British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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332                                st. peter's day.                     [June 29.
The stranger who chances to attend Divine service in Farnborough parish church on the Sunday next after the feast of St. Peter, has his attention arrested by the floor of the porch being strewed with reeds. By an abstract of the will of George Dalton, Gent., of Farnborough, dated December 3rd, 1556, set forth on a mural tablet in the interior of the church, he learns that this gentleman settled a perpetual annuity of 13s. 4d. chargeable upon his lands at Tuppendence: 10s. to the preacher of a sermon on the Sunday next after the feast of St. Peter, and 3s. 4tZ. to the poor. Local traditional lore affirms that Mr. Dalton was saved from drowning by reeds, and that the annual sermon and odd manner of decorating the porch are commemorative of the event. This day is called by the inhabitants of the village, Keed Day or Flag Day.Maidstone Gazette, 1859.
Cole, in his History of Weston Favell (1829, p. 58), says : The feast follows St. Peter's Day. The amusements and sports of the week consist of dinner and tea parties formed from the adjacent towns, which meetings are frequently concluded with a ball, indeed a dance at the inns on the few first days of the feast is indispensable. Games at bowls and quoits are pursued with great dexterity and interest by the more athletic visitants, and in the evening the place presents a motley, fair-like appearance; but this continues for no longer period than the second or third day in the feast week.
Formerly, says Brand (Pop. Antiq. 1849, vol. i. p. 337), on the evening of St. Peter's Day, the inhabitants of this county carried firebrands about the fields of their respective parishes. They made encroachments on these occasions upon the bonfires of the neighbouring towns, of which they took away some of the ashes by force; this they called " carrying off the flower (probably the flour) of the wake." -
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