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VOL. I. 

" Nam ul veri loquaiuur, Superstitio fusa per Orbem oppressit omnium fer Animus, atque hominuu 
occupavit imbecillitatem." Cic. DE DIVINAT. lib. ii. 

"Sacra recognosces Annalibus eruta priscis; 

Et quo sit merito quaeque nutata dies. 
Invenies illic et festa domcstica vobis. 

Saepe tibi Pater est, saepe legendus Avus." 

OVID. FAST. 1. i. v. 7. 









it'-) >>i\<; A, 


1 RADITION has in no^nstance so clearly evinced her faithfulness 
as in the transmittal of vulgar rites and popular opinions. 

Of these, when we are desirous of tracing them backwards to their 
origin, many may be said to lose themselves in the Mists of Antiquity*. 
They have indeed travelled to us through a long succession of years, 
and the greater part of them, it is not improbable, will be of perpetual 
observation : for the generality of men look back with superstitious ve- 
neration on the ages of their forefathers, and authorities that are grey 
with time seldom fail of commanding those filial honours claimed even 
by the appearance of hoary age. 

It must be confessed that many of these are mutilated, and, as in 
the Remains of antient Statuary, the parts of some have been auk- 

The following very sensible observation occurs in the St. James's Chronicle from Oct. 3d 
to Oct. 5th 1797. " Ideas have been entertained by fanciful men of discovering the Languages 
of antient Nations by a resolution of the Elements and Powers of Speech, as the only true ground 
of Etymology ; but the fact is, that there is no constant analogy in the organs of different people, 
any more than in their customs from resemblance of their climates. The Portuguese change 
I into r, II into ch, ch into yt, but not always. The Chinese change 6, d, r, s, x, z, into p, t, I, s, s. 
For Crux they say Culusu ; for Baptizo, Papetizo ; for Cardinalis, Kzaulsinalis ; for Spiritus, Su- 
pelitisu; for Adam, Vatam. Here the words are so changed, that it is impossible to say that they 
are the same. A more sure way of going to work is, by a Comparison of Customs, as when we 
find the same Customs in any two remote Countries, Egypt and China for instance, which 
Customs exist no where else, they probably originated in one of them." 


wardly transposed : they preserve, however, the principal traits that 
distinguished them in their origin. 

Things that are composed of such flimsy materials as the fancies of a 
multitude do not seem calculated for a long duration ; yet have these 
survived shocks by which even Empires have been overthrown, and 
preserved at least some form and colour of identity, during a repetition 
of changes both in the religious opinions and civil polity of States. 

But the strongest proof of their remote antiquity is, that they have 
outlived the general knowledge of the very causes that gave rise to 
them b . 

The Reader will find, in the subsequent pages, my most earnest en- 
deavours to rescue many of those causes from oblivion c . If, on the 

b " The Study of Popular Antiquities," says a Writer with the signature of V. F. in the Monthly 
Magazine for April 1798, p. 273, " though the materials for it lie so widely diffused, and indeed 
seem to obtrude themselves upon every one's attention, in proportion to the extent of his inter- 
course with the common people, does not appear to have engaged so much of the notice of En- 
quirers into Human Life and Manners as might have been expected." 

e In the year 1777 I re-published Bourne's Antiquitates Vulgares, a little Work on this subject, 
which then had become exceedingly scarce, and sold very high, making Observations on each of 
his Chapters, and throwing the new Discoveries into an Appendix at the end. That volume, too, 
by those who have mistaken accident for merit, is now marked in Catalogues at more than double 
its original price. In the following Work 1 have been advised to dissolve amicably the literary 
jartnership under the firm of Bourne and Brand, and to adopt a very different plan, presenting to 
the Public a Collection, which not only from the immense variety of fresh matter, but also from 
the totally different arrangement of the subjects, I flatter myself I may, with equal truth and pro- 
priety, venture to denominate an entirely new one. 

In this I shall only cite my predecessor Bourne in common with the other Writers on the same 
topics. I am indebted for much additional matter to the partiality and kindness of Francis 
Douce Esq. who, having enriched an interleaved Copy of my Edition of 1777 with many very per- 
tinent Notes and Illustrations, furnished from his own extensive reading on the subject, and 
from most rare Books in his truly valuable Library, generously permitted me to make whatever 
Extracts from them I should think interesting to my present purpose. It were invidious also not 
to make my acknowledgements on this occasion to George Steevens, Esq. the learned and truly 
patient, or rather indefatigable Editor of Shakspeare, who had the goodness to lend me many 
scarce Tracts, which no Collection but his own, either public or private, that I know of, could 
have supplied me with. 


THE respected Author of the following Work, as will be seen by the 
date of his Preface, had prepared it to meet the public eye so long ago 
as 1795. The subjects, however, which form the different Sections, 
were then miscellaneously arranged, and he had not kept even to the 
chronological order of the Feasts and Fasts observed by his predecessor 

The idea of a more perspicuous method was probably the first occasion 
of delay ; till the kindness of friends, the perseverance of his own re- 
searches, and the vast accession of intelligence produced by the Sta- 
tistical Enquiries in Scotland, so completely overloaded his Manuscript, 
that it became necessary that the whole Work should be re-modelled. 
This task, even to a person of Mr. Brand's unwearied labour, was dis- 
couraging ; and, though he projected a new disposition of his ma- 
terials, he had made no progress in the alteration of the Work at the 
time of his death. 

In this state, at the sale of the second part of Mr. Brand's Library, 
in 1808, the Manuscript of his Observations on Popular Antiquities 
was purchased. Fortunately, in one of the volumes, a Sketch for a 
new Arrangement was inserted*, which has been followed with very 
little variation. 

In the first volume, it will be seen, the days of more particular note 
in the Calendar are taken in chronological order; the Customs at 

a This is, no doubt, " the totally different Arrangement of the subjects" alluded to in a Note in 
the Preface, p. viii. 


Country Wakes, Sheep-shearings, and other rural practices, form a 
sort of Supplement ; and these are again followed by such usages and 
ceremonies as are not assignable to any particular period of the year. 

In the second volume, the Customs and Ceremonies of Common Life 
are introduced, followed by the numerous train of Popular Notions, 
Sports, and Errors. 

Mr. Brand's Extracts from Books and Manuscripts have, in most 
instances, been collated with their originals : a service which has added 
very much to the correctness of the Work. 

The Editor's Additions consist chiefly, though not quite exclusively, 
in the passages enclosed by brackets, and in the Index. 


British Museum, 
July 22, 1813. 


investigation, they shall appear to any to he so frivolous as not to have 
deserved the pains of the search, the humble Labourer will at least 
have the satisfaction of avoiding Censure by incurring Contempt. How 
trivial soever such an enquiry may seem to some, yet all must be in- 
formed that it is attended with no inconsiderable share of literary toil 
and difficulty. A passage is to be forced through a wilderness, intricate 
and entangled : few vestiges of former labours can be found to direct us 
in our way, and we must oftentimes trace a very tedious retrospective 
course, perhaps to return at last, weary and unsatisfied, from researches 
as fruitless as those of some antient enthusiastic Traveller, who, ranging 
the barren African sands, had in vain attempted to investigate the 
hidden sources of the Nile. 

Rugged, however, and narrow as this walk of study may seem to 
many, yet must it be acknowledged that Fancy, who shares with Hope 
the pleasing office of brightening a passage through every route of 
human endeavours, opens from hence, too, prospects that are enriched 
with the choicest beauties of her magic Creation. 

The prime origin of the superstitious notions and ceremonies of the 
people is absolutely unattainable. We must despair of ever being able 
to reach the fountain-head of streams which have been running and 
increasing from the beginning of time d . All that we can aspire to do, 

d Misson, in his Travels in England, translated by Ozell, p. 66, has some sensible Observations 
upon Customs. " All reasonable people will imagine," he says, " that as there is Man and Man, 
so there is Custom and Custom. It has been in all Ages a practice to talk and write upon the 
Manners and Customs of different Nations ; but it has also in all Ages been known, that there was 
nothing so general as not to admit of some exception. By degrees, Customs alter in the very 
same Country, conformably to the quality and education of the Inhabitants. By a Nation we 
always understand the greater number ; and this greater number is not made up of the persons 
of the highest birth or merit, no more than it is of the Beggars and Scoundrels that compose the 
lees and chaff of the Country. It consists of the people that live in a certain state of mediocrity, 
and whose humour, taste, and manners, as to certain respects, differ from each other only as to 
more or less." 

White, in his Natural History of Selborne, p. 202. observes : " It is the hardest thing in the 
VOL. I. b 


is only to trace their courses backward, as far as possible, on those 
Charts that now remain of the distant Countries whence they were first 
perceived to flow. 

Few who are desirous of investigating the popular Notions and vulgar 
Ceremonies of our own Nation, can fail of deducing them, in their first 
direction, from the times when Popery was our established Religion e . 

world to shake off superstitious prejudices : they are sucked in as it were with our mother's milk ; 
and, growing up with us at a time when they take the fastest hold and make the most lasting 
impressions, become so interwoven with our very constitutions, that the strongest sense is re- 
quired to disengage ourselves from them. No wonder, therefore, that the lower people retain 
them their whole lives through, since their minds are not invigorated by a liberal education, and 
therefore not enabled to make any efforts adequate to the occasion. Such a preamble seems to 
be necessary before we enter on the Superstitions of this District, lest we should be suspected of 
exaggeration in a recital of practises too gross for this enlightened age." 

. " Superstition," says Mr. Harris, in the Life of Charles I. p. 52, note, " is a debasement of 
Reason and Religion; 'tis entertaining misapprehensions of almighty God; 'tis the practice of 
things weak and ridiculous, in order to please him, whereby it excites in the mind chimerical 
hopes, ill-grounded fears, and vain expectations : in short, it is weakness, attended with unea- 
siness and dread, and productive of confusion and horror. Every one knows the mischiefs Su- 
perstition has produced in the World : Gods of all sorts and kinds ; sacrifices of Beasts and Men ; 
rites, ceremonies, and postures ; antic tricks and cruel torments ; with every other thing which, 
from time to time, has been falsely called by the name of Religion, have arose from hence. It 
took its rise early in the World, and soon spread itself over the face of the Earth; and few, very 
few, were there who were wholly free from it. The doctrine of Christ, indeed, was calculated to 
destroy its dominion and to restore Religion to its original lustre: Yet, notwithstanding this, 
Superstition very soon found an entrance among Christians, and at length encreased to an 
enormous size. The reformation of Religion, and the revival of Letters, were somewhat un- 
friendly to it : but whether it be the craft of those who subsist by the credulity and ignorance of 
others, or whether it be a proneness in men to Superstition, or their laziness and inattention to 
other than sensible objects ; I say, whether it be owing to one or all of these causes, Superstition 
remained still alive, and shewed itself even among those who gloried that they had got rid of the 
papal yoke." 

A sensible Writer in the Gent. Mag. for July 1733, vqj. liii. p. 577. says: " I have often 
wished to know the first foundation of several popular Customs, appropriated to particular 
Seasons, and been led to think, however widely they may have deviated from their original design 
and meaning, of which we have now wholly lost sight, they are derived from some religious 
Tenets, Observances, or Ceremonies. I am convinced that this is the case in Catholic Countries, 
where suchlike popular Usages, as well as religious Ceremonies are more frequent than amongst 


We shall not wonder that these were able to survive the Reformation, 
when we consider that though our own sensible and spirited Fore- 
fathers were, upon conviction, easily induced to forego religious Tenets 
which had been weighed in the balance and found wanting ; yet were 
the bulk of the people by no means inclined to annihilate the seemingly 
innocent Ceremonies of their former superstitious Faith. These, con- 
secrated to the fancies of the multitude, by an usage from time imme- 
morial, though crazed by public authority from the written ff^ord, 
were committed as a venerable deposit to the keeping of Oral Tradition; 
and, like the Penates of another Troy, recently destroyed, were re- 
ligiously brought off, after having been snatched out of the smoking 
ruins of Popery. 

It is not improbable, indeed, but that, in the Infancy of Pro- 
testantism, the continuance of many of them was connived at by the 
State f . For men, who " are but children of a larger growth," are 
not to be weaned all at once ; and the Reformation both of Manners 
and Religion is always most surely established when effected by slow 
degrees, and, as it were, imperceptible gradations. 

Thus also, at the first promulgation of Christianity to the Gentile 
Nations, though the new Converts yielded through the force of Truth 
to conviction, yet they could not be persuaded to relinquish many of 
their Superstitions, which, rather than forego altogether, they chose 
to blend and incorporate with their new Faith. 

And hence it is that Christian, or rather Papal Rome, has borrowed 

us ; though there can be little doubt but that the Customs I refer to, and which we retain, took 
their rise whilst these Kingdoms were wholly Catholic, immersed in Ignorance and Superstition." 
See a farther quotation from this Writer's Remarks under the head of SHERE THURSDAY, 
vol. i. p. 128. 

( It is wittily observed by Fuller, Ch. Hist. p. 375, that, as careful Mothers and Nurees, on 
condition they can get their Children to part with knives, are contented to let them play with 
rattles ; so they permitted ignorant people still to retain some of their fond and foolish Customs., 
that they might remove from them the most dangerous and destructive Superstitions. 


her Rites, Notions, and Ceremonies, in the most luxuriant abundance, 
from Ancient and Heathen Rome 5 , and that much the greater number 
of those flaunting Externals which Infallibility has adopted by way of 
Feathers to adorn the triple Cap, have been stolen out of the wings of 
the dying Eagle. 

With regard to the Rites, Sports, &c. of the common people, I am 
aware that the morose and bigoted part of mankind 11 , without distin- 

* In proof of this assertion, see Dr. Middleton's curious Letter from Rome. 
h I shall quote here the subsequent curious Thoughts on this subject: it scarcely need be ob- 
served that the Puritans are ridiculed in them : 

" These teach that Dancing is a Jezabell, 
And Barley-Break the ready way to Hell ; 
The Morice Idols, Whitsun-Ales can be 
But prophane reliques of a Jubilee : 
These in a zeal t'expresse how much they do 
The Organs hate, have silenc'd Bagpi|)es too ; 
A$d harmless May-Poles all are rail'd upon, 
As if they were the Tow'rs of Babylon." 

Randolph's Poems, 1646. 

Lewis, in his " English Presbyterian Eloquence," 8vo. Lond. 1720, p. 17, speaking of the 
Enthusiasts of the same period, says : " Under the censure of lewd Customs, they included all 
sorts of public Sports, Exercises, and Recreations, how innocent soever nay, the poor Rose- 
mary and Bays, and Christmas-Pye, is made an abomination." 

In " A Disputation betwixt the Devill and the Pope," &c. 4to. Lond. 1642, Signat. A 3, to the 
Pope's enquiry, " What factious Spirits doe in England dwell?" The Devil answers : 
" Few of your party j they are gone as wide, 
As most report, and mad on t'other side ; 
There, all your Bookes and Beads are counted toyes, 
Altars and Tapers are pull'd downe by Boyes, 
Discord they say doth so possesse the Land, 
Tis thought they will not let the Organs stand, 
The cleane-washt Surples which our Priests put on, 
There is the Smock o 1 th' Whore of Babylon, 
And I have had report by those have seen them, 
They breake the windows 'cause the Saints are in them -. 

A Taylor must not sit with legs on crosse, 


guishing between the right use and the abuse of such Entertainments, 
cavil at and malign them : yet must such be told that Shows and Sports 
have been countenanced in all ages, and that too by the best and wisest 
of States ; and though it cannot be denied that they have sometimes 
been prostituted to the purposes of Riot and Debauchery, yet, were we 
to reprobate every thing that has been thus abused, Religion itself 
could not be retained : perhaps, indeed, we should be able to keep 

The common people, confined by daily labour, seem to require their 
proper intervals of relaxation ; perhaps it is of the highest political 
utility to encourage innocent Sports and Games among them. The 
revival of many of these, would, I think, be highly pertinent at this 
particular juncture, when the general spread of Luxury and Dissi- 
pation threatens more than at any preceding period to extinguish the 
character of our boasted national bravery. For the observation of an 
honest old Writer, Stow, (who tells us, speaking of the May Games, 

But straite he 's set by th' heeles (it is a signe 
Of ceremony only, not divine)." * 

So in the Welsh Levite tossed in a Blanket, &c. 4to. Lond. 1691 : " I remember the blessed 
times, when every thing in the World that was displeasing and offensive to the Brethren went 
under the name of horrid abominable Popish Superstition. Organs and May Poles, Bishops 
Courts and the Bear Garden, Surplices and long Hair, Cathedrals and Play Houses, Set-Forms 
and Painted Glass, Fonts and Apostle Spoons, Church Musick and Bull-baiting, Altar Rails and 
Rosemary on Brawn, nay Fiddles, Whitson Ale, Pig at Bartholomew Fair, Plum Porrige, Puppet 
Shows, Carriers Bells, Figures in Gingerbread, and at last Moses and Aaron, the Decalogue, the 
Creeds, and the Lord's Prayer," p. 16. Again : " A Crown, a Cross, an Angel, and Bishop'* 
Head, could not be endured, so much as in a Sign. Our Garters, Bellows, and Warming Pans 
wore godly Mottos, our Bandboxes were lined with wholsome Instructions, and even our 
Trunks with the Assembly-men's Sayings. Ribbons were converted into Bible-Strings." " Nay, 
in our zeal we visited the Gardens and Apothecary's Shops. Unguentum Apostolicum, Carduut 
benedictus, Angelica, St. John's Wort, and Our Ladies Thistle, were summoned before a Class, 
and commanded to take new Names." " We uasainted the Apostles." Ibid. 

* See more of the puritan detestation of the Cross-form in vol. i. p. 132. 


Midsummer Eve Rejoicings, &c.' antiently used in the Streets of 
London, " which open pastimes k in my youth being now supprest, 
worse practices within doors are to be feared,)" may with too singular 
propriety be adopted on the most transient survey of our present po- 
pular Manners ! . 

Bourne, my predecessor in this Walk, has not, from whatever cause, 
done justice to the subject he undertook to treat of. Let it not be im- 
puted to me that I am so vain as to think that I have exhausted it, for 
the utmost of my pretensions is to the merit of having endeavoured, by 
making additions and alterations, to methodize and improve it. I think 
it justice to add too, that he was deserving of no small share of praise 
for his imperfect attempt, for " much is due to those who first broke 
the way to knowledge, and left only to their successors the task of 
smoothing it." 

New and very bright Lights have appeared since his time. The 
English Antique has become a general and fashionable study : and the 
discoveries of a chartered Society of Antiquaries, patronized by the best 
of Monarchs, and boasting among its Members some of the greatest 

1 I call to mind here the pleasing Account Sterne has left us, in his Sentimental Journey, of the 
Grace Dance after Supper. 1 agree with that amiable Writer in thinking that Religion may mix 
herself in the Dance, and that innocent Cheerfulness forms no inconsiderable part of Devotion ; 
sxicb, indeed, cannot fail of being grateful to the Good Being, as it is a silent, but eloquent mode 
of praising him. 

k " The Youths of this City," he says, " have used, on holidays, after Evening Prayer, at their 
Masters' doors, to exercise their Wasters and Bucklers : and the Maidens, one of them playing on 
a Timbrel, in sight of their Masters and Dames, to dance for Garlands hanged athwart the 
Streets." Strype's edit, of Stow's Survey, Book i. p. 251. 

1 The Rev. Mr. Ledwich, in his Statistical Account of the Parish of Aghaboe in the Queen's 
County, Ireland, Svo. Dubl. 1796, tells us, p. 95 : " A delineation of the Customs and Manners 
of the People of this Parish would seem to be a proper and interesting Addition to this Work. 
This I should have attempted did their peculiarity demand notice. The national character of the 
original Natives M, with us, entirely lost. Their diversions of Foot Ball and Hurling are seldom 
practised, or their antient Customs at Marriages and Intermenta." It must not, however, be 
dissembled, that the learned Writer is of opinion that the change is for the better. 


ornaments of the British Empire, have rendered the recesses both of 
papal and heathen Antiquities much easier of access. 

I shall presume to flatter myself that I have, in some measure, turned 
all these circumstances to advantage. I have gleaned passages that 
seemed to throw light upon the subject, as my numberless citations will 
evince, from an immense variety of Volumes both printed and ma- 
nuscript ; and those written too in several languages : in the doing of 
which, if I shall not be found to have deserved the praise of Judgement, 
I must at least make pretensions to the merit of Industry. 

Elegance of Composition will hardly be expected in a Work of this 
nature m , which seems to stand much less in need of Attic Wit than of 
Roman Perseverance, or, if we glance at modern times, of Dutch 

I shall offer many Discoveries which are peculiarly my own, for there 
are not a few Customs yet retained in the North, where I spent the 
earliest part of my life, of which I am persuaded the learned in the 
Southern parts of our Island have hardly once heard mention, which is 
perhaps the sole cause why they have never before been investigated. 

I have, once for all, to premise that, in perusing the subsequent Ob- 
servations, the candid Reader, who has never before considered this 
neglected subject, is particularly requested not to be rash in passing 
sentence ; but to suspend his judgement, at least till he has carefully 
examined all the evidence ; by which caution let it not be understood 
that my determinations are in any degree thought to be infallible, or 
that every decision to be found in the following pages is not amenable 

* In general it may be observed, that Readers, provided with keen Appetites for this kind of 
Entertainment, must content themselves with the homely manner of serving it up to them. In- 
deed in this particular, would, in a variety of instances, suit but ill with the study 
of ,the English Antique. For it must be confessed, that a great deal of wholesome meat of this 
sort has ever been brought on upon wooden platters, and very nice guests, it is to be feared, will 
think that our famous old Cook, Thomas Hearne, himself, was but a very slovenly and greasy 
v kind of Host. 


to higher authorities : in the mean time Prejudice may be forewarned, 
and it will apologize for many seemingly trivial Reasons, assigned for 
the beginning and transmitting of this or that popular Notion or Ce- 
remony, to reflect, that what may appear foolish to the enlightened 
Understandings of Men in the Eighteenth Century, wore a very dif- 
ferent aspect when viewed through the gloom that prevailed in the 
seventh or eighth. 

I should trespass on the patience of my Reader, were I to enumerate 
all the Books I have consulted on this occasion ; to which, however, I 
shall take care, in their proper places, to refer: but I own myself under 
particular obligations to Durand's Ritual of Divine Offices n , a Work 
inimical to every idea of rational Worship, but to the Enquirer into the 
Origin of our popular Ceremonies, an invaluable Magazine of the most 
interesting Intelligence. I would style this performance the great Ce- 
remonial Law of the Romanists, in comparison with which the Mosaic 
Code is barren of Rites and Ceremonies. We stand amazed on perusing 
it, at the enormous weight of a new Yoke, which Holy Church, fa- 
bricating with her own hands, had imposed on her antient Devotees . 

" This curious Book is the Fountain-head of all Ecclesiastical Rites and Ceremonies. It was 
printed at Mentz so early as 1459. See Fabricii Bibliotheca mediae & infimse /Etatis, edit. 8vo. 
1734, vol. ii. p. 206, and Maittaire's Annales Typogr. vol. i. p. 271. Pars prior. 

It is but justice to own that the modern Roman Catholics disclaim the greater number of 
those superstitious Notions and Ceremonies equally the misfortune and disgrace of our Forefathers 
;n the dark Ages. 

In a most curious Sermon preached at Blandford Forum, Dorsetshire, Jan. 17, 1570, by 
William Kethe, Minister, and dedicated to Ambrose Earl of Warwick, 8vo. p. 18, speaking of 
the Jews, he says,. " for the Synnes they daylie committed, they would be very busie in offryng 
Sacrifices and exercising themselves in Ceremonies;" adding, " a lyke kynde of policie was prac- 
tised by the Papistes in the tyme of Poperie (in England) to bynde God to forgeve them theyr 
Sinnes. For whereas, in the tyme of Christmasse, the disorders were marvelous in those dayes, 
(and how it is now God seeth,) at Candlemasse, which some counte the ende of Christmasse, the 
Papistes would be even with God, by the tyme [they had offered hym a Bribe, and such a Bribe 
(beyng a Candle or Taper) as a very meane officer would take foule scorae of, though he could 
do a man but small pleasure in his sute. Shroft Tuesday was a day of great Glottonie, Surfeiting, 


Yet the forgers of these Shackles had artfully enough contrived to 
make them sit easy, by twisting Flowers around them : dark as this 
picture, drawn by the pencil of gloomy Superstition, appeared upon the 
whole, yet was its deep shade in many places contrasted with pleasing 

The Calendar was crowded with Red-Letter Days, nominally indeed 
consecrated to Saints ; but which, by the encouragement of Idleness and 
Dissipation of Manners, gave every kind of countenance to Sinners. 

A profusion of childish Rites, Pageants, and Ceremonies, diverted the 
attention of the people from the consideration of their real state, and 
kept them in humour, if it did not sometimes make them in love, with 
their slavish modes of worship. 

To the credit of our sensible and manly Forefathers, they were 
among the first who felt the weight of this new and unnecessary Yoke, 
and had spirit enough to throw it off. 

I have fortunately in my possession one of those antient Roman Ca- 
lendars, of singular curiosity, which contains under the immoveable 
Feasts and Fasts, (I regret much its silence on the moveable ones,) a 
variety of brief Observations, contributing not a little to the elucidation 
of many of our popular Customs, and proving them to have been sent 

and Dronkennes, but by Ashe Wensday at night, they thought God to be in their debt. On Good 
Friday, they offered unto Christe Egges and Bacon to be in hys favour till Easter Day was past. 
The Sinnes committed betwene Easter and Whytsontyde they were fullye discharged by the plea- 
saunt Walkes and Processyons in the rogyng, I should say Rogation Weeke. What offences soever 
happened from that tyme to Midsomroer,. the fumes of the Fiers dedicated to John, Peter, and 
Thomas Becket the Traytor, consumed them. And as for all disorders from that tyme to the be- 
gynnyng of Christmasse agayne, they were in this Countrey all roonge away, upon All Halloun 
Day and All Soule's Day at night last past." He adds, at p. 20, " So sayth God to the brybyng 
Papistes, who requireth these thynges at your handes whiche I never commaundcd, as your 
Candles at Candlemasse, your Popish Penaunce on Ash Wensday, your Egges and Bacon on Good 
Friday, your Gospelles at superstitious Crosses, decked lyke Idols, your Fires at Midsommer, and 
your ringyng at Allhallountide for all Christen Soules ? I require, sayth God, a sorrowfull and re- 
pentaunt hart, to be mercyfull to the poore, &c." 
VOL. J. C 


over from Rome, with Bulls, Indulgences, arid other Baubles, bartered, 
as it should seem, for our Peter Pence, by those who trafficked in spi- 
ritual Merchandize from the Continent. 

These I shall carefully translate, (though in some places it is ex- 
tremely difficult to render the very barbarous Latin, in which they are 
written, the barbarity, brevity, and obscurity of which I fear the Critic 
will think I have transfused into my own English,) and lay before my 
Reader, who will, at once, see and acknowledge their utility. 

A learned performance by a Physician in the time of King James the 
first, and dedicated to that Monarch, is also luckily in my Library : it 
is written in Latin and entitled " The Popedom, or the Origin and In- 
crease of Depravity in Religion p ;" containing a very masterly parallel 
between the Rites, Notions, &c. of Heathen, and those of Papal Rome. 

The copious Extracts from this Work, with which I shall adorn and 
enlighten the following pages, will form their truest commendation, and 
supersede my poor encomiums. 

When I call Gray to remembrance, the Poet of Humanity, who, had 
he left no other works behind him, would have transmitted his Name to 
Immortality by Reflections written among the little Tomb-stones of the 
Vulgar, in a Country Church-Yard ; I am urged by no false shame to 
apologize for the seeming unimportance of my subject. 

The Antiquities of the Common People cannot be studied without 
acquiring some useful knowledge of Mankind: and it may be truly said 
in this instance that by the chemical process of Philosophy, even Wis- 

> "Papatus, seu depravatae Religionis Ongo et Increment j summa fide diligentiaque e 
(JenUlitatis su* fontibus eruta : ut fere nihil sit in hoc genus cultu, quod non sit promptmn ex 
Insce, meis reddere suis authoribus: ut restitutae Evangelic* Religionis, quam profitemur, simpli- 
cUas, fucis aniotis, suatn aliquando integritatem apud omnes testatam faciat per Thomam More- 
sinum Aberdonanum, Doctorem Medicum. Edinburgi excudebat Robertus Waldegrave T y- 
pographus Regius, Anno M.D.XCIIII. Cum privilegio Regali." ' A small octavo: most ex- 
tremely rare. 


dom may be extracted from the Follies and Superstitions of our Fore- 
fathers' 1 . 

9 Monsieur Bergerac, in his Satyrical Characters, and handsome Descriptions in Letters, translated 
out of the French by a person of Honour, 8vo. Lond. 1658. p. 45. puts into the mouth of a Magician 
the following 1 very curious Catalogue of Superstitions on the Continent : "I teach the Shepherd the 
Woolf s Pater-Noster, and to the Cunning Men how to turne the Sieve ; I send St. Hermes Fire 
to the Marches and Rivers, to drown Travellers, I make the Fairies to dance by Moon-light, I en- 
courage the Gamesters to look under the Gallows for the Foure of Clubs. I send at Midnight the 
Ghosts out of the Churchyard, wrapt in a Sheet, to demand of their Heires the performance of those 
Vows and Promises they made to them at their Deaths ; I command the Spirits to haunt the unin- 
habited Castles, and to strangle those that come to lodge there, till some resolute fellow compels them 
to discover to him the Treasure. I make those that I will enrich find hidden Wealth. I cause the 
Thieves to burne Candles of dead Men's grease, to lay the Hoasts asleep while they rob their 
Houses ; I give the flying Money, that returnes again to the Pocket after 'tis spent ; I give those 
Annulets to Foot-men that enable them to go two hundred miles a day; 'Tis I, that invisible, 
tumble the Dishes and Bottles up and downe the House without breaking, or spoiling them. I 
teach old Women to cure a Feaver by Words. I waken the country Fellow on St. John's Eve to 
gather his Hcarb, fasting and in silence. I teach the Witches to take the forme of Woolves and 
eate Children, and when any one hath cut off one of their Legs (which proves to be a Man's 
arme) 1 forsake them when they are discovered, and leave them in the power of Justice. I send 
to discontented persons a tall black Man, who makes them promises of great Riches and other 
felicities if they'll give themselves to him. I blind them that take Contracts of him, and when they 
demand thirty years time, I make them see the (3) before the (O) which I have placed after : 'Tis 
1 that strangle those that when they have called me up, give me a haire, an old shoe, or a straw. 
I take away from those dedicated Churches the Stones that have not been paid for. I make the 
Witches seem to those that are invited to Sabat nothing but a Troope of Cats, of which Marcou 
(a Gib Cat) is prince. I send all the Confederates to the Offering, and give them the Goates taile 
(seated on a Joint-stoole) to kisse. I treate them splendidly but give them no Salt to their Meat ; 
and if any Stranger, ignorant in the Customes, gives God thanks, I cause all things to vanish and 
leave him five hundred miles from his ovvne home, in a Desart full of Nettles and Thornes. I send 
to old Letchers beds Succubusses, and to the whorish, Incubusscs. I convay Hob-goblins in shape 
of a long piece of Marble, to lye by those that went to Bed without making the signe of the Crosse. 
I teach Negromancers to destroy their Enemies, by making a little Image in vvaxe, which they 
throwing into the Fire, or pricking, the original is sensible of those Torments that they expose 
the Image to. I make Witches insensible in those parts where the Ram hath set his Seale. I give 
a secret virtue to Nolite fieri, when 'tis said backwards, that it hinders the Butter from coming. I 
teach Husbandmen to lay under the Grounds of that Sheep-fold which he hath a mind to destroy, 
a Lock of Haire, or a Toade, with three Curses, that destroyes all the Sheep that passe, over it. 
I teach the Shepherds to tye a Bridegroomes point the Marriage Day, when the Priest saves Con- 


The People, of whom Society is chiefly composed, and for whose 
good all superiority of Rank, indispensably necessary as it is in every 

juncgo Vo$. 1 give that Mony that is found by the leaves of an old Oak. I lend Magitians a 
Familiar that keepes them for undertaking any thing without leave from Robin Good-fellow. 
I teach how to breake the Charmes of a person bewitcht, to kneade the triangular Cake of Saint 
Woolfe, and to give it in almes to the first poore Body. I cure sick persons of the Hob-thrush, by 
giving them a blow with a Forke just between the two Eyes. I make the Witches sensible of the 
blowes that are given them with an Elder-stick. I let loose the Hob-goblin at the advents of 
Christmas ; and command him to rowle a Barrel!, or draw a Chaine along the Streets, that he 
may wring off their Necks that look out at the Window. I teach the composition of the Charms, 
Scales, Talismans, Spells, of the Magique Looking Glasses, and of the inchanted Figures. I teach 
them to find the Misseltoe of the New Yeare, the wandring Hearbs, the Gamahely and the mag- 
netique plaster. 1 send the Goblins, the shod-Mule, the Spirits, the Hob-goblins, the Haggs, 
the Night bats, the Scrags, the Breake-Neekes, the black Men and the white Women, the Fan- 
tasms, the Apparitions, the Scar-Crowes, the Bug-beares, and the Shaddowes : in fine, I am the 
Dlvel of Vauvert, the Jew-errant, and the grant Huntsman of Fountain-bleau Forrest." 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol.Lx. 8vo. Edinb. 1793. p. 253. Parish of Clunie, co. of 
Perth, the Inhabitants, we are told, " are not, as formerly, the dupes of superstitious credulity. Many 
old useless rites and ceremonies are laid aside. Little attention is paid to Bug-bear Tales. Supersti- 
tions, Charms, and Incantations have lost their power. Cats, Hares, Magpies, and old Women 
cease to assume any other appearance than what Nature has given them : and Ghosts, Goblins, 
Witches, and Fairies have relinquished the Land." 

In the same Volume, p. 328. Parish of Tongland, co. of Kircudbright ; from a Statistical Ac- 
count of sixty or seventy years before, we learn that " the lower class in general were tainted 
strongly with superstitious Sentiments and Opinions, which had been transmitted down, from one 
generation to another by Tradition. They firmly believed in Ghosts, Hobgoblins, Fairies, Elves, 
Witches and Wizards. These Ghosts and Spirits often appeared to them at Night. They used 
many Charms and Incantations to preserve themselves, their Cattle and Houses, from the malevo- 
lence of Witches, Wizards, and evil Spirits, and believed in the beneficial effects of these Charms. 
They believed in lucky and unlucky Days and Seasons, in marrying or undertaking any impor- 
tant Business. They frequently saw the Devil, who made wicked attacks upon them, when they 
were engaged in their religious Exercises, and acts of Devotion. They believed in benevolent 
spirits which they termed Brownies, who went about in the night time and performed for them 
some part of their domestic labour, such as threshing and winnowing their Corn, spinning and 
churning. They fixed Branches of Mountain Ash, or narrow-leaved Service-Tree above the Stakes 
of their Cattle, to preserve them from the evil effects of Elves and Witches. AH these supersti- 
tious Opinions and Observations, which they firmly believed, and powerfully influenced their 
actions, are of late years almost obliterated among the present Generation." 

Ibid, vol.xiv. p. 482. Parish of Wigton, co. of Wigton, " the Spirit of Credulity, which arises 


Government 1 ", is only a Grant, made originally by mutual Concession, 
is a respectable subject to every one who is the Friend of Man. 

Pride, which, independent of the Idea arising from the necessity of 
civil Polity, has portioned out the human Genus into such a variety of 

out of Ignorance, and which over-ran the country, is now greatly worn away ; and the belief 
in Witches, in Fairies, and other ideal beings, though not entirely discarded, is gradually 

dying out." 

' " Degree being vizarded, 

The unworthiest shows as fairly in the mask. 
The heavens themselves, the planets, and this center, 
Observe degree, priority, and place, 
Insisture, course, proportion, season, form, 
Office, and custom in all line of order : 
And therefore is the glorious planet, Sol, 
In noble eminence enthron'd and spher'd 
Amidst the other ; whose med'cinable eye 
, Corrects the ill aspects of planets evil, 

And posts, like the commandment of a king, 

Sans check, to good and bad : But, when the planets, 

In evil mixture, to disorder wander, 

What plagues, and what portents ? what mutiny ? 

What raging of the sea ? shaking of earth ? 

Commotion in the winds ? frights, changes, horrors, 

Divert and crack, rend and deracinate 

The unity and married calm of states 

Quite from their fixure ? O, when degree is shak'd, 

Which is the ladder of all high designs, 

The enterprize is sick ! How could Communities, 

Degrees in Schools, and brotherhoods in Cities, 

Peaceful commerce from dividable shores, 

The primogenitive and due of birth, 

Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels, 

But by degree, stand in authentick place ? 

Take but degree away, untune that string, 

And, hark, what discord follows ! each thing meets 

In mere oppugnancy : The bounded waters 

Should lift their bosoms higher than the shores, 

And make a sop of all this solid Globe." 

Troil. & Cressida, Act i. sc. 3. 


different and subordinate Species, must be compelled to own, that the 
lowest of these derives itself from an Origin common to it with the 
highest of the kind. 

The well-known beautiful Sentiment of Terence : 

" Homo sum, human! nihil a me alienum puto," 

may be adopted therefore in this place, to persuade us that nothing can 
be foreign to our enquiry, much less beneath our notice, that concerns 
the smallest of the Vulgar 8 ; of those little Ones who occupy the lowest 
place, though by no means of the least importance in the political ar- 
rangement of human Beings. 

Somerset Place, 

August 4th, 1795. 

' " These several particulars, if considered separately, may appear trifling ; but taken altoge- 
ther, they form no inconsiderable part of what (with only some slight variations,) the Religion of 
the vulgar will always be, in every age, and in every stage of society, and indeed, whatever be the 
Religion which they profess, unless they are so grossly stupid, or so flagitiously immoral, as to be 
incapable of feeling the restraints of any System of Religion, whether rational or superstitious." 
Sir John Sinclair's Statist. Account of Scotland, vol. v. p. 85. 



VOL. I. 


