British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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Dec. 21.]                        ST. THOMAS' DAY.                                 441
The bulls' tongues are recognised by courtesy as the per­quisites of the alderman and town clerk.—N. & Q. 2nd S. vol. v. p. 35.
The poor people go from farm to farm " a-thomasin," and generally carry with them a bag and a can, into which meal, flour, and corn, are put. Begging on this day is universal in this and the neighbouring counties.—Jour, of the Arch. Assoc. 1850, vol. v. p. 253.
At the village of Thornton, near Sherborne, a custom pre­vails amongst the tenants of the manor, of depositing five shillings in a hole in a certain tombstone in the churchyard, which precludes the lord of the manor from taking the tithe of hay during the year. This must be done before twelve o'clock on St. Thomas's Day, or the privilege is void.—Med. AEvi Kalend. 1842, vol. i. p. 83.
There was a custom very generally practised in some parts of this county, and which may even now be practised. A few days before Christmas the women, children, and old men in a parish would visit by turns the houses of their wealthier neighbours, and in return for, and in recognition of Christmas greetings, and their general demand of " Please give me something to keep up a Christmas," would receive substantial pieces or "hunks" of bread and cheese, bread and meat, or small sums of money. The old and infirm of either sex were generally represented by their children or grandchildren, those only being refused the dole who did not belong to the parish.—N. & Q. 4ith & vol. x. p. 494.
St. Thomas's Day is called by the poor inhabitants of this county " Mumping Day;" and the custom of going from house to house asking for contributions, is termed going 'js-mumping.
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