May Day in Sibford in 1877

Perhaps the May Garland was like this?

On 1st May 1877, Rev Edward Stevens (Vicar of Sibford, 1874 – 1898) wrote in his diary "Girls and other school children came round with May garland."

On the following day he wrote that "The school children had their May Garland tea in the schoolroom and afterwards played in the slinket. I took occasion to complain of some children who went round with an independent garland to get what money they could for themselves and yet came to tea with the others. Millicent Spicer was the one I particularly alluded to though I did not mention her name. I said it would not be permitted in future. Moreover she never comes to the day school."

(I believe the slinket is where the present New Rectory stands.)

More about May

May is named after the Greek goddess, Maia. The Anglo-Saxon name for May was Tri-Milchi, in recognition of the fact that with the lush new grass cows could be milked three times a day.

First thing in the morning on May 1st, young girls used to rush out into the garden to wash their faces in the May dew. Why? Find the answer and more information about May Day customs and traditions at

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