NEW YEAR'S EVE ----.-...-------..- i 

NEW YEAR'S DAY - -- 8 


ST. AGNES'S DAY or EVE, Jan. 21 st. ---...-.. -.-32 
ST. VINCENT'S DAY, /an. 22d. ---------------34 

ST. PAUL'S DAY, Jan. 25th. - 34 

CANDLEMAS DAY, Feb. 2d. ......... ...-_. .33 

ST. BLAZE'S DAY, /V6. 3d. -..-45 

VALENTINE'S DAY, Fed. 14M. ---------- ...47 

COLLOP or SHROVE MONDAY ---------------54 

SHROVE-TIDE, or SHROVE TUESDAY -------------56 

ASH-WEDNKSDAY -------- 79 

ST. DAVID'S DAY, March 1st. _..-86 

ST. PATRICK'S DAY, March nth - --90 


PALM SUNDAY ---_._-__..___----- 102 

ALL FOOL'S DAY, April 1st. .."........ 113 


GOOD FRIDAY ------_._---.-----. 128 

EASTER EVE ______ -- 135 


EASTER EGGS i. -. Mv v*'h ------- 142 

EASTER HOLIDAYS ------------------ 1 50 


HOKE DAY --.---.--.--.....--- 157 



ST. GEORGE'S DAY, April 23d. ----------- -- 165 

ST. MARK'S DAY or EVE, --- ____.------- 166 


THURSDAY ---167 

MAY DAY CUSTOMS ----------------- 179 

MAY POLES ---193 


Maid Marian, Queen of the May ---------- 204 

Robin Hood ----------- ----212 

Friar Tuck - ---214 

The Fool 215 

Scarlet, Stokesley, and Little John ---------218 

Tom the Piper - 219 

The Hobby Horse 219 

ST. URBAN'S DAY. May 25th ._.- 223 

ROYAL OAK DAY. May 29th .............. 223 

WHITSUNTIDE ................... 226 



ST. BARNABAS DAY, June 11 th -------- 233 

ST. VITUS'S DAY. June \5th - - 235 

CORPUS CHRISTI DAY, and PLAYS. June 14th 235 

SUMMER SOLSTICE. Midsummer Eve. The Vigil of St. John Baptist 1 s Day 238 
ST. PETER'S DAY. June 29th .............. 269 

ST. ULRIC. July 4th---------........ 270 

ST. SWITHIN'S DAY. July \5th - 271 

ST. MARGARET'S DAY. July 20th ............. 273 

ST. BRIDGET. July 23d - - - - ___ 273 

ST. JAMES'S DAY. July 25th ----- __._ 274 

GULE of AUGUST, commonly called LAMMASS DAY 275 


ST. ROCH'S DAY. August \&th. 278 

ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S DAY. August 24th - -- ._- 279 

HOLY-ROOD-DAY. Septemb. Uth 279 

MICHAELMAS. Septemb. 29th _ -281 



Michaelmas Goose -------------- 295 

St. Michael's Cake or Bannock - - - 297 

ST. ETHELBURGH'S DAY. October llth - - - - - 299 

ST. SIMON and ST. JUDE'S DAY. October 28th. - - - - '299 

ALLHALLOW EVEN ---------- ------ 300 

The FIFTH OF NOVEMBER -____--.------. 313 

MARTINMAS. Novemb. llth. ___-----------313 

QUEEN ELIZABETH'S ACCESSION. Novemb. nth. ---------318 

ST. CLEMENT'S DAY. Novemb. 23d. 321 

ST. CATHARINE'S DAY* Novemb. 25lh. ----------- 321 

ST. ANDREW'S DAY. Novemb. 30th. - - 322 

ST. NICHOLAS'S DAY. Decemb. 6th. - - - -------- 324 

ON THE MONTEM AT ETON --------------- 337 


Going a Goading at St. Thomas's Day -------- 350 

Hagmena ---------------- 350 

Mumming ---------------- 354 

OftheYvLZ CLOG, or BLOCK, burnt on CHRISTMAS EVE ------ 359 

Of the Word YULE, formerly used to signify CHRISTMAS ------- 364 

Christmas Carol -------------- 370 

Hobby Horse at Christmas -------- --382 

Christmas Box -------------- 334 


Lord of Misrule ___--------_._ 337 

fool-Plough and Sword Dance ---------- 395 

Decking Churches, Houses, Kc. with Evergreens at Christmas 404 

Yule Doughs, Mince Pies, Christmas Pies, and Plum Porridge 410 

ST. STEPHEN'S DAY. Decemb. 26th. ------------ 416 

ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST. Decemb. 27th. ----------419 


BEARINGS, and in the North of England HOPPINGS ------- 422 


of INGATHERING -----------.___._ 439 


SATURDAY AFTERNOON ------------,___ 457 

VOL. i. d 



THE BORROWED DAYS ____----_. 460 

DAYS LUCKY or UNLUCKY --------------- 453 

COCK CROWING, Time of the Morning so called - -------- 469 

STREWING CHURCHES with FLOWERS on Days of Humiliation and Thanksgiving 476 

COCK-FIGHTING ------------------ 476 

BULL-RUNNING in the Town of STAMFORD ----------- 483 

ADDITIONS to VOL. I. ----------------- 486 



popular antiquities. 


A HERE was an antient custom, which is yet retained in many places, on 
New Year's Eve : young women went about with a Wassail Bowl of spiced 
ale *, with some sort of verses that were sung by them as they went from door 
to door. Wassail is derived from the Anglo-Saxon Fa3]- feael, be in health b . 

* " The Wassel Bowl," says Warton, " is Shakspeare's Gossips' Bowl in the Midsummer Night's 
Dream, act i. sc. 1. The composition was ale, nutmeg, sugar, toast, and roasted crabs or 
apples. It was also called Lambs' Wool." See Warton's edit, of Milton's Poems, Lond. 1785, 
8vo. p. 51, note. See also " Beggar's Bush," act. iv. sc. 4. 

" A massy bowl, to deck the jovial day, 

Flash'd from its ample round a sunlike ray. 

Full many a century it shone forth to grace 

The festive spirit of th' Andarton race, 

As, to the sons of sacred union dear, 

It welcomed with Lambs' Wool the rising year." 

Polwhele's Old English Gentleman, p. 117. 

b It appears from Thomas de la Moore (Vita Edw. II.) and old Havillan (in Architren. lib. 2), 
that Was-hailc and Drinc-heil were the usual antient phrases of quaffing among the English, and 
synonirnous with the " Come, here's to you," and " I'll pledge you," of the present day. 
VOL. I. B 


It were unnecessary to add, that they accepted little presents on the occasion 
from the houses at which they stopped to pay this annual congratulation. 

The learned Selden, in his Table-Talk (article Pope), gives a good descrip- 
tion of it : " The Pope," says he, " in sending relicks to Princes, does as 
wenches do to their Wassels at New Year's tide they present you with a cup, 
and you must drink of a slabby stuff, but the meaning is, You must give them 
money, ten times more than it is worth ." 

Verstcgan gives the subsequent etymology of Wassail : " As was is our verb of the preter- 
imperfect tense, or preter-perfect tense, signifying have been, so was, being the same verb in the 
imperative mood, and now pronounced Wax, is as much as to say grow, or become; and Woes- 
heal by corruption of pronunciation aftenvards came to be Wassail." Restitution of Decayed 
Intelligence, edit. Lond. 1653, 8vo. p. 101. 

Wasscl, however, is sometimes used for general riot, intemperance, or festivity. See Reed's 
edition of Shakspeare, edit. 1803, vol. x. p. 89; vol. xvii. p. 49. 

Ben Jonson personifies it thus : " Enter Wassel like a neat sempster and songster, her page 
bearing a brown bowl, drest with ribbands and rosemary, before her." 

A Wassel candle was a large candle lighted up at a feast. See Reed's Shakspeare, vol. xii. 
p. 36, note. 

e The following is a note of the same learned writer on the Polyolbion, song 9 : " I see," says 
he, " a custome in some parts among us : I mean the yearly Was-haile in the country on the 
vigil of the New Yeare, which I conjecture was a usuall ceremony among the Saxons before Hen- 
gist, as a note of health-wishing (and so perhaps you might make it Wish-heil), which was 
exprest among other nations in that form of drinking to the health of their mistresses and friends. 
" Bene vos, bene vos, bene te, bene me, bene nostram etiam Stephanium," in Plautus, and 
infinite other testimonies of that nature (in him, Martial, Ovid, Horace, and such more), agreeing 
nearly with the fashion now used : we calling it a health, as they did also in direct terms ; which, 
with an idol called Heil, antiently worshipped at Cerne in Dorsetshire, by the English Saxons, in 
name expresses both the ceremony of drinking and the New Yeare's acclamation, whereto in 
some parts of this kingdom is joyned also solemnity of drinking out of a cup, ritually composed, 
deckt, and filled with country liquor," &c. 
In Herrick's Hesperides, p. 146, we read, 

" Of Christmas sports, the WasseU Boule, 

That tost up, after Fox-i'-th'-Hole ; 

Of Blind-man-bttffe, and of the care 

That young men have to shooe the Mare: 

Of Ash-heapes, in the which ye use 

Husbands and wives by streakes to chuse: 

Of crackling laurel], which fore-sounds 

A plentious harvest to your grounds." 


In the Antiquarian Repertory (vol. i. p. 218, edit. 1775) is a wood-cut of 
a large oak beam, the antient support of a chimney-piece, on which is carved a 
large bowl, with this inscription on one side, " Wass-heil." 

The ingenious remarker on this representation observes, that it is the figure 
of the old Wassel-Bowl, so much the delight of our hardy ancestors, who on 
the vigil of the New Year never failed to assemble round the glowing hearth 
with their chearful neighbours, and then in the spicy Wassel-Bowl (which testi- 
fied the goodness of their hearts) drowned every former animosity, an example 
worthy modern imitation. fFassel was the word, IVassel every guest returned 
as he took the circling goblet from his friend, whilst song and civil mirth 
brought in the infant year. 

A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine (vol. LIV. for May 1784, p. 347) 
tells us, that " The drinking the Wassail Bowl or Cup was, in all probability, 
owing to keeping Christmas in the same manner they had before the Feast of 
Yule. There was nothing the Northern nations so much delighted in as ca- 
rousing ale, especially at this season, when fighting was over. It was likewise 
the custom, at all their feasts, for the master of the house to fill a large bowl or 
pitcher, and drink out of it first himself, and then give it to him that sat next, 
and so it went round. One custom more should be remembered; and this is, 
that it was usual some years ago, in Christmas time, for the poorer people to 
go from door to door with a Wassail Cup, adorned with ribbons, and a golden 
apple at the top, singing and begging money for it; the original of which was, 
that they also might procure lamb's wool to fill it, and regale themselves as 
well as the" rich d ." 

In Ritson's Antient Songs, Lond. 1790, 8vo, p. 304, is given " A Carrol 
for a Wassel Bowl, to be sung upon Twelfth Day at night to the tune of 
" Gallants, come away " from a collection of " New Christmas Carrols: be- 

d Milner, on an antient cup (Archseologia, vol. xi. p. 420), informs us, that " The introduction 
of Christianity amongst our ancestors did not at all contribute to the abolition of the practice of 
\vasselling. On the contrary, it began to assume a kind of religious aspect; and the Wassel Bowl 
itself, which in the great monasteries was placed on the Abbot's table, at the upper end of the Re- 
fectory or Eating Hall, to be circulated atiiong the community at his discretion, receiyed the 
honourable appellation of " Poculum Charitatis." This in our Universities is called the Grace- 

B 2 


ing fit also to be sung at Easter, Whitsontide, and other Festival Days in the 
year;" no date, 12mo, b. I. in the curious study of that ever to be respected 
antiquary Mr. Anthony a Wood, in the Ashmolean Museum. 

" A jolly Wassel-Bowl, 

A Wassel of good ale, 
Well fare the butler's soul, 

That setteth this to sale; 

Our jolly Wassel. 

Good Dame, here at your door 

Our Wassel we begin, 
We are all maidens poor, 

We pray now let us in, 

With our Wassel. 

Our Wassel we do fill 

With apples and with spice, 
Then grant us your good will 

To taste here once or twice 

Of our good Wassel. 

If any maidens be 

Here dwelling in this house, 
They kindly will agree 

To take a full carouse 

Of our Wassel. 

But here they let us stand 

All freezing in the cold ; 
Good master, give command, 

To enter and be bold, 

With our Wassel. 

Much joy into this hall 

With us is entred in, 
Our master first of all, 

We hope will now begin, 
Of our Wassel ; 


And after his good wife 
Our spiced bowl will try, 

The Lord prolong your life, 
Good fortune we espy, 

For our Wassel. 

Some bounty from your hands, 
Our Wassel to maintain : 

We'll buy no house nor lands 
With that which we do gain, 
With our Wassel. 

This is our merry night 

Of choosing King and Queen, 
Then be it your delight 

That something may be seen 
In our Wassel. 

It is a noble part 

To bear a liberal mind, 
God bless our master's heart, 

For here we comfort find, 

With our Wassel. 

And now we must be gone, 
To seek out more good cheer; 

Where bounty will be shown, 
As we have found it here, 

With our Wassel. 

Much joy betide them all, 
Our prayers shall be still, 

We hope and ever shall, 

For this your great good will, 
To our Wassel 8 ." 

* Macaulay, in his History and Antiquities of Claybrook in Leicestershire, 8vo. Land. 1791, 
p. 131, observes : " Old John Payne and his wife, natives of this parish, are well known from 
having perambulated the Hundred of Guthlaxton many years, during the season of Christmas, 
with a fine gew-gaw which they call a Wassail, and which they exhibit from house to house, with 


In the Collection of Ordinances for the Royal Household, published by 
the Society of Antiquaries, we have some account of the ceremony of Wassel- 
ling, as it was practised at Court, on Twelfth Night, in the reign of Henry the 
Seventh f . From these we learn that the antient custom of pledging each other 
out of the same cup, had now given place to the more elegant practice of each 
person having his cup, and that " When the steward came in at the doore with 
theWassel, he was to crie three tymes, Wassel, Wassel, Wassel; and then 
the chappell (the chaplain) was to answere with a songe." 

The subsequent Wassailers' song on New Year's eve, as still sung in Glou- 
cestershire, was communicated by Samuel Lysons, esq. N. B. The Wassailers 
bring with them a great bowl, dressed up with garlands and ribbons. 

"Wassail! Wassail! all over the town, 
Our toast it is white, our ale it is brown : 
Our bowl it is made of a maplin tree, 
We be good fellows all; I drink to thee. 

Here's to * * * * s, and to his right ear, 
God send our maister a happy New Year; 
A happy New Year as e'er he did see 
With my Wassailing Bowl I drink to thee. 

Here's to * * * *i>, and to his right eye, 
God send our mistress a good Christmas pye : 
A good Christmas pye as e'er I did see 
With my Wassailing Bowl I drink to thee. 

the accompaniment of a duet. I apprehend that the practice of Wassailing will die with this aged 
pair. We are by no means so tenacious of old usages and diversions in this country, as they are 
in many other parts of the world." 

f See Milner on an antient cup, Arclweologia, vol. xi. p. 423. 

Under "Twelfth Day," an account will be found of the Wassailing ceremonies peculiar to that 

At these times the fare in other respects was better than usual, and, in particular, a finer kind 
of bread was provided, which was, on that account, called Wassel-bread. Lowth, in his Life of 
William of Wykeham, derives this name from the Wastellum or Vessel in which he supposes the 
bread to have been made. See Milner, ut supra, p. 421. 

The name of some horse. k The name of another horse. 


Here's to Filpail 1 , and to her long tail, 
God send our measter us never may fail 
Of a cup of good beer, I pray you draw near, 
And then you shall hear our jolly Wassail. 

Be here any maids, I suppose here be some ; 

Sure they will not let young men stand on the cold stone ; 

Sing hey O maids, come trole back the pin, 

And the fairest maid in the house, let us all in. 

Come, butler, come bring us a bowl of the best : 
I hope your soul in Heaven will rest : 
But if you do bring us a bowl of the small, 
Then down fall butler, bowl, and all." 

Hutchinson, in his History of Cumberland, vol. i. p. 570, speaking of the 
parish of Muncaster, under the head of "Ancient Custom," informs us: " On 
the eve of the New Year, the children go from house to house, singing a ditty 
which craves the bounty ' they were wont to have in old King Edward's days. 1 
There is no tradition whence this custom rose ; the donation is two-pence, or a 
pye at every house. We have to lament that so negligent are the people of 
the morals of youth, that great part of this annual salutation is obscene, and 
offensive to chaste ears. It certainly has been derived from the vile orgies of 

In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, Edinb. 1794, 8vo. 
vol. xii. p. 458, the minister of Kirkmichael, in the county of Banff, under 
the head of Superstitions, &c. tells us : " On the first night of January, they 
observe, with anxious attention, the disposition of the atmosphere. As it is 
calm or boisterous; as the wind blows from the S. or the N. ; from the E. or 
the W. ; they prognosticate the nature of the weather till the conclusion of the 
year. The first night of the New Year, when the wind blows from the West, 
they call dar-na-coille, the night of the fecundation of the trees; and from 
this circumstance has been derived the name of that night in the Gaelic lan- 

1 The name of a cow. 


guage. Their faith in the above signs is couched in verses (thus translated) : 
The wind of the S. will be productive of heat and fertility; the wind of the W. 
of milk and fish; the wind from the N. of cold and storm; the wind from the 
E. of fruit on the trees." 

In the Dialogue of Dives and Pauper, printed by Richard Pynson, in 1493, 
(fol. signal. E2) among the Superstitions then in use at the beginning of the 
year, the following is mentioned : " Alle that take hede to dysmale dayes, or 
use nyce observaunces in the newe moone, or in the New Fere, as setting of 
mete or drynke, by nighte on the benche, tofede Alholde or Gobelyn" 


" Froze January, leader of the year, 

Minced pies in van, and calf's head in the rear a." 


AS the vulgar, says Bourne, are always very careful to end the old year 
well, so they are no less solicitous of making a good beginning of the new one. 
The old one is ended with a hearty compotation. The new one is opened with 
the custom of sending presents b , which are termed New Year's Gifts, to 
friends and acquaintance. He resolves both customs into superstitions, as 
being observed that the succeeding year ought to be prosperous and suc- 

" Alluding to an annual insult offered on the 30th of January to the memory of the unfortunate 
Charles I. 

b I find the New Year's Gift thus described in a poem cited in Poole's English Parnassus, voce 

January : 

" 1 he king of light, father' of aged Time, 

Hath brought about that day which is the prime 
To the slow gliding months, when every eye 
Wears symptoms of a sober jollity; 
And every hand is ready to present 
Some service in a real compliment. 


Bishop Stillingfleet observes 6 , that among the Saxons of the Northern 
nations, the Feast of the New Year was observed with more than ordinary 
jollity : thence, as Olaus Wormius and Scheffer observe, they reckoned their 

Whilst some in golden letters write their love, 

Some speak affection by a ring or glove, 

Or pins and points (for ev'n the Peasant may. 

After his mder fashion, be as gay 

As the brisk courtly Sir), and thinks that he 

Cannot, without gross absurdity, 

Be this day frugal, and not spare his friend 

Some gift, to shew his love iinrls not an end 

With the deceased year." 

From the subsequent passage in Bishop Hall's Virgidemiarum, 16'mo. Lond. 1598, it should 
eem that the usual New Year's Gift of tenantry in the country to their landlords, was a Capon. 

" Yet must he haunt his greedy landlord's hall 

With often presents at ech festiuall; 

With crammed Capons every New Yeare's morne, 

Or with greene cheeses when his sheepe are shorne, 

Or many maunds-full of his mellow fruite," &c. 

Book v. Sat. I. 
So, in " A Lecture to the People, by Abraham Cowley, 4to. Lond. 1 673. 

" Ye used in the former days to fall 

Prostrate unto your landlord in his hall, 

When with low legs, and in an humble guise, 

Ye offer'd up a Capon-sacrifice 

Unto his worship at a New Year's Tide." 

An Orange stuck with cloves appears to have been a New Year's Gift. So Ben Jonson, in his 
Christmas Masque : " He has an Orange and rosemary, but not a clove to stick in it." A gilr 
nutmeg is mentioned in the same piece, and on the same occasion. The use, however, of the 
orange stuck with cloves may be ascertained from " The Seconde Booke of Notable Things," by 
Thomas Lupton, 4to. 4. 1. " Wyrie wyll be pleasant in taste and savour, if an orenge or a lynion 
(stickt round about with cloaves) be hanged within the vessel that it touch not the wyne : and so 
the wyne wyll be preserved from foystiness and evyll savor." Reed's edition of Shakspeare, 
(Love's Labour's Lost) vol. vii. p. 191. The quarto edit, of Love's Labour's Lost, 1598, reads 
" A gift nutmeg." 

In Stephens's Characters, 8vo. Lond. 1631, p. "2.93, "Like an inscription with a fat goose 
against New Year's Tide." 

c Orig. Brit. p. 343. 
VOL. I. C, 


age by so many Iolas d ; and Snorro Sturleson describes this New Year's 
Feast, just as Buchannan sets out the British Saturnalia, by feasting and send- 
ing presents or New Year's Gifts, to one another. 

The poet Naogeorgus is cited by Hospinian, as telling us, that it was 
usual in his time for friends to present each other with a New Year's Gift; 
for the husband to give one to his wife ; parents to their children ; and mas- 
ters to their servants; &c. a custom derived to the Christian world from 
the times of Gentilistn c . The superstition condemned in this by the antient 

a Tola in the Gothick language signifies to make merry. Stillingfleet, ibid. 

There is a curious account of the manner in which the Romans passed their New Year's Day, 
in Libanius's Ekphrasin. Kalendr. p. 178 ; edit. 1606. 

In Westmorland and Cumberland, " early on the morning of the first of January, the Faex 
Populi assemble together, carrying stangs and baskets. Any inhabitant, stranger, or whoever 
joins not this ruffian tribe in sacrificing to their favourite saint-day, if unfortunate enough to 
be met by any of the band, is immediately mounted across the stang (if a woman, she is basketed), 
and carried, shoulder height, to the nearest public-house, where the payment of sixpence imme- 
diately liberates the prisoner." " None, though ever so industriously inclined, are permitted to 
follow their respective avocations on that day." Gent. Mag. 1791, p. 1169. 

" It seems it was a custom at Rome, upon New Year's Day, for all tradesmen to work a little 
in their business by way of omen; for luck's sake, as we say, that they might have constant 
business all the year after." Massey's Notes on Ovid's Fasti, p. 14. He translates the passage in 
his author thus : 

" With business is the year auspiciously begun ; 
But every artist, soon as he has try'd 
To work a little, lays his work aside." 

c Concerning the practice of giving presents on New Year's Day among the Romans, see 
Laurentii Polymathia, Suetonius, and Pabiuiicr Recherches, p. 375. 

" De his Ritibus ct Consuetudinibus Thomas Nageorgus, libro 4, Regni Papistic), ita cecinit. 
" Post caesis Jani tribuuntur dona calendis 
Atque etiam Strena; chaiis mittuntur amicis: 
Conjugibusque viri donant, gratisque parentes, 
Et domini famulis, anni felixque precantur 
Principium Gentis Pagano more togatae. 
Debita nemo petit totis his octo diebus, 
Selectisque onerant dapibus, mensasque, focumque 
Paneque vescuntur miro, magnisque placentis. 
l-udunt, compotant, ineunt comma Iseti: 


fathers f , lay in the idea of these gifts being considered as omens of success 
for the ensuing year. In this sense also, and in this sense alone, could they have 

Ut si fortassis csepto moriantur in anno, 
Se tamen explerint prius, antequamque novarint 
Hoc modo amicitiam." 

Hospinian observes upon this : " Et sic quidem annum veterem terminamus, novumque 
auspicamur, in auspicatis prorsus dirisque auspiciis. Adeoque belle Gregorii M. consilio paremus 
qui Paganorum festa sensim in Christiana festa commutanda, et quaedam ad similitudinem 
facienda esse voluit. Lib. 9, ca. 71-" Hospinian de Origine Fest. Christ, fol. 32. 

I find the following in Delrio's Disquisitiones Magicae (lib. iii. p. 2, quest. 4, sect. 5, edit. 4to. 
Yen. 1616, p. 4CO) : " Potest nonnunquam vana observantia contingere in Strenis primo anni 
die dandis. Solebant Etlmici Kalendas Januarii (ut decent Sueton. et Ovid.) magna solennitate 
celebrare, in honorem Jani et inter caetera tune invicem dare strenas, in omen sive precationem 
bonam anni prospere decursuri, vel aliorum multorum adjiciendorum, nam dicta quasi trena, et 
ternarius perfecturis, atque plenitudinis judex, ed quod tria sint omnia Aristoteli." 

Hospinian has another curious passage on this subject ; adding, that at Rome on New Year's 
Day, no one would suffer a neighbour to take fire out of his house, or any thing of iron, or lend any 
thing. " Bonifacius Germanorum Apostolus ad Zachariam Papam scripsit, venisse ad se qui 
dixerint, se vidisse annis singulis in ipsa urbe Roma, et juxta Ecclesiam S. Petri in die nocteque 
Calendarum Januar. paganorum consuetudine chorps ducere per plateas et acclamationes ritu 
Gentilium, et cantationes sacrilegas celebrare, mensasque ilia die vel nocte dapibus oncrare, et 
nullum de domo sua ignem, vel ferramentum, vel illiquid commodi vicino suo praestare velle : nee 
id Zacharias negavit." Hospinian, ut supra, fol. 32. 

The following is Barnabe Googe's translation of what relates to New Year's Day in Naogeorgus : 
better known by the name of " The Popish Kingdom," 4to. Lond. l. r >70, b. I. 
" The next to this is New Yeare's Day, whereon to every frende 
They costly presents in do bring, and Newe Yeare's Giftes do sende, 
These giftes the husband gives his wife, and father eke the childc, 
And maister on his men bestowes the like, with favour milde ; 
And good beginning of the yeare they wishe and wishe againe, 
According to the auncient guise of heathen people vaine. 
These eight days no man doth require his dettes of any man, 
Their tables do they furnish out with all the meate they can : 
With marchpaynes, tartes, and custards great, they drink with staring eyes, 
They rowte and revell, fecde and feaste, as merry all as pyes : 
As if they should at th' entrance of this New Yeare hap to die, 
Yet would they have their bellies full, and auncient friends allie." Fol. 45. b. 

f " C itatur locus ex Augustino, in quo praecipjtur, ne observentur Calendar Januarii, in quibus 
Cantilenas quaedam, et Commessationes, et ad invicem dona donentur, quasi in principio anni. 
boni fali augurio." Hosp. de Fest. Qrig. fol. 32 b. 


censured the benevolent compliment of wishing each other a happy New Year. 
The latter has been adopted by the modern Jews, who on the first day of 

" In Calendas Januarias Antiqui Patrcs vehementius invehebantur, non propter istas Missita- 
tiones ad invicem et mutui Amoris pignora, sed propter diem Idolis dicatum: propter ritus 
quosdam profanes et sacrileges in ilia solemnitate adhibitos." Mountacut. Orig. Eccles. Pars 
prior, p. 128. 

Johannes Boemus Aubanus tells us, " Calendis Januarii, quo temporc et annus et omnis 
computatio nostra inchoatur, Cognatus Cognatum, Amicus Amicum accedunt, et consertis 
manibus invicem in novum Annum prosperitatem imprecantur, diemque ilium festiva congratu- 
latione et compotatione dedecant. Tune etiam ex avita consuetudine ultro citroque munera 
mittuntur, qua a Saturnalibus, quae eo tempore celebrantur a Pvomanis, Saturnalitia, a Gnecis 
Apophoreta dicta sunt. Hiinc niorem anno superior! ego ita versificavi. 

"Christe Patris Verbum, &c. 
Natalemque tuum celebrantes octo diebus, 

Concinimus laudem, perpetuumque decus. 
Atque tuo exemplo moniti munuscula notis, 

Aut caprum pinguem mittimus, aut leporem, 
Aut his liba damus signis et imagine pressa, 

Mittimus aut calathis aurea mala decem. 
Aurea mala decem, buxo cristata virenti, 

Et variis cans rebus aromaticis." P. 265. 

Pope Zecharias's Introduction on this head occurs in the Convivial Antiquities : " Si quis 
Calendas Januarii ritu Ethnicorum colere, et aliquid plus novi facere propter novum annum, aut 
Mensas cum lampadibus, vel Epulas in domibus praparare, et per vicos et plateas Cantatores et 
Choreas ducere ausus fuerit, Anathema sit." P. 126. 

Mr. Pennant tells us, that the Highlanders, on New Year's Day, burn juniper before their 
cattle ; and on the first Monday in every quarter, sprinkle them with urine. 

The Festival of Fools at Paris, held on this day, continued for two hundred and forty years, 
when every kind of absurdity and indecency was committed. 

At this instant, a little before twelve o'clock, on New Year's Eve, 1794, the bells in London 
are ringing in the New Year, as they call it. 

In Scotland, upon the last day of the Old Year, the children go about from door to door asking 
for bread and cheese, which they call Nog-Money, in these words : 

" Get up, gude wife, and binno sweir, (i. e. be not lazy) 
And deal your cakes and cheese, while you are here; 
For the time will come when ye'll be dead, 
And neither need your cheese nor bread." 

It appears from several passages in Mr. Nichols's Queen Elizabeth's Progresses, that it was an- 
tiently a custom at Court, at this season, both for the sovereigns to receive and giveNew Year's Gifts. 
In the preface, p. 28, we read, " The only remains of this custom at Court now is, that the two 
chaplains in waiting, on New Year's Day, have each a crown-piece laid under their plates at dinner." 


the month Tisri, have a splendid entertainment, and wish each other a happy 
New Years. 

Dr. Moresin tells us that in Scotland it was in his time the custom to send 
New Year's Gifts on New Year's Eve, but that on New Year's Day they 
wished each other a happy day, and asked a New Year's Gift h . 

I believe it is still usual in Northumberland for persons to ask for a New 
Year's Gift on that day. 

It appears from a curious MS. in the British Museum, of the date of 15GO, 
that the boys of Eton school used on the day of the Circumcision, at that time, 
to play for little New Year's Gifts before and after supper : and that the boys 
had a custom that day, for good luck's sake, of making verses, and sending 
them to the Provost, Masters, &c. as also of presenting them to each other '. 

In a curious manuscript, lettered on the back " Publick Revenue, Anno Quinto regni Edwardi 
Sexti," I find, " Rewards given on New Year's Day, that is to say to the King's officers and 
servants of ordinary, sl&5. 5s., and to their servants that present the King's Ma tie with New 
Year's Gifts." The custom, however, is in part of a date considerably older than the time of 
Edward the Sixth. Hemy the Third, according to Matt. Paris, appears to have extorted New 
Year's Gifts from his subjects " Rex autem regalis magnificentiae tenninos impudenter trans- 
grediens, a Civibus Londinensibus quos novit ditiores, die circumcisionis dominicae, a quolibet 
exegit singulatim primitiva, quae vulgares Nova Dona Novi Anni superstitiose solent appellare." 
Matt. Paris, an. 1249, p. 757, ed. Watts, fol. 1641. 

f The month Tisri, according to their civil computation, was their first month} so that feast 
may be termed their New Year's Day. Goodwin's Antiq. lib. iii. cap. 7. 

" Reperiunt mensam dulcissimis cibis instructam: Ei cum assedcrint quivis partem de cibis illis 
sumit, et annus, inquit, bonus et dulcis sit nobis omnibus." Hospinian de Fest. Orig. 

h " Ex avita consuetudine ultro citroque munera mittuntur. Scoli hoc ccremonite facere sunt 
soliti pridie Novi Anni ad Vesperam, tain Juvenes quam Senes, canentes se esse famulitium 
Divae Marise. Postridie vero illius diei faustum quisque diem alteri precatus, petit Strenam." 
Papatus, p. 107-8. 

1 In die Circumcisionis luditur et ante et post ccenam pro Strenulis. Pueri autem pro consue- 
tudine ipso Calendarum Januariarum die, velut ominis boni gratia, carmina componunt, eaque 
vel Praeposito vel Praeceptori et Magistris vel inter se ultro citroque communiter mittunt." 
Status Scholae Etonensis, A. D. 1560. MS. Brit. Mus. Donat. 4843, fol. 423. 

The very ingenious Scottish writer, Buchanan, presented to the unfortunate Mary, Queen of 
Scots, one of the above poetical kind of New Year's Gifts. History is silent concerning the man- 
ner in which her Majesty received it : 


Sir Thomas Overbury, in his Characters, speaking of '" a Timist," says, that 
" his New Yeare's Gifts are ready at Alhalomas, and the Sute he meant to 
meditate before them." 

" Gevyng of New Yeare's Giftes had its original there likewyse (in old Rome), 
for Suetonius Tranquillns reporteth that the Knights of Rome gave yerely, on 
the calendes of January, a present to Augustus Cresar, although he were ab- 
sent. Whiche custom remayneth in England, for the subjects sende to their 
superiours, and the noble personages geve to the Kynge some great gyftes, and 
he to gratifye their kyndnesse doeth liberally rewarde them with some thyng 
again." Langley's Polydore Vergil, fol. 102. 

The title-page of a most rare tract in my library, intitled " Motives grounded 
upon the word of God, and upon honour, profit, and pleasure, for the present 
founding an University in the Metropolis, London; with Answers to such 
Objections as might be made by any (in their incogitancy) against the same;" 
printed at London, 1647, quarto, runs thus: " Humbly presented [instead oj 
heathenish and superstitious New Yearns Gifts] to the Right Honourable the 
Lord Mayor, the right worshipfull the Aldermen his brethren, and to those 
faithful and prudent Citizens which were lately chosen by the said City to be 
of the Common Counsell thereof for this yeare insueng, viz. 1647; by a true 
Lover of his Nation, and especially of the said City." 

In another rare tract, of an earlier date, intitled "Vox Graculi," (4to, 1623) 
p. 49, is the following, under " January." 

" This month drink you no wine commixt with dregs ; 
Eate capons, and fat hens, with dumpling legs. 

" The first day of January being raw, colde, and comfortlesse to such as 
have lost their money at dice at one of the Temples over-night, strange appa- 
ritions are like to be scene : Marchpanes inarching betwixt Leaden-hall and 
the little Conduit in Cheape, in such aboundance that an hundred good 
fellowes may sooner starve then catch a corner, or a comfit to sweeten their 

Do quod adest : opto quod abest tibi, dona darentur 

Aurea, sors anirao si foret sequa meo. 
Hoc leve si credis, paribus me ulciscere donis: 

Et quod abest opta tu mihi: da quod adest." 


" It is also to be feared, that through frailty, if a slip be made on the mes- 
senger's default that carries them, for non-delivery at the place appointed ; that 
unlesse the said messenger be not the more inward with his mistris, his 
master will give him rib-rost for his New Yeare's Gift the next morning. 

" This day shall be given many more gifts then shall be asked for, and 
apples, egges, and orenges, shall be lifted to a lofty rate; when a pome-water 
bestucke with a few rotten cloves, shall be more worth than the honesty of an 
hypocrite; and halfe a dozen of egges of more estimation than the vowes of a 
strumpet. Poets this day shall get mightily by their pamphlets: for an hundred 
of elaborate lines shall be lesse esteemed in London, then an hundred of Wai- 
fleet oysters at Cambridge." 

In the Monthly Miscellany for December 1692, there is an Essay on New 
Year'sGifts, which states, that the Romans were "great observers of the custom 
of New Year's Gifts, even when their year consisted only of ten months, of 
thirty-six days each, and began in March ; also when January and February 
were added by Numa to the ten others, the calends or first of January were the 
time on which they made presents: and even Romulus and Tatius made an 
order that every year Vervine should be offered to them with other gifts, as 
tokens of good fortune for the New Year. Tacitus makes mention of an 
order of Tiberius, forbidding the giving or demanding of New Year's Gifts, 
unless it were on the calends of January; at which time, as well the senators as 
the knights and other great men, brought gifts to the emperor, and in his 
absence, to the capitol. The antient Druids, with great ceremonies, used to 
scrape off from the outside of oaks the misledcn, which they consecrated to 
their great Tutates, and then distributed it to the people thro' the Gauls, 
on account of the great virtues which they attributed to it ; from whence New 
Year's Gifts are still called in some parts of France, Guy-Van-neuf. Our 
English nobility, every New Year's tide, still send to the King a purse with 
gold in it. Reason may be joined to custom to justify the practice; for as ( 
presages are drawn from the first things which are met on the beginning of a 
day, week, or year, none can be more pleasing than of those things that are 
given us. We rejoice with our friends after having escaped the dangers that 
attend every year; and congratulate each other for the future by presents and 
wishes for the happy continuance of that course, which the ancients called 
Strenarum Commercium, And as formerly men used to renew their hospitalities 


by presents, called Xema, a name proper enough for our New Year's Gifts, 
they may be said to serve to renew friendship, which is one of the greatest gifts 
imparted by Heaven to men: and they, who have always assigned some day to 
those things which they thought good, have also judged it proper to solemnize 
the Festival of Gifts, and to shew how much they esteemed it, in token of 
happiness, made it begin the year. The value of the thing given, or, if it is 
a thing of small worth, its novelty, or the excellency of the work, and the place 
where it is given, makes it the more acceptable, but above all, the time of 
giving it, which makes some presents pass for a mark of civility on the begin- 
ning of the year, that would appear unsuitable in another season." 

Prynne, in his Histrio-Mastix, p. 755, has the following most severe invective 
against the Rites of New Years Day. 

" If we now parallel our grand disorderly Christmasses with these Roman 
Saturnals and heathen festivals ; or our New Yearns Day (a chiefe part of 
Christmas) with their festivity of Janus, which was spent in mummeries, stage- 
playes, dancing, and such like enterludes, wherein fidlers and others acted 
lascivious effeminate parts, and went about their towns and cities in women's 
apparrell : whence the whole catholicke church (as Alchuvinus, with others write) 
appointed a solemn publike fastc upon this our New Yeare's Day (which fast it 
seems is now forgotten,) to bewaile those heathenish enterludes, sports, and lewd 
idolatrous practices which had been used on it: prohibiting all Christians, under 
pain of excommunication, from observing the calends, orjirst of January (which 
wee now call New Yeare's Day) as holy, and from sending abroad Neiv Yeare's 
Gifts upon it, (a custome now too frequent ;) it being a meere relique of 
paganisme and idolatry, derived from the heathen Romans' feast of two- 
faced, Janus, and a practise so execrable unto Christians, that not onely the 
whole catholicke church, but even the four famous Councels of", &c. &c. (Here 
he makes a great parade of authorities) " have positively prohibited the solem- 
nization of New Yeare's Day, and the sending abroad of New Yeare's Gifts, 
under an anathema and excommunication" 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, Edinb. 1793, 8vo. vol. vii. p. 488, 
Parishes of Cross, Burness, Sec. County of Orkney, New Year's Gifts occur, 
under the title of " Christinas Present," and as given to servant maids by their 
masters. Ibid, p. 48$, we read, " There is a large stone, about nine or ten feet 
Ijigh, and four broad, placed upright in a plain, in the isle of North Roimldshay; 


but no tradition is preserved concerning it, whether erected in memory of any 
signal event, or for the purpose of administering justice, or for religious wor- 
ship. The writer of this (the parish priest) has seen fifty of the inhabitants 
assembled there, on the first day of the year, and dancing with moon-light, 
with no other music than their own singing." 

