1892 to 1899



From the North Bucks Advertiser May 13th 1892


OLD MAY DAY, – The ancient custom of observing Old May Day (May 12th) has been revived in Yardley this year, owing to the zealous efforts of a few people interested in the children connected to the school. The arrangements were extensive, and favoured by fine weather, were satisfactorily carried out, to the evident delight of the children, and the appreciation of the senior inhabitants.

Starting about 10 o’clock the procession visited all the principal places in the village during the morning, and met with a good reception and generous support, indeed, the day was regarded as a general holiday among the juveniles. The procession, in which about 140 children took part, was certainly tastefully arranged, and appeared to modern eyes a unique contrivance.

The chief feature in it was the prettily decorated May Car, on which sat the May Queen (Miss H. Masom), and Master Smith. To this was attached lengths of rope, and by the aid of these a portion of the children were enabled to draw the car, while those in the rear carried several flags and other festival adornments.

In the afternoon the procession visited Wakefield Lodge, where they were kindly treated by His Grace the Duke of Grafton, and on their return adjourned to a field kindly lent by Mr. A. J. Masom, where various sports were indulged in. Tea was also heartily partaken of. Great praise is due to the Rev. A. R. Armstrong, Mrs Robinson, and the other teachers, for the great interest they took in the arrangements.

The first May Festival organised by the
Yardley Gobion school in 1892

Connie Warren was the fairy at this festival

BP 2005

1892 May Festival

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From the North Bucks Advertiser May 18th 1894


THE MAY FESTIVAL and election of the May Queen was celebrated in the village on Saturday last, and was carried out in a very creditable manner. Miss Atkins was selected Queen of the May. The arrangements, which must have taken a deal of trouble, were mostly due to the valuable aid and assistance of Mrs. Robinson, schoolmistress of the village. Help was also given by Mrs. Fitzroy, Mr. And Mrs. Masom, the Misses Masom, Mr. Smith, and other ladies and gentlemen of the village. After the festival, dancing was indulged in the music of the Yardley Gobion Band.


May Festival 1894

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From the North Bucks Advertiser May 17th 1895



The above named festivity took place on Saturday the 11th, owing to the 12th May falling on a Sunday, that being the old May Day. The children were assembled at the Village School shortly after 1 o’clock, where they were dressed in the different costumes representing the seasons, and various characters that they were to take part in. After all the children were arranged, and gaily decked with flowers and ribbons, flags were distributed to the boys; they then formed a procession headed by the Village Band and a banner carried by two of the older boys. They marched in procession round the green and through the village to the field which was kindly lent for the occasion by Mr Albert Masom, a farmer of the village. The Band played during the procession, and at intervals during the afternoon and evening; and the plaiting of the ribbons on the May Pole really being a musical drill, great interest and pleasure were shown not only by the children but the adults who thronged around to watch the very amusing and interesting spectacle. The characters and dresses were as follows:-

King……. ……Master Arthur Smith, in a costume of brown velvet trimmed with gold.

Queen……… Miss Marion Pratt, costume white with forget-me-nots and roses.

Fairy… ………Miss Connie Warren, costume white with wings and daisies.

The attendants were as follows:-

Daisy…. …….Miss Nellie Masom, costume white trimmed with yellow and daisies.

Lily… …………Miss Hattie Masom, costume white trimmed with green and lilies.

Rose… ……..Miss Ruth James, costume rose colour trimmed with white lace.

Violet… ……..Miss Lucy Gray and Miss Harriet Lambert, costumes purple and blue trimmed with violets.

Buttercup… .Miss Annie Glenn, costume yellow and green trimmed with buttercups.

The seasons were as follows, there being one principle (or, as the children call them, “mothers”) and six attendants for each season: spring, summer, Autumn, Winter…. Costumes green, rose colour, orange brown and white respectively.

The bearers were Masters Arthur Saunders and Ernest Morton; and the canopy bearers, Masters Thomas Pratt, Archie Atkins, Robert Horton, and Herbert Swain.

After the performance had been gone through by the children, several of the ladies of the village had races for the children belonging to the school, the prizes consisting of dolls and other playthings; it was most amusing to see how the little children toddled along in their eagerness to obtain a prize. The young men of the village also had some very good racing and jumping; those who did not care to take part in these could join in with those who were footballing. Dancing was also indulged in by both old and young. Tea , cake and bread and butter were provided for the children, and the visitors who wished to partake of the hospitality so generally given by the ladies of the village. Throughout the day those engaged were favoured by with exceptionally fine weather, and it was not until nearly 10 o’clock at night that those present assembled to sing “Auld Lang Syne.” Afterwards the National Anthem was sung most heartily with the accompaniment of the Band, and as though to give further pleasure to the undertakings of the day , there was heard only a short distance away a nightingale singing most beautifully, which it continued to do until nearly everyone had retired to rest, and the village seemed deserted. (We might mention here, that the nightingale is heard every night, and one of the evenings during the past week two of them could be heard singing and piping against each other).

