Maggoty Johnson

Maggoty Johnson is a real person, who was the last professional jester in Britain. He was also a playwright and actor, under the stage name Lord Flame. He knew the family who lived at Gawsworth Hall, Cheshire, and asked to be buried in nearby woods, Maggoty Woods, when he died. His last wishes were followed and his grave can be seen. There is a legend that, if you go there on Hallowe’en and call his name 13 times, he will rise up from his grave and dance for you.
I wrote this poem about him, and it subsequently won a Highly Commended in the Cheshire Prize for Children’s Literature, and a nice cheque. At the awards evening, it was read out by Tony Robinson (who gives very good hugs).
I will be performing this poem the day after Hallowe’en at Marshall’s Arm on 1st November 2014, at a family event which runs from 6-8pm. I will also be telling stories and reading other spooky poems. There will be refreshments and a section of the woods will be decorated. Children may wear their Hallowe’en costumes and bring lanterns. (There will be prizes for the best ones)Torches will also be needed.

Maggoty Johnson

In Maggoty Woods it’s dark and grim.
The worms crawl out and the worms crawl in.
Maggoty’s buried six feet deep.
He rests his eyes but he’s not asleep.

Maggoty Johnson loved to dance.
with his cap and bells, he used to prance
and caper up and down on stage.
Now he’s at the skeleton age.

In Maggoty Woods there’s no church near.
The ground’s unholy, it’s dark and drear.
Maggoty chose it specially
as the sort of place he’d like to be.

Maggoty Johnson was called Lord Flame.
Now he goes by a different name.
He haunts these woods and he haunts them well.
Sooner or later you’ll be under his spell.

In Maggoty Woods it’s dark and grim.
The worms crawl out and the worms crawl in.
Maggoty’s buried six feet deep.
He rests his eyes but he’s not asleep.

Angela Topping

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