In the same Statistical Account of Scotland, Svo, Edinb. 1795, vol. xv. 
p. 201, note, the minister of Tillicoultry, in the county of Clackmannan, 
under the head of Diseases, says, " It is worth mentioning that one William 
Hunter, a collier, was cured in the year 1758, of an inveterate rheumatism 
or gout, by drinking freely of new ale, full of barm or yest. The poor man 
had been confined to his bed for a year and a half, having almost entirely lost 
the use of his limbs. On the evening of HANDSEL MONDAY, as it is called, 
(i. e. the first Monday of the New Year, O. S.) some of his neighbours came 
to make merry with him. Though he could not rise, yet he always took his 
share of the ale, as it passed round the company, and, in the end, became 
much intoxicated. The consequence was, that he had the use of his limbs 
the next morning, and was able to walk about. He lived more than twenty 
years after this, and never had the smallest return of his old complaint." 

Ibid, vol. v. p. 66. The minister of Moulin, in Perthshire, informs us, that 
" beside the stated fees, the master (of the parochial school there) receives 
some small gratuity, generally two-pence or three-pence from each scholar, on 
Handsel- Monday, or Shrove-Tuesday ." 

" De V Usage dc donner des CEufs dans les Fetes de Nouvel An et de Paques, 

et son Origine. 

" C'e'toit un usage commun a tous les peuples agricoles d' Europe et d'Asie 
de ce'le'brer la Fete du Nouvel An en mangeant des CEufs ; et les CEufs fai- 
soient partie des presens qu'on s'envoyoit ce jour-la. On avoit meme soin de 
les teindre en plusieurs couleurs, sur-tout en rouge, couleur favorite des 
anciens peuples, et des Celtes en particulier. 

" Mais la Fdte du Nouvel An se ce'lebroit, comme nous 1'avons vu, a 1'equinoxe 
du Printems, c'est-a-dire, au terns ou les Chretiens ne ce'le'brent plus que la 
F4te de Pdques, tandis qu'ils ont transporte le Nouvel An au Solstice d'Hyver. 
II est arrive de-la que la Fdte des CEufs a etc" attachee chez eux a la Pdques, 
et qu'on rien a plus donne"e au Nouvel An, 

VOL. i. D 


"Cependant ce ne fut pas le simple effet de 1'habitude; mais parce qu'on 
attachoit a la Fete de Paques les memes prerogatives qu'au Nouvel An, celles 
d'etre un renouvellement de toutes choses, comme chez les Persans ; et celles 
d'etre d'abord le triomphe du Soldi physique, et ensuite celui du Soleil de 
Justice, du Sauveur du Monde, sur la mart, par sa resurrection. 

" Ainsi tout ce que nous aurons a dire sur cet usage, aura dgalement pour 
objet, et la Pdques et le Nouvel An, ces fetes s'etant presque toujours con- 
fondues, et pour le temps, et pour les motifs. Nous voyons, par exemple, 
dans les Voyages de Corneille le Bruyn (torn. i. in fol. p. 191), que le 20 Mars, 
1704, les Perses cel^brerent la Fdte du Nouvel An Solaire, qui dura, selon 
lui, plusieurs jours, en se donnant entr'autres choses des (Eufs colores" 

Monde Primitif, par M. Court de Gebelin, tome iv. 4to. Paris, 1787* p. 251. 

Maurice, Bishop of Paris in the twelfth century, has left us a curious Sermon, 
in which, speaking of New Year's Day, he says : " Hui suelent entendre a 
malvais gens faire et mettent lor creance en Estrennes, et disoient que non 
resteroit riches en 1'An s'il restoit hui Estrennes." See Le Boeuf Divers Ecrits, 
&c. torn. i. p. 307. 

Upon the Circumcision, or New Year's Day, the early Christians ran about 
masked, in imitation of the superstitions of the Gentiles. Against this practice 
Saint Maximus and Peter Chrysologus declaimed ; whence in some of the very 
antient missals we find written in the Mass for this day, " Missa ad prohi- 
bendum ab Idolis." See Maeri Hiero-Lexicon, p. 156'. 


THIS day, which is well known to be called the Twelfth, from its being the 
twelfth in number from the Nativity, is called also the Feast of the Epiphany, 
from a Greek word signifying manifestation, from our Lord's having been on 
that day made manifest to the Gentiles. This, as Bourne observes*, is one of 

Chap. xvii. " With some," he tells us, " Christmas ends with the twelve days, but with the 
generality of the vulgar, not till Candlemas." Dugdale, in his Origines Juridiciales, p. 286, 
speaking of "Orders for Government Gray's Inne," cites an order of 4 Car. I. (Nov. 17) that 


the greatest of the twelve, and of more jovial observation for the visiting of 
friends, and Christmas gambols b . 

The customs of this day, various in different countries, yet agree in the 
same end, that is, to do honour to the Eastern Magi e , who are supposed to 
have been of royal dignity. In France, while that country had a Court and 
King, one of the courtiers was chosen king, and the other nobles attended on 
this day at an entertainment d . 

" all playing at dice, cards, or otherwise, in the hall, buttry, or butler's chamber, should be 
thenceforth barred and forbidden at all times of the year, the TWENTY days in Christmas onely 

h The following extract from Collier's Ecclesiastical History, vol. i. p. 163, seems to account in 
at satisfactory manner for the name of Twelfth Day. " In the days of King Alfred, a law was 
made with relation to holidays, by virtue of which the twelve days after the Nativity of our 
Saviour were made Festivals." 

From the subsequent passage in Bishop Hall's Virgidemiarum, 12mo, Lond. 1598, p. 67, the 
whole twelve days appear to have been dedicated to feasting and jollity. 

" Except the Twelve Days, or the wake-day feast, 
What time he needs must be his cosen's guest." 

" Atque ab ipso natali Jestu Christ! die ad octavam usque ab Epiphania lucem, jejunia nemo 
observato, nisi quidem judicio ac voluntate fecerit sua, aut id ei fuerit a sacerdote imperatum." 
Seld. Analecton Aiiglo-Britannicon, lib. ii. p. 108. 

e " Of these Magi, or Sages (vulgarly called the three Kings of Colen), the first named Mel- 
chior, an aged man with a long beard, offered gold: the second, Jasper, a beardless youth, 
offered frankincense: the third, Balthasar, a black or Moor, with a large spreading beard, 
offered myrrh : according to this distich : 

" Tres Reges Regi Regum tria dona ferebant ; 
Myrrham Homini, Uncto Aurum, Thura dedere Deo." 

Festa Anglo-Romana, p. 7- 

The dedication of " The Bee-hive of the Romish Church," concludes thus : " Datum in our 

Musaeo the 5 of January, being the even of the three Kings of Collen, at which time all good 

Catholiks make merry and crie, 'The King drinkes.' In anno 1569. Isaac Rabbolence, of Loven." 

Selden, in his Table-Talk, p. 20, says, " Our chusing Kings and Queens on Twelfth-Night has 

reference to the three Kings." 

* At the end of the year 1792, the Council-general of the Commons at Paris passed an arret, in 
consequence of which " La Fete de Rois" (Twelfth Day) was thenceforth to be called " La Fete 
de Sans-Culottes." It was called an anti-civic feast, which made every priest that kept it a 

There is a very curious account in Le Roux Dictionnaire Comique, torn. ii. p. 431, of the 
French ceremony of the" Roi de la Feve," which explains Jordaen's fine picture of " Le Roi boit." 


In Germany they observed nearly the same rites in cities and academies, 
where the students and citizens chose one of their own number for King, pro- 
viding a most magnificent banquet on the occasion e . 

The chusing of a person King or Queen f by a bean found in a piece of a 
divided cake, was formerly a common Christmas gambol in both the English 

See an account of this custom in Busalde de Verville Palais des Curieux, edit. 1612, p. 9O. See 
also Pasquier Recherches de la France, p. 375. 

Among the Cries of Paris, a poem composed by Guillaume de Villeneuve -in the thirteenth 
century, and printed at the end of Barbasan Ordene de Chevalerie, Beans for Twelfth Day are 
mentioned: " Gastel a feve orrois crier." ;_,!, 

To the account given by Le Roux of the French way of chusing King and Queen, may be 
added, that in Normandy they place a child under the table, which is covered in such a manner 
with the cloth that he cannot see what is doing ; and when the cake is divided, one of the com- 
pany taking up the first piece, cries out, " Fabe Domini pour qui ?" The child answers, " Pour 
le bon Dieu :" and in this manner the pieces are allotted to the company. If the bean be found 
in the piece for the " bon Dieu," the King is chosen by drawing long or short straws. Whoever 
gets the Bean chuses the King or Queen, according as it happens to be a man or woman. 

Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty, in his curious work, entitled " The Discovery of a most 
exquisite Jewel, found in the Kennel of Worcester Streets, the day after the Fight, 1651," says, 
p. 237, " Verily, I think they make use of Kings as the French on the Epiphany-day use their 
Roy de la fehve, or King of the Bean ; whom after they have honoured with drinking of his health, 
and shouting aloud " LeRoy boit, Le Roy boit," they make pay for all the reckoning; not leaving 
him sometimes one peny, rather than that the exorbitancie of their Debosh should not be satisfied 
to the full." In a curious book, entitled " A World of Wonders," fol. Lond. 1607, we read, 
p. 189, of a Curate, " who having taken his preparations over evening, when all men cry (as the 
manner is) the King drmfceth, chanting his Masse the next morning, fell asleep in his Memento : 
and when he awoke, added with a loud voice, The King drinketh." 

" Quia vero creditum fuit Magos hos Reges fuisse, propterea in honorcm et memoriam eorum 
varii ritus hac die hinc inde observantur. In Gallia unus ex ministiis aulicis Regis eligitur Rex, 
cui Rex ipse, ca;terique proceres inter epulandum ministrant. Idem etiam in Germania observatur 
hoc die per Academias et Urbes a studiosis et civibus : ut nimirum aliquem ex sese Regem sorte 
creent, cui apparatur convivium magnificum, in quo caeteri ipsi tanquam Regi, et simul hospiti 
ministrant. Fit hoc ad imitationem Gentilium. Apud Romanos enim Saturnaliorum diebus 
inoris fuit, ut domini famulos suos convivio exciperent, ipsique Servorum officio fungerentur. 
Idem etiam apud alias Gentes usurpatum fuit." Hospinian de Orig. Festorum Christian, fol. 35 b. 

f Thomas Randolph, in a curious letter to Dudley, Lord Leicester, dated Edin. 15 Jan, 
1563, mentions Lady Flemyng being " Queene of the Beene" on Twelfth Day. Pinkerton's 
Ancient Scot. Poems, vol. ii. p. 431. 


In the ancient calendar of the Romish church, I find an observation on the 
fifth day of January, the eve or vigil of the Epiphany, " Kings created or 
elected by beans." The sixth is called " The Festival of Kings," with this 
additional remark, " that this ceremony of electing Kings was continued with 
feasting for many days s." 

Mr. Douce's MS notes say, " Mos inolevit et viget apud plurimas nationes, ut in profesto 
Epiphaniae, seu trium Regum, in quaque familia seu alia Societate, sorte vel alio fortuito modo 
eligant sibi Regem, et convivantes una ac genialiter viventes, bibente rege, acclamant : Rex 
bibit, bibit Rex, indicta multa qui non clamaverit." See the Sylva Sermonum jucundissi- 
morum, 8vo. Bas. 1568, pp. 73, 246. 

When the King of Spain told the Count Olivarez that John, Duke of Braganza, had obtained 
the kingdom of Portugal, he slighted it, saying that he was but Rey de Havas, a bean-cake King 
(a King made by children on Twelfth Night)." Anecd. of some distinguished Persons, vol. iii. 
p. 317- 

The Bean appears to have made part of the ceremony on chusing King and Queen in England ; 
thus, in Ben Jonson's Masque of Christmas, the character of Baby-Cake is attended by " an Usher 
bearing a great Cake with a bean and a pease." Whalley's B. Jonson, vol. vi. p. 3. 

Misson, in his Travels in England, translated by Ozell, p. 34, in a note tells us, " On Twelfth Day 
they divide the Cake, alias choose King and Cjueen, and the King treats the rest of the company." 

& "Reges Fabis creantur." And on the sixth day of January, "Festum Regum}" as also 
" Regna atque Epulx in multos dies exercentur." 

" De Ritibus et Consuetudinibus quse in Epiphaniarum solennitate observantur, ita canit 
Thomas Naogeorgus, lib. iv. Papistic! Regni : 

" Venit hinc lux alma Magorum, 

(Qui procul ex Persis nato donaria Christo 

Stella portarunt duce. Reges hosce fuisse, 

Et tres duntaxat censent, creduntque papistae. 

Conveniunt igitur multi certique sodales, 

Atque creant, aut sorte aut per suffragia, Regem; 

Is creat inde sibi regali more Ministros. 

Turn convivantur mult is luduntque diebus, 

Largo continuasque trahunt ex ordine mensas, 

Dum locuii vacui fiant, et creditor instet. 

Horum etiam pueri confestim exempla sequuntur, 

Et Rege electo poinpaa mensasque freqiientant, 

Vel nummis furto raplis, sumptfive parentum, 

Ut simul et luxum cliscant . scelerataque furta. 

Hac etiam 'luce aedium herus, comisque patronus 

Quisque facit magnana pro opibus coetuque placentam 


There was a custom similar to this on the festive days of Saturn among the 
Romans, Grecians, &c. Persons of the same rank drew lots for kingdoms, 
and, like Kings, exercised their temporary authority. Alex, ab Alexandra, 
b. ii. ch. 22. 

Unum cui nummum, simul ut conspergitur indit. 
Hanc secat in multas, ut turba domestica suadet, 
Particulas, datque uni unam cuique : attamen istSl 
Lege, suas habent puer ut Virgoque Magique 
Quae dein pauperibus sub eorum nomine dantur. 
Ast omnes inter cui pars forte obtigit ilia 
Quae nummum retinet, Rex ille agnoscitur, et mox 
Tollitur a eunctis clamore ad sydera magnu, 
Qui creta acceptft, crucibus laquearia pingit 
Omnia: Vis ingens illis et magna potestas 
Daemonas adversum, lemuresque artesque Magorum. 
Tanta potest Rex, tanta cruces quas dextera pingit 
Aut pueri insani, aut famuli, dominive prophani. 
Caute bis senas observant denique noctes 
A Natali, ut thus succendat in aedibus unus 
Quisque pater, mensaeque imponat nocte propinquk 
Integrum panem, ad prunas et thuris odorem. 
Cernuus ipse astat primus, naresque oculosque 
Fumigat, ac aures, et aperto ore haurit odorem. 
Hunc spquitur conjunx, et tota domestica turba. 
Hoc prodesse ferunt, ne denies, lumina, nares 
Atque aures anno morbis vexentur in illo : 
Postquam omnes fumum thuris cepere Sabaei, 
Prunes insperso thure ilicet arripit unus, 
Ast alter panem, reliqui quos rite sequuntur, 
Circumeuntque sedes praelato lumine noctu, 
Ut ne dira fames defectu panis et esese 
Intret, neu Sagae noceant molimina dirae. 
Sunt qui duntaxat faciant tris talia noctes, 
De causis iisdem, totum tutosque per annum 
Se credunt fore: se Christo audet credere nemo 
Noctibus his etiam divinant, atque diebus, 
Totius ingressi de tempestatibus Anni, 
Unum mensem uni tribuentes sorte diei. 
His etiam coeunt juvenes per rura diebus, 
Ascaule assumpto, vicosque urbesque propinquas 


The learned Moresin observes, that our ceremony of chusing a King on the 
Epiphany, or Feast of the Three Kings, is practised about the same time of 
the year ; and that he is called the Bean King, from the lot h . 

This custom is practised no where that I know of at present in the North of 
England, though still very prevalent in the South. I find the following de- 
scription of it': After tea a cake is produced, and two bowls, containing the 

Vestibus accedunt cultis, cantantque domatim 
In propriam ciyusque incondita carmina laudem. 
Unde ferunt numraos, magnamque per otia pradam 
Vel sibi, vel templo vici: quasi non alioquin 
Passim a mendicis populus, monachisque gravetur. 
Sunt urbes, ubi conjunct! pueri atque puelke 
Ihri- eadem faciunt: simul ac noctescere coepit, 
Poma nucesque ferunt cum nummis atque placentis." 

Hospinian de Orig. Fest. Christ, fol. 35 b. 36. 

11 " Regna sortiri inter jEquales festis Saturni diebus, et tanquam Reges imperitare mos fuit : 
qui etiam Romanis, cum Graecis et exteris, communis fuit. Circa idem tempus, inter sequales, 
Regis fit electio ad Epiphaniae nostrae, seu trium Regum Festum, et Rex Fabaceus dicitur, ex sorte 
Nomen habens." Moresini Papatus, seu Depravatae Relig. Origo et Incrementum, p. 143. 

1 Joannes Bnemus Aubanus " Mores, Leges, et Ritus omnium Gentium." l'2mo. Cenev. 1620, 
p. 266, gives the following circumstantial description of this ceremony : 

" In Epiphania Domini singular Familiae ex melle, farina, addito zinzibere et pipere, libuin 
conficiunt, et Regem sibi legunt hoc modo : Libuin materfamilias facit, cui absque consideratione 
inter subigendum denarium unum immittit, postea amoto igne supra calidum focum illud torret, 
tostum in tot partes frangit, quot homines familia habet : demum distribuit, cuique partem 
unam tribuens. Adsignantur etiam Christo, beataeque Virgini, et tribus Magis suae partes, quse 
loco Eleemosynae elargiuntur. In cujus autem portione Denarius repertus fuerit, hie Rex ab 
omnibus salutatus, in sedem locatur, et ter in all urn cum jubilo elevatur. Ipse in dextera cretam 
habet, qua toties Signum Crucis supra in Triclinii laqueariis delineat : quae Cruces quod obstare 
plurimis inalis credantur, in multa observatione habentur." 

Here we have the materials of the cake, which are flour, honey, ginger, and pepper. One is 
made for every family. The maker thrusts in, at random, a small coin as she is kneading it. 
When it is baked, it is divided into as many parts as there are persons in the family. It is distri- 
buted, and each has his share. Portions of it also are assigned to Christ, the Virgin, and the 
three Magi, which are given away in alms. Whoever finds the piece of coin in his share is saluted 
by all as King, and being placed on a seat or throne, is thrice lifted aloft with joyful acclama- 
tions. He holds a piece of chalk in his right hand, and each time he is lifted up, makes a cross 
on the cieling. These crosses we thought to prevent many evils, and are much revered. 


fortunate chances for the different sexes. The host fills up the tickets, and the 
whole company, except the King and Queen, are to be ministers of state, 
maids of honour, or ladies of the bed-chamber. Often, the host and hostess, 
more by design perhaps than accident, become King and Queen. According 
to Twelfth- Day law, each party is to support his character till midnight k . 

It appears that the Twelfth Cake was made formerly full of plums, and with 
a bean and pea 1 : the former whoever got, was to be King; whoever found the 
latter, was to be Queen. Thus in Herrick's Hesperides, p. 376 : 


" Now, now the mirth comes 

With the cake full of plums, 
Where Beane's the King of the sport here ; 

Beside we must know, 

The Pea also 
Must revell, as Queene, in the Court here. 

k Universal Magazine, 1774. In Ireland " On Twelve-Eve in Christmas, they use to set up 
as high as they can a sieve of oats, and in it a dozen of candles set round, and in the centre one 
larger, all lighted. This in memory of our Saviour and his Apostles, lights of the world." Sir 
Henry Piers's Description of the County of West Meath, 1682, in Vallancey's Collectanea de Rebus 
Hibernicis, vol. i. No. I, p. 1S4. 

A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. xxxiv. for December 17G4, p. 599, thinks the prac- 
tice of chusing King and Queen on Twelfth Night, owes its origin to the custom among the 
Romans, which they took from the Grecians, of casting dice who should be the Hex Convivii ; or 
as Hoi-ace calls him, the Arbiter Bibmdi. Whoever threw the lucky cast, which they termed 
Venus, or Basiliciu, gave laws for the night. In the same manner the lucky clown, who out of 
the several divisions of a plumb-cake draws the King, thereby becomes sovereign of the company; 
and the poor clod-pole, to whose lot the Knave falls, is as unfortunate as the Roman, whose hard 
fate it was to throw the dainnoiitm Caniculum. 

1 So also in Mr. NichoU's Queen Elizabeth's Progresses, vol. ii. " Speeches to the Queen at 
SutUey," p. 8 : 

" MKLinjEUS. N1SA, 

" Mel, Cut the cake : wlu> ImUi il>r l>e<uie. nlmll be King; and where the/3<aze is, shee shalbe 

" /Vl. I I..." H. I /'"< '. "'.'I Ml I ' '>'."!.' A V>* 'Cttit ;.,J 

" Mel. |H"' ' Klngi I inn. i coiimmundr." 


Begin then to chuse, 

(This night as ye use) 
Who shall for the present delight here, 

Be a King by the lot, 

And who shall not 
Be Twelfe-day Queene for the night here: 

Which knowne, let us make 

Joy-sops with the cake ; 
And let not a man then be een here, 

Who unurg'd will not drinke 

To the base from the brink 
A health to the King and the Queene here. 

Next crowne the bowle full 

With gentle lambs'-wooll ; 
Adde sugar, nutmeg, and ginger, 

With store of ale too ; 

And thus ye must doe 
To make the Wassaile a swinger. 

Give then to the King 

And Queene wassailing; 
And though with ale ye be whet here ; 

Yet part ye from hence, 

As free from offence, 
As when ye innocent met here." 

And at p. 271, Ibid, we find the subsequent: 

" For sports, for Pagentrie, and Playes, 
Thou hast thy Eves and Holydayes : 
Thy Wakes, thy Quintals, here thou hast, 
Thy May-poles too, with garlands grac't ; 

Thus p. 146, Ibid, we read 

" Of Twelf-tide Cakes, of Pease and Beanes, 

Wherewith ye make those merry sceanes, 

When as ye chuse your King and Queen, 

And cry out, Hey for our Town Green." 
VOL. I. E 


Thy Morris-Dance ; thy Whitsun Ale ; 
Thy Shearing Feast, which never faile. 
Thy Harvest Home; thy Wassaile Bowie, 
That's tost up after Fox-i'-th'-Hole ; 
Thy Mummeries: thy Twelfe-tide Kings 
And Queens: thy Christmas revellings. 

In " The Popish Kingdome," Barnabe Googe's Translation, or rather Adap- 
tation of Naogeorgus, already quoted, p. 45 b. we have the following lines on 
Twelfe Day." 

" The Wise Men's day here foloweth, who out from Persia farre, 

Brought gifts and presents unto Christ, conducted by a starre. 

The Papistes do beleeve that these were Kings, and so them call, 

And do affirme that of the same there were but three in all. 

Here sundrie friends together come, and meete in companie, 

And make a King amongst themselves by voyce or destinie : 

Who after princely guise appoyntes his officers alway, 

Then unto feasting doe they go, and long time after play : 

Upon their bordes in order tbicke the daintie dishes stande, 

Till that their purses emptie be, and creditors at hande. 

Their children herein follow them, and choosing Princes here, 

With pompe and great solemnitie, they meete and make good chere : 

With money eytber got by stealth, or of their parents eft, 

That so they may be traynde to know both ryot here and theft. 

Then also every householder, to his abilitie, 

Doth make a mightie cake, that may suffice his companie : 

Herein a pennie doth he put, before it come to fire, 

This he divides according as his householde doth require, 

And every peece distributeth, as round about they stand, 

Which in their names unto the poore is given out of hand : 

But who so chaunceth on the peece wherein the money lies, 

Is counted King amongst them all, and is with showtes and cries 

Exalted to the heavens up, who taking chalke in handc, 

Doth make a crosse on every beame, and rafters as they stande : 

Great force and povvre have these agaynst all injuryes and harmes 

Of cursed devils, sprites, and bugges, of conjurings and charmes. 

So much this King can do, so much the crosses brings to passe, 

Made by some servant, maide, or childe, or by some foolish asse. 


Twise sixe nightes then from Christmasse, they do count with diligence, 

Wherein eche maister in his house doth burne up Franckensence ; 

And on the table settes a loafe, when night approcheth nere, 

Before the Coles, and Frankensence to be perfumed there : 

First bowing downe his heade he standes, and nose, and eares, and eyes, 

He smokes, and with his mouth receyves the fume that doth arise : 

Whom followeth streight his wife, and doth the same full solemnly, 

And of their children every one, and all their family : 

Wnich doth preserve they say their teeth, and nose, and eyes, and eare, 

From every kind of maladte and sicknesse all the yeare, 

When every one receyved hath this odour, great and small, 

Then one takes up the pan with Coales atid Franckensence and all, 

And other takes the loafe, whom all the reast do follow here, 

And round about the house they go, with torch or taper clere, 

That neither bread nor meat do want, nor witch with dreadful charme, 

Have powre to hurt their children, or to do their cattell harme. 

There are that three nightes onely do perfourme this foolish geare, 

To this intent, and thinke themselves in safetie all the yeare. 

To Christ dare none commit himselfe. And in these dayes beside, 

They judge what weather all the yeare shall happen and betide r^ 

Ascribing to ech day a month, and at this present time, 

The youth in every place doe flocke, and all apparel'd fine, 

With pypars through the streetes they runne, and sing at every dore, 

In commendation of the man, rewarded well therefore : 

Which on themselves they do bestowe, or on the church, as though 

The people were not plagude with roges and begging friers enough. 

There cities are, where boyes and gyrles together still do runne, 

About the street with like, as soon as night beginnes to come, 

And bring abrode their Wassell Bowles, who well rewarded bee, 

With cakes and cheese, and great good cheare, and money plenteouslee." 

In Gloucestershire there is a custom on Twelfth Day, of having twelve small 
fires made, and one large one, in many parishes in that county, in honour of 
the day m . 

m " In the South-hams of Devonshire, on the Eve of the Epiphany, the fanner attended by 
his workmen, with a large pitcher of cyder, goes to the orchard, and there, encircling one of the 
best bearing trees, they drink the following toast three several times : 


The same is done in Herefordshire, under the name of Wassailing, as 

follows : 

At the approach of the evening on the vigil of the Twelfth Day, the farmers, 
with their friends and servants, meet together, and about six o'clock walk out 
to a field where wheat is growing. In the highest part of the ground, twelve 

" Here's to thee, old apple-tree, 

Whence thou may'st bud, and whence thou may'st blow ! 
And whence thou may'st bear apples enow ! 

Hats full ! caps full ! 

Bushel bushel sacks full, 

And my pockets full too! Huzza! 

This done, they return to the house, the doors of which they are sure to find bolted by the 
females, who, be the weather what it may, are inexorable to all intreaties to open them till some 
one has guessed at what is on the spit, which is generally some nice little thing, difficult to be hit 
on, and is the reward of him who first names it. The doors are then thrown open, and the lucky 
clodpole receives the tit-bit as his recompencc. Some are so superstitious as to believe, that if 
they neglect this custom, the trees will bear no apples that year." Gent. Mag. 1791, p. 403. 

On the Eve of Twelfth Day, as a Cornish man informed me, on the edge of St. Stephen's 
Down, October 28, 1790, it is the custom for the Devonshire people to go after supper into the 
orchard, with a large milk-pan full of cider, having roasted apples pressed into it. . Out of this 
each person in company takes (what is called a clayen cup, i. e.) an earthen-ware cup . full of 
liquor, and standing under each of the more fruitful apple trees, passing by those that are not 

good bearers, he addresses it in the following words : 

*> ' o j a.'>i.y_i nY< 

" Health to thee, good apple tree, 
Well to bear, pocket-fulls, hat-fulls, 
Peck-fulls, bushel-bag-fulls !" 

And then drinking up part of the contents, he throws the rest, with the fragments of the roasted 
apples, at the tree. At each cup the company set up a shout. 
So we read in the Glossary to the Exmore dialect : 

" Watsail, a drinking song, sung on Twelfth-day Eve, throwing toast to the apple trees, in 
order to have a fruitful year, which seems to be a relic of the heathen sacrifice to Pomona." 

This seems to have been done in some places upon Christmas Eve ; for in Herrick's Hesperides, 
p. 311, I find the following among the Christmas Eve ceremonies : 

" Wassaile the trees, that they may beare 
You many a plum, and many a peare ; 
For more or lesse fruits they will bring, 
As you do give them wassailing." 

Sir Thomas Ackland; bart. informed me at Werington, October 24th, 1790, that this was done 
in his neighbourhood on Christmas Eve. See also Gent. Mag. 1791, p. 116. ArchseoL vol. si. 
f . 490. 


small fires", and one large one, are lighted up. The attendants, headed by 
the master of the family, pledge the company in old cyder, which circulates 
freely on these occasions. A circle is formed round the large fire, when a 
general shout and hallooing takes place, which you hear answered from all the 
adjacent villages and fields. Sometimes fifty or sixty of these fires- may be all 
seen at once. This being finished, the company return home, where the good 
housewife and her maids are preparing a good supper. A large cake is always 
provided, with a hole in the middle. After supper, the company all attend the 
bailiff (or head of the oxen) to the Wain-house, where the following particulars 
are observed : The master, at the head of his friends, fills the cup (generally 
of strong ale), and stands opposite the first or finest of the oxen. He then 
pledges him in a curious toast : the company follow his example with all the 
other oxen, addressing each by his name. This being finished, the large cake 
is produced, and, with much ceremony, put on the horn of the first ox, through 
the hole above-mentioned. The ox is then tickled, to make him toss his head: 
if he throw the cake behind, then it is the mistress's perquisite; if before (in 
what is termed the boosy), the bailiff himself claims the prize. The company 
then return to the house, the doors of which they find locked, nor will they 
be opened till some joyous songs are sung. On their gaining admittance, a 
scene of nakth and jollity ensues, and which lasts the greatest part of the 
night . 

* The learned Gebelin tells us: " Dans quelques Provinces d'Ahgleteife, on allume des feux 
sur les collines la nuit de la Ffite des Rois. Les Chandelles des Rots en usage dans ce Royaume 
doivent etre une euite des meme Usages, de ces flambeaux allume's pour chercher quelque per- 
sonage cele'bre. Aussi est-ce 2. cette poque qu'on a place le Voyage tie Mages pour chercher le 
nouveau Roi de 1'Univers; et c'est leur F6te qu'on ce'le'bre sous ce nom de Fete des Rois.'' 
Monde Primitif, torn. iv. p. 2SO; Hist. Relig, du Calendrier. 

He adds, " Adjutons que pendant un grand nombre de si^cles, les Conciles ont et& occupe's a 
extirper une part ie des Usages qu'on avoit conserves en Europe de ces terns anciens : tels que 
d'orner de lauriers les portes de Maisons au jour de Fan ; telles encores les Mascarades, les Illu- 
minations, les Courses nocturnes, qui avoient lieu ce meme jour, sur-tout, la Fete des Foux, 
qu'on celebroit le jour de Noel en certains endroits, le jour do 1'An oa lo-jow-de Rois en beau- 
coup d'autres. On y dlisoit un Roi, un Pape, un Eveque, des Abbes, &c. pour representer la 
Legislation de la nouvelle Annee." 

Gent. Mag. February, 1791. Mr. Pennant, in his account of this custom, says, " that after 
they have drunk a chearful glass to their master's health, success to the future harvest, &c. then 
returning home, they'feast on cakes made of carraways, &c. soak'd 'in cyder, which they claim as 


In the Gentleman's Magazine for February 1784, Mr. Beckwith tells us, 
p. 98, that " near Leedes, in Yorkshire, when he was a boy, it was customary 
for many families, on the Twelfth Eve of Christmas, to invite their relations, 
friends, and neighbours, to their houses, to play at cards, and to partake of a 
supper, of which minced pies were an indispensable ingredient ; and after sup- 
per was brought in, the Wassail Cup or Wassail Bowl, of which every one 
partook, by taking with a spoon, out of the ale, a roasted apple, and eating it, 
and then drinking the healths of the company out of the bowl, wishing them a 
merry Christmas and a happy New Year. (The festival of Christmas used 
in this part of the country to hold for twenty days, and some persons extended 
it to Candlemas.) The ingredients put into the bowl, viz. ale, sugar, nutmeg, 
and roasted apples, were usually called Lambs' Wool, and the night on which 
it is used to be drunk (generally on the Twelfth Eve) was commonly called 
Wassail Eve." This custom is now disused. 

A Nottinghamshire correspondent (Ibid.) says, " that when he was a school- 
boy, the practise on Christmas Eve was to roast apples on a string till they dropt 
into a large bowl of spiced ale, which is the whole composition of Lambs' fFbol." 
It is probable that from the softness of this popular beverage it has gotten the 
above name. See Shakspeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. 

" Sometimes lurk I in a Gossips' bowl, 

In very likeness of a roasted crab ; 

And when she drinks, against her lips I bob, 

And on her wither'd dew-lap pour the ale." 

In "Vox Graculi," 4to, 1623, p. 52, speaking of the sixth of January, the 
writer tells us, " This day, about the houres of 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10; yea 
in some places till midnight well nigh, will be such a massacre of spice-bread, 
that, ere the next day at noone, a two-penny brown loafe will set twenty poore 
folkes teeth on edge. Which hungry humour will hold so violent, that a num- 
ber of good fellowes will not refuse to give a statute marchant of all the lands 

a reward for their past labours in sowing the grain. This," he observes, " seems to resemble a 
custom of the antient Danes, who in their addresses to their rural deities, emptied on every invo- 
cation a cup in honour of them." " Niordi et Frejse memoria poculis recolebatur, annua ut ipsis 
contingeret felicitas, frugumque et reliquae Annonae uberrimus proventus." Worm. Monument. 
Dan. lib. i. p. 28. See note in Pennant's Tour in Scotland, edit. 8vo. Chester, 1771, p. 91. 


and goods they enjoy, for halfe-a-crowne's worth of two-penny pasties. On 
tins night much masking in the Strand, Cheapside, Holburne, or Fleet-Street." 

Waldron, in his Description of the Isle of Man (Works, folio, p. 15.5) says : 
" There is not a barn unoccupied the whole twelve days, every parish hiring 
fidlers at the publick charge. On Twelfth Day, the fidler lays his head in some 
one of the wenches laps, and a third person asks, who such a maid, or such a 
maid shall marry, naming the girls then present one after another ; to which 
he answers according to his own whim, or agreeable to the intimacies he has 
taken notice of during this time of merriment. But whatever he says is as abso- 
lutely depended on as an oracle ; and if he happens to couple two people who 
have an aversion to each other, tears and vexation succeed the mirth. This 
they call cutting off the fidler's head ; for, after this, he is dead for the whole 

In a curious Collection entitled " Wit a sporting in a pleasant Grove of New 
Fancies, by H. B." 8vo. Lond. 1657, p. 80, I find the following description of 
the pleasantries of what is there called 


" Partly worke and partly play, 

You must on St. Distaff's day : 

From the plough soon free your teame ; 

Then come home and fother them : 

If the Maides a spinning goe, 

Burne the flax and fire the tow; 

Scorch their plackets, but beware 

That ye singe no maiden -hair e. 

Bring in pales of water then, 

Let the maids bewash the men. 

Give St. Distaff all the right : 

Then bid Christmas-sport good night. 

And next morrow; every one 

To his owne vocation." 

This is also in Herrick's Hesperides, p. 374. 

,<>. A 



It may rather seem to belong to religious than popular customs to mention, 
on the authority of the Gentleman's Magazine for January 1731, p. 25, that 
at the Chapel-Royal at St. James's, on Twelfth Day that year, " the King and 
the Prince made the offerings at the altar of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, 
according to custom. At night their Majesties, &c. played at Hazard, for the 
benefit of the groom-porter." 

(January 21.) 

ST. AGNES was a Roman virgin and martyr, who suffered in the tenth 
persecution under the Emperor Dioclesian, A. D. 306*. She was condemned 
to be debauched in the public stews before her execution, but her virginity was 
miraculously preserved by lightning and thunder from Heaven. About eight 
days after her execution, her parents going to lament and pray at her tomb, 
they saw a vision of angels, among whom was their daughter, and a lamb 
standing by her as white as snow, on which account it is that in every graphic 
representation of her, there is a lamb pictured by her side b . 

On the eve of her day many kinds of divination are practised by virgins to 
discover their future husbands . 

1 Wheatley on the Common Prayer, 8vo. Lond. 1741, p. 59. 

* In the Office for St. Agnes' Day in the Missale ad usum Sarum, 1554, this passage occurs : 
" Hec est Virgo sapiens, quam Dominus vigilantem invenit." The Gospel is the parable of the 


c This is called fasting St. Agnes' Fast. The following lines of Ben Jonson allude to this : 
" And on sweet St. Agnes' night 
Please you with the promis'd sight, 
Some of husbands, some of lovers, 
Which an empty dream discovers." 

Aubrey, in his Miscellanies, p. 136, directs that " Upon St. Agnes' Night you take a row of pins, 
and pull out every one, one after another, saying a Pater Noster, sticking a pin in your sleeve, 
and you will dream of him or her you shall marry." 


