British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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356
RAVENGLASS FAIR.
[Aug. 5.
and making good cheer, within the rules of sobriety, in private houses; and the next in several kinds of diversions, the chiefest of which is usually a rush-bearing, which is on this manner :—They cut hard rushes from the marsh, which they make up into long bundles, and then dress them in fine linen, silk ribbons, flowers, &c.; afterwards, the young women of the village which perform the ceremony that year, take up the burdens erect, and begin the procession (precedence being always given to the churchwardens' burden), which is attended not only with multitudes of people, but with music, drums, ringing of bells, and all other demonstrations of joy they are able to express. When they arrive at the church they go in at the west end, and setting down their burdens in the church, strip them of their ornaments, leaving the heads or crowns of them decked with flowers, cut paper, &c, in some part of the church, generally over the cancelli. Then the company return to the town and partake of a plentiful collation provided for that purpose, and spend the remaining part of the day, and frequently a great part of the night also, in dancing, if the weather permits, about a May­pole, adorned with greens and flowers, or else in some other convenient place."
Aug. 5.]                  KAVENGLASS FAIE.
Cumberland.
On the first day of a fair held annually in Muncaster, called Eavenglass Fair, the lord's steward was attended by the serjeant of the borough of Egremont with the insignia called the Bow of Egremont, the foresters with their bows and horns, and all the tenants of the forest of Copeland, whose special service was to attend the lord and his represen­tatives at Kavenglass Fair, and abide there during its continuance. On the third day, at noon, the officers and tenants of the forest departed, after proclamation made; Lord Muncaster and his tenants took a formal re-possession of the place, and the day was concluded with horse races and rural
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