Monday Fête of 1906 was on the theme 'Old English Revels' (47), and the maypole dances and other displays of that year were meant to be spectacular re-creations of "Old Englishisms" for the benefit of visitors.

 

The maypole dancers were, for the first time, distinctly identified in the news report as boys and girls of the Church schools, and the teacher of the dances was for the first time a school teacher - the new mistress of the girls' school (her husband was the new headmaster of the boys' school)(48). She was assisted by the Mrs. Haines who had earlier helped Mrs. Ashbee. The children were dressed thematically, or rather, theatrically, and this too is an apparent innovation. They were costumed to represent shepherds and shepherdesses. The boys wore smocks and big straw hats, and the girls wore plain white dresses with caps and panniers which they themselves had made in school. The songs were described as 'Old English tunes' - Tudor, Elizabethan and so on - and were played by the son of the schoolmaster and schoolmistress on a fiddle (49).

 

In the parade the 'shepherds and shepherdesses' followed the Town Band, and the Town Trust in their regalia; then came other children who would sing a 'Ladye Song', the May Queen's cart with her attendants, Robin Hood and his men, and other echoes of 1896-97. The revels proper took place in the ruins of Old Campden House. The shepherds and shepherdesses opened the fête with a non-maypole dance, which was followed by a Maying chorus and the 'Ladye Song', and then

 

the shepherds and shepherdesses came on again, the latter carrying wreaths of flowers which they hung on the maypole in the centre of the platform. After dancing round the maypole they sang the well-known "Come lassies and lads", and then followed the Maypole proper (50).

 

The May Queen was then crowned 'somewhat hurriedly' (51) and there followed a variety of rustic singing and dancing displays, including morris dancers, concluding with 'a general scamper round the maypole' (52) and the National Anthem. This unit in the day's programme was followed by sports, drills and dancing.

 

In one sense this was a one-off, the maypole being one of a number of items of "Old English" culture slotted into the day's programme, as in 1896-97; in costuming, in use of the fiddle, in having the children dance something other than the maypole dance beforehand, it is unique. But it is the first indication of the schools' tradition with which, since the First World War, the maypole dance has become identified.

 

1908-1910

 

In 1907 there was apparently no maypole and the Whit Monday was celebrated only with sports and 'a few entertainments' (53). At the end of 1907 the Guild of Handicrafts dissolved as a trading company and the majority of its members left Campden.

 

In 1908 the town fathers decided not have a Whit Monday Fête at all (54). Under their leader Jim Pyment - one of the dozen or so core Guildsman who determined to remain in Campden and see the Guild's ideals through - the Town Band set about organising a children's fête for Whit Monday (55). Mrs. Ashbee was involved, and so was the Mrs. Haines who had helped with earlier maypole dances (56).

 

The fête of 1908 (57) was opened by the maypole dance which took place in a field in Westington, a hamlet of Campden. This site - used again in 1909 and 1910 - sets the Town Band's fête apart from those which had gone before, and which had taken place at the other end of Campden in the Old Court House Grounds. Twenty-four girls danced the maypole, apparently accompanied by the Town Band. The girls wore white dresses with flowers sewn on them. The pole was about twenty feet or so tall, surmounted by a crown of flowers and greenery (58). Following the Maypole dance, there was a morris dance by members of the band, entertainments, a farce, and sports, which again had echoes of the Olympic games (59).

 

The maypole opened the fêtes and the same pattern of events was followed, in 1909 and 1910. 1910 was the last year the Town Band organised the fête, due mainly to the burden of the cost and competing claims on time. The Whit Monday fête disappeared until after the First World War; the Campden maypole with it (60).

 

The maypole, in Guild thinking, symbolised the Guild itself, but more importantly youth, the joy of life, Spring, the humanist impulse as opposed to the dull winter of Puritanism and Industrialism. The Town Band fêtes of 1908-1910, focussing on the children of Campden and turning Whit Monday into a children's fête, consistently placed the maypole in the functional position of opening the fête. The tendency within the Guild tradition was to place symbols of Spring, epitomised by the maypole, at the start of spring celebrations. In 1908-1910, for the first time, the maypole which was symbolical for (and of) the Guild became also a functional part of the fête.

 

 

1921-1925

 

The Ashbees left the Campden area in 1919. The Guildsmen who remained were more thoroughly merged into the community than they had been before the war. Indeed, due to demographic changes bringing more city people into Campden, and due to changes locally, the remaining Guildsmen were more among the establishment in Campden than on the periphery (61). One can see this change in the nature of fêtes between the wars.

 

The Whit Monday fête of 1921 (62) was one of a number of local customs revived during this period to help make money to pay for Campden's war memorial. The jazz band (a type of the old toy band that took part in the 1896-1897 White Monday fêtes; a motley group of men and boys in fancy dress, playing a collection of real and home-made instruments) was out, there was morris dancing, and, of course, in the fête itself there was the maypole dance. The chairman of the fête committee was, once again, Jim Pyment.

