British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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142                                    MAUNDY THURSDAY.                   [MARCH IQ.
side, and formes set by them; on the edges of which tables, and under those formes were lay'd carpets and cushions for her Majestie to kneel when she should wash them. There was also another table set across the upper end of the hall somewhat above the foot pace, for the chappelan to stand at. A little beneath the midst whereof, and beneath the said foot-pace, a stoole and cushion of estate was pitched for her Majestie to kneel at during the service time. This done the holy water, basons, alms, and other things being brought into the hall, and the chappelan and poor folks having taken the said places, the laundresse, armed with a faire towell, and taking a silver-bason filled with warm water and sweet flowers, washed their feet all after one another and wiped the same with his towell, and soe making a crosse a little above the toes kissed them. After hym, within a little while, followed the sub-almoner, doing likewise, and after him the almoner himself also. Then, lastly, her Majestie came into the hall, and after some singing and prayers made, and the gospel of Christ's washing of his disciples' feet read, 39 ladyes and gentlewomen (for soe many were the poor folks, according to the number of the yeares complete of her Majesties age), addressed themselves with aprons and towels to waite upon her Majestie; and she, kneeling down upon the cushions and carpets under the feete of the poore women, first washed one foote of every one of them in soe many several basons of warm water and sweete flowers, brought to her severally by the said ladies and gentlewomen; then wiped, crossed, and kissed them, as the almoner and others had done before. When her Majestie had thus gone through the whole number of 39 (of which 20 sat on the one side of the hall, and 19 on the other), she resorted to the first again, and gave to each one certain yardes of broad clothe to make a gowne, so passing to them all. Thirdly; she began at the first, and gave to each of them a pair of gloves. Fourthly ; to each of them a wooden platter, wherein was half a side of salmon, as much ling, six red herrings and lofes of cheat bread. Fifthly; she began with the first again, and gave to each of them a white wooden dish with claret wine. Sixthly; she received of each waiting-lady and gentlewoman their towel and apron, and gave to each poor woman one of the same, and after
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