The Gazetteer


Barwick in Elmet - A Maypole of 87 feet is traditionally raised anew every three years (2002, 5, 8 &c) on the Tuesday after the Spring Bank Holiday. The maypole is raised by ladder parties without the aid of modern machinery. Someone then climbs the pole to untie the ropes. Lowering the Maypole takes place at Easter.

Cawthorne (near Barnsley) - Pear Day, Cannon Hall Museum Park & Gardens. This started in 1996 and features music, activities, tastings and sales in the 1.5 acre kitchen garden, on the walls of which 35 varieties of pear are trained. Contact +44(0)1226 790270.

Conisbrough - 'Tittlecock' Fair. A fair of unknown origin that takes place on Good Friday in this small former coal-mining village. It follows the custom of the carrying of a large wooden cross in procession through the village to the Parish Church, where a mid-day service is held.

The Cuckoo - Traditionally, the cuckoo is expected in Yorkshire on 21st April.

Dewsbury - Tolling the Devil's Knell, All Saints Parish Church. Starting at 11pm on Christmas Eve, one stroke of the church bells is tolled for every year since the birth of Christ, whose birth heralded the devil's demise. Contact +44(0) 1484 223200.

Doncaster - Egg rolling, on Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Good Friday) in the grounds of Cusworth Hall Museum. Morning and afternoon sessions. Contact Cusworth Hall Museum +44 (0) 1302 782342.

Egton Bridge - Gooseberry Contest, on the first Tuesday in August. The Egton Bridge Old Gooseberry Society celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2001. The contest is won by the largest berry whether of a white, green, yellow or red variety, although there are also prizes for the largest berries in each class. Growing gooseberries for show started in the 18th century in Lancashire, where workers' cottage gardens were ideally situated. There were once 700 shows across the country and 78 varieties of gooseberry, but the two World Wars diminished the numbers. After the First World War, when often all the men from a town or village went to fight, there were only 40 shows and to-day there are only eight, across Cheshire and at Holmes Chapel, Lancashire. The judging is from 9am-12.30 with the fruits on display in the afternoon and music, prize giving and a raffle in the evening. In order to take part in the annual contest you must be a paid up member of the Society on Easter Tuesday of that year. Contact Mr Preston, Chairman of the Egton Bridge Old Gooseberry Society on +44(0)1947 810332.

The Green Men of Yorkshire
York Cathedral celebrated its revival after the fire with new stained glass windows which includes a Green Man.

Huddersfield - Kirkburton Rapier Dancers, on New Year's Day.

Kingston upon Hull - Hull Fair is held in early October.

Kirk Bramwith - Snowdrop Festival at St Mary's Church on the nearest weekend to second week in February. Contact Doncaster TIC +44(0)1302 734309.

Maltby - Snowdrops at Roche Cistercian Abbey.

Marsden - Cuckoo Day, around the 27th April, celebrates the return of the Cuckoo - herald of spring - the Cuckoo legend says that the people of Marsden knew that as the cuckoo arrived, so did the spring and summer. They built a wall around it to prolong its stay but it was too low and the cuckoo flew away - as the legend goes "it were nobbut just wun course too low!". Contact R. Gilbert on +44(0)1484 843879.

Midgley - Midgley Pace-Egg Play visits Heptonstall,Midgley & Hebden Bridge over the easter weekend. For information contact David Burnop +44 (0) 161 877944 (day) or +44 (0) 1422 846277 (eve).

Parish Maps of Yorkshire

Brotton, Derwent River, Flamborough,Garforth, Great Hatfield, Highfields, Howden, Hull, Hutton Rudby, Lockwood, Loftus, Nunthorpe, Osmotherley, Port Mulgrave, Rimington, Rotherham, Saltburn, Sheffield, Skelton, Snape, Thirsk, Witecote, Wressel.

Richmond - Snowdrops at Millgate House. The gardens are closed throughout winter except selected days in February and March. Admission £1.50, children free. Contact +44(0)1748 823571. In September is the First Fruits celebration. The mayor hands a sample of corn to a miller and the farmer receives a bottle of wine. Wine is then passed around to all present to toast a successful harvest. Also a farmers market third Saturday of month. Later in the year, on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, T'owd 'oss is a Richmond custom. It is passed down through local families who dress in hunting clothes and blow a horn. Contact the Town Clerk +44(0)1748 850808.

Reighton - Snowdrops in February.

