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. 6.
brought to table with the hare, and are scalded in water with the husks on, after which a lump of butter is put in the middle, and they are picked out as they are eaten. The supper concludes with a tharve-caJce, a large, flat, oaten cake, baked on a girdle, sometimes with plums in it. Dancing and drinking then occupy the remainder of the evening. Tar barrels are common at all their festivals, and scarcely a town is without them.—Ibid. 1829, p. 11.
The morris-dancers who go about from village to village about Twelfth Day, have their fool, their Maid Marian (generally a man dressed in woman's clothes, and called " the fool's wife)," and sometimes the hobby-horse; they are dressed up in ribbons and tinsel, but the bells are usually discarded.— Jour, of Arch. Assoc. 1852, vol. vii. p. 201.
The rector of Piddle Hinton gives away on Old Christmas Day a pound of bread, a pint of ale, and a mince pie, to every poor person in the parish. This distribution is regu­larly made by the rector to upwards of three hundred persons.—Edwards, Old English Customs and Charities, 1842, p. 6.
Anciently the Mowbrays had great possessions in and about the Isle of Axholme, and a seat, at which they princi­pally resided, and were considered the greatest folks in that part of the country. It so happened that on Old Christmas Day, while a young lady (the daughter of the then Mowbray) was riding over the Meeres to the church by an old road (at that time the principal one across the village) a gale of wind blew off her hood. Twelve farming men who were working in the fields saw the occurrence, and ran to gather up the hood, and in such earnest were they that the lady took so much amusement at the scene she forbade her own attendants joining in the pursuit. The hood being
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