British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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April 7.]                  hock, or hoke day.                             189
day, or Hock Tuesday (Dies Martis, quern quindenam Paschce vocant), was a day so remarkable that rents were reserved and payable thereon; and in the accounts of Magdalen College, Oxford, there is a yearly allowance pro mulieribus hockantibus, in some manors of theirs in Hants, where the men hock the women on Monday, and the contrary on Tuesday; the meaning of it is, that on that day the women in merriment stop the way with ropes, and pull passengers to them, desiring something to be laid out in pious uses. The following remarks are taken from Book of Daysy vol. i. p. 499 :—
The meaning of the word hoke or hock seems to be totally unknown, and none of the derivations yet proposed seem to be deserving of our consideration.* The custom may be traced, by its name at least, as far back as the thirteenth century, and appears to have prevailed in all parts of Eng­land, but it became obsolete early in the last century. At Coventry, which was a great place for pageantry, there was a play or pageant attached to the ceremony, which, under the title of " The old Coventry play of Hock Tuesday," was performed before Queen Elizabeth during her visit to Kenil-worth, in July 1575. It represented a series of combats between the English and Danish forces, in which twice the Danes had the better, but at last, by the arrival of the Saxon women to assist their countrymen, the Danes were overcome, and many of them were led captive in triumph by the women. Queen Elizabeth laughed well at this play, and is said to have been so much pleased with it that she gave the actors two bucks and five marks in money. The usual performance of this play had been suppressed in Coventry
* Some have supposed that the term hock-day is equivalent to " dies irrisionis" or irrisiorius, a day of scorn and triumph, or, as we now say, "a day of hoaxing"—Med. AEvi Kalends 1841, vol. ii. p. 198. Verstegan derives Hoc-tide from Heughtyde, which, he says, in the Netherlands means a festival season.
Denne conjectures the name of this festivity to have been derived from ITockzeit, the German word for a wedding. Skinner mentions a derivation from the Dutch hoclten, desidere, and adds, *' mallem igitur deducere ab A.S. Heah-tid." Kennett (Paroch, Antiq. p. 495) sugge.-ts the Saxon headceg, which answers to the French haut-jour.—See Brand, Pop. Antiq. 1849, vol. i. pp. 184-191.
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