 

The maypole dances in 1921 - there were seven in all - were performed by girls of the Church of England day schools, taught by a teacher from nearby Weston Subedge who ran dance classes in Campden and was also a friend of Jim Pyment. This lady, Miss Goodfield, was assisted in the first year by a Miss Clifford. The piano was played by Miss Drew. The girls wore white dresses 'with coloured sashes of the same shade as the ribbon with which each would dance' (63); the performance was held in the Old Court House Grounds.

 

The maypole girls came first in the parade: they were followed by Catholic school children in costume who would dance their own dances. The maypole dance opened the fête at the site, followed by the dances of the Catholic school children. This was followed by a play, and other sports and entertainments - a virtual replication, with the addition of the Catholic school children - of the order of events in the Town Band's children's fêtes of 1908-1910.

 

The same basic pattern was followed in 1922 (64), except that the re-formed Town Band led the parade. A distinction is made in the local paper (as it was in 1921) between the maypole dances, trained by Miss Goodfield, and three 'spectacular' dances by children of the Catholic school. This implies that the maypole dance was the province of the Church of England school, but Mrs. Dorothy Stanley recalls dancing the maypole in about 1922, although enrolled in the Catholic School (65). Mrs. Nancy Smith, who also attended the Catholic school about this time and danced the maypole, recalls that the Catholic school had the responsibility for the maypole dance by the end of this period (66). Certainly after 1922 the news reports do not distinguish separate maypole and Catholic school dances. Miss Goodfield is reported as the teacher of the maypole dances throughout.

 

The maypole is reported to have been danced again in the Whit Monday fête of 1923 (67) but is not reported in 1924 (68). In 1925 (69) a Union Jack led the parade but the maypole girls, carrying a miniature maypole, followed straight behind and were followed in turn by the Town Band. In both 1923 and 1925 the maypole dances opened the fêtes and were followed by a number of entertainments. The Town Band provided music.

 

The maypole dance was clearly an integral and functional feature of the Whit Monday parades and fêtes from 1921-1925, in a mould showing a distinct Guild influence. It does not feature in subsequent fêtes, the fêtes as such coming to an end in 1932 (70). Indeed, as far as the written sources are concerned, supported in essence by oral reminiscence, the maypole was not danced in Campden between 1926 and 1937, a period for which there are notices and photographs of country dances, hoop dances, action and Irish dances (71) - but not of maypole dances. This absence underlines the ambivalent position of the maypole custom in the inter-war years: though a school-borne custom, it was not yet a school tradition; and though a part of the Whit Monday fêtes, it was not yet a civic tradition.

 

 

1937

 

1937 marked the reintroduction of the maypole into the school tradition. The headmaster of the Church of England school was very much interested in local customs and pageantry (as was the new vicar (72). One of the teachers in the school, Miss Chamberlain, trained a group of girls to dance the maypole for the Whitsun Coronation festival of 1937 (73). It was danced in the Market Square, and was described in a contemporary letter as a 'poem' (74). It was, however, simply one of a number of items on loyal or "English" themes, and was not the most important of these (75). It did, however, create the precedent for the school staff of that time, and the maypole dance has been an element of school tradition since.

 

 

1938 - Present

1938 marks the beginning of the current maypole tradition with the creation of the modern Scuttlebrook Wake celebration (76). Scuttlebrook Wake was an older day of sports and a fair annually held on the Whit Saturday. After World War One, the Town Band under Jim Pyment re-created it as a children's fête (77). In 1938 it was expanded into a civic festival - Campden's day, now a day of re-union, on which children and former residents attempt to return to Campden if it is at all possible. Scuttlebrook Wake had always taken place in the streets of Campden, with the rides and stalls of the fair centred on the northerly section of town called Leaseborne. It was in Leaseborne that the May Queen was crowned in 1938 and that the maypole dancers subsequently danced. There were two teams: a team of boys and girls from the Infants' School, and a girls' team drawn from the three classes of the Church of England upper school. The boys in the Infants' team were all in white: white socks, shoes, shorts, long sleeve shirts. The Infant girls wore white dresses, preferably white shoes, and white hair bands. It is as if, in 1938 styles, the Infants were reproducing the maypole dress of earlier years. The older girls' team wore coloured dresses, broadly striped along the bottom, with white blouses and floral head bands.

 

In June of that year, the maypole was danced a second time at a fund-raising event for the new secondary school, indicating a formal proprietorship over the dances by the Church of England schools (78).

 

The maypole was danced again in the Scuttlebrook Wake of 1939 (79), but this time, as in 1937, in the Market Square, where it has been danced since. The Town Band led the procession, followed first by the Catholic school children, then by the Church of England maypole dancers and then by the Queen and her attendants. The order of performance was inverted (as it was in 1897 and 1921): the May Queen was crowned, the maypole was danced, and then the Catholic school children danced, with accompaniment by the Town Band.

