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.                                  44&
preacher. The children, however, made so much riot and disturbance in the church, that, about the year 1809, it was thought better to distribute the cobbs in a stable belonging to one of the churchwardens, which course has been pursued ever since.—Edwards, Old English Customs and Charities, 1842, p. 25.
In many parts of this county not only the old women and widows, but representatives from every poor family in the parish, go round for alms. The clergyman is expected to give one shilling to each person, and consequently the celebration of the day is attended with no small expense. Some of the parishioners give alms in money, others in kind. Thus, for example, some of the farmers give corn, which the-millers grind gratis. In some places the money collected is given to the clergyman and churchwardens, who, on the Sunday nearest to St. Thomas's Day, distribute it at the vestry. The fund is called St. Thomas's Dole, and the day itself Doleing Day.—N. & Q. 2nd S. vol. iv. pp. 103, 487.
A sum of 15Z. was placed in the Arundel Savings-Bank in the year 1824, the interest of which is distributed on St. Thomas's Day. It is said that this money was found, many years since, on the person of a beggar, who died by the road­side ; and the interest of it has always been appropriated by the parish officers for the use of the poor.—Edwards, Old English Customs and Charities, 1842, p. 129.
In this county it is customary for the poor people to visit the farm-houses to beg contributions of corn. This is called going a-coming.
At Harvington the following rhyme is sung :
" Wissal, wassail through the town, If you've got any apples throw them down;
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