The Gazetteer


Bisley - Well Dressing on Ascension Day, May - started in 1863 by Rev'd Thomas Keeble after he restored the villages wells. A church service is followed by a procession to the wells which are decorated with garlands and wreaths in the shape of the Star of David, A.D. and the year, letters spelling 'Ascension' and five hoops.

Blaisdon - Plum Day, on the Sunday of the weekend before August Bank Holiday weekend, 2-4.30pm. Visit the garden of the Red Hart where you will be able to enjoy the very local fruit, the Blaisdon Red Plum. Contact Joyce Lilly +44(0)1452 830160.

Brockworth - Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling on Spring Bank Holiday in May - young people assemble at the top of the hill and chase the cheese down the hill. Whoever reaches the bottom first claims it. The custom originally ensured the villagers rights to graze sheep on the hill. The event has become so popular that Cooper's Hill can become quite overwhelmed.

Chipping Campden - Scuttlebrook Wake. The main street of this Cotswold market town is closed off for a day of festivities in early June including a funfair, carnival procession and morris dancing. On the evening before, the Dover's Hill Games take place on the hill above the town. This mixture of rustic sports is a continuation of the "Olympick Games" inaugurated by Sir Robert Dover in the 17th century. Find out more about English fairs at the Showmen's Guild web-site.

Gloucester - City of Gloucester Mummers, outside Gloucester Cathedral - began in 1969 outside the cathedral and performed every year since. The members were given the text of the Gloucester play by David Todd who had researched and printed a pamphlet as a student. Laurie Lee was the Patron of the Mummers until his death. This troupe is unlike many others in that it is not exclusive to the members of Mumming families.

Marshfield - Mummers, on Boxing Day, 26th December. A mumming play performed by the Paperboys, so-called because they wear costumes covering them from head to toe in paper streamers. They may have originally been made of leaves or skins symbolising the death and rebirth in nature. After the Christmas Hymns are sung and beginning at 11am, seven figures (seven was thought to be a lucky number) led by the town cryer and his handbell perform the play several times along the High Street beginning in the Market Place. In the 19th century the mummers may have been villagers who toured the large houses collecting money for village festivities, but there is some evidence that the plays were performed here since the 11th century.The play lapsed in the 1880s after many of the troupe died of influenza but was revived in 1931. The Revd Alford heard his gardener mumble the words "Room, room, gallant room, I say" and encouraged the surviving troupe members to reform.

Painswick - Clypping Ceremony, St Mary's Church. This is held on Feast Sunday, the Sunday after Feast of Nativity of St Mary (19 September). The church is 'clypped' or embraced by parishioners while the 'Clypping Hymn' is sung. This ceremony is said to symbolise the parishioners' love of their church. This Feast Day was once notorious in Painswick for riotous behaviour and for 'Puppy-dog pies' said to have been baked by a publican desperate for meat to feed the visiting crowds. This is still celebrated by baking china dogs into pies and cakes sold on the day.

Parish Maps of Gloucestershire

Avening, Cam, Chipping Sodbury, Coberley, Cranham, Dymock, Hawkesbury Upton, Mayhill, Nailsworth, Rodborough, Tredworth, Twyning, Woodmancote, Yate.

Randwick - Cheese Rolling on the first Sunday in May - this starts with a 10.30am church service where three Double Gloucesters are blessed and rolled anticlockwise around the church to ward off evil spirits. The cheese is then cut up and shared amongst bystanders to protect their fertility and ensure future generations of 'Runickers', or villagers. Contact Stan Giles, +44(0)1453 766782. Also, Randwick Wap on the Saturday after first Sunday in May. An ancient procession and festival dating from the Middle Ages. The procession is lead by the Mop Man who swishes his mop to clear the crowds. The Mayor and Queen are carried shoulder high and flanked by flag boys, cheese bearers and others. The mayor is dunked in the Mayor's Pool and then doused in spring water. The procession then moves on to Well Leaze where two double Gloucester cheeses are rolled down the hill. The festival follows with music, dancing, stalls and entertainments. Contact Stan Giles +44(0)1453 766782.

River Severn - Elver Fishing starts with the spring tides from March until April 25. Also, the Severn Bore occurs throughout the year. Some of the strongest bores of the year are often in March. Look at the Environment Agency web-site for annual predictions, or call +44(0)845 9333111.

Stow on the Wold - Horse sale. Two fairs, on the nearest Thursdays to 12th May and 24th October. The fairs were chartered in 1476 by King Edward IV, are held in fields between Stow and Maugesbury. Gypsies arrive from the Monday onwards, and there are stalls of crafts with the sales on the Thursday after which everyone packs up and moves on. The May fair is the larger of the two. Contact Stow TIC +44(0)1451 831082.

Land LinesWindcross parishes - Wild Daffodils in March. The Daffodil Way is 10 mile footpath through the Windcross Parishes in NW Gloucestershire - daffodils once grew in such profusion here that they were picked and sent to market. Lascelles Abercrombie wrote "From Marcle Way, from Dymock, Kempley, Newent, Bromsberrow, Redmarley, all the meadowland daffodils seem running in golden tides to Ryton Firs". As part of the Way, Daffodil Teas are available in March April at Kempley, Oxenhall and Dymock. (A map/leaflet - from which the above Abercrombie quote has been extracted - can be bought from Ross-on-Wye TIC for 50p plus stamped addressed envelope - +44 (0) 1989 562768).Edward Thomas

Apple Day, October 21st

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