British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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Sept. 29.                      michaelmas day.                               377
It appears from a tablet in the church at Great Coxwell, that the Eev. David Collier charged certain lands in the hamlet of Little Coxwell with the payment of eight bushels of barley yearly, on the 29th of September, for teaching the poor children of this parish to read, write, and cast accounts, for three years, when they were to be succeeded by two others to be taught for the same term, and so on successively for ever, and he empowered the vicar and churchwardens, or the major part of them (the vicar being always one) to nominate the children. The payment has been regularly made, sometimes in kind, but latterly in money estimated at the price of barley, at the Farringdon market, the nearest to the day when the annual payment becomes due. The payment is made, under the direction of the churchwardens, to a schoolmistress for teaching three children to read, and, if girls, to mark also. The number of children was formerly two only, who were further taught to write and cast accounts; but this part of their education was discontinued many years ago in consequence ot the inadequacy of the fund, and, instead thereof an additional child was sent to be instructed with the others.—Edwards, Old English Customs and Charities, p. 40.
The inhabitants of Abingdon once had a custom of adorn­ing their houses with flowers, &c, on the election of a mayor. A writer in the Gent. Mag. (1782, vol. lii. p. 558), says:— Biding through Abingdon early on one of the first Sundays in October, he found the people in the streets at the entrance of the town, very busy in adorning the outside of their houses with garlands of flowers and boughs of trees, and the paths were strewed with flowers. One house was distinguished by a greater number of garlands than the rest, and some were making to be fixed at the end of poles. On inquiring the reason, he was told that it was usual to have this ceremony performed in the street in which the new mayor lived on the first Sunday that he went to church after his election.
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