British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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May 8J              apparition of st. michael.                       277
very late in the evening, and having quickly vanished from the scene, reappeared in the ballroom. Here meeting their friends, they went through the usual routine of dancing till supper; after which they all /added it out of the room, breaking off by degrees to their respective houses. At present this custom is fast falling into disuse, and the day is only celebrated by a few of the lower classes.
Murray, in his Handbook for Cornwall, 1865, p. 301, says that the furry festival is in commemoration of the following curious legend:—A block of granite, which for many years had lain in the yard of the Angel Inn, was in the year 1783 broken up and used as a part of the building materials for the assembly-room. This stone, says the legend, was origi­nally placed at the mouth of hell, from which it was one day carried away by the devil as he issued forth in a frolicsome mood on an excursion into Cornwall. Here he traversed the country, playing with his pebble; but it chanced that St. Michael (who figures conspicuously in the town arms and is the patron saint of the town) crossed his path; a combat immediately ensued, and the devil, being worsted, dropped the Hells stone in his flight; hence the name of the town.
There have been many opinions regarding the meaning and derivation of the word furry. Polwhele says (History
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