Little Moreton Hall: 30 April- 2 May
Most visitors to the May festival at Little Moreton Hall will be asking the same question: “Where are the ribbons on the Maypole?” The answer is very simple.
Jo Williams, who works at the Tudor hall near Congleton, explained, “The custom of people weaving ribbons together as they danced didn’t arrive until the 19th century. We are staying true to the Tudor tradition. At that time the poles were simply a central point for people to dance round.”
The Tudor poles were painted and garlanded with flowers. Over the past few days visitors to Little Moreton Hall have helped the hall’s Tudor gentlemen and gentlewomen decorate the pole. During the three day festival – weather permitting- visitors will be able to dance round it to music provided by the Macclesfield branch of the Society of Recorder Players.
Tudor Gentlewoman Anna Fielding gets in step for the May festival dancing at Little Moreton Hall
All images (C) Alan Ingram National Trust
Jo added, “We know people will ask about the lack of ribbons. Our gentlemen and gentlewomen will be happy to explain why they are missing and to share a lot more information about May Day celebrations in Tudor times.
They will also help visitors make ‘May Crowns’ of woven wicker, decorated with flowers. Free guided tours of the hall, which are very popular, will be available, or people may like to wander round this wonderful old building and explore it for themselves.
“The beginning of May was a cheerful time in the sixteenth century. People had survived the hardships of winter and were looking forward to better times ahead. We have staged the May festival for the past two years. Visitors have a great deal of fun getting a taste of a Tudor Springtime.”.
The May Festival at Little Moreton Hall is on Saturday 30 April, Sunday 1 May and Monday 2 May Usual entry fees apply.
Little Moreton Hall is normally open Weds – Sun, 11am – 5pm. For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/littlemoretonhall or call 01260 272018.