There was a good attendance of visitors, among whom were Mr J. Chettle, C.C., Mrs Chettle, Mr W. Paterson, Mrs Knighton and children, Misses Weston, Mrs J. Lake, Miss Freeman, Mrs Rooke, Mrs H. Wingfield and children, Mrs and Miss Dorothy Grounds, Miss Atkinson, Master P. Atkinson, Miss Miller, Mrs Barford, Miss Sams, Miss S. Sams, Mrs Stabbins, Mr W. Knight, Mr and Mrs Branson, Miss Wilson, Mr J. Scrivener, Mrs Wise and Mr J. Butlin of Roade, who was very busy with his camera. Great thanks and credits are due to the ladies of the village, who worked most willingly and hard in addition to subscribing to the funds. Among the many who helped were Miss Armstrong, Mrs Fitzroy, Mrs H. Weston, Mrs A. Masom, Mrs A. Smith, Mrs W. Smith, Miss E. Weston, Miss Weston, Miss E. Masom, Miss A. Masom, Mrs A, Atkins, Mrs W. Swain; also the Rev Mr Armstrong, Mrs T. Robinson (schoolmistress), Miss Bateman and Miss Markham (assistant schoolmistresses), and the Teachers and others.


May Festival 1895

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From the North Bucks Advertiser May 15th 1896



Among the important events of the year at the village of Yardley Gobion is the annual May Festival, which has now been held in the village with great success for the past five years. Saturday’s festival was no exception to the rule, and a thoroughly enjoyable holiday was the result, and the promoters are to be congratulated on the success of their efforts for the enjoyment of the visitors and villagers. The sun shone brilliantly all day, and a good number of ladies and gentlemen came in from the outlying villages to witness the festivities, among those present being His Grace the Duke of Grafton K.G, and party, Rev. R. Armstrong, the Hon. Fanny Dillon, Rev. Canon Coxe, Mrs. Coxe and party from Stoke Bruerne, Rev. J. H. Light and Mrs. Light (Stony Stratford), Rev. R. E. Crawley, Rev. J. White 9potterspury), Mrs. Fitzroy, Mrs. Harcourt Griffin and Miss Griffin, Mr. And Mrs. J. Chettle, Mr. And Mrs. Patterson, Rev. R. Randolph and Mrs. Randolph. Mrs. Rooke, Mrs. Grounds, Mr. A. Masom, Mr. H. Weston, Mr. C. Hamilton, Mr. C. Weston, etc.

The festivities commenced with a procession round the village of the children, morris dancers and others taking part in the Festival. There were, of course a King and Queen suitably dressed, who rode in a floral carriage, followed by their retinue of princes, pages, trumpeters, maids of honour, etc. Several were dressed to represent characters in nursery rhymes, the seasons, etc. On the whole it was a picturesque sight, and some of the dresses were exceedingly pretty. The procession wended its way to Mr. A. Masom’s field at the end of the village, where stood a lofty Maypole gaily decked with ribands and flowers, and another decorated pole from which a flag bearing the words, “Welcome to our may Festival,” fluttering in the breeze. The ceremony of throning and crowning the May Queen was gone through before a large crowd, and was accompanied with suitable songs and dances.

The May Queen was Miss Nellie Masom; the King Master Percy Atkins; and the other principal characters were: Fairy, Miss Connie Warren; Fortune-teller, Miss Daisy Warren; Shepherd, Master Archie Atkins; Shepherdess, Miss Hattie Masom; Bo-Peep, Miss Martha Brown; Robin Hood, T. Cadd; Maid Marian, F. Johnson. The school children also sang a cantata entitled “May Day,” Miss Smith accompanying on the piano.

The dancing round the Maypole and the plaiting of the pole were gone through twice – once in the afternoon and again in the evening; and there were also morris dances, the music being supplied by the Yardley Gobion Band.

All the children who took part, as well as the old people from the Workhouse, who were present during the afternoon, were provided with an excellent tea; and a large part of the credit of the success of the Festival is due to Mrs. Robinson (school mistress) and the teachers (Miss Bateman, Miss Markham, and Miss Kightly).


