British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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284                                 WHITSUN MONDAY.                        [MAY II.
that wine must be very good to deserve a preference, and Fuller remarks, "Never was the wine of Falernum better known to the Komans than the canary of Derby is to the English," it is not a matter of surprise to find some remnants of the Whitsun-ales in the neighbourhood. In a manuscript in the Bodleian Library is a record of the Whitsun-ales at Elvaston and Ockbrook, from which it appears that they were formerly required to brew four ales of a quarter of malt each. Every inhabitant of Ockbrook was obliged to be present at each ale; every husband and his wife to pay twopence, and every cottager one penny ; the inhabitants of Elvaston, Thurlaston, and Ambaston to receive all the profits and advantages arising from the ales to the use and behalf of the church at Elvaston. The inhabitants of Elvaston, Thurlaston, and Ambaston to brew eight ales, each inhabitant to be present as before, or to send their money.—Jour, of the Arch. Assoc. 1852, vol. vii. p. 206.
At St. Mary's College, Winchester, the Dulce Domum is sung on the evening preceding the Whitsun holidays; the masters, scholars, and choristers, attended by a band of music, walk in procession round the courts of the College, singing it.—Brand, Pop. Antiq., 1849, vol. i. p. 452. See Gent. Mag., 1811, vol. lxxxi, p. 503.
A correspondent of the Gent Mag. (1783, vol. liii. p. 578) says there seems to be a trace of the descent of the Holy Ghost on the heads of the Apostles in what passes at Whitsuntide Fair, in some parts of Lancashire, where one person holds a stick over the head of another, whilst a third, unperceived, strikes the stick, and thus gives a smart blow to the first.
A fair used to be held on Whitsun Monday at Hinckley, when the millers from various parts of the country walked
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