British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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140                                  MAUNDAY THURSDAY.                     [MARCH 19.
of poor persons whose feet were washed by the king or queen was thirteen, but this number was afterwards extended so as to correspond with the age of the reigning sovereign.
Matthew Paris mentions Maundy money, and the Bene-dictional of Archbishop Robert at Rouen, a manuscript of the 10th century, cap. xxix., contains a " Benedictio ad man-datum ipso die" (Archceologia, vol. xxiv. p. 119), and Wlnothus, Abbot of St. Alban's, ordained a daily performance of the mandate. In other houses it was customary to wash the feet of as many poor people as there were monks in the convent, on Holy Thursday, and on Saturday before Palm Sunday: the day of the latter ablution received tbe name of man-datum pauperum, to distinguish it from the Mandati Dies. During the ceremony the whole choir chanted the words of Christ, " Mandatum novum do vobis " (" A new command­ment I give unto you"). Du Cange quotes from the life of St. Brigida by Chilienus:
•' Proxima cocna fuit Domini, qua sancta solebat Mandatum Christi calido com pi ere lavacro "
(Du Cange, Gloss., totn. iv., col. 399.)
Archdeacon Nares, however, apparently following Spelman and Skinner whose opinion is adopted by Junius, in opposi­tion to Minsheu, says that this day is so named from the maunds, in which the gifts were contained, and he maintains that maund is a corruption of the Saxon mand, a basket.
The glossographer on Matthew Paris explains the word mandatum, to be alms, from the Saxon Mandye, charity. Somner has no such word in his Dictionary; and it seems more probable that Maunday Thursday has originally been Mandate Thursday ; Mandati Dies being the name where the Saxon mands were totally unknown.
iElfric, Archbishop of Canterbury, having employed the Latin name of this day, Coena Domini, gives these directions to the Saxon priests: " On Thursday you shall wash the altars before you celebrate mass, otherwise you must not. After vespers you must uncover the altars and let them remain bare until Saturday, washing them in the interior. You shall then fast until nones. Imple mandata Domini in cama ipsius. 1 Do on Thursday as our Lord commands you;' wash the feet
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