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.                                 445
cross, gules, viz., St. George's cross. The conqueror charged the cross with five lyons, passant gardant, or, in memory of the five worthy captains, magistrates, who governed the city so well, that he afterwards made Sir Eobert Clifford governour thereof and the other four to aid him in counsell; and the better to keep the city in obedience he built two castles, and double moated them about; and to shew the confidence and trust that he put in these old, but new made, officers by him he offered them freely to ask whatsoever they would of him before he went, and he would grant their request, wherefore they (abominating the treachery of the two fryers to their eternal infamy), desired that, on St. Thomas's Day for ever, they might have a fryer of the priory of St. Peter's to ride through the city on horseback, with his face to the horse's tayle, and that in his hand, instead of a bridle, he should have a rope, and in the other a shoulder of mutton, with one cake hanging on his back and another on his breast, with his face painted like a Jew; and the youth of the city to ride with him, and to cry and shout " Youl, Youl," with the officers of the city rideing before and making proclamation, that on this day the city was betrayed; and their request was granted them, which custom continued till the dissolution of the said fryery; and afterwards in imitation of the same, the young men and artizans of the city on the aforesaid St. Thomas's Day, used to dress up one of their own companions like a fryer, and called him youl, which custom continued till within this three-score years, there being many now living which can testify the same, but upon what occasion since discontinued I cannot learn: this being done in memory of betraying the city by the said fryers to William the Conqueror.
William Eogers, by will, June 1806, gave to the minister and churchwardens of Nevern, Pembrokeshire, and their successors, 800Z., Three per Cent. Consols, to be transferred by his executors within six months after his decease; and it was his will that the dividends should be laid out annually, one moiety thereof in good beef, the other moiety thereof in good barley, the same to be distributed on every St. Thomas's
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