British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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406                                all saints' day.                       [Nov. i.
In the parish of Lymm it is customary, for a week or ten days before the 5th of November, for the skeleton of a horse's head, dressed up with ribbons, &c., having glass eyes inserted in the sockets, and mounted on a short pole by way of handle, to be carried by a man underneath covered with a horse-cloth. There is generally a chain attached to the nose, which is held by a second man, and they are attended by several others. In houses to which they can gain access, they go though some kind of performance, the man with the chain telling the horse to rear, open its mouth, &c. The object of course is to obtain money. The horse will some­times seize persons, and hold them fast till they pay for being set free; but he is generally very peaceable, for, in case of resistance being offered, his companions generally take to flight and leave the poor horse to fight it out.—N. & Q. 1st. S. vol. i. p. 258.
At Great Marton, there was formerly a sort of procession of young people from house to house, at each of which they recited psalms, and, in return, received presents of cakes, whence the custom was called Psalm-caking.Med. 2Ev% Kalend. 1841, vol. i. p. 375.
At a pension held at Gray's Inn in Michaelmas Term, 21 Henry VIII., there was an order made that all the fellows of this house who should be present upon any Saturday at supper, betwixt the feasts of All Saints and the Purification of our Lady, or upon any other day at dinner or supper, when there are revels, should not depart out of the hall until the said revels were ended, upon the penalty of 12d.
In 4 Edward VI. (17 Nov.), it was also ordered, that thenceforth there should be no comedies, called interludes, in the house out of term time, but when the feast of the Nativity of our Lord is solemnly observed, and that when there shall be any such comedies, then all the society at that time in common to bear the charge of the apparel.
In 4 Charles I. (17 Nov.), it was also ordered that all
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