 

The maypole on this occasion was again about twenty feet tall and held in place by what appears to be a decorated barrel, as it had been in 1938 (80). The performers were girls wearing the same or similar costumes to those worn by the older girls in 1938. The war started in 1939 and put this particular custom on hold. During the war, Scuttlebrook Wake was abridged and held as a token fair to keep up the statutory right (81). The maypole dance, however, was put to the service of the war. In 1941, for example, it was performed (at least) twice: once in War Weapons Week, on 9 May, by girls from the upper school, with possibly a second team of infants; and on 31 May it was performed in aid of the Prisoner of War fund of the Gordon Highlanders, who were stationed in the town (82). In 1943 it was again performed twice for the benefit of war-related causes (83).

 

The maypole was not danced, however, in the two years immediately following the war. In 1948 the Scuttlebrook carnival, as created in 1938, was re-established. The Wake and the basic festive units of which it is composed have been performed each year since, apart from a year of foot-and-mouth quarantine, and the odd year in which the festivities as a whole have been rained out. The maypole dance by children for the Church of England School has been one of the basic festive units considered integral to the occasion; the ethnic or country dances of the Catholic school children is another; the crowning of the Queen, with her speech opening the fête; the awarding of prizes by the Queen to the winners of a fancy-dress contest held earlier; and more recently morris dancing, are all basic units of the programme before the fair. The arrangements of these units or blocks of custom has been variable, but within a limited range of options. Since 1948 the order of the core cluster has tended to be:

 

 

Crowning of Queen; her speech

Prize giving for the fancy dress contest

Dancing by children of one of the schools

Dancing by children of the other school

Morris dancing

 

The order of the children's dances has tended to alternate and precedence now is determined on the basis of which school danced first in the year before. There have been a number of years in which either the country dances of the Catholic school or the maypole dance have been performed before the coronation as well as after (84).

 

The maypole dancing of the Church of England school, and the country and ethnic dancing of the Roman Catholic school form an opposing pair within the Scuttlebrook tradition. The maypole dance also exists in binary opposition with country dances performed by Church of England school children at the annual Church Fête: they do not do country dances at Scuttlebrook, and they do not do the maypole dance at the Church Fête.

 

As if to underline the explicitly traditional (and civic) nature of the modern maypole dance, a trapped hole has been sunk into the Market Square to accommodate the maypole. As if to underline its identification with the Church of England school, there was a hole for the maypole in the lower (or girls') playground of the old school in the High Street by the late 1950s, and in 1980 a trapped hole was sunk when the playground was built in the new school (85).

 

There is now a marked consistency to the performance and context of the custom. There is no question that the maypole dance is now a school-borne custom and a tradition of the institution: it is teachers who organise and rehearse the dance, schoolchildren who perform it, and so on. The consistency is seen perhaps nowhere better than in the clothing worn by the girls.

 

In a photograph from 1951 (86) the girls are wearing light, perhaps white dresses with darker sashes around their waists. A photograph from 1955 (87), however, shows the girls in the costume pattern which was still in use some twenty-five years later. The original set was made in 1955 (88). The material was a large-checked gingham, with a wide sash and large white bow behind. In the late 1950s the "girl" dancers wore red and white, the "boys" wore green and white dresses. (The dancers were all girls, but were designated "boys" and "girls" for the purposes of learning the steps) (89). By 1980, the dresses were blue and white - the colours of St. James' School - and were stored in the school. In taking over the maypole dances in 1981, their current teacher, Mrs. Kate Thorpe, found that the dresses didn't fit her girls (90). The girls now wear their school uniforms to dance, which consists of a smaller pattern blue and white check, with a white belt - rather similar to the previous costume.

 

Consistency in the tradition is also seen in the source(s) for the figures and music of the dance. When she took over the maypole dance Mrs. Thorpe inherited a battered copy of the first edition of W. Shaw's Maypole Dances, published by Curwen of London in 1910, and a battered second edition of the 1950s. She bought a new copy of this latter edition. She also bought the accompanying tape to provide music for her dances.

 

Conclusion

 

The question, as set out at the beginning of this paper, is why what may be called an occasional custom has become a fixed tradition. I will address this question mainly by reference to emigration, immigration, and tourism-related culture change.

 

In the century between 1881 and 1985 there have been radical changes in the demographics of Campden: the number of local children in the schools has dropped dramatically, and there has been a reversal in the ratio of parents born within Campden and the Campden area to those born a considerable distance away. In 1881, 55% of the parents of children entering the Infants' school had been born in Campden, and 10% over fifteen miles away. In 1985 it was almost the exact opposite: 10% of the parents of a third and fourth year class had been born in Campden, and 61% over fifteen miles away (91).

