When the Restoration occurred in 1660, common people in London, in particular, put up maypoles “at every crossway,” according to Aubrey. The largest was in the Strand, near the current St Mary-le-Strand church. The maypole there was the tallest by far, and it stood until being blown over by a high wind in 1672, when it was moved to Wansted in Essex and served as a mount for a telescope.
The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:
Open location in Google Maps: 51.512175, -0.116923
Michael Robinson • Link
” … The Maypole, to which we have already referred as formerly standing on the site of the church of St. Mary-le-Strand, was called by the Puritans one of the “last remnants of vile heathenism, round which people in holiday times used to dance, quite ignorant of its original intent and meaning.” Each May morning, as our readers are doubtless aware, it was customary to deck these poles with wreaths of flowers, round which the people danced pretty nearly the whole day. A severe blow was given to these merry-makings by the Puritans, and in 1644 a Parliamentary ordinance swept them all away, including this very famous one, which, according to old Stow, stood 100 feet high. On the Restoration, however, a new and loftier one was set up amid much ceremony and rejoicing. From a tract printed at the time, entitled “The Citie’s Loyaltie Displayed,” we learn that this Maypole was 134 feet high, and was erected upon the cost of the parishioners there adjacent, and the gracious consent of his sacred Majesty, with the illustrious Prince the Duke of York. “This tree was a most choice and remarkable piece; ‘twas made below bridge and brought in two parts up to Scotland Yard, near the king’s palace, and from thence it was conveyed, April 14, 1661, to the Strand, to be erected. It was brought with a streamer flourishing before it, drums beating all the way, and other sorts of musick. It was supposed to be so long that landsmen could not possibly raise it. Prince James, Duke of York, Lord High Admiral of England, commanded twelve seamen off aboard ship to come and officiate the business; whereupon they came, and brought their cables, pullies, and other tackling, and six great anchors. After these were brought three crowns, borne by three men bareheaded, and a streamer displaying all the way before them, drums beating and other musick playing, numerous multitudes of people thronging the streets, with great shouts and acclamations, all day long. The Maypole then being joined together and looped about with bands of iron, the crown and cane, with the king’s arms richly gilded, was placed on the head of it; a large hoop, like a balcony, was about the middle of it. Then, amid sounds of trumpets and drums, and loud cheerings, and the shouts of the people, the Maypole, ‘far more glorious, bigger, and higher than ever any one that stood before it,’ was raised upright, which highly did please the Merrie Monarch and the illustrious Prince, Duke of York; and the little children did much rejoice, and ancient people did clap their hands, saying golden days began to appear.” A party of morris-dancers now came forward, “finely decked with purple scarfs, in their half-shirts, with a tabor and a pipe, the ancient music, and danced round about the Maypole.”
The setting up of this Maypole is said to have been the deed of a blacksmith, John Clarges, who lived hard by, and whose daughter Anne had been so fortunate in her matrimonial career as to secure for her husband no less a celebrated person than General Monk, Duke of Albemarle, in the reign of Charles II., when courtiers and princes did not always look to the highest rank for their wives. …”
St Mary-le-Strand and the Maypole’, Old and New London: Volume 3 (1878), pp. 84-88. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/…
Date accessed: 21 December 2009
... let me declare to you the manner in general of that stately Cedar erected in the Strand, 134 foot high, commonly called the Maypole, upon the cost of the Parishioners there adjacent, and the gracious consent of his Sacred Majesty, with the Illustrious Prince the Duke of York.
This Tree was a most choice and remarkable Piece, 'twas made below Bridg, and brought in two parts up to Scotland-yard, near the Kings Palace, and from thence it was conveyed, April 14, to the Strand to be erected.
It was brought with a Streamer flourishing before it, Drums beating all the way, and other sorts of Musick, it was supposed to be so long, that Landsmen (as Carpenters) could not possibly raise it. Prince James, the Duke of York, Lord High Admirall of England, commanded twelve Seamen off a Boord to come and officiate the business, whereupon they came and brought their Cables, Pullies, and other tacklins, with six great Anchors; after this was brought three Crowns, bore by three men bare-headed, and a Streamer displaying all the way before them, Drums beating, and other Musick playing : numerous multitudes of people thronging the streets, with great shouts and acclamations all day long.
The Maypole then being joynted together, and hoopt about with bands of iron, the Crown and Vane, with the Kings Armes richly gilded, was placed on the head of it, a large top like a belcony was about the middle of it. This being done the Trumpets did sound, and in four hours space it was advanced upright, after which, being established fast in the ground, six Drums did beat, and the Trumpets did sound again, great shouts and acclamations the people gave, that it did ring throughout all the Strand; After that came a Morice Dance, finely deckt, with purple Scarfs in their half-shirts, with a Taber and Pipe, the antient Musick, and Danced round about the Maypole and after that Danced the rounds of their Liberty. Upon the top of this famous Standard, is likewise set up a Purple Streamer, about the middle of it, is placed four Crowns more, with Kings Armes likewise; there is also a Garland set upon it of various colours, of delicate rich favours, under which is to be placed three great Lanthorns, to remain for three honours; that is, one for Prince James Duke of York, Lord High Admirall of England; the other for the Vice Admirall; and the third for the Rear Admirall; these are to give light in dark nights, and to continue so as long as the Pole stands, which will be a perpetual honour for Seaman; It is placed as near hand as they could guess, in the very same pit where the former stood, but far more glorious, bigger and higher, than ever any one that stood before it; and the Seamen themselves do confess, that it could not be built higher, nor there is not such a one in Europe beside, which highly doth please his Majesty and the Illustrious Prince Duke of York; little children did much rejoice, and ancient people did clap their hands, saying, golden dayes began to appear
---The Cities Loyalty Displayed. 1661.
In that wide Space the Goddess took her Stand
Where the tall May-pole once o'erlook'd the Strand
But now (so ANNE and Piety ordain)
A Church collects the Saints in Drury-lane.
---The Dunciad. Alexander Pope, 1728.
What's not destroy'd by Time's devouring Hand?
Where's Troy, and where's the May-Pole in the Strand?
---Art of Politicks. J. Bramston, 1729.
"On the present site of St. Mary's Church, at the west end, stood a stone cross where the justices itinerant sat at certain seasons, and also on the site was the old Strand well. The cross became decayed, and a maypole was erected either on its site or close beside it.
"The Puritans pulled down the maypole, but after the Restoration another and a much taller maypole, measuring in two pieces 134 feet, was put up by sailors under the direction of James, Duke of York amid the rejoicings of the people. The maypole stood until 1713."
For more information, see: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/25…
ALTERNATIVELY, The Maypole was the name of an inn on the Strand:
"The History of the London Black Taxi Trade
"The first black taxi in London was the hackney coach in the 17th Century. ... In 1625 there were as few as 20 available for hire, operating out of inn yards. In 1636, the owner of four hackney coaches brought them into the Strand outside the Maypole Inn, and the first taxi rank had appeared." ...
I bet the Maypole Inn was close to the maypole.
Lots more information about hackney cabs at https://h2g2.com/edited_entry/A74…
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.