British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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60                                       ST, BLAIZE'S DAY.                            [FEB. 3.
Feb. 3.]                  ST. BLAIZE'S DAY.
St. Blasius was Bishop of Sebaste, a city of Cappadocia, in the Lesser Asia, and is said to have suffered martyrdom in the persecution of Licinus in 316. The fact of iron combs having been used in tearing the flesh of the martyr appears to be the reason for his having been adopted by the wool-combers as their patron saint. The large flourish­ing communities engaged in this business in Bradford, and other English towns, are accustomed to hold a septennial jubilee on the 3rd of February, in honour of Jason of the Golden Fleece and St. Blaize; and not many years ago the fete was conducted with considerable state and ceremony. Book of Days, vol. i. p. 219.
In 1825 the procession was drawn up in the following order:
Herald bearing a flag. Woohtaphrs on horseback, each horse caparisoned with a fleece. Worsted Spinners and manufacturers on horseback, in white stuff waistcoats, with each a sliver over the shoulder, and a white stuff sash ; the horses' necks covered with nets made of thick yarn.
Merchants on horseback, with coloured sashes. Three guards. Masters' Colours. Three guards. Apprentices and Masters Sons, on horseback, with ornamented caps, scarlet stuff coats, white stuff waistcoats, and blue pantaloons. Bradford and Keighley Bands. Mace bearer, on foot. Six guards. King. Queen. Six guards. Guards. Jason. Princess Medea. Guards, Bishop's Chaplain. Bishop Blase. Shepherd and Shepherdess. Shepherd Sicains. Woolsorters, on horseback, with ornamented caps, and various coloured slivers.
Comb Makers.
Charcoal Burners.
Combers' Colours,
Band.
WoolcomberSj with wool wigs, &o.
Band.
Dyers, with red cockades, blue aprons, and crossed slivers of red aud
blue.
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