 

When the Guild of Handicraft came in 1902 its 150 men, women and children represented about 10% of the total population of Campden (92). There is about their celebrations an identifiable sense of innovation, imposition and anomaly: Guy Fawkes parades in a town with a Roman Catholic lord of the manor; boys and girls dancing together in a custom which had formerly been danced by girls, as it was subsequently; and May Day celebrations on top of the established round of children's fêtes and Whitsun festivities. We can see the impact of these incomers in the undeniable turbulence within the maypole custom: its appearance in an innovative May Day custom in 1903, its change from a mixed-sex custom to an all girls' custom in 1904 and 1905, and then its change to a school-based display in 1906, its change again in 1908 to a kind of combination of 1896-1897 and 1903-1905, but in a fête organised by the Town Band rather than the town fathers, and in a field on the opposite side of the town from the Ruins. Four distinct phases or customs in a period encompassing eight years indicates the turbulence of an imposed custom, accommodating to and assimilating with local custom.

 

The Guild began to break up in 1905, however; it collapsed as a limited company at the end of 1907 and the majority of its people then left Campden. Only something over a dozen Guildsmen remained.

 

In the heady first days of the Guild in Campden, Mrs. Ashbee tried to impose into its celebrations the Romantic and Golden Bough images of Spring which were part of the Guild's own self-concept; this is the period of turbulence in the customs. The maypole dances of 1908-1910, however, fit gracefully into the Whit Monday celebrations both as Spring celebrations and as events in their own right. The Guild's concept of communal festivity as a genuine celebration of and by the community succeeded in practice when the Guild collapsed: when a balance between Guildsmen and locals, favourable to the latter, was re-established, and when the relatively few Guildsmen who remained in Campden were well integrated into the life of the town.

 

The maypole dance, and the kind of fête of which it was a part, were not taken up into the festivals and celebrations organised by the established powers in Campden before the First World War. In the series of Whit Monday fêtes from 1921, however, the maypole came very close to becoming both a regular fixture of a civic-type fête and a school-borne tradition. It is likely that, in the pre-War period, the maypole dance had become identified with a certain tendency in Campden: the politically and socially liberal, democratic and urban-oriented tendency represented by the Guild. The Town Band could therefore organise a fête and maypole, but the town fathers wouldn't.

 

The world was turned upside down by World War One, however: the Old Guard died of old age, and the men who ought to have replaced them - in a contest with the liberal and democratic element of the town centred on the building of the war memorial - were virtually vanquished (93). It is significant in this respect that the Whit Monday fête and the maypole dance of 1921 - virtually replicated from the 1908-1910 fêtes - were revived for the benefit of the war memorial, along with a number of old Campden customs, such as the morris dance. The Guildsmen now formed part of the establishment of Campden - and thus, too, did the maypole.

 

Simultaneous with this movement within Campden towards a genuine civic and communal pageantry, reflecting the influence of the Guild of Handicraft, was a long-standing pressure on Campden from "Outside" - the movement which has transformed the countryside from an autonomous and distinct cultural and political region, into an extension or satellite of urban culture. The movement of the Guild to Campden in 1902 was an early example of the kind of migration of outsiders to Campden which accelerated immediately after the Great War and which was exacerbated by an increased number of tourists: not simply long-term resort-seeking tourists, as in the late nineteenth century, but day-trippers in charabancs or private cars. In pre-War terms this amounted to an invasion (94). Furthermore, it was an invasion of weekenders, or people with relatively greater wealth who forced up property prices in Campden and knocked two cottages into one for extra space - thus effectively beginning the push of Campden natives out of the centre of town. They also attempted to impose their own City views on Campden - much as the Guild had already done.

 

The reaction in Campden to this growing outside pressure between the wars was a resurgence of Campden customs and the assertion of Campden-ness within and through them. The Campden Morris Dancers were revived in the middle of the inter-war period and the irreverent and idiosyncratic Campden Mummers developed into a kind of civic institution towards the end of the period. It was the period of the rise of organised conservationism, the formation of the first local amenity society in Campden, and a resurgence of localism in the schools. It is in this sense of the assertion of Campden-ness against an invasion of tourists and incomers that the creation of the festival of Campden, the annual Scuttlebrook Wake, must be understood. It is as part of this festival that the maypole dance has subsequently thrived.

 

Within the past twenty or thirty years, both the festival and the maypole dance have taken on an even more particular meaning. The processes of emigration and immigration continued after the Second World War, and in the early sixties the insider/outside problem - which had been a matter of irritation, then a matter of the defensive assertion of Campden-ness in customs, and then after the war a matter for jokes - became a question of survival. Local young people were continuing to be priced out of local housing and were increasingly forced to move away for work. There were consequently fewer and fewer local children. The town was increasingly inhabited by retired people from the cities - over one third of the population is now over retirement age (95). The ability of Campden to replicate itself physically, never mind culturally, for the first time became doubtful. Consequently, youth in Campden, and particularly Campden youth - of native stock - have become an increasingly important element of the annual civic festival. The Scuttlebrook Queen and her court are chosen from Campden children only, and her office has grown from an honour on Scuttlebrook Day into a kind of semi-official, full-year representation of Campden. Her page, if possible, is drawn from an old Campden family. There are generally not enough Campden children at St. James' School willing and able to fill the maypole team, but Campden children are given first priority, and the maypole dance has become part of an enactment of Campden's Campden-ness: of what must, I think, be called an annual civic ritual of self-affirmation.

