British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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April 23.]                 st. George's day.                               193
regarded thys most worthy conimodyte of your countrey ? I mean the conservacyon of your antiquytees, and of the worthy labours of your lerned men. I thynke the renowne of suche a notable acte wolde have muche longar endured than of all your belly bankettes and table tryumphes, eyther yet of your newly purchased hawles to kepe St. Georges feast in."— Preface to the Laboryeuse Journey and Serche of John Lyelande for Englande's Antiquitees in Lives of Leland, Hearne, and Woody vol. i., sign C.
Among courtiers and people of fashion blue coats were worn on this day. Captain Face, a character in the Bam Alley, alludes to the custom among the knights :—
" Do you bandy tropes? By Dis I will be knight, Wear a blue coat on great St. George's Day, And with my fellows drive you all from Paul's."
Dodsley's (Id Flays, vol. v. p. 486.
In Epigram 33 of The Seconde Bowie, by Thomas Freeman, 4 to, 1614, quoted also in Dodsley's Old Plays, vol. xii. p. 398, is this distich:
" With's eorum nomine keeping greater sway, Than a Court blew coat 011 St. George's Day."
Dr. Forster, in his Perennial Calendar (1824, p. 185), men­tioning an allusion to this dress in Reed's Old Plays (vol. xii.), observes that it was probably because blue was the fashionable colour of Britain, over which St. George presides, and not in imitation of the clothing of the fields in blue, by the flowering of the blue-bells, as many have supposed.
The king's spurs became the fee of the choristers at Windsor „n installations and feasts on St. George's Day, In the 1 Privy Purse Expenses of Henry VII." is an entry under the year 1495:
" Oct. 1. At Windesor. To the children for the spoures."
A similar disbursement occurs thrice in the Privy Purse Expenses of Henry VIII. in 1530.—Med. AEvi Kalend. vol. i. p. 214.
Strype, in his Ecclesiastical Memorials (1822, vol. iii. pt. ii. p. 3), says, "April 23rd [1557], being St. George's Day, the King's grace went a procession at Whitehall, through the
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