British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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366                       sx. Bartholomew's day.                 [Aug. 24.
The Tall Dutchwoman;" " See The Tiger" says another; " See The Horse and No Horse, whose tail stands where his head should do;" " See the German Artist, monsieur;" " See The Siege of Namur, monsieur;" so that betwixt rudeness and civility I was forced to get into a fiacre, and, with an air of haste and a full trot, got home to my lodgings."
In 1701 Bartholomew Fair was presented as a nuisance by the Grand Jury of London, and in 1750 it was reduced to its original three days. By the alteration of the calendar in 1752, the fair, in the following year, was, for the first time, proclaimed on September 3rd.
On the 3rd of December, 1760, the London Court of Common Council referred to its City Lands Committee to consider the tenures of the City fair, with a view to their abolition. The subject was then carefully discussed, and a final report sent in, with the opinion of counsel, upon which the court came to a resolution, that, owing to the interest of Lord Kensington in Bartholomew Fair, that was a nuisance which they could endeavour only by a firm practice of re­striction to abate. In 1769 plays, puppet-shows, and gambling were suppressed. In 1798, when the question of abolishing the fair was discussed, a proposal to restrict it to one day was made and set aside, because the measure might produce in London a concentrated tumult dangerous to life. In the course of a trial at Guildhall in 1817, involving the rights of Lord Kensington, it was stated on Lord Kensington's behalf, that considering the corrupt state of the fair, and the nuisance caused by it in the neighbourhood of Smithfield, he should throw no obstacle in the way of its removal, and was ready to give up his own rights over it, on being paid their value. His receipts from toll were stated to be 30Z. or 40Z. a year, and their estimated value 500Z. or 6001. In the year 1830 the Corporation of London did accordingly buy from Lord Kensington the old Priory rights, vested in the heirs of Chancellor Rich, and all the rights and interests in Bartho­lomew Fair then became vested in the City. Having thus secured full power over the remains in question, the Corpo­ration could take into its own hands the whole business of their removal. The fair at this time had long ceased to be a place of traffic, and was only a haunt of amusement, riot, and
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