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 29.]                     st. peter's day.                               333
In an old account of Gisborough, in Cleveland, and tho adjoining coast, printed in the Antiquarian Repertory (1808, vol. iii. p. 304) from an ancient MS. in the Cotton Library (marked Julius F. C, fol. 455), speaking of the fishermen, it is stated that " Upon Si, Peter's Daye they invite their friends and kinsfolk to a festyvall kept after their fashion with a free hearte, and noe shew of niggardnesse; that daye their boates are dressed curiously for the shewe, their mastes are painted, and certain rytes observed amongst them, with sprinkling their prowes with good liquor, sold with them at a groate the quarte, which custom or superstition, suckt from their auncestors, even contynueth down unto this present tyme."
The feast day of Nun-Monkton is kept on St. Peter's Day, and is followed by the "Little Feast Day," and a merry time extending over a week. On the Saturday evening preceding the 29th a company of the villagers, headed by all the fiddlers and players on other instruments that could be mustered at one time went in procession across the great common to " May-pole Hill," where there is an old sycamore (the pole being near it) for the purpose of " rising Peter," who had been buried under the tree. This effigy of St. Peter, a rude one of wood, carved—no one professed to know when—and in these later times clothed in a ridiculous fashion, was removed in its box-coffin to the neighbourhood of the public-house, there to be exposed to view, and, with as little delay as possible, conveyed to some out-building, where it was stowed away and thought no more about till the first Saturday after the feast day (or the second if the 29th had occurred at the back end of a week),when it was taken back in procession again, and re-interred with all honour which concluding ceremony was called " Buryin* Peter." In this way did St. Peter preside over his own feast. On the evening of the first day of the feast, two young men went round the village with large baskets for the purpose of collecting tarts, cheese-cakes, and eggs for mulled ale—all being consumed after the two ceremonies above indicated.
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