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 30.]
held on Colne Water; at which all offences committed within the limits of the aquatic royalty are presented by a jury, and fines exacted on the offenders. In March or April yearly, proclamation is made by the legal authorities on the water near Mersea Stone, " that the River Colne is shut, and that all persons are forbidden to dredge, or take any oysters out of the said river or the creeks thereto appertaining before the feast of St. Mary Magdalen, the 22nd of July." This is called Setting (i.e. Shutting) the Colne.— Cromwell, History of Colchester, 1825, pp. 289-294.
Under the name of Richardson's Charity, a distribution takes place at Ince on the feast of the Ascension, of five loads of oatmeal, each load weighing two hundred and forty pounds. Three loads are given to the poor of the township of Ince, one to the poor of Abram, and the other to the poor of Hindley.— Old English Customs and Charities, p. 36.
In St. Magnus and other city churches in London, the clergy are presented with ribbons, cakes, and silk staylaces.— N. & Q. 1st S. vol. ix. p. 9.
It is customary to go in triennial processions on Holy Thursday, to perambulate the parishes and beat the boundaries, for the purpose of marking and retaining posses­sion; hence the ceremony is called possessioning. The parochial authorities are accompanied by other inhabitants and a number of boys, to whom it is customary to distribute buns, &c, in order to impress it upon their memory should the boundaries at any future period be disputed,—Baker, Glossary of Northamptonshire Words and Phrases, vol. ii. p. 131,
In the town of Northampton the ceremony of beating the bounds is termed " beating the cross."
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