 

The development itself has taken place within the general transformation of local culture under pressure from urban culture. One of the consequences of this pressure, I think, is precisely the functional nature of the maypole dance in the cluster of festive units with which Scuttlebrook Wake is annually opened. The sense of a programmic structure, in which events have an ordered, sequential and symbolic logic (Queen is crowned, orders fair to be opened and celebrations to begin, awards prizes to victors in costume competition, concluded by children dancing before the fair actually begins) compares to 1896-1897 and 1906 when the maypole was, in a sense, pulled out of a book along with other items of culture and put into the fête as one more attraction - as one might erect one more catch-penny booth - without a sense of logical function (96). The discrimination of space, time and pageantry into symbolic functional units is a feature of urban industrial vs. rural and agricultural culture, and can be traced in the first place, in Campden, to the influence of the Guild of Handicrafts (97).

 

There have been other consequences of this change in culture: one has been the removal of the festivities from the periphery of Campden to its centre so that what occurs is not simply a celebration in Campden but is a celebration of Campden. Another is the integration of the Catholic school children as a distinct unit into the festival. Another is the tendency towards mixed teams of maypole dancers, and the transmission of the custom/tradition within the schools: urban culture institutionalises traditions which rural culture personalises, that is, which devolve for their maintenance specifically onto individuals or families (98).

 

In summary, I would like to suggest that the maypole - an item of urban literary culture, tagged with the label of Old and Merrie England - shifted with the urbanisation of the local culture from a custom of display, designed to attract attention and tourism, to become a functional tradition which celebrates the locale, and the youth of the locale against the pressing out of local character by the continuing pressure of urban culture. The more thoroughly integrated into urban culture the area has become, the more securely traditional and thoroughly functional the maypole custom has become.

 

 

NOTES

 

  1. I would like to thank Mrs. Thorpe and the children of her third and fourth year class at St. James' School in Chipping Campden for allowing me to join them in a study of local history and customs in 1984-1985. It was during their rehearsals for the maypole dance that I first realised something of the significance of the dance in the life of Campden. I would also like to thank the headmaster of St. James, Mr. Ian Jones (a pioneer in ethnographic research using children as fieldworkers), for his help and encouragement; Tess Buckland and Derek Schofield, organisers of the Traditional Dance Conferences, without which this paper would not have been written; and the Folklore Society, whose Research Award for 1984-1985 was my impetus for becoming involved with St. James' School. A special thanks is due to the Campden people who have helped me with this study and because of whom there are fewer mistakes than there otherwise would be (some undoubtedly remain, which is my fault); and particularly to Mrs. Dorrie Ellis for her kindness, interest and continuing help.

 

  1. See Theresa Buckland, '"Hollo! Here We are Again!" Godley Hill Morris Dancers' ; A Study in Longevity", Traditional Dance, 2 (1983), 37-57. For modern tradition-making see, for a start, Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983).

 

  1. Notwithstanding the inference in K.M. Briggs, The Folklore of the Cotswolds (London: B.T. Batsford, 1974) p.25: 'By the middle of the 19th century the May games had not been forgotten but they had been taken over by children. A few true Maypoles were still set up, particularly where the Morris dancers survived. Bledington had one till 1924 and Chipping Campden's has survived to this day'.

 

  1. See C.Fees, Christmas Mumming in a North Cotswold Town (Institute of Dialect and Folklife Studies, University of Leeds PhD dissertation, in preparation). Where not otherwise noted, information and arguments in this paper will be found in expanded form in this dissertation.

 

  1. See for example, 'The Battle of Flowers at Eastbourne', The Times, 26 April 1895, p. 9. It was held a second time in July, see The Times, 27 July 1895, p. 9. The third edition of Eastbourne, Photographically Illustrated (Eastbourne: The Standard Office, 1895), p. 3, gives a photograph and explains that the fête was held "In order to make Eastbourne additionally attractive, and to secure the presence of visitors for a first time - with the object of gaining their further patronage..."

 

  1. The Evesham Journal and Four Shires Advertiser (Evesham, Worc., hereafter abbreviated EvJ) 8 June 1895, p. 6. The press report also remarks, 'The great idea of the promoters, it is understood, is to bring Campden to the front.'

 

  1. Reported in EvJ, 30 May 1896, p. 6.

 

  1. Ibid.

 

  1. EvJ, 12 June 1897, p. 6.

 

  1. Reported ibid.

 

  1. National Monuments Record negative number CC57/384. Title: Glos. Chipping Campden, Floral Parade, Maypole Dance. Date: 7 June 1897. Taunt also took a photograph of the maypole cart in the parade beforehand: National Monuments Record negative number CC73/571. Title: Glos. Chipping Campden, Floral Parade, Procession, Maypole Waggon. Date 7 June 1897. The photograph of the maypole dance was used, with others from the same occasion, by Philip Hemery in 'Ye May-daye Festival', The Royal Magazine, May 1899, p. 94. A photograph from a slightly different angle, showing the dancers bowing to one another before beginning the dance, was used by Taunt in his article, 'Reviving Merrie England: May Day Ceremonies', supplement to The Sphere, 2 May 1908, pp. ii-iii. Taunt is the source for the information that the girls' sashes matched the colour of their ribbons.

