British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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32                                      TWELFTH DAY.                              [JAN. 6.
the branches of the tree next the pile of straw ; the other end of the rope is fastened round the waist of the " fool," and he is drawn up, and fire is put to the straw, the " fool" being swung to and fro through the smoke, until he is well nigh choked; after which he goes round with his cap, and collects whatever the spectator thinks proper to give. The performance is then at an end until the following year. See .ft". & Q. 2nd S. vol, v. p. 94. Peek's History of Axholme, 1815, vol. i. p. 277.
In the History of Lincolnshire (vol. ii. p. 214) is the following account of this custom, differing but little from the notice already given. At Haxey, Old Twelfth Day is devoted to throwing the hood, an amusement, which according to tradition, was instituted by one of the Mowbrays. A roll of canvas, tightly corded together, from four to six pounds in weight, is taken to an open field, and contended for by the rustics. An individual appointed casts it from him, and the first person who can convey it into the cellars of any public house receives the reward of one shilling, paid by the plough-bullocks or hoggins. A new hood being furnished when the others are carried off, the contest usually continues till dark. The next day the plough-bullocks or boggins go round the town collecting alms, and crying " Largess." They are dressed like morris-dancers, and are yoked to and drag a small plough. They have their farmer, and a fool called Billy Buck, dressed like a harlequin, with whom the boys make sport. The day is concluded by the bullocks running with the plough round the cross on the green ; and the man that can throw the other down, and convey the plough into the cellar of a public house, receives one shilling for his agility.—See N. & Q. Łth S. vol. ix. p. 158.
Middlesex.
In London on Twelfth Night, in former days, boys as­sembled round the inviting shops of the pastrycooks, and dexterously nailed the coat-tails of spectators who ven­tured near enough to the bottoms of the window-frames, or pinned them strongly together by their clothes. Sometimes eight or ten persons found themselves thus connected. The-
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