West Witton Yorkshire Burning the Bartle August folk custom
Burning the Bartle West Witton, Wensleydale, Yorkshire England. 1971. Every year on the Saturday following 24 August (formerly the traditional date for the custom), a large straw effigy known as 'Bartle' is carried in procession by its maker Mr J Alan Harker and assistant down the main street of West Witton, accompanied by a crowd of villagers. This was the 22nd year Alan Harker had made Bartle.
A doggrel verse is sung outside the oldest houses in the village
"On Penhill Crags he tore his rags
Hunters Thorn he blew his horn
Cappelbank Stee happened a misfortune and brak' his knee
Grassgill Beck he brak' his neck
Wadhams End he couldn't fend
Grassgill End we'll mak' his end
Shout, lads, shout!"
Mr J Alan Harker wrote in 1971 "... when it is burnt we have a good old fashioned sing song with a few well know old songs such as My Boney Lies Over the Ocean, Nelly Dean, Coming Round the Mountain etc etc". He goes on to write that Mr G Smirthwaite had records and these were lost in a fire. he left a lot of money to be invested and at Bartle time old people in the village received the interest off the money he left, in 1970 that was £50-00 to the over 75s and £2-00 for the makers of Bartle.
L to R. J Alan Harker and assistant Richard Harker not related)