British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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March 22.]                         easter day.                                     165
On Easter Sunday the old custom of sugar-cupping at the dripping-torr, near Tideswell, is observed; when the young people assemble at the torr, each provided with a cup and a 6mall quantity of sugar or honey, and having caught the required quantity of water, and mixed the sugar with it, drink it, repeating a doggerel verse.*—Jour, of the Arch. Assoc. 1852, vol. vii. p. 204.
Hasted, in his History of Kent (1798, vol. vii. p. 138), states that, in the parish of Biddenden there is an endow­ment of old but unknown date for making a distribution of cakes among the poor every Easter Day in the afternoon. The source of the benefaction consists in twenty acres of land, in five parcels, commonly called the Bread and Cheese Lands. Practically, in Mr. Hasted's time, six hundred cakes were thus disposed of, being given to persons who attended service, while two hundred and seventy loaves of three and a half pounds weight each, with a pound and a half of cheese, were given in addition to such as were parishioners.
The cakes distributed on this occasion were impressed with the figures of two females side by side, and close together.^ Amongst the country people it was believed that these figures represented two maidens named Preston, who had left the endowments; and they further alleged that the ladies were twins, who were born in bodily union, that is, joined side to side, as represented on the cakes; who lived nearly thirty years in this connection, when at length one of them died, necessarily causing the death of the other in a few hours. It is thought by the Biddenden people that the figures on the cakes are meant as a memorial
* It is also a general belief in this county that unless a person puts on some new article of dress he will be injured by the birds, and have no good fortune that year —Ibid. p. 205; see also p, 160.
t An engraving of one of these cakes will be found in the Every Day Book, 1827, vol. iL p. 443.
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