 

  1. EvJ, 4 September 1897, p. 6; 23 October 1897, p. 6.

 

  1. Concerning the Guild, see the recent and excellent biography of its director, C.R. Ashbee by Alan Crawford (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985); and Fiona MacCarthy, The Simple Life (London: Lund Humphries, 1981) an extremely valuable study of the Guild in Campden, written largely from the Guild's own point of view. The interpretation of the Guild that follows is, for the most part, my own, based on my own researches.

 

  1. The Earl of Gainsborough. Parade reported in EvJ, 8 November 1902, p.5.

 

  1. EvJ, 26 September 1903, p. 6; also 14 July 1906, p. 8.

 

  1. EvJ, 4 April 1903, p. 6.

 

  1. Reported in EvJ, 30 April 1904, p. 6; Published in C.R. Ashbee, The Last Records of a Cotswold Community (Campden: Essex House Press, 1904), pp. iii-xx.

 

  1. Ibid., p. v.

 

  1. Ibid.

 

  1. Ibid., p. viii.

 

  1. Ibid., p. ix.

 

  1. Ibid., p. xii.

 

  1. Ibid.

 

  1. Reported in EvJ, 9 May 1903, p. 6.

 

  1. Ibid.

 

  1. Not reported in the Evesham Journal, but clear from a contemporary photograph in the Harry Osborn Collection, Fees photograph number 102.

 

  1. Ashbee, 'The Cotswold Games', op cit., p. xiv.

 

  1. In ibid., p. xvi, C.R. Ashbee declared 'The Puritans' favourite colour was black' and later in the essay said 'It was a mixing of the sexes apparently that gave such offence to the Puritans. That women should join in the sports, shocking! but the humanists thought otherwise.' In the Ashbee Journals (held in Cambridge: King's College Library) Ashbee reported the annual swimming games in an 18 August 1905 entry: '...humanism in Campden is coming along again all right. The Church (poor church!) is still in the dark....' He reported that the Church had had to pay for the services of the Town Band at one of its functions, but that the band played for the swimming sports gratis: '...the Pagans can get for love and charity what the Puritans with all their faith...can only get for hard cash', going on to detail the gloom of the Vicar, his daughter, a prominent Churchman, 'and the rest of the black people...' In Ashbee's obituary in EvJ, 30 May 1942, p. 7, it is recalled that 'in the days when it was deemed indelicate for the two sexes to bathe together, he flouted public opinion by building and equipping an open air pool in the meadows above Campden, where swimming trophies were competed for by both sexes.' For segregation, see EvJ, 31 August 1907, p. 6: 'The ladies' races took place first, ladies only (except the officials) being admitted as spectators. The arrangement seems to be against the wish of the majority but by some means the minority gained their point. The position, however, is quite illogical in view of the fact that ladies were admitted to the men's races, which began an hour later.' The Campden Grammar School first admitted girls (under pressure) following the summer holidays of 1906 (EvJ, 28 July 1906, p. 8); the Boys' and Girls' Schools did not combine until the end of 1923, and even then their playgrounds remained segregated.

 

  1. Martha Dunn was one of the few local persons the Ashbees regularly corresponded with once they left Campden, until her death in 1940. She was the Infants' School teacher at the time the Guild came to Campden, and might have been the model for 'Rebecca' in C.R. Ashbee's coyly titled: The Hamptonshire Experiment in Education (London: G. Allen and Co., 1914) in which Campden is renamed Easthampton and Gloucestershire called Hamptonshire. On page twenty-five he has Rebecca refer to Cecil Sharp, and say '...I sometimes think I wouldn't let anybody be a school teacher male or female, who hadn't an ear for music - I mean a gift for proper singing - not sentimental songs, or howling hymns, but the real thing that comes with the voice - right back from out of the heart - the thing that children love. That's what you call Folk-song, isn't it?'.

 

  1. Harry Osborn collection: Fees photograph number 101.

 

  1. Reported in EvJ, 6 June 1903, p. 6.

 

  1. Ibid. 'After these were three cars representing old and new industries of Campden...The third car represented the new industry of Campden...' i.e., The Guild. The two old industries were, respectively, the Wool Trade and the Silk Trade - not Agriculture.

 

  1. National Monuments Record negative number CC57/114. Title: Glos. Chipping Campden, Floral Parade, procession, mobile maypole dance. Date: 1 June 1903.

