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 ii.]                      whitsun Monday,                               283
ference of some being a mile, others half a mile, till they are gradually diminished to a circuit of the church of St. Mary. A detailed and probably much exaggerated account of the scene upon this occasion will be found in Hardy's Holy Wells of Ireland, 1836, p. 29.
May ii.]              WHITSUN MONDAY.
The Whitsun Mysteries were acted at Chester, seven or eight on each day during the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Whitsun week. The drapers, for instance, exhibited the " Creation;" the tanners took the " Fall of Lucifer the water-carriers of the Dee reproduced the " Deluge;" the cooks had the " Harrowing of Hell." The performers were carried from one station to another by means of a movable scaffold, a huge and ponderous machine mounted on wheels, gaily decorated with flags, and divided into two compartments, the upper of which formed the stage, and the lower, defended from vulgar curiosity by coarse canvas draperies, answered the purposes of the green-room. The performers began at the Abbey gates, where they were witnessed by the high dignitaries of the Church; they then proceeded to the High Cross, where the Mayor and the civic magnates were assembled; and so on, througli the city, until their motley history of God and His dealings with man had been played out. The production of these pageants was costly; each mystery has been set down at fifteen or twenty pounds, present money. The dresses were obtained from the churches, until, this practice being denounced as scandalous, the guilds had then to provide the costume and other properties.—See Edinburgh Essays, 1856 ; also Book of Days, vol. i. pp. 633-637.
Derby having for many centuries been celebrated for its ale, which Camden says was made here in such perfection,
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