Gomersal Maypole, West Yorkshire

Maypole:  OS Grid Reference – SE 2068 2672

Archaeology & History

As in countless villages and towns across the British Isles, Gomersal also once had its maypole near or at the village centre.  We don’t know when the first maypole was erected in the village and many local sites were openly destroyed by rampant christian puritans and similar idiots.  It stood not far from the Moor Lane Well and was described by the regional historian H.A. Cadman (1930), who told:

“The Maypole was at the top of Moor Lane and one can imagine the welkin echoing to the very old song:

‘Come lasses and lads take leave of your dads
And away to the maypole hie.
For every fair has a sweetheart there
And the fiddlers standing by.
For Willy shall dance with Jane
And Johnny has got his Joan.
To trip it, trip it, trip it, trip it,
Trip it up and down.’

Yet as with maypoles up and down the land, testosterone-fuelled Springtime fall-outs happened.  Mr Cadman told:

“Very often May Day gatherings ended up with fights.  Great jealousy always existed between the inhabitants of Great Gomersal, Little Gomersal and Spen.  There is a tradition which has been handed down that the last Maypole in this district stood on Liversedge Green.  This Maypole was demolished in a fight by the Gomersalians and there is a similar tradition about the Maypole on Cleckheaton Green, so as Mr Frank Peel says, “It is evident that ancient inhabitants of Gomersal were more pugnacious than their neighbours.”  I have no evidence when the Gomersal Maypole ceased to exist, but there is abundant evidence to prove that there was one in Gomersal, the proof being that the vane is now in Batley Museum.  It is in the form of a fish.”

If anyone has any further information on this important relic, or its history, please let us know.

References:

  1. Cadman, H. Ashwell, Gomersal, Past and Present, Hunters Armley: Leeds 1930.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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About megalithix

Occultist, prehistorian and independent archaeological researcher, specializing in prehistoric rock art, Neolithic, Bronze Age & Iron Age sites, and the animistic cosmologies of pre-Christian & traditional cultures.
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5 Responses to Gomersal Maypole, West Yorkshire

  1. John says:

    “rampant christian puritans and similar idiots”. <– I am sorry to find this on your site.

  2. megalithix says:

    I’m very intolerant of christian puritans and fundamentalists for a variety of reasons. They are dangerous and unhealthy people, with long histories of abuse and lies under their belts. In all honesty, they are psychiatrically ill – but due to them aggregating themselves in great numbers, the cult has become ‘socially acceptable’. Not to me though… Soz.

  3. Great article , I enjoyed it very much and wasn’t offended by any comments . Here in North Wales we are trying to revive some old traditions and have been talking about maypoles . I enjoyed the bit about the brawling ! Thank you for all the brilliant work you do and share

  4. noynafox says:

    The fish weather vane from the maypole top was displayed at the Red House Museum in Gomersal in 2004 according to the online edition of the Spenborough Guardian 14 May 2004.

  5. nickgadd says:

    Great stuff! I had always had the wrong idea that maypole dancing was a decorous activity, as if in a BBC costume drama, so I can’t tell you how happy I was to read the words “The maypole was demolished in a fight”. That’s real local history for you. Cheers.

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