Happy Beltane everyone!
“Once almost every village in England had a maypole, but in 1644 the killjoy Puritans had them all destroyed. With the Restoration of the monarchy in 1661 which brought renewed appreciation of old folk ways, May Day again had a place in English society and the maypoles were re-erected.
The most famous of these was a 134-feet monster in Little Drury Lane, which thenceforth was known as Maypole Alley. After just four years, by 1717 it was rotten and had to go – it was bought by Sir Isaac Newton and erected at Wanstead, in Essex as a support to the new reflecting telescope (124 feet in length), which had been presented to the Royal Society by the French astronomer Christiaan Huygens, the Dutch mathematician and physicist. In 1800 it led an anonymous author to ask humorously: ‘What’s not destroy’d by Time’s relentless hand? Where’s Troy? – and where’s the May-pole in the Strand?’
(via Wilson’s Almanac. Thanks DJ!)