Campden’s Maypole tradition has a history that I won’t go into except to say the Guild of Handicrafts were instrumental in reviving the custom. The late Dorothy Stanley remembered dancing the Maypole when she was at St. Catharine’s School.
In 1921 the Maypole was revived when seven dances were danced by the Church of England School to raise money for the war memorial. It seems that after this the Maypole disappeared until 1937 when the Headmaster of St. James’ & the Vicar who were interested in local customs reintroduced it . A school teacher, Miss Chamberlain , thus trained a group of girls to dance the Maypole for the Whit Coronation festival.
The Campden Maypole Song
Oh, lads, where go ye on the highroad today?
(On the hill and the valley, how the green grass doth grow!)
We are going up to Campden this first morn of May, Where round the green Maypole the pretty maids do show.
There Broadway lies keeping her flocks under the hill,
There’s Willersey sleeping and sleeps with a will;
But Campden Chipping Campden, Broad Campden, I say,
Is walking to life on this first morn of May.
Oh, lads and what will ye do when you get there?
(On the hill, in the valley, how the young lads do spring!0
We will dance on the green sward, link hands with the fair, And around the green maypole full merrily will sing.
There’s Weston asleep on the side of the hill,
And Mickleton deep in it’s slumbers still:
But Campden, Chipping Campden, Broad Campden I say,
Is walking to life on this first morn of May!