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.                                 167
At University College, Oxford, on this day, the representa­tion of a tree, dressed with evergreens and flowers, is placed on a turf close to the buttery, and every member there resident, as he leaves the Hall after dinner, chops at the tree with a cleaver. The College cook stands by holding a plate, in which the Master deposits half a guinea, each Fellow five shillings and sixpence. This custom is called " chopping at the tree."—N. & Q. 1st S- vol. ix. p. 468.
On Easter Day the rector of Ducklington for the time being, as long as can be remembered, has paid £10 per annum, which was formerly given away in the church amongst the parishioners, in veal or apple pies: of late years it has been given away in bread. All the parishioners of Ducklington and Hardwick who apply, whether rich or poor, without any distinction, partake of it according to the size of their families. Many of the farmers take the bread as they say, for the sake of keeping up their right. It is stated that there is no document or record relating to this payment, nor any tradition respecting its origin.—Old English Customs and Charities, p. 14.
The rector of Swerford supplies a small loaf for every house in the parish on Easter Sunday, which is given after evening service. It is understood that this is given on account of a bushel of wheat, which is payable out of a field called Mill Close, part of the glebe. Each house, whether inhabited by rich or poor, receives a loaf.—Ibid. p. 18.
It was customary in this country, for the young men in the villages to take off the young girls' buckles, and, on the Easter Monday, the young men's shoes and buckles were taken off by the young women. On the Wednesday they were redeemed by little pecuniary forfeits, out of which an entertainment called a Tansey Cake, was provided, and the jollity concluded with dancing. At Eipon, where this custom also prevailed, it is reported that no traveller could
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