May Festival 1896

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From the North Bucks Advertiser May 14th 1897


 The annual event affords a welcome break in the monotony of village life at Yardley Gobion. In past seasons success has attended the efforts of the promoters, and therefore they are not deterred from making it a yearly occurrence.

The festival on Saturday was largely attended, a good number of people being present form the surrounding neighbourhood. The arrangements were carried out by a committee, of which Mrs G. Fitzroy is the guiding spirit, and the festival was associated with a full treasure of success.

Amongst those present to witness the May-Day rejoicings we noticed – Mrs G Fitzroy, Mrs Wentworth Vernon and Miss Vernon, Mrs and Miss Barnard Bynes, Rev R. Armstrong, Rev Cannon Coxe and the misses Coxe, Rev and Mrs Cead Pryor, Mr Butlin, Mrs H. Brafield, Mrs Guy, Mrs H. Weston, Miss N. Weston, Mrs O. Manning, the Misses Manning, Mr H.Weston, Mr C. Weston, Mrs T. Pike, Mrs Bryan Grounds, Miss Armstrong Miss Sams, Mrs C. Whiting, Mr J. Chettle, C.C., Mrs Grimedick, Rev J. and Mrs White, Mr Knight (Wolverton), Mr Buckland, Miss Brafield, Miss Linnell, Miss Williams, Miss Evelyn Williams, Mrs A. R. Elmes, the Misses Stockings, the Misses Rogers, the Misses Hudson, Mr and Mrs E Ravill, Mrs W. J. and Miss Higgs, Mr and Mrs A. Masom, Miss Agnes Masom, Miss Weston, Mr and Mrs Hardwick, &c.

The children taking part the procession assembled in the Schoolroom, and marched from thence to Mr A. Masom’s field, headed by the Yardley Gobion Band (under the conductorship of Mr G. Glenn), which was preceded by a banner bearing the motto “Merrie Month of May.” Miss Annie Glenn was chosen Queen of the May and was duly “crowned,” and in the subsequent procession round the village occupied a conspicuous place in a florally decorated carriage.

There were also in the procession, pages, trumpeters, shepherds, children dressed to represent flowers and the seasons, &c., and a “hobby horse,” the latter causing roars of laughter by its antics. There was a second banner bearing the words, “Yardley Gobion May Day.”

The principal characters represented in the procession were as follows; May Queen, Annie Glenn; Fairy, Connie Warren; Flowers, Flow Jarvis (primrose), Lucy Gary (rose), Alice Atkins (buttercup), Norah Bishop (for-get-me-not), Nellie Kirk, (violet), Adam Robinson (daisy); the seasons, Minnie King (spring), Florrie Gary (summer), Katie Eales (autumn), and Willie Yates (winter), each being accompanied by six attendants; Shepherds, Bertie Pratt and James Warren; Pages, Willie Smith and Edward Robinson; Trumpeters, Allan Lambert and Harry Tillyard; Clowns, Celia Coe and Ernest Atkins; Bo-peep, Martha Brown; Star, Harriet Lambert; Robin Hood, T. Cadd; Maid Marian, M. Cadd ; and the part of the “Hobby-horse” by Ernest Morton and Jerry Horton.

After the procession, there was a May Pole Dance, which were very prettily executed. The chief event, however was an Arbour Dance, which was most interesting and admirably performed, the children taking part therein being photographed in a group. The music for these two dances was supplied by the Yardley Gobion Band. Tea was provided shortly after four o’clock, and later in the evening there were Morris Dances (for which part of Mr Davey’s Wolverton String band furnished the music), and a second performance of the arbour Dance, the proceedings in the evening being very lively. With the exception of the wind being rather too strong, the weather was favourable for the holiday.

Great credit is due to Mrs Robinson for the very efficient way in which the children were trained, and to the teachers, viz., Miss Kightly, Miss Smith, and Miss Bateman. – by kind permission of the Guardians, the inmates of the Potterspury Union Workhouse were allowed to be present.


May Festival 1897

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From the North Bucks Advertiser June 3rd 1898



