Best ever May Fair

Plympton Community Council’s 40th anniversary May Fair in Harewood House and surrounding grounds last month has generally been accepted as the most successful for many years.

There was a big focus this year on events outside in the open air rather than just concentrated inside in the main hall of Harewood House itself.

This year the tennis courts were open for free taster sessions as was the bowling green and in the afternoon members of the public were able to sit and watch a cricket match while enjoying refreshments at the same time.

An assortment of musicians and performers provided entertainment in an narena set up in the car park. These included the Starlite School of Dance and Samba Kernow. People were even able to see a selection of owls when local ‘owl man’ Russell Burt turned up on his motorised scooter with with a number of his feathered friends perched on the handlebars.

Motoring enthusiasts were able to inspect a display of various historic motor cars, ranging from MGs to a mini.

Stannator Rose Hamley who arrived by vintage car at 10am and formally opened the event said: “When I came into the hall after the ride there in the vintage Austin I was pleasantly surprised to see it full with stalls and visitors. The outside entertainment was good, helped of course by the good weather.

“Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. It was especially good to see that the tennis courts were busy, also that both the bowls and cricket clubs were active. I was lucky to have both our own May Queen and attendants with me plus the Colebrook Queen and her attendant.”

Plympton Community Council Chairman Fred Lethbridge described the day as ‘very successful,’ adding: “We’ve been fortunate to have good weather for the past three years and everyone had a good time. I would also like to record thanks to the sub-committee for all their efforts in making sure the day came together in the way it did.”

A bonus for the May Fair this year was a display of historic Plympton artefacts in St Mary’s Church Hall. There people were able to see numerous old photos of Plympton, including the ‘Great Blizzard’ of 1891, market day when it used to be in Longcause and Plympton Fire Brigade in 1935 when they had a station in Market Road. Among many other pictures was the old British Restaurant in Moorland Road where Ridgeway Academy’s sports complex is now. There was also the remains of a nameplate for the restaurant.

Meanwhile across the road in Plympton Priory the ‘King of France’ was being kept captive by the Black Prince, Edward III – or at least members of the Age of Chivalry playing these roles. Their re-enactment marked an occasion 660 years ago to the month when, after the Battle of Poitiers, the real Black Prince and King of France stayed at the Priory for three weeks while on route to London.

The climax to the day was the staging of a tournament between England and France when the Age of Chivalry performed a very life-like battle with swords, shields and axes.


(story and photos courtesy of the Plympton Podcast)

First published in the Plymouth Shopper – June 2017

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