|"The village Maypole, within a few yards of the Cross, would naturally have stood on an open space or green. When it was first erected no one knows. It is not mentioned in any of the old records. The custom, which has been held so long that the memory of man runneth not to the contrary, is for it to be taken down every third Easter. So soon as it is carried into the Hall Tower Field, the inhabitants assemble round the Cross and publicly elect three "Pole Men" whose duty it is to collect the necessary funds, paint and otherwise decorate the pole and arrange for its raising on the ensuing Whit Tuesday. Then, in what may seem to an outsider a very primitive method, the pole is raised by means of clothes props, ladders, and ropes, sunk into its socket in the limestone rock, and there firmly set."|
|"On this famed hill, where stood a cross and pole, Ages before GUY's treason was unmasked ...... "|
Extract from the poem from Barwick-in-Elmet
by Edward Burlend
Thine old familiar May-pole I may not,
while brooding o'er thy varied scenes, forget,
The vi11age boast, envied by hamlets near.
A vestige of the simple rural sports,
Which ages far remote our fathers loved,
Demands a notice by the village Muse.
Oft have I seen it on a holiday
Tall as the steeple rise, when Hawthorn's bloom
Perfumed the gentle breeze, and wild flowers grew
On each adjacent hill, the gift of May.
Yes, I have seen it decked with garlands new,
Platted or woven by the village maids, -
Proud of the honour, emulous to aid
The harmless purpose of the sterner sex,
And give a graceful touch - 'tis woman's part -
To that which pleases all and injures none,
A rustic festival and social glee.
I do remember when our village pole,
Made ready for the rearing, was purloined,
By envious clowns beneath the shades of night.
'Twas a vile theft, and indignation roused
One common purpose to avenge the wrong.
Old men at eighty ambled to their doors,
Brandished their staff, and talked of village war,
While aged dames came forth - for dames were then -
And urged broad-shouldered men to seek redress,
A youth of fifteen summers, I was one
To join the band, with crab-tree cudgels armed,
Which in pursuit of justice, simple, brief,
Ransacked - but did not sack - a neighbouring town.
The pole was found, and, grievances redressed,
At the appointed hour in Whitsuntide,
With more than wonted honours reared its head.