British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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410                                     GUNPOWDER PLOT.                            [NOV. 5.
In this county the inhabitants set on a board a high heap of small cakes, called soul-cakes, of which they offer one to every person who comes to the house on this day, and there is an old rhyme, which seems to have been sung by the family and guests:
" A soul-cake, a soul-cake; Have mercy on all Christian souls for a soul-cake."
Kennett's Collections, MS. Bibh Lansdown, No. 1039, vol. 105, p. 12.
The same custom is mentioned, and with very little variation, by Aubrey in the Bemains of Gentilisme ; see N. & Q. 4th S. vol. x. pp. 409, 525.
The people of North Wales have a custom of distributing soul-cakes on All Souls' Day, at the receiving of which the poor people pray to God to bless the next crop of wheat. Pennant.
In the county of Aberdeen on All Souls' Day, baked cakes of a particular sort are given away to those who may chance to visit the house where they are made. The cakes are called "dirge-loaf."N. & Q. 3rd S. vol. ii. p. 483.
Nov. 5.]                  GUNPOWDEE PLOT.
The 5th of November is not observed by the populace with nearly so much festive diversion as in former times. Originally, the burning of Guy Fawkes in e&Lgy was a ceremony much in vogue, especially among the lower classes, but it is now confined chiefly to school-boys, and even with them it is not so popular as in days gone by. Formerly, tho
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