 

  1. Reported in EvJ, 7 May 1904, p.6.

 

  1. Reported in EvJ, 28 May 1904, p. 6.

 

  1. Gerald Bishop, A May Day Interlude (Campden: Essex House Press, 1904).

 

  1. EvJ, 28 May 1904, p. 6.

 

  1. Campden Trust negative number 273.

 

  1. Felicity Ashbee collection.

 

  1. EvJ, 29 April 1905, p. 8.

 

  1. EvJ, 13 May 1905, p. 5; 17 June 1905, p. 6.

 

  1. EvJ, 9 June 1906, p. 6.

 

  1. EvJ, 25 May 1907: 'There was no procession or other feature of special interest, the programme consisting only of horse and pony races, with a few variety entertainments.'

 

  1. EvJ, 13 June 1908, p.8; 5 June 1909, p. 7; 25 June 1910, p. 10.

 

  1. The election was at the beginning of April. Janet Ashbee was soundly beaten, receiving 84 votes to the 210 and 203 of her successful opponents (EvJ, 8 April 1905, p. 6). The bindery closed, the printing press was barely ticking over, and the Guild sustained a staggering deficit of £958; see Crawford, C.R. Ashbee, pp. 135, 400.

 

  1. The involvement of prominent Guild members in the organisation of May Day, Whit Monday and Guy Fawkes celebrations in 1902-1904 makes the 1905-1907 absence of major Guildsmen among the Whit Monday organisers rather prominent. Jim Pyment, however, had become the director of the Town Band in 1904 and, with the Town Band, played at numerous events and organised a Cottages' Flower Show in 1906 and 1907, and from 1908 to 1910 the Whit Monday fête. Ashbee's swimming sports were held in 1906 and 1907, women's races being held for the first time in 1906. Specific Guildsmen do not withdraw from celebrations as such, but there seems to be less involvement with town organisers and less participation by general Guild members.

 

  1. Reported in EvJ, 9 June 1906, p. 6.

 

  1. Fanny Margaret Dewey became headmistress of the Girls' School on December 5, 1904. Her husband, George William Dewey, took over the Boys' School on October 3, 1904 (see respective school log books).

 

  1. This was Percy Dewey, who was one of those local men - such as Bill Payne and George Hart, later of the radio serial, 'The Archers' - who formed a kind of repertory company for BBC radio in the 1930s and 1940s: see for example, EvJ, 6 March 1937, p. 7; 22 May 1937, p. 8.

 

  1. EvJ, 9 June 1906, p. 6.

 

  1. Ibid.

 

  1. Ibid.

 

  1. EvJ, 25 May 1907, p. 7.

 

  1. EvJ, 30 May 1908, p. 5; 13 June 1908, p. 8.

 

  1. Reported in EvJ, 13 June 1908, p. 8.

 

  1. In the Evesham Journal's report of the event (ibid.), it is stated that the maypole dance was 'under the direction of Mrs. Haines'. Miss Norah Taplin, a native of Campden who danced in the maypole that year, did not remember Mrs. Haines being involved. She was taught the maypole by Mrs. Ashbee and the rehearsals were held behind Elm Tree House, where the Guild-initiated School of Arts and Crafts premises were (Miss Taplin, recorded interview, 4 March 1986).

 

  1. Reported in Ev. J, 13 June 1908, p. 8.

 

  1. Jesse Taylor photograph: Campden Trust negative number Oversize 05.

 

  1. For example, one of the events was the hammer throw, open to anyone within a radius of twelve miles, eight competitors minimum, for which a challenge cup had been given. See EvJ, 13 June 1908, p. 8.

 

  1. In the summer of 1911 the Ashbees moved from Campden to the nearby village of Broad Campden. As early as April, the decision to move had been made and the Ashbees had made gifts to the church in Broad Campden and were planning to christen their first-born daughter there (Ashbee Journals, 18 April 1911). At the end of June, as part of the celebration of George V's coronation, there was a maypole dance in the paddock adjoining the tythe barn belonging to Guildsman, George Hart, in Broad Campden. It was reportedly taught by Annie Bricknell of Broad Campden (EvJ, 1 July 1911, p. 10), but is the move of the Ashbees and the dancing of the maypole a coincidence?

 

  1. For example: in 1919 Jim Pyment was the owner of a thriving building and carpentry business, and was a director of the gas company (as was Charlie Downer); George Hart was a director of the Farmers Co-operative Association and (by 1921) a school manager; his brother Will Hart was the first president of the Campden British Legion; Charlie Plunkett was a member of the parish council in 1919, and Alec Miller was its vice chairman, and by 1921 Miller was a magistrate.

 

  1. Reported in EvJ, 21 May 1921, p. 7.

 

  1. Ibid.

 

  1. Reported in EvJ, 1 June 1922, p. 11.

 

  1. Mrs. Dorothy Stanley, recorded interview, 4 March 1986.

 

  1. Mrs. Nancy Smith, recorded interview, 2 April 1986.

 

  1. EvJ, 26 May 1923, p. 2.

 

  1. EvJ, 14 June 1924, p. 5: There were "costume dances, Irish jigs, hoop dances by the Catholic school children..."

 

  1. EvJ, 6 June 1925, p. 4.

 

  1. EvJ, 10 June 1933, p. 2: the Whit Monday Fête as such does not reappear.

 

  1. For example, EvJ, 29 May 1926, p. 9; 11 June 1927, p. 11; 21 May 1932, p. 14. Mrs Smith (see above, note 66) dates the hiatus to about 1927.