The following is the account of this festival, as preserved in the Transla- 
tion of Naogeorgus (fol. 46 b.) : 


" Then commes in place St. Agnes' Day, which here in Germanic 
Is not so much esteemde nor kept with such solemnitie : 
But in the Popish Court it standes in passing hie degree, 
As spring and head of wondrous gaine, and great commoditee. 
For in St. Agnes' church upon this day while masse they sing, 
Two lambes as white as snowe, the Nonnes dp yfcarely use to hring : 
And when the Agnus chaunted is, upon the aultar hie, 
(For in this thing there hidden is a solemne mysterie) 
They offer them. The servaunts of the Pope, when this is done, 
Do put them into pasture good till shearing time be come. 
Then other wooll they mingle with these holy fleeses twaine, 
Wherof, being sponne and drest, are made the Pals of passing gaine." 

A passage not unsimilar occurs in " The present state of the Manners, c. of 
Trance and Italy in Poetical Epistles to Robert Jephson, esq." 8vo. Lond. 
1794. From Rome, February 14, 1793, p. 58. 

" St. Agnes' s sJtrine ; 

Where each pretty 2>a-lamb most gayly appears, 
With ribbands stuck round on its tail and its cars ; 
On gold fringed cushions they're stretcli'd out to cat, 
And piously ba, and to church-musick bleat ; 
Yet to me they seem'd crying alack, and alas ! 

What's all this white damask to daisies and grass ! 
-ijiO/JVo'lU ,>''.' '',:'*'-' 'f'ol i ' - 

I find the subsequent curious passage concerning St. Agnes in the Portiforium seu Breviarium 
Ecclesiae Sarisburiensis, fol. Par. 15.56. Pars Hyemalis : 

" Cunque interrogasset Preses quis esset sponsus de cujus se Agnes potestate gloriabatur: exfetitit 
quidam ex parasitis qui diceret hanc Christianam esse ab iufantia, et magicis artibus ita occupntam, 
ut dicatur Sponsum suum Christum esse. R. Jam corpus ejus corpori mco sociatum est, et 
sanguis ejus ornavit genas meas. Cujus mater Virgo est, cujus pater feminom nescit. V. Ipsi sum 
desponsata cui AngeU serviunt, cujus pulchritudincm Sol et Luna mirantur. Cujus mater Virgo." 

Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy (edit. 1GCO, p. 538), speaks of Maids fasting on St. 
Agnes' Eve, to know who shall be their first Husband. 
VOL. I. . F 


Then they're brought to the Pope, and with transport they're kiss'd, 

And receive consecration from Sanctity's fist : 

To chaste Nuns he consigns them, instead of their dams, 

And orders the Friars to keep them from rams." 


MR. DOUCE's manuscript Notes say, " Vincent! festo si Sol radiet memor 
esto :" thus Englished by Abraham Fleming, 

" Remember on St. Vincent's Day, 
If that the sun his beams display." 

Scot's Discov. of Witchcraft, b. xi. c. 15. 

(January Z5-} 

I DO not find that any one lias even hazarded a conjecture why prognosti- 
cations of the weather, &c. for the whole year, are to be drawn from the ap- 
pearance of this day. 

In an antient Calendar of the Church of Rome, which will frequently be 
quoted in the course of this work, there is the following remark on the vigil 

of St. Paul : 

" Dies Egyptiacus." 

Why it is called " an Egyptian Day," I confess myself to be entirely ignorant. 

Lloyd, in his Diall of Daies, observes on St. Paul's, that " of this day the 
husbandmen prognosticate the whole year : if it be a fair day, it will be a plea- 


Santyear; if it be windy, there will be wars; if it be cloudy, it doth foreshow 
the plague that year *." 

Hospinian, also, tells us that it is a critical day with the vulgar, indicating, if 
it be clear, abundance of fruits; if windy, foretelling wars; if cloudy, the 
pestilence; if rainy or snowy, it prognosticates dearness and scarcity 1 *: accord- 
ing to the old Latin verses, thus translated in Bourne's Antiquities of the 
Common People : 

" If St. Paul's Day be fair and clear, 

It doth betide a happy year; 

If blustering winds do blow aloft, 

Then wars will trouble our realm full oft; 

1 In the antient Calendar above quoted I find an observation on the thirteenth of December, 
" That on this day prognostications of the months were drawn for the whole year." 
" Prognostica mensium per totum annum." 

In "The Shepherd's Almanack" for 1676, among the Observations on the month of January, we 
find the following : " Some say that if on the 12th of January the sun shines, it foreshews much 
wind. Others predict by St. Paul's Day ; saying, if the sun shine, it betokens a good year ; if 
it rain or snow, indifferent ; if misty, it predicts great dearth ; if it thunder, great winds, and 
death of people that year." 

Thomas Lodge, in his most rare work entitled " Wit's Miserie, and the World's Madnesse ; 
discovering the Devils Incamat of this Age," 4to. Lond. 1596, glances in the following quaint 
manner at the superstitions of this and St. Peter's Day, p. 12, " And by S. Peter and S. Paule 
the fool rideth him." 

b " Est hie dies apud Plebem criticus, utpote cujus serenitas fructuum abundantiatn, venti 
bella, nebulae pestem, nix et pluvia caritatem indicare creduntur. Unde hi sunt versiculi qui 
omnium ore circumferuntur. 

" Clara dies Pauli bona tempora denotat Anni. 

Si fuerint Venti designant praelia Genti. 

Si fuerint Nebulae pereunt animalia quaeque. 

Si Nix, si Pluvia, designant tempora cara. Sed concludendum 

Ne credas certe, nam fallit Kegiila soepe. 

** Est enim hoc genus divinationis, quod ^x^xin xoiv S^taS-n, Latine, populare vel plebeium 
nominant, quia imperitae Plebi in usu est, et propterea etiam saepe fullit; nam non inquibitU 
causts eventuum in natura, nee considerato signorum cum rebus signilicatis consensu, ex iis 
solum, quae ut plurimum eodem modo evenire iisdem antegressis signis animadverterunt ac 
notarunt, de miiltiplicibus eventibus, de tempestatum coelique mutationibus, de frugum et 
fruhuum proventu, de ubertate vel caritate annonae, de aeris salubritate vel infectione, deque 
bellis et similibus modo feliciter, modo infeUciter divinant." Hespin. de Orig. Fest. Christian, 
fol. 38. 

36' ST. I'AUlJS DAY. 

And if it chance to snow or rain, 
Then will be dear all sorts of grain '." 

Bishop Hall, in his Characters of Virtues and Vices, speaking of the super- 
stitious man, observes that " Saint Panics Day and Saint Swithines, with the 
Twelve, are his oracles, which he dares believe against the ahnanacke." 

The Latin is given different in Hearne's edition of Robert of Avesbury's History of Edward 

III. p. 26G : 

" Clara dies Panli bona tempora denotat anni. 

Si Nix vel PJuvia, designant Tempora cara. 
Si fiant Nebulae, moricntur Bestia qua:que. 
Si fiant Vcnti, prceliabunt prcelia genti." 

Thus translated (Ibid.) under the title of " The Saying of Erra Pater to the Husbandman :" 
" If the Day of St. Paule be cleere, 
Then shall betide an happie yeere : 
If it doe chaunce to snow or raine, 
Then shall bee deare all kinde of graine. 
But if the winde then bee alofte, 
VVarres shall vex this rcalme full oft : 
And if the cloudcs make darke the skie, 
Both ueate and fowle this yeare shall dye." 

Willsford, in his Nature's Secrets, p. 145, tells us: "Some observe the 25 day of January, 
celebrated for the Conversion of St. Paul; if fair and clear, plenty; if cloudy or misty, much 
cattle will die ; if rain or snow fall that day, it presages a dearth ; and, if windy, wars ; as old 
wives do dream." He gives the verses as follow : 

" If Saint Paul's Day be fair and clear, 

It does betide a happy year; 

Hut if it chance to snow or rain, 

Then will be dear all kind of grain : 

If clouds or mists do dark the skie, 

Great store of birds and beasts shall die; 

And if the winds do fly aloft, 

Then wars shall vex the kingdome oft." 

He farther informs us that " Others observe the twelve Days of Christmas, to foreshow the 
weather in all the twelve succeeding moneths respectively." 

A pleasant writer in the World, No. 1O, (I believe the late Lord Oiford) speaking on the 
alteration of the Stile, observes : " Who that hears the following verses, but must grieve for the 
Shepherd and Husbandman, who may have all their prognostics confounded, and be at a loss to 
know beforehand the fate of their markets ? Antient Sages sung, 

" If St. Paul be fair and clear/ &c." 


The prognostications on St. Paul's Day are thus elegantly modernized by 
Gay, in his Trivia: 

" All superstition from thy breast repel, 
Let cred'lous boys and prattling nurses tell 
How, if the Festival of Paul be clear, 
Plenty from lib'ral horn shall strow the year; 
When the dark skies dissolve in snow or rain, 
The lab' ring hind shall yoke the steer in vain; 
But if the threat'ning winds in tempests roar, 
Then War shall bathe her wasteful sword in gore." 

* ' 

He concludes, 

" Let no such vulgar tales debase thy mind, 

Nor Paul, nor Swithin, rule the clouds and wind.*' 

Schenkius, in his Treatise on Images, chap. 13, says, it is a custom in many 
parts of Germany to drag the images of St. Paul and St. Urban to the river, 
if on the clay of their feast it happens to be foul weather. 

Bourne observes upon St. Paul's Day, " How it came to have this particular 
knack of foretelling the good or ill fortune of the following year, is no easy 
matter to find out. The Monks, who were undoubtedly the first who made 
this wonderful observation, have taken care it should be handed down to poste- 
rity, but why or for what reason this observation was to stand good, they have 
taken care to conceal. St. Paul did indeed labour more abundantly than all the 
Apostles ; but never, that I heard, in the science of Astrology. And why his 
day should therefore be a standing almanack to the world, rather than the day 
of any other Saint, w-ill be pretty hard to find out d . 

d Chap, xviii. 

ut , 

, 6 I'Jutfi. rut x.o:) i X>Tru>'J 'lo uaijj'I ;, ! )>>;.:.')'.!; .wS i-,. '. UL.:. 



(February 2.) 


THIS is called in the North of England the Wives Feast Day. The name 
of Candlemass is evidently derived from the lights which were then distributed 
and carried about in procession a . 

In the antient Calendar of the Romish Church, before cited, I find the sub- 
sequent observations on the 2d of February, usually called Candlemass Day : 

" Torches are consecrated. 

Torches are given away for many days b ." 

Mr. Deuce's MS Notes say, " This feast is called by the Greeks vvctmalat, which signifies a 
Meeting, because Simeon and Anna the prophetess met in the Temple at the presentation of our 
Saviour." L'Estrange's Alliance of Divine Offices, p. 147. See Luke ii. At the celebration of 
the Feavt of Corpus Christ!, at Aix in Provence, there is a procession of Saints, among whom St. 
Simeon is represented with a mitre and cap, carrying in his left hand a basket of eggs. Hist, de 
la Fete Dieu, p. 100. 

b " Feb. 2. Purificatio Virginis 
Faces consecrantur. 
Faces dantur multis diebus." 

" To beare their Candels soberly, and to offer them to the Saintes, not of God's makynge, but 
the Carvers and Paynters," is mentioned among the Roman Catholic customs censured by John 
Bale in his " Declaration of Bonner's Articles," 1554, signal, n. 4 b.; as is Ibid, fol. 18 b. " to 
conjure Candels." 

In the first volume of Proclamations, &c. folio, remaining in the Archives of the Society of 
Antiquaries of London, is preserved, p. 138, an original one, printed in black letter, and dated 
26th February, 3O Hen. VIII. " concernyng Rites and Ceremonies to be used in due fourme in 
the Churche of Englande," in which we read as follows : 

" On Candelmas Daye it shall be declared, that the bearynge of Candels is clone in the memorie 
of Christe, the spiiituall lyghte, whom Simeon dyd prophecye, as it is redde in the Churche that 

The same had been declared by a Decree of Convocation. See Fuller's Church History, p. 222. 


Pope Sergius, says Becon, in his " Reliques of Rome," fol. 1 64, commanded 
that all the people " shuld go on procession upon Candlemass Day, and carry 
Candels about with them brenning in their hands in the year of our Lord 684 c ." 

How this Candle-bearing on Candlemass Day came first up, the author of 
our English Festival declareth in this manner : " Somtyrne," saith he, " when 
the Romanies by great myght and royal power, conquered all the world, they 
were so proude, that they forgat God, and made them divers gods after their own 
lust. And so among all they had a god that they called Mars, that had been 
tofore a notable knight in battayle ; and so they prayed to hym for help, and 
for that they would speed the better of this knight, the people prayed and did 
great worship to his mother, that was called Februa, after which woman much 
people have opinion that the moneth February is called. VVherefore the second 
daie of thys moneth is Candlernass Day. The Romanies this night went about 
the city of Rome with torches and candles brenning in worship of this woman 
Februa, for hope to have the more helpe and succoure of her sonne Mars. 

" Then there was a Pope that was called Sergius, and when he saw Christian 
people draw to this false maumctry and untrue belief, he thought to undo this 
foule use and custom, and turn it unto God's worship and our Lady's, and gave 
commandment that all Christian people should come to church and offer up a 
Candle brennyng, in the worship that they did to this woman Februa, and do 
worship to our Lady and to her sonne our Lord Jesus Christ. So that now 
this Feast is solemnly hallowed thorowe all Christendome. And every Chris- 
tian man and woman of covenable age is bound to come to church and offer up 
their Candles, as though they were bodily with our Lady, hopyng for this 
reverence and worship, that they do to our Ladye to have a great rcwarde in 
Heaven," &c. d 

In Herbert's "Country Parson," I2tno. Lond. 1675, third impression, p. 157, he tells us, 
" Another old custom (he had been speaking of PROCESSIONS) there is, of saying, when light is 
brought in, Go'd-sendus-the light of Heaven; and the parson likes this very well. Light is a great 
blessing, and as great as food, for which we give thanks : and those that think this superstitious, 
neither know superstition nor themselves." This appears to be at this time totally forgotten. 

c Durand. &c. -v 

'! : . ' ''"" "i'JV> i'.-;'>'i >,lljtl illfilLi .. ;.. 

d The Festyvall adds, " A Candell is made of weke and wexe; so was Ciystes soule hyd within 
the manhode : also the fyre betokeneth the Godhede : also it betokeneth our Ladyes moderhed* 
and maydenhede, lyght with the fyre of love." ! ! ! 


It was antiehtly a custom for women in England to bear lights when they 
were churched, as appears from the following royal bon mot. William the 
'Conqueror, by reason of sickness, kept his chamber a long time, whereat the 
French King, scoffing, said, " The King of England lyeth long in child-bed :" 
which when it was reported unto King William., he answered, " When I am 
churched, there shall be a thousand lights in France;" (alluding to the lights 
-that women used to bear when they were churched :) and that he performed 
within a few daies after, wasting the French territories with fire and sword e . 

In some of the antient illuminated Calendars a woman holding a taper in. 
each hand is represented in the month of February f . 

N _______ . 

~" > ^ 

In Dunstan's Concord of Monastic Rules it is directed, that, " on the Purification of the Virgin 
Mary the Monks shall go in surplices to the Church for Candles, which shall be consecrated, 
sprinkled u-ith holy water, and censed by the Abbot. Let every Monk take a Caudle from the 
Sacrist, and light it. Let a Procession be made, Thirds and Mass be celebrated, and the Candles, 
after the offering, be offered to the Priest." See Fosbrooke'.s British Monachism, vol. i. p. 28. 
A note adds : Candlemas Day. The Candles at the Purification were an exchange for the lustra- 
tion of the Pagans, and Candles were used " from the parable of the wise virgins." Alcuinus 
de .divinis Officiis, p. 23 1 . 

Camden's Remains, edit. Svo. Loud. 1674, p. 318. In a most rare book intitled "The 
Burnynge of Paules Church in London, 1561, and the 4 day of June by Lyghtnynge," &c. 
Svo. Lond. 1563. signat. I. 4 b. we read, " In Flaundcrs everye Saturdaye betwixt Christmas 
and Candehnas they cate flesh for joy, and have pardon for it, because our Ladye laye so 
long in child-bedde say they. We here may not eat so : the Pope is not so good to us ; yet 
surely it were as good reason that we should eat fleshe with them all that while that our Lady lay 
in child-bed, as that we shuld bear our Candel at her Churchinge at Candlemas with theym as they 
doe. It is seldome sene that men offer Candels at women's Churchinges, savinge at our Ladies : 
but reason it is that she have some preferment, if the Pope would be so good maister to us as 
to let us eat fleshe with theym." 

In Mr. Lysons's Environs of London, vol. i. p. 31O, among his curious Extracts from the 
Churchwardens' Accounts at Lambeth, I find the following : 

" 1519. Paid for Smoke Money at Seynt Mary Eves, 0. 2. 6." 
This occurs again in 1521. " Paid by my Lord of Winchester's Scribe for Smoke Money, 0. 2. 6." 

f Hospinian's account of the ceremonies of this day is as follows : 

" Ceremoniae autem hujus Festi, quae in locum llituum ab Ethnicis observatorum successerunt, 
.bae sunt. Primum quae allatae ab unoquoqwe in Templum Candel* vel Ceii et Faces in missa 
ienedicuntur et consecrantur : deinde distribuuntur, tertioj lit processio, in qua plebs universe 
portans cereos ardentes in manibus per Ecclesias procedjt." De Orig. Fest. Christ, fpl. 41. 


In the " Doctrine of the Masse Booke," &c. from Wyttonburge by Nicholas 
Dorcaster, 1554, 8vo. signat. A. 8, we find 

vafiou- , .w tjrfiuartr /nHti^'je-id (W(,tiJ jV/ ;> :8^->; 


The Prayer. " O Lord Jesu Christ, ^ blesse thou this creature of a waxen 
taper at our humble supplication, and, by the vertue of the holy crosse, poure 
thou into it an heavenly benediction; that as thou hast graunted it unto man's 
use for the expelling of darknes, it may receave such a strength and blessing, 
thorow the token of thy holy crosse, that in what places soever it be lighted 
or set, the Divel may avoid out of those habitations, and tremble for feare, 

" Porro his sic consecratis Candelis non minorem vim tribuunt, quam olim Ethnici suis Cereis 
et Facibus : nam iis <&E?ixaxw et amuleto utuntur. De quo sic Naogeorgus canit libro 4. Regni 

Papistic! : 

" Mira est Candelis illis et magna potestas : 

Nam Tempestates creduntur tollere diras 
Aecensae, simul et sedare Tonitrua Cceli, 
Dsemonas atque malos arcere, horrendaque fcoctis 
Spectra, atque infaustw mala Grandinis atque Pruinae, 
Quam facile hi possunt omnes sedare tumultus 
Et Coeli et Terras, Pelagique, ut credere Christo 
Nil sit opus ; veroque Deo committere cuncta." 

Hospin. de Orig. Fest. Christian, fol. 42 b. 

The following is Barnabe Googe's Translation of Naogeorgus, in the Popish King-dome : 
" Then comes the Day wherein the Virgin offred Christ unto 
The Father chiefe, as Moyses law commaunded hir to do. 
Then numbers great of Tapers large, both men and women beare 
To Church, being halowed there with pomp, and dreadful words to heare. 
This done, eche man his Candell lightes where chiefest seemeth hee, 
Whose Taper greatest may be seene, and fortunate to bee ; 
Whose Candell burneth cleare and bright, a wondrous force and might 
Doth in these Candels lie, which if at any time they light, 
They sure beleve that iieyther storme or tempest dare abide, 
Nor thunder in the skies be heard, nor any Devil's spidc, 

Nor fearefull sprites that walke by night, nor hurts of frost or haile." fol. 4* b. 
We read in Wodde's " Dialogue," cited more particularly under Palm Sunday, signat. d. 1, 
" Wherefore serveth holye Candels ? (Nicholas.) To light tip in, thunder, and to Hesse men when 
they lye a dying." 

See on this subject Dupre's " Conformity between antient and modern Ceremonies," p. 96, and 
Stopford's " Pagano-Papismus," p. 238. 

VOL. I. O 


andjly away discouraged, and presume no more to unquiets them that serve 
thee, who ivith God" &c. There follow other prayers, in which occur these 
passages : " We humbly beseech thee, that thou wilt vouchsafe to ^ blesse and 
sanctifie these Candels, prepared unto the uses of men, and health of bodies 
and smiles, as wel on the land as in the waters." " Vouchsafe *fc to blesse 
and ^ sanctifye, and with the Candle of heavenly benediction, to lighten these 
tapers; which we thy servants taking in the honour of thy name (whan they 
ar lighted) desire to beare," c. " Here let the Candles be sprinkled with 
holy water." Concluding with this rubrick : " When the halowyng of the 
Candels is done, let the Candels be lighted and distributed." 

In Bishop Bonner's Injunctions, A. D. 1555, printed that year by John 
Cawood, 4to. signal. A. i. we read, " that bearyng of Candels on Candel- 
masse Daie is doone in the memorie of our Saviour Jesu Christe, the spirituall 
lyght, of whom Sainct Symeon dyd prophecie, as it is redde in the Church 
that day." This ceremony, however, had been previously forbidden in the 
metropolis: for in Stowe's Chronicle, edited by Howes, edit. fol. 1631, p. 595, 
we read, " On the second of February 1547-8, being the Feast of the Puri- 
fication of our Lady, commonly called Candlemasse Day, the bearing of Can- 
dles in the Church was left off throughout the whole citie of London." 

At the end of a curious Sermon, intitled " The Vanitie and Downefall of 
superstitious Popish Ceremonies, preached in the Cathedral Church of Dur- 
ham by one Peter Smart, a Prebend there, July 7, 1628," printed at Edin- 
borough, 4to. 1628, I find, in " a briefe but true historicall Narration of some 
notorious Acts and Speeches of Mr. John Cosens'' (Bishop of Durham), the 
following: " Fourthly, on Candlemass Day last past, Mr. Cozens in renuing 
that Popish ceremonie of burning Candles s to the honour of our Ladye, busied 
himself from two of the clocke in the afternoone till foure, in climbing long 
ladders to stick up wax candles in the said Cathedral Church: the number of 
all the Candles burnt that evening was two hundred and twenty, besides sixteen 
torches : sixty of those burning tapers and torches standing upon and near the 
high Altar (as he calls it,) where no man came nigh." 

* In Mr. Nichols's Churchwardens' Accompts, 4to. Lond. 1797, p. 27O, in those of St. Martin 
Outwich, London, under the year 1510, is the following article : 

" Paid to Randolf Merchaunt, wex-chandUer, for the Pascall, the Tapers affore the Rode, the 
Cross Candelles, and Judas Candellet, ix. iiij d ." Quaere, Judo* Candelks ? 


" There is a canon," says Bourne h , in the Council of Trullus, against those 
who baked a cake in honour of the Virgin's lying-in, in which it is decreed, 
that no such ceremony should be observed, because she suffered no pollution, 
and therefore needed no purification '." 

At Rippon in Yorkshire, the Sunday before Candlemass Day, the collegiate 
Church, a fine antient building, is one continued blaze of light all the after- 
noon by an immense number of candles k . 

The following is from Herrick's Hesperides, p. 337 : 


" Down with the Rosemary and Bayes, 

Down with the Misleto ; 
Instead of Holly, now up-raise 

The greener Box (for show.) 

The Holly hitherto did sway ; 

Let Box now domineere 
Until the dancing Easter Day, 

Or Easter's Eve appeare. 

Then youthful Box, which now hath grace 

Your houses to renew, 
Grown old, surrender must his place 

Unto the crisped Yew. 

h Antiq. Vulgares, chap. xvii. Can. 80, Trul. Bal. 

' The purple flowered Lady's Thistle, the leaves of which are beautifully diversified with nume- 
rous white spots, like drops of milk, is vulgarly thought to have been originally marked by the 
felling of some drops of the Virgin Mary's milk on it, whence, no doubt, its name Lady's, i. e. Our 
Lady's Thistle. An ingenious little invention of the dark Ages, and which, no doubt, has been 
of service to the cause of Superstition. 

Marry, a term of asseveration in common use, was originally in Popish times a mode of swear- 
ing by the Virgin Mary; q. d. by Mary. So also Marrow-bones, for the knees. I'll bring him 
down upon his Marrow-bones; i. e. I'll make him bend his knees as he does to the Virgin Mary. 

" Gent. Mag. Aug. 1790, p. 7\9. 


When Yew is out, then Birch comes in, 

And many flowers beside; 
Both of a fresh and fragrant kinne 

To honour Whitsontide. 

Green Rushes then, and sweetest Bents, 

With cooler Oaken boughs, 
Come in for comely ornaments, 

To re-adorn the house. 

Thus times do shift; each thing his turne do's hold; 
New things succeed, as former things grow old." 

So again, p. 361 : 

" Down with the Rosemary, and so 
Down with the Bales and A/isletoe: 
Down with the Holly, Ivie, all 
Wherewith ye drest the Christmas Hall : 
That so the superstitious find 
No one least branch there left behind: 
For look how many leaves there be 
Neglected there, (Maids, trust to me) 
So many Goblins you shall see." 

The subsequent " Ceremonies for Candlemasse Day" are also mentioned 

in p. 337. 

" Kindle the Christmas brand, and then 

Till sunne-set let it burne ; 
Which quencht, then lay it up agen, 
Til Christmas next veturne. 

Part must be kept wherewith to teend 

The Christmas Log next yeare ; 
And where 'tis safely kept, the Fiend 

Can do - no mischiefe (there)." 

Also in p. 338 : 

" End now the White Loafe and the Pye, 
And let all sports with Christmas dye." 


t ; >*f- There is a general tradition," says Sir Thomas Browne, " in most parts of 
Europe, that inferreth the coldnesse of succeeding winter from the shining of 
the sun on Candlemas Day, according to the proverbiall distich : ' 

<k Si Sol splendescat Maria purificante, 

Major rit glacies post festum quam fuit ante 1 ." 

:! no * ''.# UP ' '.'I lo iJ'idj !;;;.: - > r^j'?!):. 

In the Country Almanack for J676, under February, we read, 

f rin ; J ..'.-i-i: 

" Foul weather is no news ; hail, rain, and snow 
Are now expected, and esteem' d no woe ; 

Nay, 'tis an omen bad the yeomen say, 

,. , , , . . - , i ",; 

It Phoebus shews his face the second day. 

'HI c:j .:; ? 

Martin, in his Description of the Western Islands, 8vo. Lond. 1716', p. 119, men- 
tions an antient custom observed on the second of February : ".The mistress and 
servants of each family take a sheaf of oats and dress it up in women's apparel, 
put it in a large basket, and lay a wooden club by it, and this they call Briid's 
Bed ; and then the mistress and servants cry three times, Briid is come, Briid 
is welcome. This they do just before going to bed, and when they rise in the 
morning they look among the ashes, expecting to see the impression of Briid's 
club there ; which if they do, they reckon it a true presage of a good crop and 
prosperous year, and the contrary they take as an ill omen m ." 


(February %.) 
.Ttvt .Kwlisiiri" > .i-.-l ,'hO -'b n.ia. j 

M1NSHEW, in his Dictionary, under the word Hocke-tide, speaks of " St. 
Blaze his Day, about Candlemass, when country women goe about and make 

. .,-> ). we ': 

1 Vulgar Eirors, edit. fol. Lond. 1646, p. 289. 

m Ray, in his Collection of Proverbs, has preserved two relating to this Day. " On Candlemass 
Day, throw Candle and Candlestick away :" and " Sow or set Beans in Candlemass Waddle." 
Somerset. In Somersetshire, Waddle means Wane of the Moon. 

* " Blasius Episcopus fuit Sebastise Cappadocum. In persecutione autem sub Diocletiano et 
Maximiano stationem suam deserens in speluncam Argei montis auffugit, ibique eremiticam vitam 


good cheere, and if they find any of their neighbour women a spinning that 
day, they burne and make a blaze of fire of the distaffe, and thereof called 

S. Blaze his Day b . 

Dr. Percy, in his notes to the Northumberland Household Book, p. 333, 
tells us, " The anniversary of St. Blasius is the 3d pf February, when it is still 
the custom in many parts of England to light up fires on the hills on St. Blayse 
night: a custom antiently taken up, perhaps for no better reason than the 
jingling resemblance of his name to the word Blaze c ." 

Reginald Scot, in his Discovery of Witchcraft, edit. fol. Lond. 1665, p. 137, 
gives us a Charm used in the Romish church upon St. Blaze's Day, that will fetch 
a thorn out of any place of one's body, a bone out of the throat, &c. to wit, 
" Call upon God, and remember St. Blaze." 

The following is the account of " Blaze" in the Popish Kingdome, fol. 47 b. 
" Then followeth good Sir Blaze, who doth a waxen Candell give, 
And holy water to his men, whereby they safely live. 
1 divers barrels oft have scene, drawne out of water cleare, 
Through one small blessed bone of this same Martyr heare : 
And caryed thence to other townes and cities farre away, 
Ech superstition doth require such earnest kinde of play." 

egit, et hominum pecorumque morbos varies sanavit. In<le vero ab Agricolai prsesidis militibus 
extractus in carcerem conjicitur. Sequent! die quum Jovi sacrificare nollet jussu praesidis fustibus 
caeditur, et mrsus in carcerem detruditur. Post aliquot dies iterum educitur hide, et ob eandem 
causam in ligno suspenditur, unguibusque ac pectinibus ferreis laniatur : tandem decollatur 
3 Non. Febr. Unde Mantuanus in Februario : 

" Tertia Cappadocum pastor sanctissime Blasi 

Lux tua." 

Hospinian de Orig. Fest. Christian, fol. 43. 

b P. 236. Tbis has been adopted by Dr. Plott, in his History of Oxfordshire, edit.Oxf. 1677, p. 202. 

c I find the following in Du Cange's Glossary, in voce " Festum S. Blasii." " Cur hac die 
Populus lumina pro domibus vel animalibus accendere soleret, atque adeo ejeemosynas largiri 
docet Honorius Augustod. Lib. iii. cap. 25." 

Hospinian, in his book De Orig. Festor. Christian, fol. 43, speaking of St. Blasius' Day, says : 
" In sacris ejus Candela offertur : Nugantur enim, viduam quandam porci maetati caput, pedes, 
candelam et panem Blasio in carcerem attulisse." These candles were said to be good for the 
tooth-ache, and for diseased cattle. 



rfjuj Ofil lo r >rerfi:6tfJ ni i:'MK>m<{. )'</q t <-.j;w eJiuui 

(February 14.) 

IT is a ceremony, says Bourne, never omitted among the vulgar, tq draw 
lots, which they term Valentines, on the eve before Valentine Day. The names 
of a select number of one sex are, by an equal number of the other, put into 
some vessel ; and after that, every one draws a name, which for the present is 
called their Valentine, and is look'd upon as a good omen of their being man 
and wife afterwards. 

He adds, there is a rural tradition, that on this day every bird chuses its 
mate b , and concludes that perhaps the youthful part of the world hath first 
practised this custom, so common at this season c . 

I once thought this custom might have been the remains of an antient super- 
stition in the Church of Rome on this day, of chusing patrons for the ensuing 

a Valentine, a presbyter of the Church, was beheaded under Claudius the Emperor. 

* This idea is thus expressed by old Chaucer, the father of English verse : 
" Nature, the Vicare of the Almightie Lord, 
That hote, colde, hevie, light, moist, and drie, 
Hath knit by even number of accord 
In easie voice, began to speak and say, 
Foules, take hede of my sentence I pray, 
And for your own ease in fordring of your need, 
As fast as I may speak I will me speed. 
Ye know well, how on St. Valentine's Day, 

By my statute and through my governaunce, 
Ye doe chese your Makes, and after flie away 

With hem as 1 pricke you with pleasaunce." 

Shakspeare, in his Midsummer Night's Dream, alludes to the old saying, that birds begin to 
couple on St. Valentine's Day : 

- " Saint Valentine is past; 
Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?" 

Reed's edit, of Shakspeare, vol. iv. p. 453. 
c Antiquitates Vulgares, chap. xx. 


year : and that, because ghosts d were thought to walk on the night of this Day, 
or about this time, and that Gallantry had taken it up when Superstition at the 
Reformation had been compelled to let it fall. 

Since that time I have found unquestionable authority to evince that the 
custom of chusing Valentines was a sport practised in the houses of the gentry 
in England as early as the year 1476 e . 

< I find in the eld Romish Calendar already cited, the following observation on the 14th of 

February : 

" Manes nocte vagari creduntur. 

e See a Letter dated February 1476, in Fenn's Paston Letters, voL ii. p. 21 1. Of this custom 
John Lydgate, the Monk of Bury, makes mention, as follows, in a Poem written by him in praise 
of Queen Catherine, consort to Henry V. 

" Seynte Valentine, of custome yeere by yeere 

Men have an usaunce in this regioun 
To loke and serche Cupides Kalendere, 

And chose theyr choyse, by grete affecciounj 
Such as ben prike with Cupides mocioun, 
Takyng theyre choyse as theyr sort doth falle : 
But I love oon whiche excellith alle." 

MS. Harl. 2251. See Strutt's Manners and Customs, vol. iii. p. 179. 

In the Catalogue of the Poetical Devises, &c. done by the same Poet, in print and MS. preserved 
at the end of Speght's edition of Chaucer's Works, fol. Lond. 1602, fol. 376 b. occurs one with 
the title of" Chusing Loves on S. Valentine's. Day." " Lydgate," says Warton (Hist. Engl. Poet, 
vol. ii. p. 53), " was not only the Poet of his Monastery, but of the World in general. If a 
Disguising was intended by the Company of Goldsmiths, a Mask before his' Majesty at Eltham, a 
May-game for the Sheriffs and Aldermen of London, a Mumming before the Lord Mayor, a Pro- 
cession of Pageants from the Creation for the Festival of Corpus Christi, or a Carol for the Coro- 
nation, Lydgate was consulted, and gave the Poetry." The above Catalogue mentions also, by 
Lydgate, " a Disguising before the Mayor of London by the Mercers ; a Disguising before the 
King in the Castle of Hartford ; a Mumming before the King at Eltham ; a Miimming before the 
King at Windsore; and a Ballade given to Henry VI. and his mother on New Yeare's Day, at 

Warton, in his emendations and additions to vol. ii. p. 31, of his History of English Poetry, 
has given a curious French Valentine composed by Gower. See a curious, but by no means 
satisfactory Note upon this subject by Monsieur Duchat, in the quarto edition of Rabelais, 
torn. i. p. 393. 

There is an account of the manner in which St. Valentine's Day. was antiently observed in 
France, in Goujet Bibliothcque Francoise, torn, ix, p. 266, together with some Poems composed 
by Charles, Duke of Orleans, the father of Louis XII. when prisoner in England, in honour of 
that Festival." 


Herrick lias the following in his Hesperides, p. 172 : 


" Oft have I heard both Youth and Virgins say, 
Birds chuse their mates, and couple too, this day : 
But by their flight I never can divine, 
When I shall couple with my Valentine." 

In Dudley Lord North's Forest of Varieties, fol. 1645, p. 61, in a Letter to 
his Brother, he says, "A Lady of wit and qualitie, whom you well knew, would 
never put herself to the chance oj a Valentine, saying that shee would never 
couple herselfe, but by choyce. The custome and charge of Valentines is 
not ill left, with many other such costly and idle customer, which by a tacit 
generall consent wee lay downe as obsolete." 

The following is one of the most elegant Jew d'esprits on this occasion that I have met with : 

" Look how, my dear, the feather'd kind, 
By mutual caresses joyn'd, 
Bill, and seem to teach us two, 
What we to love and custom owe. 

Shall only you and I forbear 
To meet and make a happy pair? 
Shall we alone delay to live ? 
This day an age of bliss may give. 

But ah! when I the proffer make, 
Still coyly you refuse to takej 
My heart I dedicate in vain, 
The too mean present you disdain. 

Yet since the solemn time allows 
To choose the object of our vows ; 
Boldly I dare profess my flame, 
Proud to be yours by any name." 

Satyrs of Boileau imitated, wit'a other Poems. Svo. Lond. 1696, p. 101. 

VOL. I. H 


In " Carolina, or Loyal Poems, by Thomas Shipman, esq." p. 135, is 'a copy 
of verses entitled " The Rescue, 1673. To Mrs. D. C. whose name being left 
after drawing Valentines and cast into the fire, was snatcht out. 

"I, like the Angel, did aspire 

Your Name to rescue from the fire. 

My zeal succeeded for your name, 

But I, alas! caught all the flame! 

A meaner offering thus sufEc'd, 

And Isaac was not sacrific'd f ." 

I have searched the Legend of St. Valentine, but think there is no occurrence 
in his life that could have given rise to this ceremony %. 

The learned Moresin tells us, that at this Festival the men used to make the 
women presents, as, upon another occasion, the women used to do to the men: 
but that presents were made reciprocally on this day in Scotland h . 

f In the British Apollo, fol. Lond. 1708, vol. i. No. 3, we read, 
" Why Valentine's a day to choose 
A mistress, and our freedom loose ? 
May I my reason interpose, 
The question with an answer close, 
To imitate we have a mind, 
And couple like the winged kind." 
In the same work, vol. ii. No. 2, fol. Lond. 1709 : 

Question. " In chusing Valentines (according to custom) is not the party chusing (be it man 
or woman) to make a present to the party chosen ? 

Answer. We think it more proper to say, drawing of Valentines, since the most customary 
way is for each to take his or her lot. And Chance cannot be termed Choice. According to this 
method, the obligations are equal, and therefore it was formerly the custom mutually to present, 
but now it is customary only for the Gentlemen." 

f Wheatley, in his Illustration of the Common Prayer, Svo. Lond. 1741. p. 61, tells us that St. 
Valentine " was a man of most admirable parts, and so famous for his love and charity, that the 
custom of choosing Valentines upon his Festival (which is still practised) took its rise from 
thence." I know not how my Reader will be satisfied with this learned writer's explication. He 
has given us no pramses, in my opinion, from which we can draw any such conclusion. Were 
not all the Saints supposed to be famous for their love and charity ? Surely he does not mean 
that we should understand the word Love here as implying Gallantry. 

h " Et vere ad Valentin! Festum a viris habent fceminae munera, et alio tempore viris dantur. 
ID Scotia autem ad Valentini reciprocae fufere dationes." Moresini Papatus, p. 160. 


Gay has left us a poetical description of some rural ceremonies used on the 
morning of this day : 

" Last Valentine, the day when birds of kind 
Their paramours with mutual chirpings find, 
I early rose, just at the break of day, 
Before the sun had chas'd the stars away: 
A-field I went, amid the morning dew, 
To milk my kine (for so should house-wives do), 
Thee first I spied, and the first swain we see, 
In spite of Fortune, shall our true love be 1 ." 

