British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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78                              SHROVE TUESDAY.                      [Feb. 3.
until they receive something. The line in brackets is not said in Basingstoke and several other places.—N. & Q. 1st S. vol. xii. p. 100.
At Baldock, Shrove Tuesday is long anticipated by the children, who designate it Dough-Nut-Day; it being usual to make a good store of small cakes fried in hog's lard, placed over the fire in a brass skillet, called dough-nuts, with which the young people are plentifully regaled.— Brand, Pop. Antiq., 1849, vol. i. p. 83.
At Hoddesdon, in the same county, the old curfew-bell, which was anciently rung in that town for the extinction and relighting of "all fire and candle-light," still exists, and has from time immemorial been regularly rang on the morn­ing of Shrove Tuesday at four o'clock, after which hour the inhabitants are at liberty to make and eat pancakes until the bell rings again at eight o'clock at night. So closely is this custom observed, that after that hour not a pancake remains in the town.—Every Day Book, vol. i. p. 242.
Formerly there prevailed in this county a custom called cock-running, which, though not quite so cruel as cock-throwing, was not much inferior to it. A cock was procured, and its wings were cut: the runners paid so much ahead, and with their hands tied behind them ran after it, and the person who caught it in his mouth, and carried it to a certain place or goal, had the right of claiming the bird as his own. In this race there was much excitement, and not a little squabbling, and the one who was lucky enough to secure the bird frequently had his face and eyes very much pecked.— Time's Telescope, 1823, p. 40.
At All Saints', Maidstone, the ancient custom of ringing a bell at mid-day on Shpove Tuesday is observed, and is known as the " Fritter-Bell."—Gent. Mag. 1868, 4th S. vol. v. p. 761.
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