Chelveston-cum-Caldecott Parish Council

Serving the people of Chelveston-cum-Caldecott

Clerk: Mr Mark Hunter
Ashbury, Caldecott
Wellingborough
Northamptonshire NN9 6AR

Tel: 01933 626039

May Queens

Traditions

The origins are lost in the mists of time, but generally it is accepted that the May Queen or Queen of May symbolises the ancient festival of spring, originally held on the the 1st of May, but now held on the May Day bank holiday.

The May Queen is a (usually young) girl who rides or walks at the front of a parade for the May Day celebrations. She wears a white gown to symbolise purity and a crown made of flowers. Her duties are to begin the May Day celebrations. She may be attended by other young girls similarly attired, and may be seated on a throne, decorated with flowers.

The May Queen is usually chosen and crowned before the dancing around the maypole commences, but traditions vary from county to county.

Local May Queens

Miss Johnson, a teacher who arrived at the Village School in 1913, is credited with reviving the May Queen tradition in the parish. The images we have indicate the May Queen was crowned and seated on her throne on the sloping green looking toward the junction with Foot Lane. The maypole also appears in some images at the Foot Lane junction.

May Queen - year unknown

May Queen - year unknown.
Image provided by the late Prof. David Hughes

Maypole and children - date unknown

Maypole on junction of Water Lane and Foot Lane.
Image provided by the late Noel Morris.

Maypole and children - date unknown

Maypole on junction of Water Lane and Foot Lane.
Image provided by Ron McGeorge.

1980's

There was a brief revival in the 1980's, with the maypole located in Duchy Close in one of the hammerhead turning areas. Hannah Burch was crowned in 1986.

Hannah Burch May Queen May 1986

Hannah Burch May Queen May 1986
Image provided by Dr Adrian Burch.

Hannah Burch May Queen court May 1986

May Queen Court May 1986
Image provided by Dr Adrian Burch.

Maypole and children - 1986

Maypole outside No 29 Duchy Close
Image provided by the late Roger Clay.

Village Hall maypole practice

Practising in the Village Hall.
Image provided by the late Roger Clay.

2010's

There was a further revival in 2012, with the maypole located in Wateryard, Water Lane. This has continued every year, save for 2020 due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Maypole and children - 2012

Maypole dancing in 2012
Image provided by Stephanie Chadwick.