Mr. Pennant, in his Tour in Scotland, tells us, that in February young persons draw Valentines, 
and from thence collect their future fortune in the nuptial stute. 

Dr. Goldsmith, in his Vicar of Wakefield, describing the manners of some rustics, tells us, 
they sent True-love Knots on Valentine morning. 
The following is from Buchanan : 

" Festa Valentino rediit Lux 

Quisque sibi Sociam jam legit ales Avem. 
Inde sibi Dominam per sortes queerere in Annum 

Mansit ab antiquis mors repetitus avis: 
Quisque legit Dominam, quam casto observet amore, 

Quam nitidis sertis, obsequioque colat: 
Mittere cui possit blandi Munuscula Veris." 

Pocmata. edit. 12mo. Lugd. Bat. 1623. p. 362. 

Lewis Owen, in his work entitled " The Unmasking of all Popish Monks, Friers, and Jesuits," 4to. 
Lond. 1628, p. 97, speaking of its being " now among the Papists as it was heretofore among 
the heathen people," says that the former " have as many saints, which they honour as gods, and 
every one have their several charge assigned unto them by God, for the succour of men, women, 
and children, yea over Countries, Common-wealths, Cities, Provinces, and Churches; nay, to 
help Oveset Doves et ccetera pecora Campi:" and instances, among many others, " S. Valentine, for 

* Grose explains Valentine to mean the first woman seen by a man, or man seen by a woman, 
on St. Valentine's Day, the 14th of February. 

From the following lines in Bishop Hall's Satires, I should guess that Valentine has been parti- 
cularly famous for Chastity. 

" Now play the Satyre whoso list for me, 
Valentine self, or some as chaste as hee." 

Virgidern. book iv. sat. 1. 

From Mr. Douce's manuscript notes I learn, that Butler, in his Lives of the Saints, says, " To 
abolish the heathens, lewd, superstitious custom of Boys drawing the names of Girls, ia honour of 


We find the following curious species of divination in the Connoisseur, as 
practised on Valentine's Day or Eve. " Last Friday was Valentine Day, and 
the night before I got five bay-leaves, and pinned four of them to the four 
corners of my pillow, and the fifth to the middle ; and then, if I dreamt of my 
sweet-heart, Betty said we should be married before the year was out k . But 
to make it more sure, I boiled an egg hard, and took out the yolk, and filled 
it with salt ; and when I went to bed, eat it, shell and all, without speaking or 
drinking after it. We also wrote our lovers' names upon bits of paper, and 
rolled them up in clay, and put them into water : and the first that rose up was 
to be our Valentine. Would you think it, Mr. Blossom was my man. I lay 
a-bed and shut my eyes all the morning, till he came to our house; for I would 
not have seen another man before him for all the world." 

Misson, in his Travels in England, p. 410, has the following Observations 
on Valentines 1 . 

" Valentin, la veille du 14 Fevrier, Jour de S. Valentin, et temps auquel 
toute la Nature vivante tend a 1'accouplement, les jeunes Gens en Angleterre et 
en Ecosse aussi, par une coutume fort ancienne, celebrent une petite Fete qui 
vise au meme but. Nombre egal de Garcons et de Filles se trouvent ensemble: 

their goddess Februata Juno, on the 15th of February, several zealous Pastors substituted the names 
of Saints in billets given on that day." See his Account of St. Valentine. And in vol. i. Jan. 29, 
he says, that " St. Frances de Sales severely forbad the custom of Valentines, or giving Boys in 
writing the names of Girls to be admired and attended on by them ; and to abolish it, he changed 
it into giving billets with the names of certain Saints, for them to honour and imitate in a parti- 
cular manner." But quare this custom among the Romans above referred to. 

A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, 1779, p. 137, mentions a sort of sport used in Kent 
during the month of February, where the Girls were burning in triumph a figure which they had 
stolen from the Boys, called a Holly-Boy, whilst the Boys were doing the same with another 
figure called an Ivy-Girl. 

k Herrick, in his Hesperides, p. 61, speaking of a Bride, says, 
" She must no more a-maying : 
Or by Rose-buds divine 
Who'l be her Valentine" 

1 Thus translated by Ozell, p. 330 : " On the Eve of the 14th of February, St. Valentine's 

Day, a time when all living Nature inclines to couple, the young folks in England and Scotland 

too, by a very antient custom, celebrate a little Festival that tends to the same end. An equal 

number of Maids and Batchelors get together, each writes their true or some feign'd name upon 


chacun et chacune ecrivent leurs vrais noms ou des noms empruntez sur des 
billets separez, roulent ces billets et tirent au sort, les Filles prenant les billets 
des Galons, et les Garcons les billets des Filles, de sorte que chaque Gar9<m 
rencontre une Fille qu'il appelle sa Valentine ; et chaque Fille rencontre un Gar- 
con qu'elle appelle son Valentin. De cette maniere, chacun a double Valentin et 
double Valentine : mais le Valentin s'attache plus a la Valentine qui lui est 
echeiie, qu'a la Valentine a la quelle il est echu. Le sort ayant ainsi associe le 
compagnie en divers couples, les Valentins donnent Bals et Cadeaux, portent 
pendant plusieurs jours sur le coeur ou sur la manche les billets de leurs Valen- 
tines, et assez souvent 1'amour s'y boute. Cette petite cerenionie se pratique 
avec diversite dans les diverses provinces, et selon les plus ou le moins de 
severite des Mesdames les Valentines. On tient encore pour autre sorte de 
Valentin ou de Valentine, le premier Garcon ou la premiere Fille que le hazard 
fait rencontrer dans la rue, ou ailleurs, le Jour de la Fete." 

The following love divinations appear to have been practised upon the Conti- 
nent in Advent: 

" Observatur porro hoc tempore alia quoque profana et impia consuetude 
a Christianis, de qua Naogeorgus eodem loco sic etiain canit : 

separate billets, which they roll up, and draw by way of lots, the Maids taking the Men's billets, 
and the Men the Maids' ; so that each of the young Men lights upon a Girl that he calls his 
Valentine, and each of the Girls upon a young Man which she calls her's. By this means each 
has two Valentines : but the Man sticks faster to the Valentine that is fallen to him, than to the 
Valentine to whom he is fallen. Fortune having thus divided the company into so many couples, 
the Valentines give balls and treats to their mistresses, wear their billets several days upon their 
bosoms or sleeves, and this little sport often ends in Love. This ceremony is practised differently 
in different Counties, and according to the freedom or severity of Madam Valentine. There is 
another kind of Valentine, which is the first young Man or Woman that chance throws in your 
way in the street, or elsewhere, on that day." 

In Poor Robin's Almanack for 1 6~6, that facetious observer of our old customs tells us, oppo- 
site to St. Valentine's Day in February, 

" Now Andrew, Antho- 
ny, and William, 

For Valentines dram 
Prue, Kate, Jilian." 


" Illis divinant etiam inquiruntque diebus 
Aptee connubio jam lascivceque puellae 
Nomine desponsi, quicunque est ille futurus. 
Quatuor accipiunt Caepas, vel quinque, vel octo, 
Atque induunt certum nomen, prae aliisque cupitum 
Cuique dein propter fornacem ex ordine ponunt. 
Et quae prima suum protrudit caepula germen, 
Illius hand dubie nomen quoque Sponsus habebit. 
Inquirunt etiam sponsi moresque animumque, 
Sol postquam occiduus coelum terrasque reliquit. 
Namque struem lignorum adeunt turn, perque tenebras 
Fortuito inde sudem casu quaique extrahit unam : 
Q.USC fuerit si recta, et nullis horrida nodis, 
Commodis ac comis speratur rite maritus : 
Sin vero prava et nodis incommoda duris, 
Improbulutn ac pravum sperat obtingere sponsum. 
Ista ferunt et alunt scelerati impune papistae." 

See also Hospinian de Orig. Festor. Christian, fol. 152. Some other love 
divinations seem to have been practised there on St. Andrew's Day. 

" De Ritu qui in Papatu observatur in D. Andreas Festo sic Naogeorgus, 
libro iv. Regni Papistic! canit. 

" Andraeae amatores vulgo turbasque procorum 
Dona ferunt, cred unique illius numine dextro 
Prxstigiisque aliis tacita sub nocte peractis, 
Spcai reclam fore, seque frui re posse cupita." 

Ibid. fol. 1.52. b. 


IN the North of England the Monday preceding Shrove Tuesday, or Pan- 
cake Tuesday, is called Collop Monday : Eggs and Collops compose an usual 
dish at dinner on this day, as Pancakes do on the following, from which 
customs they have plainly derived their names. 


It should seem that on Collop a Monday they took their leave of flesh b in 
the papal times, which was antiently prepared to last during the winter by 
salting, drying, and being hung up. Slices of this kind of meat are to this day 
termed Collops in the North, whereas they are called Steaks when cut off from 
fresh or unsalted flesh; a kind of food which I am inclined to think our ances- 
tors seldom tasted in the depth of winter. 

A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine asserts that most places in England 
have Eggs and Collops (slices of bacon) on Shrove Monday . 

My late learned friend, the Rev. Mr. Bowles, informed me that in the neigh- 
bourhood of Salisbury, in Wiltshire, the boys go about before Shrove-tide, 
singing these rhymes : 

" Shrove Tide is nigh at hand, 

And I am come a shroving ; 

Pray, Dame, something, 

An Apple or a Dumpling, 

Or a piece of Truckle Cheese 

Of your own making, 

Or a piece of Pancake d ." 

a Collpp, (S. of doubtful etymology) a small slice of meat, a piece of any animal. Ash. 
Colab. Colob. Segmentum. unde Anglis Colabs $ Egges dicuntur Segmenta lardi ovis instrata. 
KoXo; Suidse est offula, buccea parvula, a x.t>\aoia decurto, minuo. Adi quoque Etym. Voss. in 
Collabi. M. Casaubon de Vet. Ling. Angl. p. 279. Lye. Junii Etymolog. v. Colab. 

Collop, Minshew, deflectit a xoAaTrL, incido, vel a Belg. kole, carbo, et op super, ut idem sit 
quod Fr. G. Carbonade, vel a Ko'Ww^, corium durius in cervicibus et dorsis bouin, aut ovium, vel 
a KoXov, eibus, vel a Ko*ao?, quod Vossio in Et. L.L. exp. Buccea, offula. Skinner in verbo. 

Dr. Kennett, in the Glossary to his Parochial Antiquities, (v. Collerus.) tells us of an old Latin 
word colponer, slices, or cut pieces j in Welch, a Gollvvith. 

b In the Ordinary of the Butchers' Company at Newcastle- upon-Tyne, dated 1621, I find the 
following very curious clause: " Item, that noe one Brother of the said Fellowship shall hereafter 
buy or seeke any Licence of any person whatsoever to kill Flesh within the Tovvne of Newcastle 
in the Lent season, without the general consent of the Fellowship, upon payne for every such 
deiaute to the use aforesaide, ^5." They. are enjoined, it is observable, in this charter, to 
hold their head meeting-day on Ash- Wednesday. They have since altered it to the preceding 

*ir i i 


e August 1790, p. 719. 

d Sir Thomas Overbury, in his Characters, speaking of a "Franklin," says, that among the 
Ceremonies which he anmially observes, and that without considering them as reliques of Popery, 
are " Shrovings." 


At Eton school it was the custom, on Shrove Monday, for the Scholars to 
write verses either in praise or dispraise of Father Bacchus*: poets being con- 
sidered as immediately under his protection. He was therefore sung on this 
occasion in all kinds of metres, and the verses of the boys of the seventh and 
sixth, and of some of the fifth forms, were affixed to the inner doors, pf the 

Verses are still written and put up on this day, but I believe the young poets 
are no longer confined to the subject of writing eulogiums on the god of wine. 
It still however retains the name of the Bacchus. 


SHROVE-TIDE plainly signifies the time of confessing sins, as the Saxon 
word Shrive, or Shrift, means Confession. This season has been antiently set 
apart by the Church of Rome for a time of shriving or confessing sins b . This 
seemingly no bad preparative for the austerities that were to follow in Lent, 
was, for whatever reason, laid aside at the Reformation. 

The luxury and intemperance that usually prevailed at this season were 
vestiges of the Romish carnival c , which the learned Moresin derives from the 
times of Gentilism, introducing Joannes Boemus Aubanus as describing it 

e Status Scholse Etoniensis, A. D. 1560. MS. Brit. Mus. Donat. 4843, already quoted. " In 
die Limit! Carnis-privii ad horam nonam luditur et conduntur Cannina, sive in laudem sive in 
vituperium Bacchi patris : et quia Clientes Bacchi poetse dicuntur, in cujus tutela omnes sunt 
constituti, omnium Metrorum omni genere Dionysium canunt. Carmina condita a pueris 7 mi et 
6" et aliquot 5** ordinis affiguntur Valvis interioribus Collegii." fol. 423. 

a In the Oxford Almanacks, the Saturday preceding this day is called the Egg-Feast. Perhaps 
the same as our Collop Monday. See, under Paste Eggs, Hyde's Account of the Festum Ovorum. 

b Bourne, chap. xxi. In the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Mary at Hill, in the City of 
London, A. D. 1493, is the following article : " For a Mat for the Skreoing Pewe, iij d." 

See Dufresne's Glossary, v. " Carnelevamen." Wheatly on the Coin. Pr. edit. 8vo. 1741, 
p. 222. 


thus d : "Men eat and drink and abandon themselves to every kind of sportive 
foolery, as if resolved to have their fill of pleasure before they were to die, and 

d J. Boemus Aubanus gives us the following description of the manner of spending the three 
days before the Lent-Fast commenced, commonly called the Carnival, that is, " the bidding fare- 
well to flesh." 

" Quo item modo tres praecedentes quadrageaimale jejuniuru dies peragat, dicere opus non 
erit, si cognoscatur, qua popular! qua spontanea insania caetera Germania, a qua et Fran- 
conia minime desciscit, tune vivat. Comedit enim et bibit, seque ludo, jocoque omnimodo 
adeo dedit, quasi usus nunquam veniant, quasi eras moritura, hodie prius omnium rerum 
satietatem capere velit. Novi aliquid spectaculi quisque excogitat, quo mentes et oculos om- 
nium delectet, admirationeque detineat. Atque, ne pudor obstet, qui se ludicro illi committunt, 
facies larvis obducunt, sexum et aetatem meutientes, viri mulierum vestimenta, mulieres virorum 
induunt. jQuidam Satyros, aut malos dsemones potius reprsesentare volentes, minio se, aut 
atramento tingunt, habituque nefando deturpant, alii nudi discurrentes Lupercos agunt, a 
quibus ego annuum istum delirandi morem ad nos defluxisse existimo." p. 267- And Bishop 
Hall, in his Triumphs of Rome, thus describes the Jovial Carneval. " Every man cries Sclolta, 
letting himself loose to the maddest of merriments, marching wildly up and down in all forms of 
disguises ; each man striving to outgo other in strange pranks of humourous debauchedness, iu 
which even those of the holy order are wont to be allowed their share ; for howsoever it was by 
some sullen authority forbidden to Clerks, and Votaries of any kind, to go masked and misguised 
in those seemingly abusive solemnities, yet more favourable construction hath offered to make 
them believe that it was chiefly for their sakes, for the refreshment of their sadder and more 
restrained spirits, that this free and lawless Festivity was taken up." p. 19. 

" Shrove -Tide," says Mr. Warton, " was formerly a season of extraordinary sport and feasting. 
In the Romish Church there was antiently a Feast immediately preceding Lent, which lasted many 
days, called CARNISCAFIUM. See Carpenlier in t. Supp. L;it. Glo-^s. Du Cange, torn. i. p. 381. 
In some cities of France an officer was annually chosen, called Le Prince d'Amoreux, who pre- 
sided over the sports of the youth for six days before Ash-Wednesday. Ibid. v. AMORATUS, p. 195; 
and v. CARDINALIS, p. 81S. Also v. SPINETUM, torn. iii. p. 848. Some traces of these Festivities 
still remain in our Universities. In the Percy Household Book, 1512, it appears " that the Clergy 
and Officers of Lord Percy's Chapel performed a play before his Lordship, upon Slirowftewesday 
at night." p. 345. See also Dodsley's Collection of Old Plays, vol. xii. p. 403, last edition. 

Reed's edit, of Shakspeare, vol. xii. p. 235. On part of the old song "And 
welcome merry Shrove-tide." 

In a curious tract, entitled " Vox Graculi," quarto, 1623, p. 55, is the following quaint descrip- 
tion of Shrove-Tuesday : " Here must enter that wadling, stradling, bursten-gutted Carnifex of 
all Christendome, vulgarly enstiled Shrove Tuesday, but, more pertinently, sole Monarch of the 
Mouth, high Steward to the Stomach, chiefe Ganimede to the Guts, prime peere of the Pullets, 
first Favourite to the Frying-pans, greatest Bashaw to the Batter-bowles, Protector of the Pan- 
cakes, first Founder of the Fritters, Baron of Bacon-flitch, Earle of Egge-baskets, &c. This 
corpulent Commander of those chollericke things called Cookes, will shew himselfe to be but of 
ignoble education ; for by his manners you may finde him better fed than taught wherever he 

VOL. I. J 


as it were forego every sort of delight." Thus also Selden : " What the Church 

debars us one day, she gives us leave to take out another first there is a 

Carnival, and then a Lent." 

The following extract from Barnaby Googe's Translation of Naogeorgus will 

shew the extent of these festivities : 

Now when at length the pleasant time of Shrove-tide comes in place, 
And cruell fastjng dayes at hand approch with solemne grace : 
Then olde and yong are both as mad, as ghestes of Bacchus feast, 
And foure dayes long they tipple square, and feede and never reast*. 
Downe goes the hogges in every place, and puddings every wheare 
Do swarme : the dice are shakte and tost, and cardes apace they teare : 
In every house are showtes and cryes, and mirth, and revell route, 
And daintie tables spred, and all be set with ghestes aboute : 
With sundrie playes and Christmasse games, and feare and shame away, 
The tongue is set at libertie. and hath no kiude of stay. 
All thinges are lawfull then and done, no pleasure passed by, 
That in their mindes they can deuise, as if they then should die : 
The chiefest man is he, and one that most deserueth prayse, 
Among the rest that can finde out the fondest kinde of playes f . 
On him they looke and gaze vpon, and laugh with lustie cheare, 
Whom boyes do follow, crying foole, and such like other geare. 
He in the meane time thinkes himselfe a wondrous worthie man, 
Not mooued with their wordes nor cryes, do whasoeuer they can. 
Some sort there are that runne with staues, or fight in armour fine, 
Or shew the people foolishe toyes, for some small peece of wine. 

" This furnishyng of our bellies with delicates, that we use on Fastingham Tuiesday, what 
tyme some eate tyl they be enforsed to forbeare all again, sprong of Bacchus Feastes, that were 
celebrated in Rome with great joy and deliciouse fare." Langley's Polidore Vergile, fol. 103. 

f Among the Records of the City of Norwich, mention is made of one John Gladman, " who 
was ever, and at thys our is a man of sad disposition, and trewe and feythfull to God and to the 
Kyng, of disporte as hath hen acustomed in ony Cite or Burgh thorowe alle this reame, on Tuesday 
in the last ende of Cristemesse [1440,] viz'. Fastyngonge Tuesday, made a disport with hys neygh- 
bours, havyng his hors trappyd with tynnsoyle and other nyse disgisy things, coronned as Kyng of 
Crestemesse, in tokyn that seson should end with the twelve monethes of the yere, aforn hym went 
yche moneth dysguysed after the seson requiryd, and Lenton cladin whyte and red heryngs skinns 
and his hors trappyd with oystershells after him, in token that sadnesse shuld folowe and an 
holy tyme, and so rode in divers stretis of the Cite with other people with hym disguysed, makyng 
.myrth, disportes, and plays, &c." Blomefield's Norfolk, edit. fol. 1745, vol. ii. p. 111. 


Eche partie hath his fauourers, and faythfull friendes enowe, 

That readie are to turne themselues, as fortune liste to bowe. 

But some agairie the dreadfull shape of deuils on them take, 

And chase such as they meete, and make poore boyes for feare to quake. 

Some naked runne about the streetes, their faces hid alone, 

With visars close, that, so disguisde, they might be knowne of none. 

Both men and women chaunge their weede, the men in maydes aray, 

And wanton wenches drest like men, doe trauell by the way, 

And to their neighbours houses go, or where it likes them best, 

Perhaps unto some auncient friend or olde acquainted ghest, 

Unknowne, and speaking but fewc wordes, the meat deuour they up 

That is before them set, and cleane they swinge of euery cup. 

Some runne about the streets attyrde like Monks, and some like Kings, 

Accompanied with pompe and garde, and other stately things. 

Some hatch yong fooles as hennes do egges with good and speedie lucke, 

Or as the goose doth vse to do, or as the quacking ducke. 

Some like wilde beastes doe runne abrode in skinnes that diuers bee 

Arayde, and eke witli lothsome shapes, that dreadfull are to see : 

They counterfet both beares and woolves, and lions fierce in sight, 

And raging bulles. Some play the cranes, with wings and stilts upright. 

Some like the filthie forme of apes, and some like fooles are drest, 

Which best beseeme these Papistes all, that thus keepe Bacchus feast. 

But others beare a torde, that'on a cushion soft they lay, 

And one there is that with a flap doth keepe the flies away. 

I would there might an other be, an officer of those, 

Whose roome might serve to take away the scent from every nose. 

Some others make a man all stuft with straw or ragges within, 

Apparayled in dublet faire, and hosen passing trim : 

Whom as a man that lately dyed of honest life and fame, 

In blanket hid they beare about, and streightwayes with the same 

They liurle him vp into the ayre, not suffring him to fall, 

And this they doe at diuers tyines the citie over all g . 

I shew not here their daunces yet, with filthie iestures mad, 

Nor other wanton sportes that on these holydayes are had. 

* This alludes to a sport at least similar to that of " Holly-Boy and Ivy-Girl," practised in 
East Kent; already mentioned in p. 5<2. The writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, from which it 
is noticed, says, " Mr. Urban, Being on a visit on Tuesday last in a little obscure village in this 
county, I found an odd kind of sport going forward : the Girls, from eighteen to five or six years 


There places are where such as hap to come within this dore, 

Though old acquainted friendes they be, or never scene before, 

And say not first here by your leave, both in and out I go, 

They binde their handes behinde their backes, nor any difference tho 

Of man or woman is there made, but basons ringing great, 

Before them do they daunce with joy, and sport in euery streat. 

There are that certain praiers have that on the Tuesday fall, 

Against the quartaine ague, and the other feuers all. 

But others than sowe onyon seede, the greater to be scene, 

And persley eke, and lettys both, to have them always greene. 

Of truth I loth for to declare the foolish toyes and trickes, 

That in these dayes are done by these same Popish Catholickes : 

If snow lie deep upon the ground and almost thawing bee, 

Then fooles in number great thou shall in every corner see : 

For balles of snow they make, and them at one another cast, 

Till that the conquerde part doth yeelde and run away at lust. 

No matrone olde nor sober man can freely by them come, 

At home he must abide that will these wanton fellowes shonne. 

Besides the noble men, the riche, and men of hie degree, 

Least they with common people should not seeme so mad to bee, 

There wagons finely framdc before, and for this matter meete, 

And lustie horse and swift of pace, well trapt from head to feete 

They put therein, about whose necke and every place before, 

A hundred gingling belles do hang, to make his courage more. 

Their wives and children therein set, behinde themselves do stande, 

Well armde with whips, and holding faste the bridle in their hande, 

With all their force throughout the streetes and market-place they ron, 

As if some whirlewinde mad, or tempest great from skies should come. 

old, were assembled in a crowd, and burning an uncouth effigy, which they called an Holly-Boy, 
and which it seems they had stolen from the Boys, who, in another part of the village were assem- 
bled together, and burning what they called an Ivy-Girl, which they had stolen from the Girls: 
all this ceremony was accompanied with loud huzzas, noise, and acclamations. What it all means 
I cannot tell, although I inquired of several of the oldest people in the place, who could only 
answer that it had always been a sport at this season of the year." Dated East Kent, Feb. 16th. 
The Tuesday before Shrove Tuesday in 1779 fell on February the 9th. 

" The peasantry of France" (says the Morning Chronicle, March loth, 1791) " distinguish 4sh 
Wednesday in a very singular manner. They carry an Effigy of a similar description to our Guy 
Faux round the adjacent villages, and collect money for his funeral, as this day, according to their 
creed, is the death of good living. After sundry absurd mummeries, the corpse is deposited in the 
earth." This may possibly be a relic of the same usage. 


As fat as may be from the streates th' amazed people flye, 

And gives them place while they about doe runne continually. 

Yea sometimes Icgges or armes they breake, and horse and carte and all 

They overthrow, with such a force, they in their course doe fall. 

Much lesse they man or ohilde do spare, that meetes them in the waye, 

Nor they content themselves to use this madnesse all the daye : 

But even till midnight holde they on, their pastimes for to make, 

Whereby they hinder men of sleepe and cause their heads to ake. 

But all this same they care not for, nor doe esteem a heare, 

So they may have their pleasure still, and foolish wanton geare k ." fol. 47. b. 

Among the sports of Shrove Tuesday, Cock-fighting' and throwing at Cocks 
appear almost every where to have prevailed. 

h Armstrong, in his History of Minorca, p. 2O2, says, " During the Carnival, the Ladies amuse 
themselves in throwing oranges at their lovers; and he who has received one of these on his eye, 
or has a tooth beat out by it, is convinced, from that moment, that he is a high favourite with the 
fair-one, who has done him so much honour. Sometimes a good hand-full of flour is thrown 
full in one's eyes, which gives the utmost satisfaction, and is a favour that is quickly followed by 
others of a less trifling nature." " We well know that the holydays of the antient Romans were, 
like these Carnivals, a mixture of devotion and debauchery." " This time of festivity is sacred to 
pleasure, and it is sinful to exercUe their calling until Lent arrives, with the two curses of these 
people, Abstinence and Labour, in its train." 

1 The learned Moresin informs us that the Papists derived this custom of exhibiting Cock-fights 
on one day every year from the Athenians, and from an institution of Themistooles. " Galli 
Gullinacei," says he, " producuntur per diem singulis annis in pugnam a Papisequis, ex veteri 
Atheniensium forma ducto more et Themistoclis instituto." Cael. Rhod. lib. ix. variar. lect. 
cap. xlvi. idem Pergami fiebat. Alex, ab Alex. lib. v. cap. 8. Moresini Papatus, p. 66. 

An account of ihe origin of this custom amongst the Athenians may be seen in .ffiliani Variae 
Historic, lib. II. cap. xxviii. 

This custom was retained in many Schools in Scotland within the last century. Perhaps it is 
still in use. The School-masters were said to preside at the Battle, and claimed the run-away 
Cocks, called Fugees, as their perquisites. 

Carpentier calls " Gallorum pngna" Ludi genus inter pueros scholares, non uno in loco usitati. 

Lit. remiss. An. 1383, in Reg. 134. Chartoph. Reg. ch. 37- " En ce Karesme entrant 

a une feste ou dance que Ten faisoit lors d'Enfans pour la Jouste des Coqs, ainsi qu'il est accous- 
tume (en Dauphin6)." 

Du Cange, in his Glossary, torn. ii. col. 1679, says, that although this practice was confined to 
School-boys in several provinces of France, it was nevertheless forbidden in the Council of Copria 
(supposed to be Cognac) in the year 1260. The Decree recites " that although it was then 


Fitzstephen, as cited by Stowe, informs us that antiently on Shrove Tuesday 
the School-boys used to bring Cocks of the Game, now called Game Cocks, 
to their Master, and to delight themselves in Cock-fighting all the forenoon k . 

become obsolete, as well in Grammar Schools as in other places, yet mischiefs had arisen, &e." 
" DUELLUM GALLORUM gallinaceorum etiamnum in aliquot provinces usurpatum a Scholaribus 
puerulis, vetatur in Concilio Copriniacensi An. 1260, cap. 7. quod scilicet superstiHonem 
quamdam saperet, vel potius sortilegii aut purgationis vulgaris nescio quid redolc ret ; quia ex 
duello gallomm, quod in partibus istis,-tam in Scholis Grammaticae, quam in aliis fieri inoievit, 
nonnulla mala aliquoties sunt exorta, &c." Du Cange, in verbo. Vide Carpentier. o. Jasia. 

k Fitzstephen continues : " After dinner, all the youths go into the fields, to play at the Ball. 
The Scholars of every School have their Ball, or Bastion, in their hands. The antient and 
wealthy men of the city come forth on horseback, to see the sport of the young men, and to take 
part of the pleasure, in beholding their agility." Strype's edit, of Stowe, b. i. p. 247. See also 
Dr. Pegge's edit, of Fitzstephen's London, 4lo. 1792, pp. 45, 74. It should seem that Foot-Ball 
is meant here. 

In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, Svo. Eilinb. 1795, vol. xv. p. 521 , the 
minister of Kirkmichael, in Perthshire, speaking of the manners and customs of the inhabitants, 
says, " Foot-Ball is a common amusement with the School-boys, who also preserve the custom of 
Cock-fighting on Shrove Tuesday." 

Hutchinson, in his History of Cumberland, vol. ii. p. 322, speaking of the parish of Bromfield, 
and a custom there, that having now fallen into disuse, will soon be totally forgotten, tells us : 
" Till within the last twenty or thirty years, it had been a custom, time out of mind, for the 
Scholars of the Free-School of Bromfield, about the beginning of Lent, or in the' more expressive 
phraseology of the country, at Fasting's Even, to har out the Master ; i. e. to depose and exclude 
him from his school, and keep him out for three days. During the period of this expulsion, the 
doors of the citadel, the School, were strongly barricadoed within : and the Boys, who defended 
it like a besieged city, were armed, in general, with bore-tree, or elder, pop-guns. The Master, 
meanwhile, made various efforts, both by force and stratagem, to regain his lost authority. If he 
succeeded, heavy tasks were imposed, and the business of the School was resumed and submitted 
to ; but ii more commonly happened that he was repulsed and defeated. After three days' siege, 
terms of capitulation were proposed by the Master and accepted by the Boys. These terms were 
summed up in an old formula of Latin Leonine verses ; stipulating what hours and times should, 
for the year ensuing, be allotted to study, and what to relaxation and play. Securities were pro- 
vided by each side, for the due performance of these stipulations : and the paper was then so- 
lemnly signed both by Master and Scholars. 

" One of the articles always stipulated for and granted, was, the privilege of immediately cele- 
brating certain Games of long standing ; viz. a Foot-Ball Match, and a Cock-Fight. Captains, 
as they were called, were then chosen to manage and preside over these games : one from that 
part of the parish which lay to the Westward of the School ; the other from the East. Cocks 
and Foot-Ball Players were sought for with great diligence. The party, whose Cocks won the 


One rejoices to find no mention of throwing at Cocks on the occasion, a horrid 
species of cowardly cruelty, compared with which, Cock-fighting, savage as it 
may appear, is to be reckoned among " the tender mercies" of barbarity. 


The unknown very humane writer of a pamphlet entitled " Clemency to 
Brutes, &c." 4to. Lond. 1761, after some forcible exhortations against the 
use of this cruel diversion, in which there is a shocking abuse of time, (" an 
abuse so much the more shocking as it is shewn in tormenting that very crea- 
ture which seems by Nature intended for our remembrancer to improve it : the 
creature, whose voice, like a trumpet, summoneth man forth to his labour in 
the morning, and admonisheth him of the flight of his most precious hours 
throughout the day,") has the following observation : " Whence it had its rise 
among us I could never yet learn to my satisfaction 1 : but the common account 

most battles, was victorious in tbe Cock-pit ; and the prize a small silver bell, suspended to the 
button of the victor's hat, and worn for three successive Sundays. After the Cock-fight was 
ended, the Foot-Ball was thrown down in the Church-yard ; and the point then to be contested 
was, which party could carry it to the house of his respective Captain ; to Dundraw, perhaps, or 
West-Newton, a distance of two or three miles : every inch of which ground was keenly disputed. 
All the honour accruing to the conqueror at Foot-Ball, was that of possessing the Ball. Details 
of these matches were the general topics of conversation among the villagei-s ; and were dwelt on 
with hardly less satisfaction than their ancestors enjoyed in relating their feats in the Border Wars. 
" It never was the fortune of the writer of this account to bear the Bell (a pleasure, which, it is 
not at all improbable, had its origin in the Bell's having been the frequent, if not the usual 
reward of victory in such rural contests)." 

" Our Bromfield Sports were sometimes celebrated in indigenous songs : one verse only of one 
of them we happen to remember : 

" At Scales, great Tom Barwise gat the Ba' in his hand, 

And t' wives a\v ran out, and shouted, and bann'd : 

Tom Cowan then pulch'd and flang him 'rnang t' whins, 

And he bledder'd, Od-white-te, tou's broken my shins. 

" One cannot but feel a more than ordinary curiosity to be able to trace the origin of this im- 
provement on the Roman Saturnalia : and which also appears pretty evidently to be the basis of 
the Institution of the Terree Jilius in Oxford, now likewise become obsolete : but we are lost in a 
wilderness of conjectures : and as we have nothing that is satisfactory to ourselves to ofier, we 
will not uselessly bewilder our Readers." 

\ .'"' :' . '; >i .H'.-i '< ->i'' ,) ' ; ' j.ri-, ,/ A 

1 In an old jest-book entitled " Ingenii Fructus, or the Cambridge Jests, &c. by W. B." Lond. 
printed for D. Pratt, Corner of Church-Lane, Strand, no date, 12mo. is given what is called 


of it is, that the crowing of a Cock prevented our Saxon ancestors from mas- 
sacring their conquerors, another part of our ancestors, the Danes, on the 
morning of a Shrove Tuesday, whilst asleep in their beds 1 "." 

the original of " the throwing at Cocks on Shrove Tuesday," in which the rise of this custom is 
traced up to an unlucky discovery of an adulterous amour by the crowing of a cock. This 
account, I scarce need observe, is too ridiculous to merit a serious confutation. 

m Page 26. At p. 30 is the following passage : " As Christians consider how very ill the pas- 
time we are dissuading from agrees with the season, and of how much more suitable an use the 
victims of that pastime might be made to us. On the day following its tumultuous and bloody 
anniversary, our Church enters upon a long course of humiliation and fasting: and surely an eve 
of riot and carnage is a most unfit preparative for such a course. Surely it would be infinitely 
more becoming us to make the same use of the Cock at this season which St. Peter once made of 
it. Having denied his Master, when it crew, he wept." The author adds, though by mistake, 
" No other nation under Heaven, I believe, practises it but our own." 

In " The British Apollo," fol. Lond. 1708, vol. i. num. 4, is the following query : " How old 
and from whence is the custom of throwing at Cocks on Shrove Tuesday ? A. There are several 
different opinions concerning the original of this custom, but we are most inclined to give credit 
to one Cranenstein, an old German author, who, speaking of the customs observed by the 
Christian nations, gives us the following account of the original institution of the ceremony. 

" When the Danes were masters of England, and lorded it over the nations of the island, the 
inhabitants of a certain great city, grown weary of their slavery, had formed a secret conspiracy, 
to murder their masters in one bloody night, and twelve men had undertaken to enter the town- 
hoube by a stratagem, and seizing the arms, surprize the guard which kept it ; at which time 
their fellows, upon a signal given, were to come out of their houses and murder all opposers : 
but when they were putting it in execution, the unusual crowing and fluttering of the Cocks, 
about the place they attempted to enter at, discovered their design ; upon which the Danes 
became so enraged, that they doubled their cruelty, and used them with more severity than ever. 
Soon after they were forced from the Danish yoak, and to revenge themselves on the Cocks for 
the misfortune they involved them in, instituted this custom of knocking them on the head on 
Shrove Tuesday, the day on which it happened. This sport, tho' at first only practised in one 
City, in process of time became a natural divertisement, and has continued ever since the Danes 
first lost this Island." 

In "The Gentleman's Journal; or the Monthly Miscellany," for January 1692-3, is given an 
Engl'sh epigram " On a Cock at Rochester," by Sir Charles Sedley, wherein occur the following 
lines, which imply, as it should seem, as if the Cock suffered this annual barbarity by way of 
punishment for St. Peter's crime in denying his Lord and Master : 

" May'st thou be punish'd for St. Peter's crime, 
And on Shrove Tuesday perish in thy prime." 

A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. LIU. for July 1783, p. 578, says, "The barbarous 
practice of throwing at a Cock tied to a stake at Shrovetide, I think I have read, has an allusion 
to the indignities offered by the Jews to the Saviour of the World before his Crucifixion." 


In the preface to Hearne's edition of Thomas Otterbourne, p. 66 n , he tells 
us that this custom of throwing at Cocks must be traced to the time of King 
Henry the Fifth, and our victories then gained over the French, whose name in 
Latin is synonymous with that of a Cock , and that our brave countrymen 
hinted by it that they could as easily, at any time, overthrow the Gallic armies 
as they could knock down the Cocks on Shrove Tuesday. To those who arc 
satisfied with Hearne's explication of the custom we must object, that, from the 
very best authorities it appears also to have been practised in France, and that 
too, long before the reign of our Henry the Fifth. 

Carpentier, under the year 1 '355, mentions a petition of the Scholars to the 
Master of the School of Ramera, to give them a Cock, which they asserted the 

" " Morem ilium apud Nostrates baculoa in Gallinaceos jaciendi ad victorias Nostratium in 
Francos sive Gallos, regnante Henrico v* . precipue esse referendum. Cjuod sane lubenter, 
ut opinor, agnosces, si forsitan in mentem revocaveris, inde nostrates innuere voluisse, se tarn 
expedite posse Francos (vulgo Gallos appellatos) quomodocunque exercitis sui potentia et Quad- 
rigarum apparatu gloriantes, superare, ferro vastare, et jaculis configere, illorumque etiam 
decus in turpitudinem convertere, quam et baculorum suorum jactu die Martis, Caput Jejunii sive 
Carnisprivii mox antecedent!, Gallinaceos prosternunt ac perdunt, posteaque eodem die otia et 
convivia per horas aliquot agitant." Prsefatio ad Hearnii, edit. Thomae Otterbourne, &c. p. Ixvi. 

