Annual Events in Midgley

Annual and Biennial Events in Midgley Village, West Yorkshire

Many annual and biennial events are held in Midgley Village.

Midgley Pace Egg poster

Midgley Pace Egg Play

Midgley Pace Egg Play is performed each Good Friday at Midgley bus terminus.

A traditional folk play dating back to the 1730s (and perhaps earlier) which was revived in 1931 and performed by boys of Midgley School, it was subsequently adopted by Calder High School in 1951.

Now performed in Midgley each year by (ex?) Calder High School lads (and the occasional lass), Midgley Pace Egg is one of the very few genuine Pace Egg traditions to endure, though if you read the press you'd think that only Heptonstall has a Pace Egg tradition.

Midgley Pace Egg is a separate tradition and significantly different from the Heptonstall Pace Egg, but the latter has tended to overshadow the Midgley tradition and Midgley's is in danger of being subsumed.

There is more information on Calderdale's website about Pace Egg and Midgley Pace Egg, on Folkopedia and on Hebden Bridge History, as well as a Facebook Group.

Spaw Sunday

Spaw Sunday is (usually) the first Sunday in May. It is a traditional well dressing festival marking the beginning of summer, with roots going back to Pagan times.

A Spa is simply a mineral spring said to have heath-giving properties but modern versions offer massage, facials and body treatments.

The Greeks and Romans had their equivalents of spas, but the modern version seems to be associated with Spa in Belgium.

As to the special health giving properties of natural springs there is much contention. Most Midgley houses which benefitted from a natural spring supply were obliged to change to town water, exchanging any potential mineral content of the spring water for modern chemicals.

The Spaw Sunday tradition died out in Cragg Vale in 1940, probably because of the war. The details of any Midgley tradition are lost in the mists of time.

A Tradition Revived

Midgley is claiming no special magic for its spring water, but is continuing the tradition of considering the first Sunday in May to be the time when the waters are believed to be infused with great purity.

Since re-establishing the tradition in 2009, more and more villagers have become involved with the celebration and more visitors are turning up to participate.

Each of the village's more accessible wells is dressed or decorated by a small group of villagers with competition growing for the title of best dressed well.

In addition to creative, often themed decorations, songs, speeches and poems are added in order to enhance the appeal of each site as the Spaw Sunday walk makes its way around the village.

When the walk is over it is time for a well earned rest and refreshments at Midgley Community Centre.

School children to pensioners, we all share the joy of this commune with nature as well as offering a Midgley welcome to visitors.

For more information about the event contact Jean Tallis 01422 882394.

There is more information about the tradition of Spaw Sunday here.

Midgley Village Fete – Calderdale

Midgley Traditional Village Fete is held every other year, alternating with Midgley Open Gardens as the village's main fund-raising events.

Midgley Fete is generally held in June on the recreational ground in the village and has grown and grown in popularity.

Midgley Open Gardens

Open Gardens is held in mid-June, biennially, alternating with the Village Fete. Even-numbered years are Open Gardens years.

This popular weekend attracts hundreds of visitors from all over the north of England to enjoy a rich variety of beautiful private gardens within the stunning landscape of Midgley and its surroundings.

Various gardens open their gates, ranging from small courtyards to rambling country plots, all demonstrating a flair for gardening in the challenging conditions of this Pennine hill village.

More information from Anne Holdsworth, tel 01422 882901, or from the Open Gardens Page.

Walk to Castle Carr

We were fortunate enough to secure permission to visit Castle Carr again in 2018, one of very few openings each year. This is a fantastic experience with Yorkshire Water in attendance to switch on the main fountain in the water garden.

When the Castle was build in 1871 the gravity-fed fountains were the highest in Europe (130ft high). Unfortunately only the main fountain still functions, but it is still a very special sight.

A walk led by Rema Sim takes place starting at the bus terminus in the village at 11 am. The fountain is switched on at 1.30 pm. Entry via the Lower Lodge gate cost: Adults £4 and Children £1. Refreshments available at the venue – bring a picnic.

Only for those of limited mobility, vehicular access is via the Upper Lodge Gate with the same entry fee payable there.

This event is by the kind permission of the landowner(s) Mr and Mrs F Scholefield and Yorkshire Water and all attending should be aware of the need to stay within the designated viewing area; those not staying within the permitted area may be asked to leave. Dogs must be on leads, this is the lambing and ground bird nesting season and owners of dogs not on leads will be denied entry.

For those not walking and arriving by car please be sure not to park on Catherine House Lane, Saltonstall Lane or at the Lower Lodge itself. This is to protect access for residents and to ensure that emergency vehicles are guaranteed free passage.

Coach Trip to the Seaside

Midgley has many wonderful qualities, but its claim to be a great seaside resort is a little weak. So each year, there is a coach trip to the coast.

Carol Singing in Midgley Village in the Calder Valley

Carol singing in Midgley Village is held on the last Sunday evening before Christmas.

All are welcome to join the carol singing procession, meeting at Midgley Chapel and progressing through the village, stopping for carols along the way and ending at Midgley Community Room for mulled wine and mince pies.

Father Christmas distributes presents to our elderly and house-bound residents, and then invites children to his grotto.