Littleport: Shrove Tuesday or Camping Close Day

A Rhyme about the Demise of Camping Close Day

Charlotte Wilson

as it was in Littleport
previous to the establishment of the Harper’s(?) factory

They were in the street, just off for tie(?) at
They were all going one way
They were off to the green, there many were seen
On this our Camping Close Day.

On this level green all sizes were seen
To jump, to skip & to play
At games of invention too may to mention
On this our Camping Close Day.

Some pieces of batton(?) with wind in a bladder
They made up a ball & away
To kick o’er this green, where kicking was keen
On this our Camping Close Day.

By taking three sticks (use them as wicks)
At a game called cricket they’d play.
By striking the ball they’d score after all
On this our Camping Close Day.

With strings up in hand in two rows they’d stand
In turn run under and play
At “pig in the gutter”; then home to your supper
On this our Camping Close Day.

Then some for a while at “dog o’er the stile”
And some at other games play.
Some handkerchiefs bring to …….. in a ring
On this our Camping Close Day.

Just under a wall see many a stall;
Plenty to sell if you pay!
Some others would walk with baskets to hawk
On this our Camping Close Day.

When goods were all sold and money all rold(?)
Then from the green drew away;
At home take a seat, with pancakes to eat,
On this our Camping Close Day.

The Close is the same & still keeps its name
But no-one goes there to play.
Children kept in school to sit on a stool,
And that spoils Camping Close Day.

In the factory make shirts, so the girls get no flirts
But keep to their work do they;
Keep needles flying, they staunch(?) and they lion(?)
And that’s killed Camping Close Day.

And so ends the fun, the games are all gone;
When they’ll return I can’t say
We must one & all, the …. & the small,
Bid farewell to Camping Close Day.

[Lines by William Chapman (1835-1924) of Littleport. Probably written towards end of 19th C. pen. Mr. R. Holmes of Ely

See also