A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. vii. for January 1737, p. 7> says, I think very 
erroneously, that the " Inhabitants of London, by way of reproach for imitating the French in 
their modes and fashions, were named COCKNEYS, (turning upon the thought of a Cock signify, 
ing a Frenchman,) i. e. Apes and Mimics of France. 

With regard to the word Cockney, my learned friend Mr. Douce is of opinion, that perhaps 
after all that has been said with respect to the origin and meaning of this word, it is nothing 
more than a term of fondness or affection used towards male children, (in London more particu- 
larly,) in the same manner as Pigsnie is used to a woman. The latter word is very anticnt in our 
tongue, and occurs in Chaucer : 

" She was a Primerole, a Piggcsnie 
For anie Lord to liggen in his beclde, 
Or yet for any good Yeman to wedde." 

Cant. Tales, 1. 3267. 

The Romans used Oculus in the like sense* and perhaps Pigsnie, in the vulgar language only, 
means Ocellus, the eyes of that creature being remarkably small. Congrevc, in his Old Bachelor, 
makes Fondle-wife call his mate " Cockey." Burd and Bird are also used in the same sense. 
Shadwell not only uses the word Plgsney in tlus sense, but also Birdsney. See his Plays, vol. i. 
p. 357, v. iii. p. 385. 

VOL. I. K 



said Master owed them upon Shrove Tuesday, to throw sticks at, according to 
the usual custom, for their sport and entertainment P. 

The learned Hickes, in his Gram. Anglo-Sax. Ling. Vett. Septentr. Thes. torn. i. p. 231, gives 
the following derivation of Cockney : " Nunc Coquin, Coquine, qure olim apud Gallos otio, gulae 
et ventri deditos, ignavmu, ignavam, desidiosum, desidiosam, segnem signifieabant. Hinc urbanos, 
utpote a rusticis laboiibus, ad vitam sedcntariam et quasi desidiosam avocatos pagani nostri olim 
C'okaigncs, quod nunc scribitur Cockneys, vocabant. Et poeta hie noster in Monachos et Moniales, 
ut segno genus hominum, qui dcsidia; dediti, ventri indulgebant et Coquinae amatores erant, 
malevolentissime invehhur; Monasteria et monasticam Vitamin Descriptione Terrse Cokaineae 
parabolice perstringens." See also Mr. Tyrwhitt's Obsei-vations on this word in his Chaucer, 
edit. 8vo. Lond. 1775, vol. iv. p. 253, C. Tales, v. 420G. Reed's Old Plays, vol. v, 83, and 
vol. xi. 306, 30J. [See also Douce's Illustrations of Shakspeare, vol. ii. p. 151.] 

The sense of the word "Cockney" seems afterwards to have degenerated into an effeminate 

Buttes, in his " Dyets Dry Dinner," Lond. 1599, c. 2, says, " A Cocknl is inverted, being as 
much as incoct, unripe :" but little stress can be laid upon our author's etymology. 

In the " Workcs of John Heivvood, newly imprinted, &c." 4to. Lond. 1598, signat. E b. is the 
following curious passage : 

" Men say 

He that comlli every day, shall have a Cocknay, 

He that comth now and then, shall have a fat hen." 

f In Carpentier's Glossary, under the words " Gallorum pugna," A. D. 1458, some differences 
are mentioned as subsisting between the Mayor and Aldermen of Abbeville, and the Dean and 
Chapter of the church of St. Ulfra, which are made up on the following condition : " C'est 
iygsavoir que lesdiz Doyen et Cappitle accordent que doresenavant ilz souflreront et consentiront, 
que cellui qui dcmourra Roy d' 1'escolle leuuit dcs Quaresmiaulx, apporte ou fache apporter devers 
le Maieur de laditte Ville ou Camp S. George, le Cocq, qui demourra ledit jour ou autre jour 
vjctorieuxj ou autre Cocq; et que ledit Roy presente au dit Maieur pour d'icdluifaire le cholle* en 
la maniere accoutume"e. Qua; ultima verba explicant Lit. remiss, an. 1355, in Reg. 84. ch. 273. 
" Petierunt a magistro Erardo Maquart magistro scholarum ejusdem villa? de Rameru quatenw 
llberaret ft tradcret eis mum Gallum, quern, sicat dicebant, idem magister scholarum debebat eis die 
ipsa (Carniprivii) utjacerent baculos ad Gallumipsum, more solito, pro eorum exhillaratione et litdo." 
His authority for the, first is Lib. rub. fol. parvo Domus publ. Abbavil. fol. 214. v. ad an. 



Among the games represented in the margin of the " Roman d'Alexandre," preserved in the 
Bodleian Library at Oxford, is a Drawing of two Boys carrying a thud on a stick thrust between 
bis legs, who holds a Cock in his hands. They are followed by another Boy, with a flag or 
standard emblazoned with a Cudgel. Mr. Strutt has engraved the group in pL xxxv. of his 

* In Beyer's Dictionary, " faire une icolc" is rendered " to be pegged." 


This sport, *iow almost entirely forgotten among us, we wish consigned to 
eternal oblivion : an amusement fit only for the bloodiest savages, and not for 
humanized men, much less for Christians. 

The ingenious artist, Hogarth, has satirized this barbarity in the first of the 
prints called the Four Stages of Cruelty. Trusler's description is as follows: 
" We have several groupes of Boys at their different barbarous diversions ; one is 
throwing at a Cock, the universal Shrove-tide amusement, beating the harmless 
feathered animal to jelly." 

The custom of throwing at Cocks on Shrove Tuesday is still (1790 retained 
at Heston in Middlesex, in a field near the church. Constables have been 
often directed to attend on the occasion, in order to put a stop to so barbarous 
a custom, but hitherto they have attended in vain. I gathered the following 
particulars from a person who regretted that in his younger years he had often 
been a partaker of the sport. The owner of the Cock trains his bird for some 
time before Shrove Tuesday, and throws a stick at him himself, in order to prepare 
him for the fatal day, by accustoming him to watch the threatened danger, and, 
by springing aside, avoid the fatal blow. He holds the poor victim on the spot 
marked out, by a cord fixed to his leg, at the distance of nine or ten yards, so 
as to be out of the way of the stick himself. Another spot is marked, at the 
distance of twenty-two yards, for the person who throws to stand upon. lie 
has three shys, or throws, for two pence, and wins the Cock if he can knock 
him down and run up and catch him before the bird recovers his legs. The 
inhuman pastime does not end with the Cock's life, for when killed it is put into 
a hat, and won a second time by the person who can strike it out. Broom- 
sticks are generally used to shy with. The Cock, if well trained, eludes 
the blows of his cruel persecutors for a long time, and thereby clears to his 
master, a considerable sum of money. But I fear lest by describing the 
mode of throwing at Cocks, I should deserve the censure of Boerhaave on 
another occasion: "To teach the arts of cruelty is equivalent to committing 

" Sports and Pastimes." He supposes, p. 293, that it represents a boyish triumph : the hero of 
the party having either won the Cock, or his bird escaped unhurt from the dangers to which he 
had been exposed. The date of the Illumination is not 1433, as Mr. Strutt mentions, but 1343. 
See the MS. Bodl. 264. 


In " Men-Miracles, with other Poems, by M. Lluellin, Student of Christ- 
Church, Oxon," I2mo. Lond. 1679, p. 48, is the following Song, in which the 
author seems ironically to satirize this cruel sport : 


" Cocke a doodle doe, 'tis the bravest Game, 
Takes a Cocke from his Dame, 

And binds him to a stake, 
How he struts, how lie throwes, 
How he swaggers, how he crowes, 

As if the day newly brake. 

How his Mistress cackles 
Thus to find him in shackles, 

And tyed to a packe-thread garter. 
Oh the Beares and the Bulls 
Are but corpulent gulls 

To the valiant Shrove-tide Martyr*." 

i " Battering with missive weapons a Cock tied to a stake, is an annual diversion," says an 
essayist in the Gentleman's Magazine (vol. vii. for Jan. 1737< p. 6), " that for time immemorial 
has prevailed in this island." A Cock has the misfortune to be called in Latin by the same word 
which signifies a Frenchman. " In our wars with France, in former ages, our ingenious fore- 
fathers," says he, " invented this emblematical way of expressing their derision of, and resentment 
towards that nation ; and poor Monsieur at the stake was pelted by Men and Boys in a very 
rough and hostile manner." He instances the same thought at Blenheim House, where, over the 
portals, is finely carved in stone the figure of a monstrous Lion tearing to pieces a harmless Cock, 
which may be justly called a pun in architecture. " Considering the many ill consequences," the 
Essayist goes on to observe, that attend this sport, " I wonder it has so long subsisted among us. 
How many warm disputes and bloody quarrels has it occasioned among the surrounding mob ! 
Numbers of arms, legs, and skulls have been broken by the missive weapons designed as destruc- 
tion to the sufferer in the string. It is dangerous in some places to pass the streets on Shrove 
Tuesday; 'tis risking life and limbs to appear abroad that day." It " was first introduced by way 
of contempt to the French, and to exasperate the minds of the people against that nation." "Tis 
a low mean expression of our rage even in time of war." 

One part of this extract is singularly corroborated by a passage in the " Newcastle Courant," for 
March 15th, 1783. " Leeds, March llth, 1783 : Tuesday se'nnight, being Shrove-tide, as a person 
was amusing himself, along with several others, with the barbarous custom of throwing at a Cock, 
at Howden Clough, near Birstal, the stick pitched upon the head of Jonathan Speight, a youth 


Cock-throwing did not escape the observation of Misson, in his " Memoircs 
et Observations en Angleterre." At p. 255, he thus describes it : " Exposer 
un Coq dans une place et tuer a la distance de quarante oa cinquante pas, 
avec un baton comme pour jetter aux noix, est encore une chose bien diver, 
tissante ; mais ce plaisir n'est que d'une certaine saison r ." 

By the following extract from Baron's Cyprian Academy, 8vo. Lond. 1648, 
p. 53, it should seem to appear that Hens 8 also were formerly the objects of 

about thirteen years of age, and killed him on the spot. The man was committed to York 
Castle on Friday." 

Another writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. xxi. for Jan. 1751, p. 8, says, " Some, yet 
more brutal, gratify their cruelty on that emblem of innocence the Dove, in the same manner, to 
the reproach of our countiy and the scandal of our species." That Hens were thrown at as well as 
Cocks appears from many unquestionable evidences'. In the same work, vol. xix. for April 1749, 
is " A strange and wonderful Relation of a Hen that spake at a certain antient Borough in Staf- 
foidshire, on the 7th of February, being Shrove Tuesday, with her dying Speech." 

Dean Tucker wrote " An earnest and affectionate Address to the Common People of England, 
concerning their usual Recreations on Shrove Tuesday." London, pruned by J. Oliver, in Bartho- 
lomew Close, 12mo. no date ; consisting of ten pages only. 

r See also Ozell's Translation, p. 307. In King Henry the Eighth's time it should seem this 
diversion was practised even within the precincts of the Court. In a Royal Household Account, 
communicated by Craven Ord, esq. 1 find the following article : 

" March 2. 7th Hen. VII. Item to Master Bray for rewards to them that brought Cokkes at 
Shrovetide at Wes>tm r . xx s ." 

In the manuscript Life of Thomas Lord Berkeley, the fourth of that name, by Mr. Smith, still 
remaining at Berkeley Castle, speaking of his recreations and delights, he tells the reader, " Hee 
also would to the threshing of the Cocke, pucke with Hens blindfolde and the like." vol. ii. 
fbl. 459. This Lord was born A. D. 1352, and died in 1417. 

In the Hamlet of Pinner, at Harrow on the Hill, the cruel custom of throwing at Cocks was 
formerly made a matter of public celebrity ; as appears by an antient account of Receipts and 
Expenditures. The money collected at this sport was applied in aid of the Poor-rates. 
".1622. Received for Cocks at Shrovetide, 12s. od. 

1G28. Received for Cocks in Towne. . . . 19s. 10^. Out of Towne, fid." 

This custom appears to have continued as late as the year 1C80. Lysons's Environs of London, 
vol. ii. p. 083. 

The subsequent passage in Bishop Hall's Virgidcmiarum, 12mo. Lond. 1598, seems to implj: 
that a Hen was a usual present at Shrove-tide : as also a pair of Gloves at Easter. 
" For Easter Gloves, or for a Shroftide Hen, 
Which bought to give, he takes to sell again." 

Book iv. Sat. 5, p. 42.. 


this barbarous persecution. A clown is speaking. " By the Maskins I would 
give the best Cow in my yard to find out this Raskall. And I would. THRASH 
him as I did the Henne last Shrove Tuesday. ." 

In Tusser's Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry, we find the plough- 
man's feasting davs, or holidays, thus enumerated : 1 . Plough Monday. 2. 
Shrove Tuesday, when, after confession, he is suffered " to thresh the fat Hen" 
3. Sheep-shearing, with wafers and cakes. 4. Wake Day, or the vigil of the 
church Saint of the village, with custards. 5. Harvest-home, with a fat goose. 
6. Seed-cake, a festival kept at the end of Wheat-sowing, when he is to be 
feasted with seed-cakes, pasties, and furmenty pot '. 

"At Shrofticle to shroving, go thresh the fat Hen, 
If blindfold can kill her^ then give it thy men"." 

These lines, in Tusser Redivivus, Hvo. Lond. ] 744, p. 80, are thus explained 
in a note. " The Hen is hung at a fellow's back, who has also some horse- 
bells about him, the rest of the fellows are bunded, and have boughs in their 
hands, with which they chase this fellow and his Hen about some large court 
or small enclosure. The fellow with his Hen and bells shifting as well as he 
can, they follow the sound, and sometimes hit him and his Hen, other times, 
if he can get behind one of them, they thresh one another well favouredlyj 
but the jest is, the maids are to blind the fellows, which they do with their 
aprons, and the cunning baggages will endear their sweethearts with a peeping- 
hole, while the others look out as sharp to hinder it. After this the Hen is 
boiled. with Bacon, and store of Pancakes and Fritters are made w . She that 

' No. 1. is peculiar to Leicestershire ; <2. to Essex and Suffolk; 3. to Northampton; 4. to 
Leicestershire; 6. to Essex and Suffolk. We learn further from Tusser, that Ploughmen were 
accustomed to have roast meat twice a Week ; viz. Sundays and Thursdays, at night. See edit. 
1597, p. 137. 

u Mr. Jones informed me, that, in Wales, such Hens as did not lay eggs before Shrove Tuesday 
were, when.he was a boy, destined to be threshed on that day by a man with a flail, as being no 
longer good for any thing. If the man hit the Hen, and consequently killed her, he got her for 
liis pains. 

w " A learned foreigner (qu. if not Erasmus >) says, the English eat a certain Cake on Shrove 
Tuesday, upon which they immediately run mad, and kill tlieir poor Cocks. ' Quoddam placenta: 

*J .vi 


is noted for lying a-bed long, or any other miscarriage, hath the first Pancake 
presented to her, which most commonly falls to the dog's share at last, for no 
one will own it their due." This latter part of the note is to illustrate the 
following lines : 

" Maids, Fritters and Pancakes ynow see ye make, 

Let Slut have one Pancake for company sake." 

ii'UL/1'uf '"! ic ) ,.//"' 

Heath, in his Account of the Scilly Islands, p. 120 & seq. has the follow- 
ing passage : " On a Shrove Tuesday each year, after the throwing at Cocks is 
over, the Boys in this Island have a custom of throwing stones in the evening 
against the doors of the dwellers' houses ; a privilege they claim time immemo- 
rial, and put in practice without controul, for finishing the day's sport. I could 
never learn from whence this custom took*ite rise, but am informed that the 
same custom is now used in several provinces of Spain, as well as in some parts 
of Cornwall. The terms demanded by the Boys are Pancakes, or Money, to 


:'i II'M. !'j ,.i: iu J'i.'jtn v.l; ttfri . >.. -i . . i 

In the North of England Shrove Tuesday is called vulgarly " Fasten's E'en ;" 
the succeeding day being Ash-Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten East. 

gvnus, quo comesto, protinus insaniunt, et Gallon trucidant.' As if nothing less than some strong 
infatuation could account for continuing so barbarous a custom among Christians and Cockneys." 
Note to " Veille a la Campagne, or the Siranel, a Tale," fol. Lend. 1745, p. 16. 

* " Let glad Shrove Tuesday bring the Pancake thin, 
Or Fritter rich, with Apples stored within." 

Oxford Sausage, p. 22. 

A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1790, p. 256, says that at Westminster School, 
upon Shrove Tuesday, the Under Clerk of the College enters the School, and preceded by the 
Beadle arid other Officers, throws a large Pancake over the Bar, which divides the upper from 
the under School. 

A Gentleman who was formerly one of the Masters of that School confirmed the anecdote to 
roe, with this alteration, that the Cook of the Seminary brought it into the School, and threw it 
over the curtain which separated the forms of the Upper from those of the Under Scholars. I 
have heard of a similar custom at Eton School. ., 

Tlw manuscript in the British Museum before cited, " Status Schofce Etonensis, A. D. 1560," 
mentions a custom of that School on Shrove Tuesday, of the Boys being allowed to play from 
eight o'clock for the whole day : and of the Cook's coining and fastening a Pancake to a Crow, 


At Newcastle upon Tyne, the great bell of St. Nicholas' Church is tolled at 
twelve o'clock at noon on this day ; shops are immediately shut up, offices 
closed, and all kind of business ceases : a little Carnival ensuing for the re- 
maining part of the day?. 

which the young Crows are calling upon, near it, at the School-door. " Die Martis Carnis-privii 
luditur ad horam octavam in totuin diem : veuit Coquus, affigit laganuno Cornici, juxta illud 
pullis Corvorum invocantibus eum, ad ostium Scholie." The Crows generally have hatched their 
young at this season. 

" Most places in England have Eggs and Collops (slices of Bacon) on Shrove-Monday, Pancakes 
on Tuesday, and Fritters on the Wednesday in the same week for dinner." Gent. Mag. Aug. 
1790. p. 719. From " The Westmorland Dialect" by A. Walker, Svo. 1790. it appears that 
Cock-fighting and casting Pancakes are still practised on Shrove-Tuesday in that county. Thus 
p. 31. " Whaar ther wor tae be Cock-feightin, for it war Pankeak Tuesday." And p. 35. " We 
met sum Lads an Lasses gangin to kest their Pankeaks." 

It appears from Middleton's Masque of " The World tossed at Tennis," which was printed in 
1620, that Batter was used on Shrove-Tuesday at that time, no doubt for the purpose of making 

Shakspeare, in the following passage, alludes to this well-known custom of having Pancakes 
on Shrove-Tuesday, in the following string of comparisons put into the mouth of the Clown in 
" All's Well that Ends Well." " As fit as Tib's rush for Tim's fore-finger, as a Pancake for 
Shrove-Tuesday, a Morris for May-day," &c. In Gayton's Festivous Notes upon Don Quixote, 
p. 99. speaking of Sancho Pancha's having converted a Cassock into a Wallet, our pleasant Anno- 
tator observes : ' " It were serviceable after this greasie use for nothing but to preach at a Carni- 
vale or Shrove-Tuesday, and to tosse Pancakes in after the exercise : or else (if it could have been 
conveighed thither) nothing more proper for the man that preaches- the Cook's Sermon at Oxford, 
when that plump Society rides upon their Govcrnours horses to fetch in the Enemic, the Flie." 

That there was such a custom at Oxford, let Peshall in his History of that City be a voucher, 
who, speaking of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, p. 280. says : " To this Hospital Cooks from Ox- 
ford flocked, bringing in on Whitsun-week the Fly." [Aubrey saw this ceremony performed in 
1642. He adds : " On Michaelmas day they rode thither again to convey the Fly away." Re- 
mains of Gentilisme and Judaisme, Part III. f. 232 b. MS. Lansd. Brit. Mus. No. 226.] 

i " The great bell which used to be rung on Shrove-Tuesday, to call the people together for 
the purpose of confessing their sins, was called Pancake-Sell, a name which it still retains in some 
places where this custom is still kept up." Gent. Mag. 179O. p. 495. 

Macaulay, in his History and Antiquities of Clay brook, in Leicestershire, Svo. Lond, 1791. 
p. 123. says : " On Shrove-Tuesday a bell rings at noon, which is meant as a signal for the peo- 
ple to begin frying their Pancakes." Nichols's Leicestershire, vol. IV. p. 131. 

In a curious Tract, entitled, "A Vindication of the Letter out of the North, concerning Bishop 
Latoe's Declaration of his dying in the belief of the Doctrine of Passive Obedience, &c." 4to. Lond. 


A kind of Pancake Feast, preceding Lent, was used in the Greek Church, 
from whence we may probably have borrowed it with Pasche Eggs and other 

1690. p. 4. I find the subsequent passage. " They have for a long time at York had a custom 
(which now challenges the priviledge of a prescription) that all the apprentices, journeymen, 
and other servants of the town, had the liberty to go into the Cathedral, and ring the Pancake- 
bell (as we call it in the country) on Shrove-Tuesday ; and that being a time that a great many 
came out of the country to see the city, (if not their friends,) and church ; to oblige the ordi- 
nary people, the Minster used to be left open that day, to let them go up to see the Lanthorn 
and Bells, which were sure to be pretty well exercised, and was thought a more innocent diver- 
tbement than being at the alehouse. But Dr. Lake, when he came first to reside there, was very 
much scandalized at this custom, and was resolved he would break it at first dash, although all 
his brethren of the Clergy did dissuade him from it. He was resolved to make the experiment, 
for which he had like to have paid very dear, for 1'le assure you it was very near costing him his 
life. However he did make such a combustion and mutiny, that, I dare say, York never remem- 
bered nor saw the like, as many yet living can testify." [Dr. Lake's zeal and courage on this oc- 
casion are more minutely detailed in " A Defence of the Profession which the right reverend Lord 
Bishop of Chichester made upon his Death-bed, concerning Passive Obedience, and the New 
Oaths : together with an account of some passages of his Lordship's life," 4to. Loud. 10'90, p. 4.] 

Taylor, the Water Poet, in his " Jacke-a-Lent," (see his Works in fol. 130. p. 115.) gives the 
following most curious account of Shrove-Tuesday. 

" Shrove-Tuesday, at whose entrance in the morning all the whole kingdom is inquict, but by 
that time the clocke strikes eleven, which (by the help of a knavish sexton) is commonly before 
nine, then there is a bell rung, cal'd the Pancake-bell, the sound whereof makes thousands of 
people distracted, and forgetful either of manners or humanitie ; then there is a thing called 
wheaten floure, which the Cookes do mingle with water, egges, spice, and other tragical, magicall 
inchantments, and then they put it by little and little into a frying-pan of boiling suet, where it 
makes a confused dissmall hissing, (like the Lernean Snakes in the reeds of Acheron, Stix, or 
Phlegeton,) untill at last, by the skill of the Cooke, it is transformed into the forme of a Flip- 
Jack, cal'd a Pancake, which ominous incantation the ignorant people doe devoure very greedily." 

I know not well what he means by the following : " Then Tim Tatters, (a most opulent 
villaine,) with an ensigne made of a piece of a Baker's mawkin fix't upon a broome-staffe, he 
displaies his dreadful colours, and calling the ragged regiment together, makes an illiterate ora- 
tion, stuff 't with most plentiful want of discretion." 

Selden, in p. 20. of his Table-Talk, under Christmas, has this passage relating to the season : 
" So likewise our eating of fritters, whipping of tops, roasting of herrings, jack-of-lents, &c. they 
are all in imitation of church works, emblems of martyrdom.'" 

Sir Frederick Morton Eden, Bart, in "The State of the Poor, &c." 4to. 1797. vol. i. p. 498- 

tells us : " Crowdie, a. dish very common in Scotland, and accounted a very great luxury by 

labourers, is a never-failing dinner in Scotland with all ranks of people on Shrove-Tuesday (as 

Pancakes are in England), and was probably first introduced on that day (in the papal times) to 

VOL. I. L 


such like ceremonies. " The Russes, as Hakluyt tells us, begin their Lent 
always eight weeks before Easter ; the first week they eat eggs, milk, cheese, 
and butter, and make great cheer with Pancakes and such other things." 

The custom of frying Pancakes, (in turning of which in the pan there is 
usually a good deal of pleasantry in the kitchen,) is still retained in many fami- 
lies of the better sort throughout the kingdom, but seems, if the present 
fashionable contempt of old customs continues, not likely to last another cen- 

The Apprentices, whose particular Holiday this day is now esteemed, and 
who are on several accounts so much interested in the observation thereof, 
ought, with that watchful jealousy of their ancient rights and liberties, (typi- 
fied so happily on this occasion by pudding and play,) as becomes young 
Englishmen, to guard against every infringement of .Jts ceremonies, so as to 
transmit them entire and unadulterated to posterity 2 . 

Two or three customs of less general notoriety, on Shrove-Tuesday, remain 
to be mentioned. 

strengthen them against the Lenten Fast : it being accounted the most substantial dish known 
in that country. On this day there is always put into the bason or porringer, out of which the 
unmarried folks are to eat, a ring, the finder of which, by fair means, is supposed to be ominous 
of the finder's being first married." Crowdie is inade by pouring boiling water over oat-meal and 
stirring it a little. It is eaten with milk, or butter. 

In Fosbrooke's British Monachism, vol. ii. p. 127. we read : " At Barking Nunnery, the annual 
store of provision consisted of malt, wheat, russeaulx, herrings for Advent, red ones for Lent ; 
almonds, salt fish, salt salmones, figs, raisins, ryce, all for Lent ; mustard; two-pence for cripsis 
(some crisp thing) and crum-cakes [cruman isfriare. Skinn.] at Shrove-tide. 

Dr. Goldsmith, in his Vicar of Wakefield, describing the manners of some rustics, tells us, that 
among other old customs which they retained, " they eat Pancakes on Shrove-tide." Poor Robin 
in his Almanack for 1677- in his Observation on February says, there will be *' a full sea of Pan- 
cakes and Fritters about the 26th and 27th days," z. e. Shrove-Tuesday fell on the 27th with 
these lines, 

" Pancakes are eat by greedy gut, 
And Hob and Madge run for the slut." 

In Dekker's " Seven Deadly Sinnes of London," 4to. 1606. p. 35. is this passage : " They 
presently (like Prentises upon Shrove-Tuesday) take the lawe into their owne handes and do what 
they list." And it appears from contemporary writers that this day was a holiday, time imme- 
morial, for apprentices and working people. See Dodsley's Old Plays, vol. vi. p. 387. vii. p. 22. 
and xii. p. 403. 


It is remarked with much probability in a Note upon the old Play of " The 
Honest Whore" by Dekker, that it was formerly a custom for the Peace-officers 
to make search after women of ill-fame on Shrove-Tuesday, and to confine 
them during the season of Lent. So, Sensuality says in Microcosmus, Act 5. 

" Bat now welcome a Cart or a Shrove-Tiicsday' s tragedy* " 

Several curious particulars concerning the old manner of carting people of 
this description a , may be gathered from the second Part of " The Honest 
Whore," 4to. Lond. 1630. Signat. L. b. & seq. 

" Enter the two Masters after them the Constable, after them a Beadle 
beating a bason, &c." Mistris Ilorsleach says : 

"You doe me wrong-^-I am knowne for a motherly honest woman, and 
no bawd/' To an enqujry, " Why before her does the Bason ring :'' it is thus 
answered : 

" It is an emblem of their revelling; 
The whips we use lets forth their wanton blood, 
Making them calme, and more to calme their pride, 
Instead of Coaches they in Carts doe ride." 

Ibid. Signat. I. 2. " Enter Constable and Billmen. 

" How now ? 

I'st Shrove-Tuesday, that these Ghosts walke ?" 

In Nabbe's Comedy intituled " Totenham Court." 4to. Lond. 1638. p. 6. the 
following occurs : " If I doe, I have lesse mercy then Prentices at Shrove- 

* In Strype'a Edition of Stow 's Survey of London, fol. Lond. 1720. Book i. p. 258. we read that 
in the year 1555, " An ill woman, who kept the Greyhound in Westminster, was carted about the 
city, and the Abbot's servant (bearing her good will) took her out of the cart, as it seems, before 
she had finish t her punishment, who was presently whipt at the same cart's tail for his pains." 

In 1556, " were carted two men and three women. One of these men was a bawd, for bring- 
ing women to strangers. One of the women kept the Bell in Gracechurch-street, another was 
the good wife of the Bull beside London-stone : both bawds and whores." 

1559. " The wife of Henry Glyn, goldsmith, was carted about London, for being bawd to her 
own daughter." ' 


The punishment of people of evil fame at this season seems to have been one 
of the chief sports of the Apprentices 5 . In a Satyre against Separatists, 4to. 
Lond. 1675. we read, 

The Premises for they 

Who, if upon Shrove- Tue sday, or May -Day, 

Beat an old Bawd or fright poor Whores they could c , 

Thought themselves greater than their Founder Lud, 

Have now vast thoughts, and scorn to set upon 

Any Whore less than her of Babylon. 

They'r mounted high, contemn the humble play 

Of Trap or foot-bull on a Holiday 

In Finesbury-fieldes. No, 'tis their brave intent, 

Wisely t'advise the King and Parliament." 

The allusion of this passage, though published later, is evidently to the period 
of the great Rebellion. 

The use of the game of Foot-ball on this day has been already noticed from 
Fitzstephen's London. 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xvi. p. 19. (8vo. Edinb. 1795 ) 
Parish of Inverness, County of Mid-Lothian, we read: " On Shrove-Tuesday 
there is a standing match at Foot-ball between the married and unmarried 
women, in which the former are always victors' 1 ." 

k Sir Thomas Overbury in his Characters, speaking of " a Maquereia, in plaine English a 
bawde," says : " Nothing daunts her so much as the approach of Shrove-Tuesday." Ibid. Speak- 
ing of " a roaring boy/' he observes, that " he is a supervisor of brothels, and in them is a more 
unlawful reformer of vice than prentices on Shrove-Tuesday." 

In Dekker's Play of " Match Me in London," Bilbo says : " I'll beate down the doore, and 
put him in mind of Shrove-Tuesday, the fatall day for doores to be broke open." ' =. " 

d With regard to the custom of playing at Foot-ball on Shrove-Tuesday, I was informed, that 
at Alnwick Castle, in Northumberland, the waits belonging to the town come playing to the 
Castle every year on Shrove-Tuesday, at two o'clock p. m. when a foot-ball was thrown over the 
Castle-walls to the populace. I saw this done Feb. 5th, 1788. 

In King's Vale Royal of England, p. 194. there is an account, that, at the City of Chester in the 
year 1533, " the Offering of ball and foot-balls were put down, and the silver bell offered to the 
Maior on Shrove-Tuesday." 


In the same Work, vol. xviii. p. 88. 8vo. Edinb. 1795, Parish of Scone, 
County of Perlh, we read : " Every year on Shrove-Tuesday the batchelors and 
married men drew themselves up at the Cross of Scone, on opposite sides. -A 
ball was then thrown up, and they played from two o'clock till sun-set. The 
game was this. He who at any time got the ball into his hands, run -with it 
till overtaken by one of the opposite party, and then, if he could shake him- 
self loose from those on the opposite side who seized him, he run on : if not, 
he threw the ball from him, unless it was wrested from him by the other party; 
but no person was allowed to kick it. The object of the married men was to 
hang it, i. e. to put it three times into a small hole in the moor, the dool or 
limit on the one hand : that of the batchelors was to drown it, i. e. to dip it 
three times into a deep place in the river, the limit on the other. The party 
who could effect either of these objects won the game. But, if neither party 
won, the ball was cut into equal parts at sun-set. In the course of the play 
one might always see some scene of violence between the parties : but as the 
proverb of this part of the country expresses it, ' All was fair at the Ball of 

" This custom is supposed to have had its origin in the days of Chivalry. 
An Italian, it is said, came into this part of the country, challenging all the 
parishes, under a certain penalty in case of declining his challenge. All the 
parishes declined the challenge except Scone, which beat the foreigner, and in 
commemoration of this gallant action the game was instituted. 

Whilst the custom continued, every man in the parish, the gentry riot excepted, 
was obliged to turn out and support the side to which he belonged ; and the per- 
son who neglected to do his part on that occasion was fined : but the custom 
being attended with certain inconveniencies, was abolished a few years ago." 

In Pennant's Account of the city of Chester, he tells us of a place without 
the walls called the Rood Eye, where the lusty youth in former days exercised 
themselves in manly sports of the age ; in archery, running, leaping, and 
wrestling; in mock fights and gallant and romantic triumphs. A standard was 
the prize of emulation, in the sports celebrated on the Rood Eye, which was 
won in 1578 by Sheriff Montford on Shrove-Tuesday'. 


Tour in Wales, edit. 4to. 1778. pp. 190, 191, 192, See also King's Vale Royal of England, p. 201. 


In " the Shepherd's Almanack" for. 1676, under February, we find the fol- 
lowing remarks : " Some say, Thunder on Shrove-Tuesday foretelleth wind, 
store of fruit, and plenty. Others affirm, that so much as the sun shineth that 
day, the like will shine every day in Lent." 

I shall close this Account of the Customs of Shrove-Tuesday with a curious 
Poem from Pasquil's Palinodia, 4to. Lond. l634 f . It contains a minute de- 
scription of all that appears to have been generally practised in England s. The 
beating down the Barber's basons on that day, I have not found elsewhere. 

" It was the day of all dayes in the yeare, 

That unto Bacchus hath his dedication, 
When mad-bra n'd Prentices, that no men feare, 

O'erthrow the dens of lavdie recreation ; 
When taylors, coblers, plaist'rers, smiths, and masons, 
And every rogue will beat down Barbers' basons, 
Whereat Don Constable in wrath appeares, 
Arid runs away with his stout hatbadiers. 

" It was the day whereon both rich and poore 

Are chiefly feasted with the self-same dish, 
When every paunch, till it can hold no more, 

Is fritter-h'U'd, as well as heart can wish ; 
And every man and maide doe take their turne, 
And tosse their pancakes up for feare they burnt-, 
And all the kitchen doth with laughter sound, 
To see the pancakes fall upon the ground. 

" It was the day when every kitchen reekes, 

And hungry bellies keepe a Jubile, 
When flesh doth bid adieu for divers weekes, 

And leaves old ling to be his deputic. 

1 Signal. D. b. 

C From Lavaterus on Walking Spirits, p. 51, it should seem that, anciently, in Helvetia, fires 
were lighted up at Shrove-tide. " And as the young men in Helvetia, who with their tire-biand, 
which they light at the bonehres at Shrof-tide," &c. 

Mr. Douce's Manuscript Notes say : " Among the Finns no five or candle may be kindled on 
the Eve of Shrove-Tuesday." 


;.fj<j " It was the day when Pullen goe to block, 

And every spit is fill'd with belly timber, 
When cocks are cudgel'U down with many a knock, 

And hens are thrasht to make them short and tender; 
When country wenches play with stoole and ball, _ ; 

And run at barly-breake untill they fall." 


THIS, which is the first day of Lent b , is called Ash- Wednesday, as we 
read in the Festa Anglo-Romana, p. 19, from the antient ceremony of blessing 
Ashes on that day, and therewith the Priest signeth the people on the forehead" 

See Wheatley's Illustr. of the Book of Com. Prayer, 8vo. Lond. 1741, p. 225. 

b Durandus, in his Rationale, tells us, Lent was counted to begin on that which is now the 
first Sunday in Lent, and to end on Easter Eve; which time, saith he, containing forty-two days, 
if you take out of them the six Sundays (on which it was counted not lawful at any time of the 
year to fast), then there will remain only thirty-six days : and, therefore, that the number of days 
which Christ fasted might be perfected, Pope Gregory added to Lent four days of the week before 
going, viz. that which we now call Ash-Wednesday, and the three days following it. So that we 
see the first observation of Lent began from a superstitious, unwarrantable, and indeed prophane 
conceit of imitating our Saviour's miraculous abstinence. Weekly Pacquet of Advice from Rome, 
vol. i. p. 186. 

Lent is so called from the time of the year wherein it is observed : Lent in the Saxon language 
signifying Spring, being now used to signify the Spring-Fast, which ahvays begins so that it may 
end at Easter to remind us of our Saviour's sufferings, which ended at his Resurrection. Wheatley 
on the Common Prayer, edit. 8vo. Lond. 1741, p. 224. 

Ash-Wednesday is in some places called " Pulver Wednesday," that is Dies pulveris. The word 
Lentron, for Lent, occurs more than once in the edition of the Regiam Majestatem, 4to. Ediub. 
1774; after that of 1609, [Len^ten-tibe for Spring, when the days lengthen, occurs in the Saxon 
Heptateuch, 8vo. Oxon. 1698. Exod. xxxiv. 18.] 

There is a curious clause in one of the Romish Casuists concerning the keeping of Lent ; it is, 
" that Beggars which are ready to affamish for want, may in Lent time eat what they can get" 
See Bishop Hall's Triumphs of Rome, p. 123. 

c Cinere quia se conspergunt in poenitentia ludaei, Gregor. Mag. statuit, ut in Quadragesima 
ante initium Missae Cineres consecrentur, quibus populus aspergebatur, & diem huic rei sacrum 


in the form of a Cross; affording them withal this wholesome admonition : 
" Memento, homo, quod pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris." Remember, 
man, tliou art dust, and shalt return to dust. The ashes used this day in the 
Church of Rom<?, are made x>f the palms consecrated the Sunday twelve months 
before d . In a Convocation held in the time of Henry the Eighth, mentioned 

dat, in quo cuncti generatim mortales characterem cinereum in fronte accipiant." Moresini Pa- 
patus, p. 37. 

d Or rather, " The Ashes which they use this day, are made of the Palmes blessed the Palm- 
Sunday before." See New Helpe to Discourse, 12mo. Lond. 1684. 3d. edit. p. 319. 

In the Festyvall, fol. 1511. fol. 15. it is said : " Ye shall begyn your faste upon Ashe Wedaes- 
daye. That daye must ye come to holy chirche and take ashes of the Preestes hondes and thynke 
on the wordes well that he sayeth over your hedes, ("Memento, homo, quid cinis es ; et in cinerem 
reverterisj, have mynde, thou man, of asshes thou art comen, and to ashes thou shalte tourne 
agaync." This " Festyvall," speaking of Quatuor Temporum, or Ymbre Days, now called Ember 
Days, fol. 41, b. says they were so called, " bycausc that our elder fathers wolde on these dayes 
ete no brede but cakes made under ashes." 

