British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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80                               SHROVE TUESDAY.                           [FEB. 3.
their legs and sticks in their hands. These whip-men, called " Whipping-Toms" are preceded by a bell-man, whose shake of his hand-bell gives a token or authority for the whipping the legs of those who dare to remain in the Newark. Many arts and devices are practised by the Whipping-Toms to take the people by surprise ; but quarrels sometimes ensue. At Claybrook, in the same county, a bell rings at noon, which is meant as a signal for people to commence frying their pancakes.—Macaulay, History of Claybrook, 1791.
IslE of Man.
On this occasion it was formerly customary for the Manks to have Sollaghyn or Crowdy for dinner, instead of for breakfast, as at other times; and for supper, flesh meat, with a large pudding and pancakes; hence the Manks proverb:
" Ee shibber oie innid vees olty volg lane, My jig laa caieht yon traaste son shen.''
" On Shrove Tuesday night, though thy supper be fat, Before Easter Day thou may'st fast for that."
Train, History of the Isle of Man, 1845, vol. iL p. 117.
At Westminster School, London, the following is observed to this day. At 11 o'clock a.m. a verger of the Abbey, in his gown, bearing a silver baton, emerges from the college kitchen, followed by the cook of the school, in his white apron, jacket, and cap, and carrying a pancake. On arriving at the school­room door, he announces himself, ' The Cook ;' and having entered the school-room, he advances to the bar which sepa­rates the upper school from the lower one, twirls the pancake in the pan, and then tosses it over the bar into the upper school, among a crowd of boys, who scramble for the pancake ; and he who gets it unbroken, and carries it to the deanery, demands the honorarium of a guinea (sometimes two guineas) from the Abbey funds, though the custom is not mentioned in the Abbey Statutes: the cook also receives two guineas for his performance.—Book of Days, vol. i. p. 237.
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