British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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Oct. io.]              Liverpool bear-baiting.                          385
Then all three must get into bed with the ring suspended by a string to the head of the couch, and they will be sure to dream of their future husbands.—Brand's Pop. Antiq. 1849, vol. i. p. 373.
Oct. io.]                        Dorsetshire.
Pack Monday Fair is held at Sherborne on the first Monday after the 10th of October, and is ushered in, says Hutchins (Hist, of Dorset, 1774), by the ringing of the great bell at a very early hour in the morning, and by the boys and young men perambulating the streets with cows' horns. Tradition asserts that this fair originated at the termi­nation of the building of the church, when the people who had been employed about it packed up their tools, and held a fair or wake in the churchyard, blowing cows' horns in their rejoicing.—See Every Day Book, vol. ii. p. 1037.
A fair was formerly held yearly on the 10th of October, in the precincts of the ville of Christ Church, and was usually called Jack and Joan Fair, from its being esteemed a statute fair for the hiring of servants of both sexes, for which purpose it continued till the second Saturday or market-day had passed.—Hasted's History of Kent, 1799, vol. iv. p. 424.
About the year 1760, it was customary with the burgesses of Liverpool on the annual election of a mayor to have a bear baited. This event took place on the 10th of October, and the demonstrations of rejoicing continued for several days. The animal was first baited at the White Cross, at the top of Chapel Street, and was then led in triumph to the exchange, where the conflict was renewed. A repetition of the same brutal cruelties was likewise exhibited in Derby Street, and the diversion was concluded by the animal undergoing reiterated assaults at the Stock Market opposite the top of Pool Lane. The bear was assailed separately by large mastiffs, and if any dog compelled him to yell,
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