British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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June 24.]                     midsummer day.                                323
by the multitude, the wrells and streams issuing from them are thronged by crowds of halt, maimed, and blind, pressing to wash away their infirmities with water consecrated by their patron saint, and so powerful is the impression of its efficacy on their minds, that many of those who go to be healed, and who are not totally blind, or altogether crippled, really believe for a time that they are by means of its miraculous virtues perfectly restored.—Hibernian Magazine, July 1817.
The general customs connected with this season commenced on the preceding evening.—See Midsummer Eve.
The Status Scholce Etonensis, a.d. 1560 (MS. Addit. Brit. Mus. 4843), says: " Mense Junii, in Festo Natalis D. Johannis post matutinas preces, dum consuetudo floruit accedebant omnes scholastici ad rogum extructum in orien-tali regione templi, ubi reverenter a symphoniacis cantatis tribus Antiphonis, et pueris in ordine stantibus venitur ad merendam."
On a common called Midsummer Green, in the parish of Barnwell, an annual fair is held, commencing on Midsummer Day, and continuing for a fortnight. This fair is supposed to have originated with the assemblages of children at this place on the eve of St. John the Baptist's Day, whose yearly gatherings being attended by a considerable concourse of people, attracted the notice of some pedlars, who began to dispose of their merchandise on this spot as early as the reign of Henry I. The articles brought for sale are chiefly earthen-wares, whence the festival has attained the name of Pot fair. The fair is proclaimed on the eve of Midsummer Day by the heads of the University, first in the middle of
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