British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

dec. 25.]                       christmas DAY.                                469
In this county, and in all the great towns in the North of England, about a week before Christmas, what are called Honey-Fairs are held, in which dancing forms the leading amusement.— Time's Telescope, 1824, p. 297.
Christmas festivities are well observed in Derbyshire; mummers or guisers go from houso to house, and perform a play of St. George. They are dressed up in character and decorated with ribbands, tinsel, and other finery, and on being admitted into the house commence their performance by St. George announcing himself by beginning his oration:
" I am St. George, the noble champion bold, And with my glittering sword I've won three crowns of gold; It's I who fought the fiery dragon, And brought it to the slaughter; And so I won fair Sabra, The king of Egypt's daughter. —Seven have I won, but married none, And bear my glory all alone, —With my Sword in my hand, Who dare against me stand ? I swear I'll cut him down With my victorious brand."
A champion is soon found in the person of Slasher, who, accepts the challenge. St. George then replies in a neat speech, when they sing, shake hands, and fight with their wooden swords, and Slasher is slain. The King then enters, saying:—" I am the King of England, the greatest man alive," and after walking round the dead body, calls for, " Sir Guy, one of the chiefest men in the world's wonder," who shows his wonderful courage and prowess in calling for a doctor. The doctor, on making his appearance, gives a long and quaint account of his birth, parentage, education, and travels, whilst perambulating around the fallen Slasher, and ends his oration by saying :
•* Here take a little out of my bottle, Aud put it down thy throttle."
Previous Contents Next