British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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470                                       christmas DAY.                          [DEC. 25.
The dead man is thus cured, and having received the advice of, "Rise, Jack, and fight again, the play is ended."— Jour, of the Arch. Assoc. 1852, vol. vii. p. 206.
It appears that in some parts of this county the mummers still go round at Christmas-tide, performing a species of play.—See N. & Q. 5th S. vol. ii. p. 505.
On Christmas day at Hornchurch the lessee of the tithes, which belong to New College, Oxford, supplies, says Hone, (Every Day Book, 1827, voL ii. p. 1649), a boar's head dressed and garnished with bayleaves, &c. In the after­noon it is carried in procession into the mill-field adjoining the churchyard, where it is wrestled fur and afterwards feasted upon at one of the public-houses by the rustic conqueror and his friends with all the merriment peculiar to the season.
The following appeared in the Daily News of January 5th, 1852 :—By ancient charter or usage in Hornchurch a boar's head is wrestkd for in a field adjoining the church, a boar, the property of the parish, having been slaughtered for the purpose. The boar's head, elevated on a pole and decorated with ribbons, was brought into the ring where the competitors entered, and the prize was awarded.—See Morant, History of Essex, 1768, vol. i. p. 74.
It was formerly the custom of the city of Gloucester to present to the Sovereign at Christmas a lamprey-pie with a raised crust. The custom is of great antiquity, and as Henry I., of lamprey-loving celebrity, frequently held his Court during Christmas at Gloucester, it may have originated in his time. In 1530 the Prior of Lanthony at Gloucester sent " cheese, carp, and baked lampreys w to Henry VIII. at Windsor, for which the bearer received twenty shillings.— Tighe and Davis, Annals of Windsor, p. 562.
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