Yorkshire Maypoles. An Update Back to the Main Historical Society page
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Yorkshire Maypoles.
An Update

from The Barwicker No. 66
June 2002


In 1993 we published an article by Alan Stockdale on the stealing Of the Burnsall pole by the men of Thorpe in 1990 (see "The Barwicker No 29) The following update of the history of Burnsall maypole is taken from the Craven Herald of 4 June 1999.

"In the top secret mission to avoid any sabotage attempts from their rivals in Thorpe, the villagers of Burnsall have proudly restored their maypole to the village green. No longer need Burnsallians endure a barrage of jibes their neighbours over the hill about the maypole, which has been a source of rivalry between the two villages for years. It all started when some 10 ago when Burnsall?s renowned maypole suddenly disappeared overnight. It was later found in Thorpe, transported after a late night sortie down to the banks of the Wharfe.

Eventually restored to its rightful place, the maypole blew down in the gales of Christmas 1997 and ever since the Burnsall village has been maypoleless, a source of considerable merriment to the residents of Thorpe. Indeed, hostilities threatened to break out when a mock maypole, described as "little better than a twig " appeared overnight in the forlorn space left by the original pole. Thorpe was blamed again.

However, buried away in a secret location, Burnsall's slighted men were busy preparing a grandiose new maypole to stand erect once more and, with a news blackout imposed, the magnificent new structure was unveiled last week. The maypole went up one evening around 9.00pm when Burnsall folk will tell you, the men of Thorpe are tucked up in bed with their cocoa and Noddy books, so no sabotage mission could be launched. A Herald correspondent was on hand to witness the auspicious occasion. The new maypole, topped by a splendid weather vane, created by Nigel Daggett, lies on top of the time capsule buried by the children of Burnsall school at start of the decade.

In Burnsall the residents have warmly welcomed the return of their maypole, but the reaction from Thorpe is somewhat more muted. Indeed, the day after the maypole erection, Thorpe called off their crunch Dales Evening League match against Burnsall. Was it a fit of pique, as some Bumsallians allege, or was it the fact that Manchester United were bidding for the glory of the European Cup final? Either way, the good folk of Burnsall, pride restored, are keeping a close eye on their new edifice, mainly through the windows of campaign headquarters, the Red Lion."


It is good to discover that parts of our heritage in danger of being lost are valued so much by the folk of Yorkshire. In 1994, we wrote an article (see Barwicker No.38), about the maypole in Galphav, a quiet country village west of Ripon. We were grateful to Mr Maurice King, who lives in the village, for supplying us with much information and for bringing us up to date with happenings there.

A pole was erected in the 1980s but a couple of years ago it had become dangerously decayed and so was taken down and the good timber sold. At that time of the Millennium, when our thoughts turned to our heritage, the people of Galphay were insistent that a replacement should be found. Aware that the timber decay had caused the end of the last two poles in the village, a sponsor was found and the parish council arranged that a pole made 8 inch diameter fibreglass piping to be set up, hopefully with much longer life. The cost was about 1400.

The white painted pole now stands proudly to a height of about 60ft over the village green, topped with its yacht design weather vane. It is held upright in its two strong metal supports bearing the original commemorative plaques. A third brass plaque, about eye level on the pole, notes:

"Maypole donated to the village of Galphay.
In celebration of the New Millennium
From the directors of David's of Ripon, Peugeot.
10th. October 1999."


We featured the maypole in the beautiful Dales village of Linton-in-Craven in an article in 1996 see "The Barwicker" No. 43 using information supplied by local farmer Mr Ronald Metcalfe. We are pleased to say that Mr Metcalfe reports that events there during recent times have been most encouraging for all who like maypoles - and community spirit. The old untreated pole had become dangerous and, after a successful campaign involving many people m the locality, it was replaced and once more stands proudly overlooking the attractive green. The replacement for the old pole was found in the nearby Grass Wood and was donated to the village by the owners. With financial skilled and muscular help from the community, the pole was transported to the village, adzed-off and treated with a white breathable stain. It was erected in late summer 2000 with great enthusiasm. We send our best wishes to Linton-in-Craven. Its maypole clearly is in good hands.

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