British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

Aug. I.]                         LAMMAS DAY.                                         351
in the barn with everything the same as their masters except the beef. It is presumed that this custom had its origin from the time the tythes were first taken in kind in this parish, in order to keep all parties in good humour.
A petition to Parliament for the abolition of this custom was presented as far back as 1640, and, in 1649, an ordinance was enacted that 20Z. per annum should be paid for the relief of the poor in lieu of the feast. In 1687 the custom was revived; more recently an annual payment of 20Z. for the education of poor children was substituted, and this amount now figures year by year in the accounts of St. Mary's schools as paid by the Duke of Devonshire.—Chambers' Handbook of Eastbourne, 1872, p. 35.
Hutton in his Trip to Goatham (1810, p. 63), says the great annual feast at Coatham in his time was celebrated on the first Sunday after Lammas Day, old style, and called St. Wilfrid's Feast, kept in commemoration of the prelate's return from exile. On the evening before the feast com­menced, the effigy of this favourite of the people, having been previously conveyed some miles out of the town, made his public entry as returning after a long absence, being met by crowds of people, who, with shouts and acclamations, welcomed the return of the prelate and patron. The same custom seems also to have been observed at Ripon.—See Every Day Book, vol. ii. p. 1059.
What appears as a relic of the ancient Pagan festival of the Gule of August, was practised in Lothian till about the middle of the eighteenth century. The herdsmen within a certain district, towards the beginning of summer, associated themselves into bands, sometimes t( the number of a hundred or more. Each of these communities agreed to build a tower in some conspicuous place, near the centre of their district,
Previous Contents Next