British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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NOV. I.]                          ALL SAINTS' DAY.                                 407
playing of dice, cards, or otherwise, in the hall, buttery, or butler's chamber, should be thenceforth forbidden at all times of the year, the twenty days of Christmas only ex­cepted.—Herbert, Antiquities of the Inns of Court, 1804, p. 336.
In this county, says Hone, Tear Book (p. 1288), a custom prevails among the lower classes of begging bread for the souls of the departed on All Saints' Day; the bread thus distributed is called dole bread.
It is customary, says a correspondent of N. & Q. (1st S. vol. iv. p. 381) for the village children to go round to all their neighbours Souling, collecting contributions, and singing the following doggrel:—
" Soul! soul! for a soul-cake ; Pray, good mistress, for a soul-cake. One for Peter, and two for Paul, Three for them who made us all.
Soul! soul! for an apple or two ;
If you've got no apples, pears will do.
Up with your kettle, and down with your pan,
Give me a good big one, and I'll be gone.
Soul! soul! for a soul-cake, &c.
An apple or pear, a plum or a cherry, Is a very good thing to make us merry. Soul! soul! &c."
The soul-cake referred to is a sort of bun, which at one time it was an almost general custom for persons to make, to give to one another on this day.
Tollett, in his Variorum Shakspeare (The Two Gentlemen of Verona, ii. 2, note) says, On All Saints' Day the poor people in Staffordshire, and perhaps in other country places, go from parish to parish ensouling, as they call it, i.e. begging and puling (or singing small, as Bailey's Dictionary explains
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