British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

A calendar of the traditional customs, practices & rituals of the British Isles.

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Jan. 1                       new year's day.                                  13
several townships to such right of estray; the shepherd of each township attends the court, and does fealty, by bring­ing to the court a large apple-pie, and a twopenny sweetcake (except the shepherd of Hewick, who compounds by paying sixteen-pence for all, which is drunk as after mentioned,) and a wooden spoon; each pie is cut in two, and divided by the bailiff, one half between the steward, bailiff, and the tenant of the coney-warren before mentioned, and the other half into six parts, and divided amongst the six shepherds of the above mentioned six townships. In the pie brought by the shepherd of Rainton an inner one is made, filled with prunes. The cakes are divided in the same manner. The bailiff of the manor provides furmenty and mustard, and delivers to each shepherd a slice of cheese and a penny roll. The furmenty, well mixed with mustard, is put into an earthen pot, and placed in a hole in the ground, in a garth belonging to the bailiff's house; to which place the steward of the court, with the bailiff, tenant of the warren, and six shepherds, adjourn with their respective wooden spoons. The bailiff provides spoons for the stewards, the tenant of the warren, and himself. The steward first pays respect to the furmenty, by taking a large spoonful; the bailiff has the next honour, the tenant of the warren next, then the shep­herd of Hutton Conyers, and afterwards the other shepherds by regular turns; then each person is served with a glass of ale (paid for by the sixteen-pence brought by the Hewick shepherd), and the health of the lord of the manor is drank ; then they adjourn back to the bailiff's house, and the further business of the court is proceeded with.
Each pie contains about a peck of flour, is about six­teen or eighteen inches diameter, and as large as will go into the mouth of an ordinary oven. The bailiff of the manor measures them with a rule, and takes -the diameter ; and if they are not of a sufficient capacity, he threatens to return them, and fine the town. If they are large enough, he divides them with a rule and compasses into four equal parts; of which the steward claims one, the warrener another, and the remainder is divided amongst the shep­herds. In respect to the furmenty, the top of the dish in which it is put is placed level with the surface of the
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