British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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July i.]                 battle of the boyne.                          337
A very curious custom existed at Greenock, and in the neighbouring town of Port Glasgow, at the fair held on the first Monday in July, and the fourth Tuesday in November. The whole trades of the town, in the dresses of their guilds, with flags and music, each man armed, made a grand ren­dezvous at the place where the fair was to be held, and with drawn swords and array of guns and pistols, surrounded the booths, and greeted the baillie's announcement by tuck of drum, " that Greenock Fair was open," by a tremendous shout, and a struggling fire from every serviceable barrel in the crowd.—N. &. Q. 1st S., vol. ix. p. 242.
Haig, in his History of Kelso (1825, p. 107), tells us that in his time the Society of Gardeners, on the second Tuesday in July, the day of their annual general meeting, paraded the streets, accompanied by a band of music, and carrying an elegant device composed of the most beautiful flowers, which, on the company reaching the inn where they dined, was thrown from the window to the crowd, who soon demolished it in a scramble for the flowers.
Fuller, too, in his History of Berwick-upon-Tweed (1799, p. 447), says the association of gardeners, which took place in 1796, had in his time a procession through the streets yearly. It was accompanied with music; and, in the middle of the procession, a number of men carried a large wreath of flowers. The different officers belonging to this institution wore their respective insignia, and the whole society dined together.
July i.]                            IRELAND.
Mason, in his Stat. Ace. of Ireland (1814, vol. ii. p. 528), says that the great holiday in Seagoe is on the first of July (Old Style), being the anniversary of the battle of the Boyne. A procession takes place, the whole population wear orange lilies, and the day is spent in festivity.
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