British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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Feb. 3.]                         shrove Tuesday.                                 69
With regard to the origin of this custom, it has been conjectured that as the fowl was a delicacy to the labourer, it was therefore given to him on Shrove Tuesday for sport and food.—Tusser, in his Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry (1620), has the following lines :
" At Shrovetide to shroving, go thresh the fat hen, If blindfold can kill her, then ^ive it thy men. Maids, fritters, and pancakes enough see you make, Let Slut have one pancake, for company sake."
In some places, if flowers are to be procured so early in the season, the younger children carry a small garland, for the sake of collecting a few pence, saying:
''Flowers, flowers, high do! Shreeny, greeny, rino! ISheeny greeny, sheeny greeny, Bum turn fra!"
Brand, Pop. Antiq. 1849, vol. i. p. 68.
At Eaton, on Shrove Tuesday, as soon as ever the clock strikes nine, all the boys in the school cry TO BAKXO, TO BAKXO, TO BAKXO, as loud they can yell, and stamp and knock with their sticks; and then they doe all runne out of the schoole.—Aubrey MS., a.d. 1686, Brit. Mus.
A MS, in the Br1sth Museum already alluded to (Status Scholce Etonensis, a.d. 1560, MS. Brit. Mus. Donat. 4843 fol. 423) mentions a custom of the hoys of Eton school being allowed to play from eight o'clock for the whole day; and of the cook's coming in and fastening a pancake to a crow, which the young crows are calling upon, near it, at the school door.
Pennant, in his Journey from Chester to London, tells us of a place at Chester without the walls, called the Rood-Eye, where the lusty youth informer days exercised themselves in manly sports of the age: in archery, running, leaping, and
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