These very important, though woefully neglected historical sites — Maypoles — are very important relics in any exploration of our pre-christian history. At one time there was barely a town or village without such an edifice. They were usually found near or upon the traditional ‘centre’ of the village – which came to be known as the village green, and they were eventually accompanied by the incoming mythic companion of the period, the old stone cross, which eventually usurped the old maypole. In many cases, the maypoles were destroyed through aggressive violence by the Church and its screwed-up followers, as many old records clearly illustrate. We had the tedious dislike of the maypole’s symbolism and accompanying festivities: fertility, shagging, dancing and the usual ‘let yer hair down and dance till dawn’ revelries, frowned upon and condemned by control freaks, anal-retentives and priests who like children. But the nature of the maypole – usually danced around between Mayday (Beltane) or the Midsummer Solstice – is much grander than its infamous fertility aspects; though such events are important ingredients that need encouraging. Its history is truly archaic.
- Barwick-in-Elmet, West Yorkshire
- Eccleshill, Bradford, West Yorkshire
- Redmire, North Yorkshire