British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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DEC. 25.]                           CHRISTMAS DAY.                                      471
During tho Commonwealth it appears from the following entry in the corporation minutes that the pie was sent to the members for the city:—
" Item.—Paid to Thomas Suffield, cook, for lamprey-pies sent to our Parliament men, £08 00s. OOd."
In 1752 it appears to have been the custom to present a lamprey-pie to the Prince of Wales, as appears by Mr. Jesse's book, George Selwyn and his Contemporaries (vol. i. p. 153), where is printed the following letter from Mr. Alder­man Harris to George Selwyn, then M.P. for Gloucester:—
" Gloucester, 15th January, 175?. " Sib,—At the request of Mr. Mayor, whose extraordinary hurry of business will not afford him leisure to direct himself, I am desired to acquaint you that by the Gloucester waggon this week is sent the usual present of a lamprey-pie from this Corporation to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. It is directed to you; and I am further to request the favour of you to have the same presented with the compliments of this body, as your late worthy father used to do.
" Sir, your most obedient humble servant,
" Gab. Harris.
" P.S.—The waggoner's inn is the King's Head, in the Old Change."*—tf. & Q. 2nd S. vol. ix. p. 184.
In this county, and also in Worcestershire, it is considered very unlucky for new shoes or tanned leather to be received into the house during the Christmas week or on New Year's Day.—See iV. & Q. 5th S. vol. iii. p. 7.
At one time the festivities of Christmas were commenced at Ramsgate by a curious musical procession. The following
* Another correspondent of N. & Q. {2nd S. vol- ix. p. 185; says that it was formerly the custom to send to the King the first lamprey caught in the river at the commencement of the season; it was stewed, that being the best way of cooking this fish.
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