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.]                         may eve.                                      215
of the grove adjoining to the chapel 1 (the way being before them strewed with flowers by the poor people of the hospitall), they place themselves round about the spring there, where they warble forth melodiously a song of three, four, or five parts; which being performed they refresh themselves with a morn­ing's draught there, and retire to Oxford before sermon."
Formerly, at Lichfield, the clergyman of the parish, accom­panied by the churchwardens and sidesmen and followed by a concourse of children bearing green boughs, repaired to different reservoirs of water and there read the gospel for the day, after which they were regaled with cakes and ale; during the ceremony the door of every house was decorated with an elm bough. This custom was founded on one of the early institutions of Christianity, that of blessing the springs and wells.—Account of Lichfield, 1818-19, p. 133.
By his will, proved in December 1527, John Cole of Thelnetham, directed that a certain farm-rent should be applied yearly to the purpose of providing " a bushell and halffe of rnalte to be browne, and a bushell of whete to be baked to fynde a drinJcinge upon Ascension Even everlastinge for ye parishe of Thelnetham to drinhe at the Cross of Trappetes"
At Evesham it is customary for the master-gardeners to give their work-people a treat of baked peas, both white and grey (and pork), every year on Holy Thursday.—Brand, Pop. Antiq. 1849, vol. i. p. 208.
An old Roman kalendar, cited by Brand (Pop. Antiq. 1849, vol. i. p. 216), says that on the 30th of April boys go to
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