Fine weather is the most important consideration in al fresco holidays, and the organisers of the seventh annual May festival, after postponement for a week, were highly favoured in this respect on Saturday last, consequently the gathering proved a decided success, though perhaps, the number present was not as great as on some previous occasions. This may have been due, to some extent, to the postponement, as also to the attraction of what is known as the Dark Town Carnival at Wolverton on the same afternoon. The proceedings commenced with a procession round the village, headed by Yardley Gobion Brass Band, which played lively selections en route to the field kindly placed at the disposal of the committee by Mr. A. Masom. On arrival there, the May Queen was appropriately crowned, and the Band played “God save the Queen.” After a short interval the younger children performed very creditably the May Pole Dance, and were applauded for their efforts. Next came the May Pole and Arbour Dance by the older children, and this was executed with a precision which must have been highly gratifying to those who had trained them. It was a most pretty sight, and thoroughly deserved the high encomiums passed upon it. A very pleasant interval then ensued, which was devoted to partaking of “the cup that cheers,” a capital tea being provided for the visitors by Mrs. A. Masom, Mrs. A. Smith, Miss A. Masom, and Miss N. Weston, who were assisted by many willing helpers in waiting. The adults of the village were given a free tea with the surplus funds remaining from the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. The May Pole Dance was repeated in the evening, and the Yardley Gobion Morris Dancers also gave two appreciative and spirited performances. It may be interesting to note that the Morris dance was derived from the Moore of Spain, being introduced into England by John of Gaunt, son of Edward II, about the year 1360, and became the usual accompaniment of the May-day sports and pastimes. The gathering terminated a t nine o’clock.

Among those present in the afternoon we noticed – Mrs. G. Fitzroy (Who is the prime mover in these festivals), the hon. Mrs. Forbes, Rev. W. and Mrs. Plant, Miss Mansfield, Captain and Mrs. Darker and Miss Darker, Rev. J. and Mrs. Chambers, Rev. and Mrs. Coad Pryor (Grafton Regis), Mrs. Nicolas, miss Fitzroy, Mr. Buckland, Mrs Bull (Stony Stratford), Mrs Grant (Castlethorpe), the Misses Willes (Calverton), Mrs. Byam Grounds (Passenham), Miss Same; Mr. And Mrs. Arthur Smith, miss N. Weston, Miss E. Weston, Miss L. Weston, Mr. And Mrs. Hardwick, Yardley Gobion; Mrs. Hewson, Mr. And Mrs. Branson, Cosgrove; Colonel Keith, Mr. Polehampton, Miss Lowe, Potterspury; Mrs. Brafield and Mrs. H Brafield, Grafton Regis; Mrs Arthur Weston and Miss Weston, Hartwell; Mr. And Mrs. Knight, Miss Knight, Miss Ives, Miss Wilson, Wolverton; Mr. J. Butlin, Roade (who was busy with his camera),&c.

The music for the dances in the afternoon was supplied by the Yardley Gobion Band, and in the evening the services of the String Band (violins, Messrs. A Ricketts, F. Corin, A Knight, and T. Wadhams) were requisitioned for the May Pole and Morris Dances.

The teachers of the dances were Mrs. Arthur Smith, Miss Kirby, and Miss Kightley.

The principal characters were as follows: May Queen, Harriet Lambert; Fairy, Hilda Lambert; Page, Thomas Masom; and these were dressed respectively by Mrs. Eales, Mrs. Arthur Smith, and Mrs. Albert Masom.

The following children represented the Seasons; – Spring – Gladys Coe, Lizzie Warren, Kate Lambert, Florrie Johnson, Pamella Read, Edith Allen, Nellie Busbridge. Summer – Annie Atkins, Aggie Brassett, Ethel Atkins, Charlotte Smith, Maggie Gear, Amy Glenn, Alice Morton. Autumn – Emily Glenn, Ethel Cadd, Mabel Dennis, Ethel Wilson, Emily Morton, Lois Wilson, Kate Eales. Winter – Edith Lambert, Emma Tillyard, Alice Wilson, Mary Ann Johnson, Bessie Long, Mary Ann Tebbett, Leonard Atkins (Father Xmas). Miss Palmer undertook the preparation of the children representing the season of Spring, miss Nellie Weston for Summer, Miss Eleanor Masom for Autumn and Miss Smith for Winter.

The other characters and flowers represented were – Buttercup, Alice Johnson; Violet, Nellie Shears; Primrose, Flora Jarvis; Bo-Peep, Annie Glenn; Forget-me-not, Elsie Atkins; Rose, Lucy Gray; Pink, Martha Brown; Wild Rose, Hilda Smith; Prince, Fred Lambert; Shepherds, Willie Smith, Willie Owen, James Bloore; Daisy, Daisy Atkins; Clowns, Colin Coe and Ernest Atkins; Trumpeters, Harry Tillyard and Allan Lambert; Herald, John Evans; Red Riding Hood, Jessie Johnson. The children representing Buttercup, Violet and Rose were dressed by Miss Agnes Masom; the Shepherds, \Prince, Trumpeters, Herald, Clowns and Father Xmas by Mrs Ambrose Atkins; Bo-Peep by Mrs Chambers; Forget-me-not, Wild Rose, Fairy and Red Riding Hood by Mrs Arthur Smith.


