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. 15.] assumption of the virgin maky.               359
offering to the church. Mass was then celebrated, and all adjourned to the good dinner which was prepared for them in the castle, towards the expenses of which the prior gave them thirty shillings.
On the following day the minstrels met at the bailiff's house in Tutbury, where the steward of the court, and the bailiff of the manor, with the wood-master, met them. A procession was formed to go to church, the trumpeters walking first, and then the musicians on stringed instruments all playing; their king, whose office ended on that day, had the privilege of walking between the steward and bailiff; after them came the four stewards of music, each carrying a white wand, followed by the rest of the company. The psalms and lessons were chosen in accordance with the occasion, and each minstrel paid a penny as a due to the vicar of Tutbury.
On their return to the castle-hall one of the minstrels cried out, " Oyez, oyez, oyez ! all minstrels within this honour, residing in the counties of Stafford, Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, and Warwick, come in and do your suit and service or you will be amerced." All were then sworn to keep the king of music's counsel, their fellows', and their own; and a lengthy charge from the steward followed, in which he expatiated on the antiquity and excellence of their noble science. After this the jurors proceeded to choose a new king, who was taken alternately from the minstrels of Staffordshire and Derbyshire, as well as four stewards, and retired to consider the offences which were alleged against any minstrel, and fine him if necessary. In the meantime the old stewards brought into the court a treat of wine, ale, and cakes, and the minstrels diverted themselves and the company by playing their merriest airs. The new king entered, and was presented by the jurors, the old one rising from his place, and giving the white wand to his successor, pledging him in a cup of wine ; the old stewards followed his example, and at noon all partook of a dinner prepared for them by the old king.
In the afternoon they all met at the abbey gate, where a bull was given by the prior. The poor beast, after having had the tips of his horns sawed off, his ears and tail cut off,
Previous Contents Next