British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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154                                      GOOD FRIDAY.                       [March 20.
In Glenthara Church there is a tomb with a figure known as Molly Grime. Formerly this figure was regularly washed every Good Friday by seven old maids of Glentham, with water brought from Newell Well, each receiving a shilling for her trouble, in consequence of an old bequest connected with some property in that district. About 1832 the custom was discontinued.— Old English Customs and Charities, 1842, p. 100.
Isle of Man*
Good Friday is in some instances superstitiously regarded in the Isle of Man. No iron of any kind must be put into the fire on that day, and even the tongs are laid aside, lest any person should unfortunately forget this custom and stir the fire with them ; by way of a substitute a stick of the rowan tree is used. To avoid also the necessity of hanging the griddle over the fire, lest the iron of it should come in contact with a spark of flame, a large hammock or soddog is made, with three corners, and baked on the hearth.—Train, History of the Isle of Man, 1845, vol. 2, p. 117.
It was for a considerable period customary on Good Friday for a sermon to be preached in the afternoon at St. Paul's Cross,* London, the subject generally being Christ's Passion. The Lord Mayor and Aldermen usually attended.
* Respecting the age of St. Paul's Cross, Stow declares himself ignorant. Dngdale, however, records, on the authority of Ingulphus, that its prototype, a cross of stone, was erected on the same spot, ad. 870, to induce the passers-by to offer prayers for certain monks slain by the Danes. St. Paul's Cross consisted of some steps, on which was formed a wooden pulpit, covered with lead, whence sermons were preached to the people every Sunday morning. It was not, however, specially reserved for this purpose; since from this place, at times, the anathema of the Pope was thundered forth, or the ordinances of the reigning king were published, heresies were recanted, and sins atoned for by penance.
So early as 1256, we find John Mancell calling a meeting at Povhfs Crosse, and showing the people th it it was the king's desire that
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