In an original Proclamation, black letter, dated 26th Feb. 30 Henry VIII. remaining in vol. i., 
of " Proclamations," &c. in the Archives of the Society of Antiquaries of London, p, 138, con- 
cerning Rites and Ceremonies to be retained in the Church of England, we read as follows : " On 
Ashe Wenisday it shall be declared, that these ashes be gyven, to put every Christen man in 
remembraunce of penaunce at the begynnynge of Lent, and that he is but erthe and ashes." 

Howe's edition of Stow's Annals, p. 595, states, sub anno 1547-S, " The Wednesday following, 
commonly called Ash- Wednesday, the use of giving ashes in the Church was also left" "throughout 
the whole Citie of London." 

" Mannerlye to take theyr ashes devoutly," is among the Roman Catholic customs censured by 
John Bale in his " Declaration of Bonner's Articles," 1554, signat. D. 4. b. as is, ibid. D. 2. b. 
" to conjure ashes." 

In " the Doctrine of the Masse Booke," &c. from Wyttonburge, by Nicholas Dorcastor, 1554, 
8vo. signal. B. 3. b. we find translated the form of " The halowing of the ashes." The Masse 
Book saith, that upon Ash-Wedensdaye, when the Prieste hath absolved the people, &c. then 
must there be made a blessyngc of the ashes, by the Priest, being turned towards the East. In 
the first prayer is this passage : " Vouchsafe to >%>. blesse and ^ sanctifie these ashes, which 
because of humilitie and of holy religion for the clensyng out of our trespaces, thou hast appoint- 
ed us to cary upon our heades after the manner of the Ninivites." And after directions to sprinkle 
the Ashes with holy water, and another prayer, this Kubrick is added : " Then let them distribute 
the ashes upon the heades of the Clarckes and of the lay people : the worthier persons makyng 
a sygne of the Croase with the ashes, saying thus : Memento, homo, quod cinis, &c. Remember, 
man, that thou art ashes, and into ashes shalt thou retourne." 


in Fuller's Church History, p. 222, " Giving of ashes on Ash-Wednesday, to 
put in remembrance every Christian man in the beginning of Lent and Peaance, 
that he is but ashes and earth, and thereto shall return," &c. is reserved with 
some other rites and ceremonies, which survived the shock that at that remark- 
able aera almost overthrew the whole pile of Catholic superstitions. 

From the following passage cited by Hospinian 6 , it appears, that antiently, 
after the solemn service and sprinkling with ashes on Ash- Wednesday, the peo- 
ple used to repeat the fooleries of the Carnival. " Qua de re ita canit Naoge- 
orgus, lib. 4. Regni papistic! : 

" Nullus stultitiae tanieir est, nullusque furoris 

^[1 n .."' u ;. T-T'< >;i-j3:: h?rA 

Terminus : intermissa instaurant prandia laeti. 

1 . . . . - r ',^-Ti ' ;o -vfj; y.-.-.\ -" 

Et ludos repetunt, et larvas nocte repostas. 

' . ;'i r r:' in i fj * ... 

Sunt qui laterna mwsti, dum luinnia Titan 

Praebet rnundo, exacta here Bacchanalia quasrant, 

1 vz. IT finvoi tjl'yt r *ii //t'A 
t clamant passim : Quo Bacchanalia nobis 

' 'I?}' "* . fi'.:'"".l' !; i'.-i\A 

Auffugere ? eheu, veniunt iciuuia dira. 

Suspendunt alii, portantque in pertica halecem, 

Clamantes : ultra imn farcimina, haleces. 

Adjunguntque suos ludos, & carmina risu 

Digna, & prseterea quicquid confingere possunt 

tultum ac insipidum, moveant ut ubique cachinnos. 

Mutuo se capiunt alii, ac in ilumina portant 

Contis impositos, ut festi quicquid inluesit 

Stulti, tollatur mersum fluvialibus undis. 

Alliciunt alii pueros nucibusque pyrisque 

Canticaque iis prseeunt, & tota per oppida cantant." &c. 

Then follows " The Fool-Plough," for which the Reader is referred to the 
Sports of Christmass. The whole passage from Naogeorgus, is thus translated 
by Barnaby Googe : 

In Bp. Bonner's Injunctions, 1555, 4to. signal. A. 1. b. we read, " that the hallowed ashes 
gyven by the Priest to the people upon Ashe Wednisclaye, is to put the people in remembrance of 
penance at the begynnynge of Lent, and that their bodies ar but earth, dust, and ashes." 

Dudley Lord North, in his Forest of Varieties, fol. Lond. 1645, p. 165: in allusion to thit 
custom, styles one of his Essays, " My Ashewednesday Ashes." ' '' '' 

<DeOrig.Fest.Dter. Christian, fol. 47 b. 

,* .;*)) 
VOL. I. M 


The Wednesday next a solemne day, to Church they early go, 
'.irwj'o sponge out all the foolish deedes by them committed so, 

They money give, and on their heddes the Prieste doth ashes laye, 

And with his holy water washeth all their sinnea away : 

In woondrous sort against the veniall sinnes doth profile this, 

Yet here no stay of madnesse now, nor ende of follie is, 

With mirth to dinner straight they go, and to their woonted play, 

And on their deuills shapes they put, and sprightish fonde araye. 

Some sort there are that mourning go, with lantarnes in their hande, 

While in the day time Titan bright, amid the skies doth stande : 

And seeke their Shroftide Bachanals, still crying every where, 

Where are our feastes become ? alas the cruell fastes appere. 

Some beare about a herring on a staflfe, and lowde doe rore, 

Herrings, herrings, stincking herrings, puddings now no more. 

And hereto joyne they foolish playes, and doltish dogrell rimes, 

And what beside they can invent, belonging to the times. 

Some others beare upon a staflfe their fellowes horsed hie, 

And cane them unto some ponde, or running river nie, 

That what so of their foolish feast, doth in them yet remayne, 

May underneth the floud be plungde, and wash't away againe. 

Some children doe intise with nuttes, and peares abrode to play, 

And singing through the tovvne they go, before them all the way. 

In some places all the youthful flocke, with minstrels doe repaire, 

And out of every house they plucke the girles, and maydens fayre, 

And them to plough they straightways put, with whip one doth them hit, 

Another holds the plough in hande ; the Minstrell here doth sit 

Amidde the same, and drounken songes with gaping mouth, he sings, 

Whome foloweth one that sowes out sande, or ashes fondly flings. 

When thus they through the streetes have plaide, the man that guideth all, 

Doth drive both plough and maydens through some ponde or river small : 

And dabbled all with clurt, and wringing wette as they may bee, 

To supper calles, and after that to daunsing lustilee f . 

' There is a strange custom used in many places of Germany upon Ash Wednesday, for then 
the young Youth get all the Maides together, which have practised dauncing all the year before, 
and carrying them in a carte or tumbrell (which they draw themselves instead of horses), and a 
minstrell standing a top of it playing all the way, they draw them into some lake or river, and 
there wash them well favouredly." Translation of J. B. Aubanus, 4to. p. 279. 



The follie that these dayes is usde, can no man well declare,j )O o 
Their wanton pastimes, wicked actes, and all their franticke fare. 
On Sunday at the length they leave their mad and foolish game, 
And yet not so, but that they drinke, and dice away the same. 

Thus at the last to Bacchus is this day appoynted cleare, 

J " J '-IT > rwnl >>! u^Jouii 

Then (O poor wretches !) fastings long approaching doe appeare : 

In fourtie dayes they neyther milke, nor fleshe, nor egges doe eate, 

And butter with their lippes to touch, is thought a trespasse great : 

Both ling and saltfish they devoure, and fishe of every sorte, 

Whose purse is full, and such as live in great and welthie porte : 

But onyans, browne bread, leekes and salt, must poore men dayly gnaw 

And fry their oten cakes in oyle. The Pope devisde this law 

For sinnes, th' offending people here from hell and death to pull, 

Beleeuing not that all their sinnes were earst forgiven full. 

Yet here these wofull soules he helpes, and taking money fast, 

Doth all things set at libertie, both egges and flesh at last. 

The images and pictures now are coverde secretlie, 

In every Church, and from the beames, the roof and rafters hie, 

Hanges painted linnen clothes that to the people doth declare, 

The wrathe and furie great of God, and times that fasted are. 

Then all men are constrainde their sinnes, by cruel law, to tell, 

And threattied if they hide but one, with dredfull death and hell. 

From hence no little gaines vnto the Priestes doth still arise, 

And of the Pope the shambles doth appeare in beastly wise s. 

The antient discipline of sackcloth and ashes, on Ash-Wednesday, is at pre- 
sent supplied in our Church h by reading publicly on this day the curses de- 
nounced against impenitent sinners, when the people are directed to repeat an 
Amen at the end of each malediction. Enlightened as we think ourselves at 
this day, there are many who consider the general avowal of the justice of 
God's wrath against impenitent sinners as cursing their neighbours : conse- 

" The Popish Kingdome," fol. 49. 49 b. 

h In the Churchwarden's Account of St. Mary at Hill, in the City of London, A. D. 1492. Close 

and Howting, is the following article : 


'' [o;.v. ' . ./IIT, Mjirtm irasKnooriawn 

<Fordys3 P lyingRoddy S , y." 

Ibid. 1 501 . "For paintynge the Crosse Staffe for Lent, iuj*." 

gij, ASH 

quently, like good Christians, they keep away from Church on the occasion. A 

folly and superstition worthy of the after-midnight, the spirit-walking time of 

, i ,i; vrr.'il i oib .t!'.jnol ad) Je vnLti,:r: 


It appears from a curious account of Eton School, of the date of 156O, already 
quoted more than once, that at that time, it was the custom of the Scholars of 
that Seminary to choose themselves Confessors out of the Masters or Chaplains, 
to whom they were to confess their sins '. 

" To keep a true Lent. 

" Is this a Fast, to keep 

The Larder leane, 

And cleane, 
From fat of veales and sheep ? 

Is it to quit the dish 

Of flesh, yet still 

To fill 
The platter high with fish? 

Is it to faste an houre, 

Or rag'd to go, 

Or show 
A down-cast look and sowre ? 

No ; 'tis a Fast to dole 

Thy sheaf of wheat, 

And meat, 
Unto the hungry soule. 

It is to fast from strife, 

From old debate, 

And hate; 
To circumcise thy life. 

" Cinerico die et Templum (iter) li pueris circiter horam decimam : tempore sacri peragendi 
deligant sibi turn Collegiani turn Oppidani ex Magistris vel sacellanis spectatae integritatis sacer- 
dot'es, quibus Arcana pectoris credant ; et quod erranti salutaris sit medicina Confessio, ad Domini 
misericordiam confugiant. Puerorum Nomina Censores Templi inscripta tabulis confessionariia 
tradunt. Intra quatuor dies proxime sequentes peccatomm Confessione peccata expiant." Statu* 
Schoke Etoneasis. MS. Brit, Mus. Donat. 4843, fol. 425. 


To show a heart grief-rent 

To starve thy sin, 

Not bin ; 
And that's to keep thy Lent." 

Herrick's Noble Numbers, p. 65. 

For several curious customs or ceremonies observed abroad during the three 
first days of the Quinquagesima Week k , see Hospinian de Origine Festorum 
Christianorum, fol. 45, b. 

At Dijon, in Burgundy, it is the custom upon the first Sunday in Lent to 
make large fires in the streets, whence it is called Firebrand Sunday. This 
practice originated in the processions formerly made on that day by the peasants 
with lighted torches of straw, to drive away, as they called it, the bad air from 
the earth 1 . 

k A Jack-o'-Lent was a puppet, formerly thrown at, in our ownc ountry, in Lent, like Shrove- 
Cocks. So in "The Weakest goes to the Wall," 1600, " A mere Anatomy, a Jack of Lent." 
Again, in " The Four Prentices of London," 1615. " Now you old Jack of Lent, six weeks and 
upwards." Again, in Greene's ' Tu quoque,' " For if aBoy, that is throwing at his Jack o' Lent, 
chance to hit me on the shins," &c. Reed's edition of Shakespeare, 8vo. 1803, vol. v. p, 126. 
Ibid. p. 213. So, in the old Comedy of Lady Alimony, 1659 : 

" Throwing cudgels 

At Jack-a-Lents or Shrove-cocks." 
Again, in Ben Jonson's Tale of a Tub : 

" On an Ash- Wednesday, 

When thou didst stand six weeks the Jack o' Lent, 
For Boys to hurl three throws a penny at thee." 
And in Beaumont and Fletcher's Tamer tamed : 

" If I forfeit, 

Make me a Jack o' Lent, and break my shins 
For untagg'd points and counters." 
In jQuarles' Shepheard's Oracles, 4to. Lond. 1646, p. 88, we read: 

" How like a Jack a Lent 

He stands, for Boys to spend their Shrove-tide throws, 
Or like a puppit made to frighten crows." 

* Noei Bourguiguons, 148. 


(March I.) 

., : . > 1 1 1 1 1 '.i 
" tua munera Cambri 

Nunc etiam celebrant, quotiesque revolvitur annus 
Te memorant : patrium Gens tota tuetur honorem, 
Et cingunt viridi redolentia tempora Porro." 


" March, various, fierce, and wild, with wind-crackt cheeky, 
By wilder Welshmen led, and crown' d with Leeks." 


ST. DAVID, Archbishop of Menevy, now from him called St. David's, in 
Pembrokeshire, flourished in the fifth and sixth centuries of the Christian aera, 
and died at the age of a hundred and forty years. See Pits de illustribus An- 
glise Scriptoribus. 

We read in the Festa Anglo-Romana, small 8vo. Lond. 16/8, p. 29, that "the 
Britons on this day constantly wear a Leek, in memory of a famous and notable 
victory obtained by them over the Saxons ; they, during the battle, having 
Leeks in their hats for their military colours, and distinction of themselves, by 
the persuasion of the said prelate, St. David." Another account adds, that they 
were fighting, under their king Cadwallo, near a field that was replenished with 
that vegetable. 

So Mr. Walpole, in his British Traveller, tells us: "in the days of King 
Arthur, St. David won a great victory over the Saxons, having ordered every 
one of his soldiers to place a Leek in his cap, for the sake of distinction ; in 
memory whereof the Welsh to this day wear a Leek on the first of March." 

Mr. Jones, Bard to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, obligingly com- 
municated to me the following lines, which he extracted from a manuscript in 
the British Museum : a collection of Pedigrees made by one of the Randall 
Holmes. Harl. MS. 1977- fol. 9- 


" I like the Leeke above all herbes and flowers. 
When first we wore the same the feild was ours. 
The Leeke is white and greene, wherby is ment 
That Britaines are both stout and eminent ; 
Next to the Lion and the Unicorn, 
The Leeke the fairest emblyn that is worne a ." 

a The following lines are from "Cambria Triumphans, or Panegyricks upon Wales/' by Ezekiel 
Foisted, 4to. 1703 : 

"Th 1 insulting Saxons Albion first invade, 
With bloody slaughters bloody victims made ; 
Thus flush'd, their conquests they pursue 5 
With storms of fury they their armies drew, 
And in the Cambrian fields the threatning trumpets blew. 
" The vig'rous few th' undaunted Bishop leads, 
The Crosier, Heav'n, the Sword, the Camp invades I 
By these immortal Victory succeeds : 
Ascending air the clouds invest ; his shield, 
Bedeck'd with terror, gains the field ; 
The conquer'd to th' impetuous victor yield 
Verdant trophies*," &c. &c. 
In "The Diverting Post," No. 19, from Feb. 24 to March 3, 1705, we have these lines : 

" On St. David's Day. 

" Why, on St. David's Day, do Welsh-men seek 
To beautify their hats with verdant Leek, 
Of nauseous smell ? 'For honour 'tis, 1 hur say, 
' Dulce et decorum est pro patria.' 
Right, Sir, to die or fight it is, I think ; 
But how is't Dulce, when you for it stink ?" 

In a collection of Latin Poems, intitled, " Poematum Miscellaneorum, a Josepho Perkins, liber 
primus," 4to. Loud. 1707, p. 12, I find the following: 

" In Festum S 4i Davidis, sive in Porrum. 
" Mensis erat Martis cum bellica tela Britanni 

Audaces forti corripuere manu, 
Miles quisque suo porrum gestasse Galero 
Fertur, et in campum prosiluisse ferox. 

* " Leeki, which denote the victory aforesaid over th Saxons, by the Britons wearing them by St. David't 

88 . T. DAVID'S DAY. 

In the "Royal Apophthegms," of King James, &c. 12mo. Lend. 1658, I read 
the following in the first page : " The Welchmen, in commemoration of the Great 
Fight by the Black Prince of Wales, do wear LEEKS as their chosen ensign b :" 
and the Episcopal Almanack for 1677 states, that St. David, who was of royal 
extraction, and uncle to king Arthur, "He died, aged a hundred and forty-six 
years, on the first of March, still celebrated by the Welsh, perchance to per- 
petuate the memory of his abstinence, whose contented mind made many a 
favourite meal op such roots of the earth ." 

Victi difiugiunt hostes : it clamor in Astra : 

Nempe Dies Sancti Davidis ille fuit. 
Hinc Pprri Lux hesc dignatur honore virentis : 

flunc Festuni celebrat Wallia tola Diem." 

To a Querist in " The British Apollo," fol. Lond. 1708, vol. I. No. 10, asking, why do the 
Ancient Britons (viz. Welshmen) wear Leeks in their hats on the first of March ? the following 
answer is given : " The ceremony is observed on the first of March, in commemoration of a signal 
victoiy obtained by the Britons, under the command of a famous general, known vulgarly by the 
name of St. David. The Britons wore a Leek in their hats to distinguish their friends from their 
enemies, in the heat of the battle." 

" Tradition's tale 

Recounting, tells how fam'd Menevia's Priest 
Marshall'd his Britons, and the Saxon host 
Discomfited ; how the green Leek his bands 
Distinguish' d, since by Britons annual worn, 
Commemorates tlieir tutelary Saint." 

CAMBRIA, a Poem, by RICH. ROLT. 4to. Lond. 1759, p. 63. 

Misson, in his Travels in England, translated by Ozell, p. 334, says, speaking of the Welsh : 
" On the day of St. David, their Patron, they formerly gained a victory over the English, and 
in the battle every man distinguish'd himself by wearing a Leek in his hat ; and, ever since, they 
never fail to wear a Leek on that day. The King himself is so complaisant as to bear them 

b Coles, in his Adam in Eden, says, concerning Leeks, " The Gentlemen in Wales have them 
in great regard, both for their feeding, and to wear in their hats upon St. David's Day." 

c In " The Flowers of the Lives of the most renowned Saincts of England, Scotland, and Ire- 
land," 4to. Doway, 1632, p. 22O, is this passage: "Their ordinary diet was so farre from all 
delights, that only bread, herbes, and pure water, were the chiefest dainties which quenched their 
hunger and thirst." 


The commemoration of the British victory, however, appears to afford the 
best solution of wearing the Leek c . 

For a Life of St. David, Patron Saint of Wales, (who, according to a Welsh 
pedigree, was son of Caredig, Lord of Cardiganshire, and his mother Non, 
daughter of Ynyr, of Caer Gawch,) see Anglia Sacra, vol. II. The battle 
gained over the Saxons, by King Cadwallo, at Hethfield or Hatfield Chace, in 
Yorkshire, A. D. 633, is mentioned in Britannia Sancta, vol. II. p. l63 : in 
Lewis's Hist, of Britain, p. 215, 1 2\7 : in Jeffrey of Monmouth, Engl. Translat. 
Book XII. chap. 8 and 9 : and in Carte's History of England, vol. I. p. 228. 

In Shakspeare's play of " King Henry the Fifth," Act V. Sc. I. Gower asks 
Flnellen, " But why wear you your Leek to-day? Saint Davy's Day is past." 
From Fluellen's reply we gather, that he wore his Leek in consequence of an 
affront he had received but the day before from Pistol, whom he afterwards 
compels to eat the Leek, skin and all, in revenge for the insult ; quaintly ob- 
serving to him, "When you take occasions to see Leeks hereafter, I pray you, 
mock at them, is all." Gower too upbraids Pistol for mocking "at an an- 
cient tradition begun upon an honourable respect, and worn as a memorable 
trophy of predeceased valour A ." 

c In an old satirical Ballad, intitled, "The Bishop's last Good-night," a single sheet, dated 
1642, the 14th stanza runs thus : 

" LandafT, provide for St. David's Day, 
Lest the Leeke and Red-herring run away ; 
Are you resolved to go or stay : 
You are called for, LandafF: 
Come in, LandafF." ; 
Ray has the following Proverb on this day : 

" Upon St. David's Day, put oats and bailey in the clay." 

* In Caxton's Description of Wales, at the end of the Scholemaster of St. Alban's Chronicle, 
fol. Lond. 1500. Signat. C. 3. speaking of the " Maners and Rytes of the Walshemen," he says : 

" They have gruell to potage, 
And Lekes kynde to companage." 
as also: 

" Atte meete, and after eke. 
Her solace is suite and Luke. 

In the "Flowers of the Lives of the most renowned Saincts," quoted in the preceding page, 
we read of St. David : that " he died 1st March, about A.D. 55O, which day, not only in Wales, but all 
VOL. I. N 

go iff: DAVID'S DAY, 

Owen, in his Cambrian Biography, 8vo. Lond. 1803, p. .86, says'. 4t In con- 
sequence of the Romances of the middle ages which created the Seven Cham- 
pions of Christendom, St. David has been dignified with the title of the Patron 
Saint of Wales : but this rank, however, is hardly known among the people of 
the Principality, being a title diffused among them from England in modern 
times. The writer of this account never heard of such a Patron Saint, nor 
of the Leek as his symbol, until he became acquainted therewith in London." 
He adds : " The wearing of the Leek on St. David's day probably originated from 
the custom of Cymhortha, or the neighbourly aid practised among farmers, 
which is of various kinds. In some districts of South Wales, all the neighbours 
of a small farmer without means, appoint a day when they all attend to plough 
his land, and the like ; and at such a time it is a custom for each individual to 
bring his portion of Leeks, to be used in making pottage for the whole Com- 
pany : and they bring nothing else but the Leeks in particular for the occasion." 
The Reader is left to reconcile this passage with all that has been already 
said upon the Day. 


THE Shamrock is said to be worn by the Irish, upon the anniversary of this 
Saint, for the following reason. When the Saint preached the Gospel to the 
pagan Irish, he illustrated the doctrine of the Trinity by shewing them a trefoil, 
or three-leaved grass with one stalk, which operating to their conviction, the 

England over, is most famous in memorie of him. But in these, our unhappy daies, the greatest 
part of his solemnitie consisteth in wearing of a greene Leeke, and it is a sufficient theame for a 
tealous Welchman to ground a quarrell against him that doth not honour his rapp with the like orna- 
ment that day." 

Ursula is introduced in the old Play of "The Vow-breaker, or, the fayre Maid of Clifton," 4to. 
Lond. 1636, Act I. S. 1. as telling Anne " Thou marry German ! His head's like a Welchman' s 
erest on St. Davis' s Day!, fle looks like a hoary frost in December! Now, Venus blesse me ! 
I 'de rather ly by (statue.^ ^ M ^ f ;i nj>[/s tsl ;.,,,, , 



Shamrock, which is a bundle of this grass, was ever afterwards worn upon this 
Saint's anniversary, to commemorate the event*. 

Mr. Jones, in his Historical Account of the Welch Bards, fol. Lond. 1794, 
p. 13, tells us, in a note, that "St. Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland, is said to be 
the son of Calphurnius and Concha. He was born in the Vale of Rhos, in Pem- 
brokeshire, about the year 373." (Mr. Jones, however, gives another pedigree 
of this Saint, and makes him of Caernarvonshire.) He adds : " His original 
Welsh name was Maenwyn, and his ecclesiastical name of Patricius was given 
him by Pope Celestine, when he consecrated him a Bishop, and sent him mis- 
sioner into Ireland, to convert the Irish, in 433. When St. Patrick landed 
near Wicklow, the inhabitants were ready to stone him for attempting an inno- 
vation in the religion of their ancestors. He requested to be heard, and ex- 
plained unto them that God is an omnipotent, sacred spirit, who created heaven 
and earth, and that the Trinity is contained in the Unity : but they were re- 
luctant to give credit to his words. St. Patrick, therefore, plucked a trefoil 
from the ground, and expostulated with the Hibernians: 'Is it not as possible 
for the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as for these three leaves, to grow upon 

From Mr. Douce's interleaved copy of the Popular Antiquities. I found the following passage 
in Wyther's Abuses stript and whipt, Svo. Lond. 1613, p. 71 : 

"And, for my cloathing, in a mantle goe, 
And feed on Sham-roots, as the Irish doe." 

Between May Day and Harvest, "butter, new cheese and curds, and shannocks, are the food 
of the meaner sort all this season." Sir Henry Piers's Description of West Meath, in Vallancey'g 
Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis, No. 1, p. 121. 

" Seamroy, clover, trefoil, worn by Irishmen in their hats, by way of a cross, on St. Patrick's 
Day, in memory of that great saint." Irish-English Dictionary, in verbo. 

The British Druids and Bards had an extraordinary veneration for the number three. " The 
Misletoe," says Vallancey, in his Grammar of the Irish Language, " was sacred to the Druids, 
because not only its berries, but its leaves also, grow in clusters of three united to one stock. 
The Christian Irish hold the Seamroy sacred in like manner, because of three leaves united to 
one stalk." 

Spenser, in his View of the State of Ireland, A.D. 15.96, fol. Dubl. 1633, p. 72, speaking of 
" these late warres of Moimster," before, " a most rich and plcntifull countrey, full of corne and 
cattle," says the inhabitants were reduced to such distress that, " if they found a plot of water- 
cresses or Shamrocks, there they flocked as to a feast for the time." 

. ' 


a single stalk. Then the Irish were immediately convinced of their error, and 
were solemnly baptized by St. Patrick*." 

In Sir Thomas Overbury's Characters, when describing a Foot-man, he says, 
" Tis impossible to draw his picture to the life, cause a man must take it as 
he's running; only this, horses are usually let bloud on St. Steven's Day: on 
St. Patrick's he takes rest, and is drencht for all the yeare after." 



IN the former days of superstition, while that of the Roman Catholics was 
the established religion, it was the custom for people to visit their Mother- 
Church on Mid-Lent Sunday, and to make their offerings at the high altar. 

C'ovvel, in his Law Dictionary, observes that the now remaining practice of 
Motheiing, or going to visit parents upon Midlent Sunday, is really owing to 
that good old custom. Nay it seems to be called Mothering from the respect 
so paid to the Mother-Church, when the Epistle for the day was, with some 
allusion, Galat. iv. 21. "Jerusalem Mater omnium;' which Epistle, for Mid- 
lent Sunday, we still retain, though we have forgotten the occasion of it b . 

a (iainsford, in "The Glory of England, or a true Description of many excellent Prerogatives 
and remarkable blessings., whereby shee triumpheth over all the Nations in the World," &c. 4to. 
Lond. 1619, speaking of the Irish, p. 150, says, " They use incantations and spells, wearing girdles 
of women's haire, and locks of their lovers." P. 151 : "They are curious about their horses tending 
to witchcraft." Spenser, also, in the work already quoted, at p. 41, says: "The Irish, at this 
day, (A. D. 1596), when they goe to battaile, say certaine prayers or charmes to their swords, 
making a crosse therewith upon the earth, and thrusting the points of their blades into the 
ground, thinking thereby to have the better successe in fight. Also they use commonly to sweare 
by their swords." At p. 43, he adds : " The manner of their woemen's riding on the wrong side 
side of the horse, I meane with their feces towards the right side, as the Irish use, is (as they 
say) old Spanish, and some say African, for amongst them the woemen (they say) use so to ride." 

b The fourth Sunday in Ix:nt, says Wheatley on the Common Prayer, (Svo. Lond. 1741, p. 227,) 
is generally called Mid-lent, " though Bishop Sparrow, and some others, term it Dominica Re- 


The following is found in Herrick's Hesperides, p. 278 : 

A Ceremanie in Glecester. 
" I 'le to thee a Simnell bring, 
'Gainst thou go'st a mothering; 
So that, when she blesseth thee, 
Half that blessing thou 'It give me." 

In the Gentleman's Magazine for February 1?84, p. 98, Mr. Nichols, writing 
in the character of a Nottinghamshire Correspondent, tells us, that whilst he 
was an apprentice, the custom was to visit his Mother (who was a native of 
Nottinghamshire) on Midlent Sunday (thence called Mothering Sunday) for a 
regale of excellent furmety*." 

Another writer in the same volume, p. 343, tells us, " I happened to reside 
last year near Chepstow, in Monmouthshire ; and there, for the first time, 
heard of Mothering Sunday. My enquiries into the origin and meaning of it 
were fruitless ; but the practice thereabouts was, for all servants and appren- 
tices, on Midlent Sunday, to visit their parents, and make them a present of 
moitey, a trinket, or some nice eatable; and they are all anxious not to fail in 
this custom." 

fectionis, the Sunday of Refreshment : the reason of which, I suppose, is the Gospel for the day, 
which treats of our Saviour's miraculously feeding five thousand ; or else, perhaps, from the first 
lesson in the morning, which gives us the story of Joseph's entertaining his brethren." He is of 
opinion, that " the appointment of these Scriptures upon this day might probably give the first rise 
to a custom still retained in many parts of England, and well known by the name of Mid-lenting 
or Mothering." 

I find in Kelham's Dictionary of the Norman, or old French Language, Mid-lent Sunday, Do- 
minica Refection'u, is called " P tuques Charnieulx." 

a Furmety (ibid. p. 97) is derived from Frumentum, wheat. It is made of what is called, in 
a certain town in Yorkshire, " kneed wheat," or whole grains first boiled plump and soft, and 
then put into and boiled in milk, sweetened and spiced." la Ray's North Country Words, " to 
cree wheat or barley, is to boil it soft." 

A correspondent in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1783, p. 578, says : " Some things customary 
probably refer simply to the idea of feasting or mortification, according to the season and occasion. 
Of these, perhaps, are Lamb's Wool on Christmas Eve ; Furmety on Mothering Sunday; Braggot 
(which is a mixture of ale, sugar, and spices) at the Festival of Easter ; and Cross-buns, Saffron- 
cakes, or Symnels, in Passion week ; though these being, formerly at least, unleavened, may 
have a retrospect to the unleavened bread of the Jews, in the same manner as Lamb at Easter t ) 
the Paschal Lamb." 


There was a singular rite in Franconia, on the Sunday called Lcrtare, or 
Mid-lent Sunday. This was called the Expulsion of Death. It is thus de- 
scribed : In the middle of Lent, the youth make an image of straw in the form, 
of death, as it is usually depicted. This they suspend on a pole, and carry 
about with acclamations to the neighbouring villages. Some receive this pageant 
kindly, and, after refreshing those that bring it with milk, peas, and dried 
pears, the usual diet of' the season, send it home again. Others, thinking it a 
presage of something bad, or ominous of speedy death, forcibly drive it away 
from their respective districts' 5 ." 

Macauley, iu his History and Antiquities of Claybrook, Leicestershire, 8vo. Lond. 1/91, p. 128, 
says : " Nor must I omit to observe that by many of the parishioners due respect is paid to Mo- 
thering Sunday." 

In a curious Roll of the Expences of the Household of King Edward I. in his eighteenth year, 
remaining in the Tower of London, and communicated to the Society of Antiquaries of London 
Feb. 28, 1805, is the following item on Mid-lent Sunday. 

" Pro pisis jd." 
For pease one penny. 

Q u > Whether these pease were substitutes for Furrnenty, or Curlings, which are eaten at pre- 
sent in the North of England on the following Sunday, commonly calkd Passion Sunday, but, by 
the vulgar in those parts, Carling Sunday. 

b Joannes Boemus Aubanus, p. 268. " In medio quadragesimae, quo quidem tempore ad 
laeUliam nos ecclesia adhortatur, juventus in patria inea ex stramine imaginem contexit, quae 
mortem ipsam (quemadmodum depingitur) mmetur : inde hasta suspensam in vicinos pagos voci- 
ferans portal. Ab aliquibus perhumane suscipitur, et lacte, pisis siccatisque pyris f(juibus turn 
vulgo vesci solemus) refecta, domum remittitur: a caeteris, quia malae res (ut jmta mortis) praenun- 
cia sit, humanitatis niliil percipit : sed armis, & ignominia ctiam adfecta, a finibus repellitur." 

It is still more particularly described by Hospinian de Orig. Fest. Christian, fol. 51 b. " Ritus 
in Dominica I^aetare. Aliquibus etiam in locis hoc die mortem expellant. Larvam enim seu ima- 
ginem mortis de stramine aut simili materia faciunt, quam postea in aquas projiciunt & srabmer- 
gunt, ad signiticandum, veterem hominem esse mortificandum, & peccutis resistendum, per quae 
mors introivit in mundum, sicut Meffreth Sermone primo in Dominica Laetare refert. Meminit 
etiam hujus consuetudinis Matthaeus Dresserus in libcllo suo de Festis, ubi indicat, in urbe Misna 
pueros puellasque hac Dominicil circumferre ex ramusculis abiegnis confectam perticam, addita- 
mentisque aliis ornatam : ac ostiatim canendo memonam expulsse mortis renovare, ut nummos 
colligant. Existimat autem, hunc morem a Polonis & Silesiis manasse, sed incertum qn& imita- 
tione : hos enim eodem die gestare testatur simulachra spectris similia, eaque tandem in coenum 
projicere atque comburere. Hac consuetudine ait repetere eos memori& historiam confractorutn 
& ejectorum idolorutn per Poloniam & Silesiam anno Christ! 966, reguante Mieslao, sub quo ab 
idolomania Ethnica ad verum Dei cultum utraque gens conversa est." 



AT Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and many other places in the North of England, 
grey peas, after having been steeped a night in water, are fried b with butter, given 
away, and eaten at a kind of entertainment on the Sunday preceding Palm Sun- 
day, which was formerly called Care c , or Carle Sunday, as may be yet seen in 
some of our old almanacks. They are called Carlings d , probably, as we call 
the presents at fairs, Fairings. 

Marshal, in his Observations on the Saxon Gospels, elucidates the old name 
(Care) of this Sunday in Lent. He tells us that "the Friday on which Christ 

a In Randal Holme's Academy of Armory and Blazon, fol. Chester, 1688. Book III. cap. 3. 
p. 130, I find the following : 
" Carle Sunday is the second Sunday before Easter, or the fifth Sunday from Shrove Tuesday." 

b In the Glossary to "The Lancashire Dialect," 1775, Carlings are thus explained: "CxR- 
LINGS Peas boiled on Care Sunday are so called; i. e. the Sunday before Palm Sunday." 
So in the popular old Scottish song, " Fy ! let us all to the Briddel :" 

" Ther '11 be all the lads and the lasses 

Set down in the midst of the ha, 
With Sybows, and Rifarts, and Curlings, 

That are both sodden and ra." 
"Si/bows are onions ; and Rifarts radishes. 

c It is also called Passion Sunday in some old Almanacks. In the Gentleman's Magazine for 
1785, p. 779, an Advertisement, or printed Paper, for the regulation of Newark Fair, is copied, 
which mentions that " Careing Fair will be held on Friday before Careing Sunday :" and Mr. Ni- 
chols remarks on this passage, that he has heard an old Nottinghamshire couplet, in the follow- 
ing words : 

"Care Sunday, Care away ; 
Palm Sunday, and Easter-day." 

Another writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for 17S9, p. 491, tells us that, in several villages, 
in the vicinity of Wisbech, in the Isle of Ely, the fifth Sunday in Lent has been, time immemorial, 
commemorated by the name of Whirlin Sunday, when Cakes are made by almost every family, 
and are called, from the day, Whirlin Cakes." He professes to write this word from sound, and 
probably mistakes it for Carling. 

In the Annalia Dubrensia, or Cotswold Games, however, the following passage occurs : 
" The Countrie Wakes and Whirlings have appear'd 
Of late like forraine pastimes." 

* Quaere if Carlen may not be formed from the old plural termination in en, as hosen, &c ? 


was crucified is called, in German, both Gute Freytag and Carr Fryetag." 
That the word Knrr signifies a satisfaction tor a fine or penally ; and that Care, 
or Carr Sunday, was not unknown to the English in his time, al least to such 
as lived among old people 6 in the country f . 

Rites, peculiar, it should seem, to Good Friday, were used on this day, 
which the Church of Rome called, therefore, Passion Sunday. Duraud assigns 
many superstitious reasons for this, whicli confirm the fact, but are too ridicu- 
lous to be transcribed. Llo\d tells us, in his Dial of Days, that on the 12th 

e In Yorkshire, as a clergyman of that county informed me, the rustics go to the public-house 
of the village on this day, and spend each their Carling gruat : i. e. that sum in drink, for the 
Curlings are provided for them gratis : and, he added, that a popular notion prevails there that 
those who do not do this will be unsuccessful in their pursuits for the following year. 

f Vol. I. p. 536. " Memini me dudum legisse alictibi in Alsledii operibus (quibus nunc privor) 
diem illam Veneris in qua passus est Christus, Gennanicd dici ut Gute Fre\tag, ita Karr Freytag, 
a voce Karr qua? satisfactiomm pro mulcta signiticat. Certe Care vel Curr Sunday non prorsus 
inauditum est hodiernis Anglis, run saltern inter senes de gentibus." 

The following extract is from Hospinian de Orig. Fest. Christian, fol 54. " German! hunc sep- 
timanam (i. e. Hebdomadam Passionis) vocant die Karrwochen, a vetusto il'o Germanico vocabu'.o 
Karr, quo mulctam seu poenam pro de'icto, vel potius satisfactionem pro poena et mulcta nomi- 
narunt." " Ab hoc civili usu postea sacriticuli mulctas, quas poenitentibus, pro satisfactione de- 
lictorum, imposuerunt, etiam in Latina lingua Germanico vocabulo nominarunt Citrrinas. Alii 
tamen scribunt Carenam et a carendo derivant. Est hujus vocabuli frequens usus apud Burckhar- 
dum Vuonnat. Episcopum circa Annum Domini 1O20, lib. 9, et in vetustis Indulgentiarum Bul- 
lis. Fuit igitur Carena apud veteres in Ecdesia Jejunium aliquot dierum in solo pane et aqua. 
Vocamnt ergo Hebdomadam hanc Germani die Karrwochen, quod in ea poenitentiam, hom'nibus 
a sacerdote inipo-itam, communiter omnes agerent jejuniis, \igiliis, &c. pro peccatis adm'msis, qua 
se Deo satisfacere posse falso persuasum hiibebant. Potest tamen etiam pro sensu sic vocari Sep- 
timana h;ec : in ea si quidem pro mulcta a justo Judice Deo humano generi imposita, films Dei 
in Cruce morte sua satisftcit, eosque ab aeterna damnatione liberavit. Ob easdem causas quoque 
Dies Dominicae passjonis der Karrfreytag appellatur." 

