Local traditions - dancing round the maypole

Growing up in the (ahem) 1960s in Cowpe (about a mile from Springhill) I remember this well.

Andrea Baron had a maypole and on the first of May the local girls would get together and carry it round the village, stopping every now and then to take a ribbon and dance round it:

‘Dancing round the Maypole, merrily we go
Dancing round the Maypole, singing as we go’

The pole was supported by one girl who was chosen as the Queen. As well as holding the thing up, she had to sing a solo:

“I’m the Queen, oh can’t you see
I’ve just come from the village green
If you wait a little while
I will show you the polka style’

(Girls: Can you dance the polka?)

‘Yes I can
Not with you, with my old man
First upon the heel and then upon the toe
That’s the way the polka goes’

(except that it isn’t, it’s step step step hop)

Hopefully people would give us money but that rarely happened. The pole would then be dropped and carried to the next place.

Interestingly I can’t find these lyrics on t’internet. Perhaps is was a local variant, but they are pretty much the same as those given by Edmund Whittaker in his
memoirs of the 1920s.