British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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84                               SHROVE TUESDAY.                      [FEB. 3.
neighbouring villages ran off into the forest, and the Danes took the Saxon women to keep house for them. This happened just before Lent, and the Saxon women, encouraged by their fugitive lords, resolved to massacre their Danish masters on Ash Wednesday. Every woman who agreed to do this was to bake pancakes for this meal on Shrove Tuesday as a kind of pledge to fulfil her vow. This was done, and that the massacre of the Danes did take place on Ash Wednesday is a well-known historical fact.—N. & Q. 2nd S. vol. vii. p. 450.
In this county children go about singing the following rhyme, begging at the same time for half-pence :
" Knick, knock, the pan's hot, And we be come a shroving: A bit of bread, a bit of cheese, A bit of barley dompling, That's better than nothing. Open the door and let us in, For we be eome a pancaking,''
At Islip in the same county this version is used:
" Pit a pat; the pan is hot, We are come a shroving; A little bit of bread and cheese Is better than nothing. The pan is hot, the pan is cold; Is the fat in the pan nine days old?"
Brand, Pop. Antiq., 1849, vol. i. p. 88.
Islands of Scilly.
The boys celebrate the evening of this day by throwing stones against the doors of the dwellers' houses: a privilege which they claim from time immemorial. The terms de­manded by them are pancakes or money to capitulate. Some of the older sort, exceeding the bounds of this whimsical practice, in the dusk of the evening, set a bolted door or window-shutter at liberty, by battering in a breach with large pieces of rock stones, which sometimes causes work for the burgeon, as well as for the smith, glazier, and carpenter.
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