Littleport's rich history.

Main Street, Littleport
Littleport Railway Station

Today Littleport is the largest village in East Cambridgeshire, lying some six miles from Ely. References to Littleport are numerous in Enid Porter’s notebooks. There are several passages relating to customs and traditions in the village including an extensive description of Plough Monday festivities including Ploughboy initiation ceremony; rough music; chants, short songs and dancing.

Also featuring are extensive stories collected by WH Barrett; Bonfires of groundsel to drive out evil spirits, strange cures for illness, witches, Camp Football – a local game from the 17th century, the legendary skating race between skaters and the train from Littleport Station to Ely Station and sabotage of the royal train and rhymes about the riots.

Cecil Sharp spent some time here in 1911 collecting songs & dances from schoolgirls at the National School for Girls. Some of the songs have instructions for the dances, gleaned from Alice Gomme’s book. There is also a good selection of children’s games (non-specific as regards villages) in Enid Porter’s book along with the tunes. Many of the remaining stories she records are from W.H. Barrett, so again from the Littleport area.

Today in Littleport the Littleport Society arranges a popular programme of monthly open meetings, where guest speakers are invited to give informative and entertaining talks, quite often bringing a supportive slide show. The evenings occasionally include entertainment by local singers and musicians. The Enid Porter’s Folk project worked with local members to fully engage them in the project, running storytelling, dance and singing workshops with adults as well as talks and visits.

 

See also