British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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48                                  st. paul's day.                         [Jan. 25.
and pelted with stones until entirely demolished. The men then leave their work, and adjourn to a neighbouring ale­house, where a new pitcher bought to replace the old one is successively filled and emptied, and the evening is given up to merriment and misrule.
On inquiry whether some dim notion of the origin and meaning of this custom remained among those who still keep it up, it was found to be generally held as an ancient festival intended to celebrate the day when tin was first turned into metal—in fact, the discovery of smelting. It is the occasion of a revel, in which, as an old streamer observes, there is an open rebellion against the water-drinking system which is enforced upon them whilst at work.
The custom of observing PauVs Pitcher Night is probably half-forgotten even in Cornwall at the present time, where many of the ancient provincial usages have been suffered to die out. It was, however, in full vigour so recently as 1859. The boys of Bodmin parade the town with broken pitchers, and other earthenware vessels, and into every house, where the door can be opened, or has been inadvertently left soy they hurl a " Paul's pitcher,'' exclaiming,
" Paul's Eve, And here's a heave."
According to custom, the first "heave" cannot be objected to; but upon its repetition the offender, if caught, may be punished.—Brand's Pop. Antiq. 1870, vol. i. p. 23 ; N. & 1st S. vol. iii. p. 239 ; 2nd S. vol. viii. p. 312.
Jan. 25.]                  ST. PAUL'S DAY.
Strype, in his Ecclesiastical Memorials (1822, vol. iii. part i. p. 331), says : On the 25th of January (1554), being St. Paul's Day, was a general procession of St. Paul by every parish, both priests and clerks, in copes, to the number of an hundred and sixty, singing Salve festa dies, with ninety crosses borne. The procession was through Cheap unto Leadenhall. And before went two schools; that is, first, all
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