May Festival 1898

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From the North Bucks Advertiser May 19th 1899



The May Festival is undoubtedly the chief holiday attraction of the year at Yardley Gobion, and each time the influx of visitors from the surrounding neighbourhood continues to be very large, and at the eighth annual festival on Saturday there was a full attendance. One or two showers interrupted the happy proceedings, but still the organisers are to be congratulated upon the large measure of success associated with the holiday, which is keenly enjoyed by the villagers and others. Amongst those present were Mrs. George Fitzroy (who takes a practical interest in the holiday), the hon. Helen Dillon, the Hon. Gertrude Plunkett, Rev. and Mrs. Coad Pryor (Grafton Regis), Rev. W. S. Andrews (Wicken), Mrs. Rooks (Stony Stratford), Mrs Byam Grounds and party, Miss Sams, Rev. P. Gaster (temporary curate in charge of Yardley Gobion), the Misses Coxe and Mr. And Mrs. Harris (Stoke Bruerne), Mrs. Chettle, Mrs. Fountain (Alderton), Mrs. Weston (Hartwell), Mr. W. Knight and Mr. Hobbs (Wolverton, &c., &c. The proceedings commenced with a procession round the village, headed by the banner, “Success to our May Festival,” and followed by the Yardley Gobion Brass Band (conducted by Mr Joe Lambert), the May Queen and attendants in a gaily decorated carriage, the Yardley Gobion Drum and Fife Band (conductor Mr W. Weston), children representing the Seasons, also various flowers, characters in nursery tales, heralds, shepherds, trumpeters, the Yardley Gobion Morris Dancers, &c., &c. On arrival at the field the coronation ceremony took place, succeeded by the May Song and dance, and during the afternoon and evening the children cleverly executed May Pole dances, and the Morris Dancers also gave interesting performances. Miss Edith Lambert was chosen May Queen, and the other principal characters were as follows :- Prince, Master T. Mason; faries, Aggie basset and Nellie Busbridge; page Joe Gray.

The Children representing Autumn and Winter and the May Queen were dressed by Mrs. G. Fitzroy, those representing Spring by Miss Smith, and the representatives of Summer by Miss Weston (Moorend), The boys were dressed by Mrs. Arthur Smith and Mrs Atkins. The costumes were remarkably pretty and attractive, and their preparations must have entailed a vast amount of thought and labour, but those responsible for the same may feel well repaid by the high encomiums heard on all sides, and the hearty congratulations expressed by many of the visitors. A tea was provided for the children, and Mrs. Masom and Mrs. A. Smith kindly undertook trays at the tables for visitors. Miss F. Fleming did a large share of work in training the children for the dances, and she was ably assisted by others. The Brass Band furnished music for the May Pole dances and the Drum and Fife Band for the Morris Dances.

This year some athletic sports were provided as an additional attraction, the arrangements for which were carried out by the committee, composed of Messrs. S. H. Hardwick, A. Smith, W. J. Swain, J. Kightley, A Masom, D. Warren, H. Smith, J. Smith, T. Holloway, A. Belton (handicapper), &c., Messrs W. Knight and Hobbs assisted the committee by acting as judges. The result of the races are appending :-

One Mile Handicap (open) – 1 D. Green, Cosgrove, 150 yards start; 2 J. Drinkwater, 20; Yardley Gobion, 20; 3 F. Key, Yardley Gobion, 160.

Half Mile Handicap (local) – 1 F. Kightley, 50 yards start; 2 H. Lambert, 110; 3 J. Drinkwater, scratch.

Quarter Mile handicap (open) – 1 T. Pratt, Yardley Gobion, 30 yards start; 2 J. Drinkwater, Yardley Gobion, 3 H. Kightley, Yardley Gobion, 30.

120 Yards handicap (open) –

1st heat; 1 H. Andrews, Deanshanger, 12½ yards start; 2 H. Lambert, Yardley Gobion, 16.

2nd heat; 1 J. Elliott, Wolverton, 10; 2 H. Brown, Cosgrove, 11. 3rd heat; 1 T. Pratt, Yardley Gobion, 11; 2 G. Clifton, Cosgrove, 8.

Final; 1 T. Pratt, 2 J. Elliott, 3 G. Clifton.

Other minor races were subsequently contested.

Mr. S. H. Hardwick successfully despatched several balloons. Later in the evening dancing was indulged in, and the enjoyable proceedings were brought to a close with the playing of the National Anthem, the holiday altogether being a great success.   (Mr. Hardwick was Master of the Workhouse)



May Festival 1899

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