British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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Feb. 3.]                        shrove Tuesday.                                81
It is customary at Norwich to eat a small bun called cocque'els—cook-eels—coquilles (the name being spelt indifferently), which is continued throughout the season of Lent. Forby, in his Vocabulary of East Anglia, calls this production " a sort of cross-bun," but no cross is placed upon it, though its composition is not dissimilar. He derives the word from coquille in allusion to their being fashioned like an escallop, in which sense he is borne out by Cotgrave, who has "pain coquille, a fashion of an hard-crusted loafe, some­what like our stillyard bunne." A correspondent of Notes and Queries says that he has always taken the word to be " coquerells," from the vending of such buns at the barbarous sport of " throwing at the cock " (which is still called a cockerell in E. Anglia) on Shrove Tuesday.—N & Q. 1st S. vol. i. pp. 293 and 412.
Formerly there used to be held at Norwich on Shrove Tuesday a most curious festivity, to which Blomefield in his History of Norfolk (1806, vol. iii.p. 155) incidentally alludes. In 1442, he says, there was a great insurrection at Norwich, for which the citizens were indicted, who among other things pleaded in their excuse :
" That John Gladman, of Norwich, who ever was, and at thys our is, a man of sad disposition, and trewe and feythfull to God and to the Kyng, of disporte, as hath been acustomed in ony cite or burgh thorowe alle this reame, on Tuesday in the last ende of Crestemesse, viz. Fastyngonge Tuesday, made a disport with his neighbours, havyng his hors trappyd with tynnsoyle, and other nyse disgisy things, corouned as Kyng of Crestemesse, in tokyn that seson should ende with the twelve monethes of the yere : aforn hym [went] ychemoneth, disgnysed after the seson requiryd, and Lenton clad in whyte and red heryngs skinns, and his hors trappyd with oystyr-shells after him, in token that sadnesse should folowe, and an holy tyme; and so rode in diverse stretis of the cite, with other people with hym disguyssd, and makyng myrth, disportes, and plays.1'
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