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 26.]                      ROGATION WEEK,                                       205
once a year, at the time accustomed," says the injunction of that Sovereign, " with the curate and substantial men of the parish, walk about the parishes as they were accustomed, and at their return to church make their common prayers ; provided that the curate in the said common perambulations, as heretofore in the days of Rogations, at certain convenient places, shall admonish the people to give thanks to God, in the beholding of God's benefits, for the increase and abun­dance of his fruits upon the face of the earth, with the saying of Psalm civ., Benedic, anima mea, &c.; at which time also the same minister shall inculcate this and such like sentences, " Cursed be he which translateth the bounds and dales of his neighbour,'' or such other words of prayer as shall be hereafter appointed." The bearing of willow wands makes part of this ceremony.
Before the Reformation, the processions in this week were observed with every external mark of devotion; the Cross was borne about in solemn pomp, to which the people bowed the ready knee; with other rites considered of too super­stitious a nature to warrant their continuance.—Brady, Clavis Calendaria, 1815, vol. i. p. 348.
A certain estate in Husborne Crawley has to pay 4Z. on Rogation Day, once in seven years, to defray the expenses of perambulating, and keeping up the boundaries of the parish. Old English Customs and Charities, p. 116.
On Monday in Rogation week was formerly held in the town of Shaftesbury or Shaston a festival called the Bezant, ft festival so ancient that no authentic record of its origin exists.
The borough of Shaftesbury stands upon the brow of a lofty hill, and until lately, owing to its situation, was so deficient in water that its inhabitants were indebted for a supply of this necessary article of life to the little hamlet of Enmore Green, which lies in the valley below. From two
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