British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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Aug, 24,]                 st. Bartholomew's day.                       367
dissipation. Latterly it had only been attended by the keepers of a few gingerbread stalls; and consequently in 1839 measures were for the first time seriously adopted for its suppression, and in the following year the exhibitions were removed to Islington. In 1850 the last proclamation by the Lord Mayor took place, and in 1855 the once famous Bartholomew Fair came to an end.History and Origin of Bartholomew Fair, published by Arliss and Huntsman, 1808; Chambers' Encyclopedia (1860), vol. i. p. 719; Morley, Memtirs of Bartholomew Fair, 1859; Chambers' Book of Days, vol. ii. pp. 263-267.
In the morning a number of maidens, clad in their best .attire, went in procession to a small chapel, situated in the parish of Dorrington, and strewed its floor with rushes, from whence they proceeded to a piece of land called the " Play-Garths," where they were joined by most of the inhabitants of the place, who passed the remainder of the day in rural sports, such as foot-ball, wrestling and other athletic exercises, with dancing, &e.History of County of Lincoln, 1834, vol. ii. p. 255.
It was customary at Croyland Abbey to give little knives to all comers on St. Bartholomew's Day. Mr. Gough, in his History of Croyland Abbey, p. 73, says that this abuse was abolished by Abbot John de Wisebech, in the time of Edward IV., exempting both the abbot and convent from a great and needless expense. This custom originated in allusion to the knife wherewith St. Bartholomew was flayed. Three of these knives were quartered, with three of the whips so much used by St. Guthlac, in one coat borne by this house. Mr. Hunter had great numbers of them, of different sizes, found at different times in the ruins of the abbey and in the river.
Dr. Johnston, quoted by Hampson (Med. AEvi Kalend. vol. i. p. 342), has preserved an account of a pageant exhibited at Dent on the rush-bearing (St. Bartholomew's Day) after
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