British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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350
LAMMAS DAY.
[Aug. i.
purchase of a like coat and badge, by six young watermen, whose apprenticeships had expired the year before. This ceremony is performed every year, the competitors setting out, at a signal given, at that time of the tide when the current is strongest against them, and rowing from the old Swan, near London Bridge, to the White Swan at Chelsea.— Sports, Pastimes, and Customs of London, 1847, p. 35.
In the parish of St. Luke, Chelsea, were formerly " The Lotts," Lammas land, for ages appurtenant to the manor of Chelsea, The lord of the manor possessed the right of letting the land on lease for the spring and summer quarters, beginning with March and ending in August, and the in­habitants at large enjoyed the privilege of turning in their cattle from August till February, being the autumn and winter quarters. This state of appropriation continued till the year 1825 or 1826, when the directors of the Kensington Canal Company took possession of them for their own use immediately upon the completion of the canal; they have detained them ever since, and have let them successively to several persons, and received rent for the same. The Chelsea Lammas lands had hitherto been opened on the 12th of August, being the first of the month according to the old style. The graziers, butchers, and others with their cattle, used formerly to assemble in the lane leading to " The Lotts," on the eve of Lammas, and when the clock had struck twelve they entered the meadow.—Timbs, Things not Generally Known, 1856, p. 154.
Sussex.
The following curious custom once existed at Eastbourne. On the three first Sundays in August a public breakfast, says Eoyer {History of Eastbourne, 1787, p. 126), is given at the parsonage-house by the tenants of the great tythes to the farmers and their servants, each farmer being entitled to send two servants for every waggon that he keeps. So that if a farmer have five waggons to do his necessary business he may send ten servants, and so on in proportion for a less or greater number. The farmers are entertained in the parlour with a sirloin of hot roast beef, cold ham. Sussex cheese, strong ale, and Geneva; the men are entertained
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