Ripon - St Wilfrid's Feast Procession. A float parade on the Saturday before first Monday in August, commemorating St Wilfred who was bishop of Ripon in the 7th century. The float parade had its 40th anniversary in 2002. Contact Teresa Baier, +44(0)1765 601730.

Saddleworth - Rushcart ceremony. This custom was revived in the mid-1970s, and continues to be held on the second weekend after 12 August. This marks the weekend of the Saddleworth Wakes, when mills and factories had their annual week's holiday. The reeds (12-1500 bundles) are collected from the moors three weeks before the event and built onto the cart in the week before. A jockey from the Saddleworth Morris Men rides the 15' high cart as it is pulled around the Saddleworth villages during Saturday by Morris and mumming groups from all over the area and the home side. There are displays of all styles of Morris at each village and then an evening of music back at Uppermill, in the Church Inn and Cross Keys Inn. On Sunday morning the cart is pulled up the steep hill to the mother church for a service where the cart and morris men are blessed. There is a display from all the sides outside the church in the natural arena, where 2-3000 people have been know to attend, sitting on the banks. There are also competitions for wrestling, music, clog stepping and gurning and music in the pubs again on Sunday Night. Contact Richard Hankinson +44(0)1457 834871.

Skinnington has a steel maypole.

Slingsby Green - Maypole dancing on May Day bank holiday, 1pm. Contact +44(0)1653 628135.

South Dalton - Kiplingcotes Derby, from noon on the third Thursday in March. Possibly the oldest horse race in the world, dating from 1119. Riders are weighed in at 11am (must have body weight of 10 st plus or wear weights), then the derby runs through country roads near the villages of Middleton and Warter. Susan Hillaby, Clerk of the Course, +44(0) 1487 265 1207.

Sowerby Bridge - Rushbearing. On the first weekend in September, a sixteen feet high rushcart is pulled by 60 local men in panama hats, white shirts, black trousers and clogs. A team of women take turns in sitting on top of the cart. The procession is accompanied by five or six team of morris dancers. The procession stops on route to present token rushes to churches, to perform a mumming play and to dance outside pubs. On Sunday the procession goes to Ripponden to present rushes and join the village fete.This celebration was revived for the Silver Jubilee in 1977 as a one-off but was so popular it has persisted. Contact +44(0)1422 833862.

Wakefield - Rhubarb Festival at the end of January / beginning of February. Cookery demonstrations, themed meals, tours of the forcing sheds. Wakefield soil is ideal for rhubarb growing but forced rhubarb is also grown locally. The plants are kept in sheds to stop them photosynthesising so that the sugar goes to the stems from the roots. The hushed, candlelit forcing sheds are open to the public and even apart from the festival, they have become a major tourist attraction. The sheds can be visited by groups between January and March by appointment. Contact Wakefield TIC +44(0)1924 305841.

West Ardsley (near Wakefield) - Lee Gap Fair, on St Bartholomew's Day (August 24th) is first of two ancient horse fairs, second is Latter Lee on 17 September. This is England's oldest charter fair dating from before 1135 and was once held over three weeks. Contact Mr Leadley +44(0)113 2535677.

West Witton - Burning the Bartle. On the Saturday following St Bartholomew's Day, a guy-like effigy stuffed with rags and soaked in paraffin, with eyes lit with electric bulbs, is carried down the main street via numerous pubs to chants about its fate. At Grassgill End the Bartle is stabbed and then set on fire. It probably commemorates the death of a thief who stole from the villagers and was chased down the fellside where he broke his neck and was later burnt at the stake. Contact Leyburn TIC +44(0)1748 829100.

Whitby - Penny Hedge, on Rogation Wednesday, Ascension Day eve in May. A dozen or so stakes are driven into the beach near Boyes Staithe in the harbour and willows are woven into them to form a 'Penny (pennance) Hedge' that will withstand three high tides. The hedge is a vestige of a much longer fence called a Horngarth, probably intended to contain Whitby Abbey's cattle or to protect the Abbey's landing place on the sands. Whitby tenants were required to build the Horngarth annually as part of their rent to the Abbey. This may have originated in Saxon times.

Yarm - Yarm Fair on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of third week in October - once a commercial fair predominantly for cheese, horse and livestock sales. Now a fun fair in the small High Street but travellers' horses are still run up and down the High Street on Saturday morning to display those for sale, called the 'Riding of the Fair'.

Apple Day, October 21st

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