British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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418                                  8T. MARTIN'S DAY.                     [NOV. II.
these planetary pageants, was as famous and renowned in foreign nations as for their faith, wealth, and valour." In the show of 1659, an European, an Egyptian, and a Persian were personated. On Lord Mayor's Day, 1671, the King, Queen, and Duke of York, and most of the nobility being present, there were " sundry shows, shapes, scenes, speeches, and songs in part;" and the like in 1672 and 1673, when the King again graced the triumphs. The King, Queen, Duke and Duchess of York, Prince Eupert, the Duke of Monmouth, foreign ambassadors, the chief nobility, and Secretary of State, were at the celebration of Lord Mayor's Day in 1674, when there " were emblematical figures, artful pieces of architecture, and rural dancing, with pieces spoken on each pageant."—See Hone's Every Day Book, vol. i. p. 1445.
Nov. ii.]                ST. MAETIN'S DAY.
The festival of St. Martin, happening at that season when the new wines of the year are drawn from the lees and tasted, when cattle are killed for winter food, and fat geese are in their prime, is held as a feast day over most parts of Christendom. On the ancient clog almanacs, the day is marked by the figure of a goose, our bird of Michaelmas being, on the continent, sacrificed at Martinmas. In Scotland and the north of England, a fat ox is called a mart* clearly from Martinmas, the usual time when beeves are killed for winter use.—Book of Days, vol ii. p. 568.
Salt Silver.—In the glossary to Kennett's Parochial An­tiquities (p. 496) is the following:—"Salt Silver.—One penny paid at the Feast of St. Martin, by the servile tenants to their lord, as a commutation for the service of carrying their lord's salt from market to his larder."
* Mart, according to Skinner, is a fair, who considers it a contraction of market. Brand (Pop. Antiq. 1849, vol. i. p. 400) saysjhat, had not mart been the general name for a fair, one might have been tempted to suppose it a contraction of Martin, the name of the saint whose day is commemorated.
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