British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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484                                    CHRISTMAS DAY.                        [DEC. 25.
We are not daily beggars,
That beg from door to door, But we are neighbours' children,
Whom you have seen before.
Call up the butler of this house,
Put on his golden ring, Let him bring us a glass of beer,
And the better we shall sing.
We have got a little purse
Made of stretching leather skin, We want a littlo of /our money
To line it well within.
Bring us out a table
And spread it with a cloth; Bring out a mouldy cheese,
Also your Christmas loaf.
God bless the master of this house,
Likewise the mistress too, And all the little children
That round the table go.
Good master and mistress,
While you're sitting by the fire, Pray think of us poor children
Who are wandering in the mire."
N. & Q. 3rd S. vol. xi. p. 144.
Some years ago it was the custom in Leeds, and the neighbourhood, for children to go from house to house singing and carrying what they called a " wesley-bob." This they kept veiled in a cloth till they came to a house door, when they uncovered it.
The wesley-bob was made of holly and evergreens, like a bower, insido were placed a couple of dolls, adorned with ribbons, and the whole affair was borne upon a stick. Whilst the wesley-bob was being displayed, a song or ditty was sung.
At Aberford, near Leeds, two dolls are carried about in boxes in a similar way, and such an affair here is called a wesley-box.—N. & Q. 3rd S. vol. vi. p. 494.
At Eipon, on Christmas Day, says a correspondent of the Gent. Mag. (1790, vol. lx. p. 719), the singing boys come into the church with large baskets full of red apples, with a sprig of rosemary stuck in each, which they present to all the con­gregation, and generally have a return made them of 2d., 4tf., or 6d., according to the quality of the lady or gentleman.
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