 

  1. It was under headmaster Joseph Hadley (who took over St. James School in 1934) that the Campden Mummers' Play was collected and performed with other Campden customs at the school's 1937 Christmas entertainment. His wife played a significant role in the Scuttlebrook Wake celebrations. The Vicar Bryan O'Loughlin was very much concerned to protect Campden from the invasion of immigrants from Birmingham. One of his curates, the Rev. Robin Horne (personal communication, 24 August 1985) said '...when Birmingham money came in expecting to run the show Bryan's hackles were raised. Altho many were good folk he would not allow "pushy" people to impose their ways on what he thought were Campden patterns of life.' Indeed, in the Parish Magazine before, during and immediately after the war, it is clear that Rev. O'Loughlin was attending to and actively encouraging "Campden" customs, such as mumming, caroling, and the Town Band.

 

  1. St. James School log, 7 May 1937 - 18 May 1937.

 

  1. Josephine Griffiths to E.A.B. Barnard, 13 May 1937; in E.A.B. Barnard, 'Old Days in and Around Evesham', volume xiii, opposite column number 753; Barnard Collection, Evesham (Worcs) Public Library.

 

  1. Although mentioned in the "programme" published by the Evesham Journal, in the event its performance was not reported. See EvJ, 24 April 1937, p. 16; 15 May 1937, p. 3.

 

  1. As acknowledged EvJ, 1 May 1948, p. 7; 29 May 1948, p. 3. For the 1938 Wake see EvJ, 18 June 1938, p. 16; St. James School log 11 June 1938.

 

  1. EvJ, 5 June 1920, p. 7. Morris dancing by members of the band seems to have taken the functional place of Maypole dancing, opening the celebrations.

 

  1. St. James School log, 23 June 1938.

 

  1. Reported in EvJ, 10 June 1939, p. 16.

 

  1. For 1939, see photograph published ibid. For 1938, see a photograph in the possession of Mrs. Dorrie Ellis of Campden.

 

  1. See EvJ, 14 June 1941, p. 6; 6 June 1942, p. 6; 19 May 1948, p. 3.

 

  1. See EvJ, 10 May 1941, p. 3, St. James School log 8 May 1941, 9 May 1941; and EvJ, 7 June 1941, p. 6, St. James School log 28 June 1941.

 

  1. EvJ, 22 May 1943, p. 7; 19 June 1943, p. 8.

 

  1. For example, EvJ, 1 June 1949, p. 10; 10 June 1950, p. 10; 11 June 1955, p. 5.

 

  1. Mary Fielding, conversation, 30 March 1986; Mrs. Kate Thorpe, recorded interview, 13 February 1986.

 

  1. EvJ, 26 May 1951, p. 10.

 

  1. EvJ, 11 June 1955, p. 5.

 

  1. Ibid.

 

  1. Mary Fielding, conversation, 30 March 1986.

 

  1. Mrs. Kate Thorpe, recorded interview, 13 February 1986.

 

  1. See Local Studies, by children of Mrs. Thorpe's class, St. James School (Chipping Campden, 1985) edited by Craig Fees (available Gloucestershire Record Office and Campden Library). 1881 statistics compiled from 1881 census and admission registers; 1985 statistics compiled by the children.

 

  1. At the time of the 1901 census there were 1,542 people in Campden.

 

  1. See Ashbee Journals, September 1919, Alec Miller to C.R. Ashbee; 19 October 1919, W. Huyshe to Janet Ashbee. The battle was waged in public: see EvJ, 22 March 1919, p. 8; 29 March 1919, p. 7; 5 April 1919, p. 8.

 

  1. H.J. Massingham, who lived in the Campden area in 1930-1931, wrote extensively of this invasion in the inter-war period, but nowhere with more specific relevance than in A Countryman's Journal (London: Chapman and Hall, 1939).

 

  1. EvJ, 29 September 1983, p. 1.

 

  1. This may be overlooking the factor of the novelty of the event. One does see a logic of spectacle emerging over the three years, a sense of story-line as the organisers become more familiar and perhaps more confident with the custom. Had the fête continued, they may well have constructed a more theatrically coherent event than is apparent in 1895.

 

  1. I offer this tentatively, knowing that more detailed studies of the 1895-1897 fêtes, fin de siecle Campden, and local culture generally may overturn all or part of this thesis.

 

  1. Refer to my dissertation (see note 4., above); Peter L. Berger, Brigitte Berger, Hansfried Kellner, The Homeless Mind (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974); Andrew Pearse, 'Metropolis and Peasant: The Expansion of the Urban-Industrial Complex and the Changing Rural Structure', in Peasants and Peasant Societies, edited by Teodor Shanin (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971), pp. 69-80.