The Kemps’ Men of Norwich have, for many years, danced in the May Dawn on St James’ Hill, Mousehold, Norwich. They then dance at St John’s Alley, Maddermarket, where Will Kemp famously leapt the churchyard wall to escape the crowd after dancing his way from London in 1599. Kemps’ Men go on to dance outside the Cathedral and then between St Peter Mancroft and the Forum. In 2020, this Tradition was broken.
Rita Gallard, Norwich based singer and jig doll dancer has written this poem which has been set to the tune John Raeburn which was collected in King’s Lynn from the singing of Charles Crisp in 1905. Thank you Rita for allowing us to share this on our website. There is a downloadable pdf below the image and a sound file. Please feel free to use, play, sing and may the May Dawn of 2020 be welcomed in albeit in a very different way this year.
You can read more about the tune John Raeburn here, and about a little more about Charles Crisp in a review of Musical Traditions CD-ROM MTCD253 here who sang to Ralph Vaughan Williams in January 1905.
Thanks to Rita and also to Alan who pulled the tune out of the Norfolk archives for a fitting match.