See also IhreGlos. Suio^Goth. . Kaeru Sunnudag. p. 1047. " Dominica quinta Jejunii magni." 
Lundius festi nomen a Ktera, vel tiara, pix, dei'ivat, diemque explicat, quo fiuida pice informant 
Crucis fores iUiai solent. Idtm vero vir celebiis alibi Kierusunnudag esse dicit quiutum diem donii- 
nicum Jejunii magni. Et hoc ultimum verum esse docet vetus Intei^pres Evani^eliorum, qui post 
verba, " Juis ex vobis arguet me de Peccato ?" haec subjungit " Hie Dies Dominicus vocatur 
Karusunnudag, nomenque habet ab accusationibus et intentata Christo lite hoc die, donee Judsei 
easdem perficerent die Passionis thristi. Mareschallus in iiotis ad versionem, A. S. p. 536, apud 


of March, at Rome, they celebrated the Mysteries of Christ and his Passion, 
with great ceremony and much devotion s. 

In the old Roman Calendar so often cited, I find it observed on this day, 
that "a dole is made of soft Beans\" I can hardly entertain a doubt but that 
our custom is derived from hence. It was usual amongst the Romanists to give 
away Beans in the doles at funerals : it was also a rite in the funeral ceremonies 
of heathen Rome'. Why we have substituted Pease I know not, unless it was 

Anglos Care vel Carr Sunday dici ait eum diem Soils qtti proxime festum Resurrectionls Christi an- 
tecedit*. Quod dum cogito, quodque German! Charicoche hebdomada sacram nominent, diemque 
Christi emortualem Charfreytag, nescio utrum credere debeam, diversas voces esse, et ex alio 
alioque fonte derivandas, ut solent German! sua hsec derivare, vel a gara preparatio, vel a kara, 
luctus, solicitudo, &c." 

In Schiller's Glossarium Tcutonicum, voce " Char," we find it rendered in its first sense, ' delic- 
tum, maleficium :" in its second, " satisfactio, mulcta pro delicto." We read, also, " Chara, fe- 
ralia. Rab. Maur, Gloss, ap. Diecman. qui ex Ritterphusio notat : non saltern ilia feralia fuissr 
vocata, qua ad euros, ritus, 8f officia, quce mortuis iinpcdebantur, pcrtlnuerunt, vcrum etiani Crt- 
mina et scelera, qua: pxnam Sanguinls irrogantia, efficiebant, ut homines malefici nova pompa 
morti ducerentur." fol. Ulmse, 17'2, making the third volume of Schilter's "Thesaurus Antiqui- 
tatum Teutonicarum, Ecclesiastic-arum, Civilium, Literariarum," p. 163. 

g Passion, or Carling Sunday, might often happen on this day. Easter always fell between 
the 21st of March and the 25th of April. I know not. why these rites were confined in the Calen- 
dar to the 12th of March, as the moveable Feasts and Fasts are not noted there. Perhaps Passion 
Sunday might fall on the 12th of March the year the Calendar was written or printed in. How- 
ever that be, one cannot doubt of their having belonged to what Durand calls Passion Sunday. 

h " Quadragesimae Reformatio 
Cum stationibus ct toto mysterio passionis. 
Fabce mollcs in sportulam dantur." 

The soft Beans are much to our pui-pose : why soft, but for the purpose of eating ? Thus our 
Peas on this occasion are steeped in water. 

These Beans, it should seem from the following passage in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, 
were hallowed. He is enumerating Popish superstitions : " Their Breviaries, Bulles, hallowed 
Beans, Exorcisms, Pictures, curious Crosses, Fables, and Babies." Democritus to the Reader, 
p. 29, edit. fbl. Oxf. 1G32. 

Bale, in his " Yet a Course at the Romysli Foxe," &c. Signal. L. 11. attributes to Pope Euti- 
cianus, " the blessynge of Bencs upon the Aultar." 

1 Fabis " Romani sajpius in sacrificiis funeralibus operati sunt, nee est ea consuetude abolita 
alicubi inter Christianos, ubi in Eleemosinam pro Mortuis Faba distribuuntur. Moresini Papatus, 
p. 55. in voce. 

* 1 do not find that Marshall calls Carr Sunday the Sunday preceding Easter Sunday, cither at p. 536', or 
elsew here. 

VOL. 1. O 


because they are a pulse somewhat fitter to be eaten at this season of the year. 
They are given away in a kind of dole at this day. Our popish ancestors cele- 
brated (as it were by anticipation) the funeral of our Lord on this Care Sunday, 
with many superstitious usages, of which this only, it should seem, has travelled 
down to us. Durand tells us, that on Passion Sunday "the Church began her 
public grief, remembering the mystery of the Cross, the Vinegar, the Gall, the 
Reed, the Spear," &c. 

There is a great deal of learning in Erasmus's Adages concerning the religious 
use of Beans, which were thought to belong to the dead. An observation 
which he gives us of Pliny, concerning Pythagoras' s interdiction of this pulse, 
is highly remarkable. It is, "that Beans contain the souls of the dead." For 
which cause also they were used in the Parentalia. Plutarch also, he tells us, 
held that pulse to be of the highest efficacy for invoking the manes k . Ridiculous 

" The repast designed for the dead, consisting commonly of Beans, Lettuces/' &c. Kennel's 
Roman Antiq. edit. 8vo. 1699. p. 362. 

In the Lemuria, which was observed the 9th of May, every other night for three times, to 
pacify the ghosts of the dead, the Remans threw Beans on the fire of the Altar to drive them out of 
their houses. 

k " Quin et apud Romanes inter funcsta habebantur Fabae : quippe quas nee tangere, nee no- 
minare diali flamini liceret, quod ad mortuos perlinere putarentur. Nam et lemuribus jacieban- 
tur larvis, et parentalibus adhibebantur sacrinciis, et in flore earum literae luctus apparere videntur, 
ut testatur Festus Pompeius. Plinius existimat ob id a Pythagora damnatam fabam, quod hebetet 
aensus & pariat insomnia, vel quod animse mortuorum sint in ea. jQua de causa et in parentali- 
bus assumitur. Unde et Plutarchus testatur, legumina potissimum valere ad evocandos manes. 
Erasmi Adag. in " A fabis abstineto." Edit. fol. Aurel. Allob. 160G. p. 1906. 

On the interdiction of this pulse by Pythagoras, the following occurs in Spencer de Legibus He- 
brseorum, lib. 1. p. 1154: "Quid enim Pythagoras, ejusque praeceptores, JEgypti Mystae, adeo 
leguminum, fabarum imprimis, esum et aspectum fugerent : nisi quod cibi mortuorum coenis et exe- 
quiis proprii, adeoque polluti et abomiuandi, haberentur ? Ideo enim Flamini Diali, TOV Ao 
famulo, fabam nee tangere nee nominare licuit, quod nempe ad mortuos pertinere crederetur : nam 
& lemuralibus jaciebatur larvis, et parentalibus adhibebatur sacrinciis, uti Varro et Festus refe- 
runt. Cum itaque Fabae aliaque legumina illis remotissimae memoriae seculis ad mortuos eorum- 
que sacra pertinere crederentur ; ration! consentaneum existit, Judaeos ab ./Egyptiis aut Pythago- 
reis edoctos, lentes et legumina mortuorum exequiis et lugentium epulis peculiariter addixisse/' 

Dr. Chandler, in his Travels in Greece, tells us, that he was at a funeral entertainment amongst 
the modern Greeks, where, with other singular rites, " two followed carrying on their heads each 
a great dish of parboiled wheat. These were deposited over the body." And the learned Gregory 


and absurd as these superstitions may appear, it is yet certain that our Carlings 
deduce their origin from thence 1 . 

The vulgar, in the North of England, give the following names to the Sun- 
days of Lent, the first of which is anonymous : 

Tid, Mid, Misera, 
Carting, Palm, Paste Egg day." 

tells us, there is " a practice of the Greek, Church, not yet out of use, to set boyled Come before 
the singers of those holy hymnes, which use to be said at their commemorations of the dead, or 
those which are asleep in Christ. And that which the rite would have, is, to signifye the resurrec- 
tion of the body. Thou foole ! that which thou sowest is not quickened except it dye." Gregorii 
Opuscula, 4to. Lond, 1650. p. 128. 

1 There were several religious uses of Pulse, particularly Beans, among the Romans. Hence 
Pliny says, " in eadem peculiaris Religio." Thus in Ovid's Fasti, B. 5, 1. 435, where he is descri- 
bing some superstitious rites for appeasing the dead : 

" Terque manus puras fontana proluit unda ; 

Vertitur, et nigras accipit ore f abas. 
Aversusque jacit : sed dum jacit, haec ego mitto 

His, inquit, redimo me meosque fabis." 
Thus also in Book II. 1. 575 : 

" Turn cantata ligat cum fusco licia rhombo : 

Et septem nigras versat in orefabas." 

In Fosbrooke's British Monachism, vol. II. p. 127, is the following : " At Barking Nunnery 
the annual store of provision consisted, inter alia, of Green Peas for Lent; Green Pease against 
Midsummer;" with a note copied from the Order and Government of a Nobleman's House in the 
XHIth volume of the Archreologia, p. 373, that, " if one will have Pease soone in the year follow- 
ing, such Pease are to be sowenne in the waine of the moone, at St. Andro's tide before Christmas." 

In vol. I. folio, of Smith's Manuscript Lives of the Lords of Berkeley, in the possession of the 
Earl of Berkeley, p. 49, we read that, on the anniversary of the Founder of St. Augustine's, Bris- 
tol, i. e. Sir Robert Fitzharding, on the 5th of February, " at that Monastery there shall be one 
hundred poore men refreshed, in a dole made unto them in this forme : every man of them hath a 
chanon's loafe of bread, called a myche, and three hearings thearewith. There shalbe doaled also 
amongst them two bushells of Pesys." " And in the anniversary daye of Dame Eve," (Lady Eve, 
wife of the above Lord, Sir Robert Fitzharding,) " our Foundresse, i.e. 12 Marcii, a dole shalbe 
made in this forme : that daye shalbe doled to fifty poore men fifty loafes called miches, and to 
each three hearings, and, amongst them all, one bushell of Pease." Lord Robert Fitzharding 
died Feb. 5th, 1170, 17 Hen. II. aged about 75 years. Dame Eve, who herself founded and be- 
came prioress of the House called the Magdalens, by Bristol, died prioress thereof March 12th, 1173. 
" This couplet is differently given by a writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1783, vol. LVJU. 
p. 183, as follows : 


The three first are certainly corruptions of some part of the antient Latin 
Service, or Psalms, used on each n . 

The word Care is preserved in the subsequent account of art obsolete custom 
at marriages in this kingdom. " According to the use of the Church of Sarum, 
when there was a marriage before Mass, the parties kneeled together, and had 
a fine linen cloth (called the Care Cloth) laid over their heads during the time 
of Mass, till they received the benediction, and then were dismissed ." 

I suspect the following passage to be to our purpose. Skelton, poet laureat 
to Henry the Eighth, in his Colin Clout, has these words, in his usual strange 
and rambling style : 

" Men call you therefore prophanes, 

Ye pick no shrympes, nor pranes ; 

Salt-fish, stock-fish, nor herring. 

It is not for your wearing. 

Nor, in holy Lenton Season, 

Ye will neither Beams ne Peason ?, 

" Tid, and Mid, and Misera, 
Carling, Palm, and Good-Pas-day." 

The above writer also gives a more particular account of the C'arlings, or Grey Peas, and of 
the manner of dressing and eating them. See also Gent. Mag. for 1786, vol. LVI. p. 410. 

n In the FestaAnglo-Romana, Lond. 1G78, we are told that the first Sunday in Lent is called 
Quadragesima or Invocavit; the second Reminiscere ; the third Oculi; the fourth Lcetare ; the 
fifth Judica ; and the sixth Dominica Magna. Oculi, from the entrance of the 14th verse of the 
25th Psalm. " Oculi mei semper ad Dominum," &c. Reminiscere, from the entrance of the 5th 
verse of Psalm 25, " Reminiscere Miserationum," &c. and so of the others. 

Thus our Tid may have been formed from the beginning of Psalms, &c. Te deum Mi cfeus 
Miserere mei. 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. X. p. 413, 8vo. Edinb. 1794, Parish of Tiry, in Ar- 
gyleshire, we read: "The common people still retain some Roman Catholic sayings, prayers, 
and oaths, as expletives ; such as ' Diets Muire let ;' i. e. God and Mary be with you ; ' Air 
~Muire,' swearing by Mary, &c." 

* Blount in Verbo : " Prosternant se sponsus et sponsain Oratione ad gradum Altaris : et tento 
pallio super eos, quod teneant quatuor Clerici in superpelliciis ad quatuor cornua." Missale ad 
Us. Sarum. 12mo. Venet. 1494. Idem. fol. Antw. 1527. 

In a most curious book, intituled, " A World of Wonders," fol. Lond. 1607, a translation by 
R. C. from the French copy, " the argument whereof is taken from the Apologie for Herodotus, 


But ye look to be let loose, 

To a pigge or to a goose." 

The Popish Kingdorne has the following summary for Care Sunday, fol. 49- l>. 
" Now comes the Sunday forth, of this same great and holy fast : 
Here doth the Pope the shriven blesse, absoluing them at last 
From ail their sinhes ; and of the Jewes the law he doth alow, 
As if the power of God had not sufficient bene till now : 
Or that the law of Moyses here were still of force and might, 
In these same happie dayes, when Christ doth raigne with heavenly light. 
The boyes with ropes of straw doth frame an vgly monster here, 
And call him death, whom from the towne, with prowd and solemne chere, 
To hilles and valleyes they conuey, and villages thereby, 
From whence they stragling doe retnrne, well beaten commonly. 
Thus children also beare, with speares, their cracknelles round about, 
And two they haue, whereof the one is called Sommer stout, 
Apparalde all in greene, and drest in youthfull fine araye; 
The other Winter, clad in mosse, with heare all hoare and graye : 
These two togither fight, of which the palme cloth Sommer get. 
From hence to meate they go, and all with wine their whistles wet. 
The other toyes that in this time of holly fastes appeare, 
I loth to tell, nor order like, is used every wheare." 

written in Latine by Henrie Stephen, and continued here by the Author hunselfe," p. 294, speaking 
of a Popish book, intituled, " Quadragesiniale Spirituale," otherwise called Lent's Allegory, printed 
at Paris A. D. 1565, the writer extracts certain periods. Thus, chap. 2 : " After the sallad (eaten in 
Lent at the firtt service) we eate fried Beanes, by which we understand Confession. When we 
would have Bettnes well sodden, we lay them in steepe, for otherwise they will never seeth kindly. 
Therefore, if we purpose to amend our faults, it is not sufficient barely to confesse them at all 
adventure, but we must let our Confession lie in steepe in the water of Meditation." " And a little 
after : We do not use to seeth ten or twelve Beanes together, but as many as we meane to eate : 
no more must we steepe, that is, meditate, upon ten or twelve sinnes onely, neither for ten or 
twelve dayes, but upon all the sinnes that ever we committed, even from our birth, if it were pos- 
sible to remember them." Chap. 3 : " Strained Pease (Madames) are not to be forgotten. You 
know how to handle them so well, that they will be delicate and pleasant to the tast. By these 
strained Pease our allegorizing flute pipeth nothing else but true 'contrition of heart." " River- 
vrater, which continually moveth, runneth, and floweth, is very good for the seething of Pease. 
We must (I say) have contrition for our sins and take the running-water, that is, the teares of 
the heart, which must runne and come even into the eyes." 



THIS is evidently called Palm Sunday because, as the Ritualists say*, on 
that day the boughs of Palm-trees used to be carried in procession, in imitation 
of those which the Jews strewed in the way of Christ when he went up to Je- 

The Palm-tree was common in Judea, and planted, no doubt, every where 
by the way-sides. Sprigs of Box-wood are still used as a substitute for Palms 
in Roman Catholic Countries. The Consecration Prayer seems to leave a lati- 
tude for the species of Palm used instead of the real Palm b . 

* " Dicitur enim Dominica in rarais Palmarum, quod illo die Kami palmarum in processionibus 
deportentur in significationem illorum, quos filii Israel straverant in via, Christo jam venientc. 
Belith. 531, p. 34, Cap. Durand. Explic. Divin. Offic. cap. 94. in Ram. Palmar. See also Dr. 

Sparks's Feasts and Fasts. 

b These boughs, or brandies of Palm, underwent a regular blessing. " Dominica in ramis 
Palmarum. Finito Evangelic sequatur Benedictio Florum et Frondium a sacerdote induto Cappa 
serica rubea super gradum tertium Altaris australem converse : positis prius palmis cum Jloribus 
supra Altare pro Clericis, pro aliis vero super gradum Altaris in parte australi." Among the 
Prayers, the subsequent occurs : " Omnipotens sempiterne Deus qui in Diluvii eff usione Noe famulo 
tuo per os Columbae gestantis ramum Oliv<e pacem Terris redditam nunciasti : te supplices depre- 
camur ut hanc Creaturam florum et frondium, spatulasque Palmarum seu frondes Arborum, 
quas ante Conspectum Gloriae tuae offerimus veritas tua sanctificet^ : ut devotus Populus in manibus 
eassuscipiens, benedictionis tuae gratiam consequi mereatur," per xp'm." Then is the following pas- 
sage in the Prayer before they are blessed with holy-water : " Benedic >J< etiam et hos Ramos Palma- 
rum ceterarumque Arborum quos tui famuli suscipiunt," &c. with the Rubric, "His itaque 
peractis distribuantur Palmae." Sprigs of flowers, too, appear to have been consecrated on the 
occasion : " Et hos Palmarum ceterarumque Arborum ac Florum ramos benedicere & sauctificare 
digneris," &c. See the " Missale ad Usum Ecclesie Sarisburiensis, 1555." 4to. Lond. 

The Author of " The Festyvall," 1511, fol. 28, speaking of the Jews strewing Palrn-branchcs 
before Christ, says : " And thus we take Palme and Floures in the processyon as they dyde, and 
go in processyon knelynge to the Crosse in the worshyp and mynde of hym that was done on the 
Crosse, worshyppynge and welcomynge hym with songe into the Chyrche, as the people dyde our 
Lord into the Cyte of Jherusalem. It is called Palme Sondaye for bycause the Palme beto- 


Stow, in his Survey of London, tells us, " that in the week before Easter had 
ye great shewes made for the fetching in of a twisted tree or with, as they 
termed it, out of the woods into the King's house, and the like into every man's 
house of honour or worship." This must also have been a substitute for the 
Palm c . 

keneth vyctory, wherfore all Crysten people sholde here Palme in processyon, in tokennynge that 
he hath foughten w* h the fende our enemye, and hath the vyctory of hym." 

In the third volume of Horda Angel-Cynnan, p. 174, Mr. Strutt cites an old manuscript, saying-, 
" Wherfor holi Chirche this daye makith solempne processyon, in myncle of the processyon that 
Cryst made this dey : but for encheson that wee hav noone Olyve that beirith grcene Icves, therefore 
vie taken Palmc, and geven instede of Olyve, and beare it about in processione. So is thys daye called 
Palme Sunday." A Writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. XL1X. for December 1779, p. 579, 
observes on the above : " It is evident that something called a Palm was carried in procession on 
Palm Sunday. What is meant by our having no Olive that beareth green leaves I do not know. 
Now it is my idea that these Palms, so familiarly mentioned, were no other than the branches of 
Yew-trees. The passage cited in the same Miscellany, vol. L. for March 178O, p. 128, from Cax- 
ton's Directions for keeping Feasts all the Year, printed in 1483, is decisive : " but for encheson 
that we have non Olyve that berith grene leef, algate therfore we take Ewe instede of Palme and 
Olyve, and beren about in processyon," #c. 

Barnaby Googe, in the Popish Kingdome, fol. 42, says : 

" Besides they candles up do light, of vertue like in all, 
And Willow braunches hallow, that they Palmes do use to call. 
This done, they verily beleevc the tempest nor the storaie 
Can neyther hurt themselves, nor yet their cattell, nor their come." 

Coles, also, in his " Adam in Eden/' speaking of Willow, tells us : " The blossoms come forth 
before any leaves appear, and arc in their most flourishing estate usually before Easter, divers ga- 
thering them to deck up their houses on Palm Sunday, and therefore the said flowers are called 

Newton, in his " Herball for the Bible," Svo. Lond. 1587, p. 206, after mentioning that the 
Box-tree and the Palm were often confounded together, adds : " This error grew (as I thinke) at 
the first for that the common people in some countries use to decke their church with the boughes 
and branches thereof on the Sunday next afore Easter, commonly called Palme Sunday ; for at 
that time of the yeare all other trees, for the most part, are not blowen or bloomed." 

In Mr. Nichols's Extracts from Churchwardens Accompts, 4to. 1797, among those of St. Martin 
Outwich, London, we have these articles, A. D. 151O-11. p. 270. "First, paid for Palme, Box- 
Jloures, and Cakes, iiij d ." p. 272, A. D. 1525. " Paid for Palme on Palme Sunday, ijl. ib." " Paid 
for Kaks, Flowers, and Yow, ij d ." 

c By an Act of Common Council, 1 and 2 Phil, and Mary, for retrenching expences, among 
other things, it was ordered, " that from henceforth there shall be no WYTH fetcht home at the 


The Church of Rome has given the following account of her ceremonies on 
this day. "The blessed Sacrament reverently carried, as it were Christ, upon 

Major's or Sheriffs Houses. Neither shall they keep any lord of misrule in any of their houses." 
Strype's Stow's London, Book 1. p. 246. 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. XV. p. 45, (8vo. Edinb. 1795.) Parish of Lanark, 
County of Lanark, we read of " a gala kept by the boys of the Grammar-school, beyond all me- 
mory, in regard to date, on the Saturday before Palm Sunday. They then parade the streets with 
a Palm, or its substitute, a large tree of the Willow kind, Salix caprea, in blossom, ornamented 
with daffodils, mezereon, and box-tree. This day is called Palm Saturday ; and the custom is 
certainly a Popish relic of very ancient standing." 

I know not how it has come to pass, but to wear the Willow on other occasions has long im- 
plied a man's being forsaken by his mistress. Thus the following, from " A Pleasant Grove of 
New Fancies," 8vo. land. 1657: 

"The Willow Garland. 
" A Willow Garland thou didst send 

Perfum'd last day to me, 
Which did but only this portend : 

I was forsook by thee. 
" Since it is so, I'le tell thee what. 

To-morrow thou shalt see 
Me vveare the Willow, after that 

To dye upon the tree." 

The Columbine, too, by the following passage from Browne's Britannia's Pastorals, has had 
the same import. Book 2. p. 81: 

" The Columbine, in tawing often taken, 
Is then ascrib'd to such as are forsaken." 

The following, " To the Willow Tree," is in Herrick's Hesperides, p. 120 : 

" Thou art to all lost love the best, 

The only true plant found, 
Wherewith young men and maids distrest, 

And left of love, are crown'd. 

" When once the lover's rose is dead, 

Or laid aside forlorne, 
Then Willow-garlands, 'bout the head, 

Bedew'd with tears, are worne. 
" When with neglect (the lover's bane) 

Poor maids rewarded be, 
For their love lost, their onely gaine 

Is but a wreathe from thee. 


the Ass, with strawing of bushes and flowers, bearing of Palms, setting out 
boughs, spreading and hanging up the richest clothes, &c. all done in a very 

" And underneath thy cooling shade 

(When weary of the light) 
The love-spent youth, and love-sick maid, 

Come to weep out the night." 

In Lilly's Sappho and Phao, act 2. sc. 4. is the following passage : " Enjoy thy care in covert ; 
weare Willow in thy hat and bayes in thy heart." A Willow, also, in Fuller's Worthies, (Cam- 
bridgeshire, p. 144,) is described as "a sad tree, whereof such who have lost their love make their 
mourning garlands, and we know what exiles hung up their harps upon such dolefull supporters. 
The twiggs hereof are physick to drive out the folly of children. This tree delighteth in moist 
places, and is triumphant in the Isle of Ely, where the roots strengthen their banks, and lop af- 
fords fuell for their fire. It groweth incredibly fast, it being a by-word in this county, that the 
profit by Willows will buy the owner a horse before that by other trees will pay for his saddle. 
Let me adde, that if green Ashe may burn before a queen, withered Willows may be allowed to 
burne before a lady." 

To an enquiry in the British Apollo, vol. II. No. 98, (fol. Lond. 1710,) "why are those who 
have lost their love said to wear the Willow-garlands ?" it is answered, " because Willow was in 
ancient days, especially among herdsmen and rusticks, a badge of mourning, as may be collected 
from the several expressions of Virgil in his Eclogues, where the nymphs and herdsmen are fre- 
quently introduced sitting under a Willow mourning their loves. You may observe the same in 
many Greek Authors, I mean Poets, who take liberty to feign any sort of story. For the ancients 
frequently selected, and, as it were, appropriated several trees, as indexes or testimonials of the 
various passions of mankind, from whom we continue at this day to use Ewe and Rosemary at 
funerals, in imitation of antiquity ; these two being representatives of a dead person, and Willow 
of love dead, or forsaken. You may observe that the Jews, upon their being led into captivity, 
Psalm 137. are said to hang their harps upon Willows, i. e. trees appropriated to men in affliction 
and sorrow, who had lost their beloved 3ion. 

In the old play called " What you will," where a lover is introduced serenading his mistress, 
we read " He sings, and is answered ; from above a Willow-garland is fung downe, and the 
song ceaseth." 

" Is this my favour ? am I crown'd with scorne ?" 

Marston's Works, 12. Lond. 1633, signat. O. 

In "The Comical Pilgrim's Travels thro' England," 8vo. Lond. 1723, p. 23, is the following. 
" Huntingdonshire is a very proper county for unsuccessful lovers to live in ; for, upon the loss of 
their sweethearts, they will here find an abundance of Willow-trees, so that they may either wear 
the willow green, or hang themselves, which they please : but the latter is reckoned the best re- 
medy for slighted love." 

VOL. 1. p 


goodly ceremony to the honour of Christ, and the memory of his triumph upon 
this day d ." 

Coles, in his "Art of Simpling, an Introduction to the Knowledge of Plants," p. 65, says, " the 
Willow-garland is a thing talked of, but I had rather talke of it then weare it." 

"Wylowe-tree hit is sayd that the sede therof is of this vertue, that, if a man drynke of hit, 
he shall gete no sones, but only bareyne doughters." Bertholomeus De Propriet. Rerum. fol. 
Lond. T. Berth, fol. 286. 

Cole, in Welsh, signifies loss, also hazel-wood. " There is an old custom of presenting a for- 
saken lover with a stick, or twig of hazel ; probably in allusion to the double meaning of the 
word. Of the same sense is the following proverb, supposed to be the answer of a widow, 
on being asked why she wept : " painful is the smoke of the hazel." Owen's Welsh Dictionary, 
in voce "Cole." 

d The Rhemists, in their Translation of the New Testament, as cited by Bourne, chapter xxii. 

Hospinian, in his Origin of Christian Feasts, introduces the poet Naogeorgus thus describing 
Palm Sunday : 

" Hinc venit alma dies, qua Christus creditur urbem 

Ingressus Solymam, dorso gestatus aselli : 

Turn ridenda iteram faciunt spectacla Papistic, 

Insigni valde pompa, facieque severa. 

Ligneum habent asinum, & simulachrum equitantis in illo 

Ingens : at vero tabula consistit asellus, 

Quatuor atque rotis trahitur, quern mane paratum 

Ante fores teuipli statuunt : populus venit omnis, 

Arboreos portans ramos, salicesque virentes, 

Quos tempcstates contra, ccelique fragorem 

Adjurat pastor, multo grandique precatu. 

Mox querno sese coram prosternit asello 

Sacrificus, longa quern virga percutit alter. 

Postquam surrexit, grandes de corte scholaruin 

Se duo prosternunt itidem mirabili amictu, 

Cantuque absurdo : qui ut surrexere, in acernum 

Protendunt equitem digitos, monstrantque canentes : 

Hunc esse ilium, qui quondam venturus in orbem 

Credentem Israel a jure redemerit Orci, 

Cuique viam ramis turba exornarit Olivae. 

His decantatis, ramos dehinc protinus omnes 

Conjiciunt paitim in simulachrum, partim in aselluui, 

Cujus et ante pedes magnus cumulatur acervus. 

Post haec in templum trahitur, pneeuntibus unctis, 


Naogeorgus's Description of the Ceremonies on Palin Sunday is thus trans- 
lated by Barnabe Googe : 

" Here comes that worthie day wherein our Savior Christ is thought 

To come unto Jerusalem, on asses shoulders brought : 

When as againe these Papistes fonde their foolish pageantes have 

With pompe and great soletnnitie, and countnaunce wondrous grave. 

A woodden Asse they have', and Image great that on him rides, 

But underneath the Asse's feete a table broad there slides, 

Being borne on wheeles, which ready drest, and al things meete therfort-, 

The Asse is brought abroad and set before the churche's doore : 

The people all do come, and bowes of trees and Palmes they bert, 

Which things against the tempest great the Parson conjures there, 

And straytwayes downe before the Asse, upon his face he lies, 

Whome there an other Priest doth strike with rodde of largest sise : 

He rising up, two lubbours great upon their faces fall, 

In straunge attire, and lothsomely, with filthie tune, they ball : 

Who, when againe they risen are, with stretching out their hande, 

They poynt unto the wooden knight, arid, -singing as they stande, 

Declare that that is he that came into the worlde to save, 

And to redeeme such as in him their hope assured have : 

And even the same that long agone, while in the streate he roade, 

The people mette, and Olive-bowes so thicke before him stroade. 

Consequitur populus, quamvis certamine magno 

jQuisque legat jactas asini ad vestigia frondes : 

Falsb etenim summis praesertim viribus illas 

Contra hyemes pollere putant, & fulmina dira." 

"Talia cum faciant uncti, populusque tributhn, 

Illico sectantur pueri post prandia : certum 

Dicitur aedituo pretium, danmumque cavetur, 

Assumuntque asiiunn, & per vicos atque plateas 

Carmina cunt antes quaedam notissima raptant : 

Quts nummi k populo, vel panes dantur, & ova. 

PrsedsB hujus partem Indi praestare magistro 

Coguntur mediam, ne exors sit solus aselli." fol. 55. 

" Upon Palme Sondaye they play the foles sadely, drawynge after them an Asse in a rope, 
when th<y be not moche distante from the Woden Asse that they drawe." Pref. to a rare work, 
entitled, " A Dialoge, &c. the Pylgremage of pure Devotyon, newly translatyd into Englishe," 
No date; but supposed to have been printed in 1551. See Herbert's Ames. 


This being soung, the people cast the braunches as they passe, 

Some part upon the Image, and some part upon the Asse : 

Before whose feete a wondrous heape of bowes and braunches ly-; 

This done, into the Church he strayght is drawne full solemly : 

The shaven Priestes before them marche, the people follow fast, 

Still striving wlto shall gather first the bowes that duwne are cast: 

For falsely they beleeve that these have force and vertue -great 

Against the rage of winter stormes and thunders flashing heate." 

" In some place wealthie citizens, and men of sober chore, 

For no small summe doe hire this Asse with them about to berc, 

And manerly they use the same, not suffering any by 

To touch this Asse, nor to presume unto his presence ny." 

" When as the priestes and people all have ended this their sport, 

The boyes doe after dinner come, and to the Church resort : 

The Sexten pleasde with price, and looking well no harme be done : 

They take the Asse, and through the streetes and crooked lanes they rone, 

Whereas they common verses sing, according to the guise, 

The people giving money, breade, and egges of largest sise. 

Of this their gaines they are compelde the maister halfe to give, 

Least he alone without his portion of the Asse should live f ." 

In the " Doctrine of the Masse Booke, concerning the making of Holye 
Water, Salt, Breade, Canclels, Ashes, lyre, Insence, Pascal, Pascal Lambe, 
Egges and Herbes, the Marying Rynge, the Pilgrimes Wallet, Staffe, and Crosse, 
truly translated into Englishe, Anno Domini 1554, the 2 of May, from Wyt- 
tonburge, by Nicholas Dorcaster," 8vo. signal, b. 5. we have "The HALOW- 
ING OF PALMES. \Vhen the Gospel is ended, let ther follow the halowyng of 
flouers and braunches by the priest, being araied with a redde cope, upon the 
thyrde step of the Altare, turning him toward the South : the Palmes, wyth the 
flouers, being fyrst laied aside upon the Altere for the Clarkes, and for the 
other upon the steppe of the Altere on the South syde." Prayers : 

" I conjure the, thou Creature of Flouers and Braunches, in the name of God 
the Father Almighty, and in the name of Jesu Christ hys sonne our Lord, and 
in the vertue of the Holy Cost. Therfore be thou rooted out and displaced from 
this Creature of Flouers and Braunches, al thou strength of the Adversary, al 

-r . __ - 

f Popish Kingdome, fol. 5O. 


thou Host of the Divell, and al thou power of the enemy, even every assault 
of Divels, that thou overtake not the foote steps of them that haste unto the 
Grace of God. Thorow him that shal come to judge the quicke and the deade 
and the world by fyre. Amen." 

"Almightye eternal God, who at the pouring out of the floude diddest de- 
clare to thy servaunt Noe by the moutlie of a dove, hearing an olive-braunch, 
that peace was restored agayne upon earth, we humblye beseche the that thy 
truthe may ^ sanctih'e this Creature of Flouers and Branches, and slips of 
Palmes, or bowes of trees, which we offer before the presence of thy glory ; 
that the devoute people bearing them in their handes, may meryte to optaync 
the grace of thy benediccion. Thorowe Christe," c. 

There follow other Prayers, in which occur these passages : After the 
Flowers and Branches are sprinkled with Holy Water " Blesse ^ and sanc- 
tifie ^ these Braunches of Palmes, and other Trees and Flouers" concluding 
with this rubrick : " So whan these thinges are fynyshed, let the Palmes im- 
mediately be distributed *." 

Dr. Fulke, on the part of the Protestants, has considered all this in a dif- 
ferent light from the Rhernists. " Your Palm-Sunday Procession," says he, "was 
horrible idolatry, and abusing the Lord's Institution, who ordained his Supper 
to be eaten and drunken, not to be carried about in procession like a heathenish 
idol : but it is pretty sport that you make the Priests that carry this idol to sup- 
ply the room of the Ass on which Christ did ride. Thus you turn the holy mys- 
tery of Christ's riding to Jerusalem to a May-game and pagent-play h ." 

g See also Fosbrooke's British Monachism, vol. I. p. 28 : "I once knew a foolish, cock-brained 
Priest," says Newton, in his "Herball to the Bible," p. 207, "which ministered to a certaine 
yoong man the Ashes of Boxe, being (forsooth) hallowed on Palme Sunday, according to the su- 
perstitious order and doctrine of the Romish Church, which ashes he mingled with their unholie 
holie water, using to the same a kinde of fantastical!, or rather fanatical), doltish, and ridiculous 
exorcisme ; which woorthy, worshipfull medicine (as he persuaded the standers by) had vertue 
to drive away any ague, and to kill the worms. Well, it so fell out, that the ague, indeed, was 
driven away ; but, God knoweth, with the death of the poore yoong man. And no marvel!. For 
the leaves of Boxe be deleterious, poisonous, deadlie, and to the bodie of man very noisome, dan- 
gerous, and pestilent." 

h Fulke in loc. Mat. 


It is still customary with our boys, both in the South 1 and North of Eng- 
land, to go out and gather slips with the Willow- flowers or buds at this time. 
These seem to have been selected as substitutes for the real Palm, because they 
are generally the only things, at this season, which can be easily come at, in 
which the power of vegetation can be discovered 11 . 

i It is even yet a common practice in the neighbourhood of London. The young people go 
a palming; and the sallow is sold in London streets for the whole week preceding Palm Sunday. 
In the North, it is called "going a palmsomng of palmsning." 

k In "A short Description of Antichrist," &c. See Herbert. P. 1579. is the following: "They 
also, upon Palmes Sonday, lifte up a cloth, and say, hayle our Kynge ! to a rood made of a 
wooden blocke." fol. 26. At fol. 8. is noted the popish "hallowinge of Palme Stickes." 

In another curious Tract, entitled, " A Dialogue, or familiar Talke, betwene two neighbours, 
concernyng the chycfest Ceremonyes that were, by the might i power of God's most holie pure 
\vorde suppressed in Englande, ami nowe for our unworthines set up agayne by the Bishoppes, 
the Impcs of Antichrist, &c. From Roane, by Michael Wodde, the 20 of February, A.D. 1554," 
(that is, the first of Queen Mary,) 12mo. it appears that Crosses of Palme were, in the papal 
times, carried about in the purse. These Crosses were made on Palme Sunday, in Passion time, 
of hallowed Palm. See signal. D. iii. D. iiii. 

" The old Church kept a memorye the Sunday before Ester, how Christes glory was openly re- 
ceived and acknowledged among the Jewes, when they met him with Date-tree bowes, and other 
faire bowes, and confessed that he was the sonne of God. And the Gospel declaring the same 
was apointed to be read on that day. But nowe our blind leaders of the blind toke away the 
knowledge of this, with their Latine processioning, so that, among x. thousande, scarce one knew 
what this meat. They have their laudable dumme Ceremonies, with Lenten Crosse and Uptide 
Crosse, and these two must justle, til Lent breake his necke. Then cakes must be cast out of the 
steple, that all the boyes in the parish must lie scambling together by the eares, tyl al the parish 
falleth a laughyng." Signat. D. iii. 

" But lorde what ape's-play made they of it in great cathedral churches and abbies. One comes 
furth in his albe and his long stole, (for so they call their girde that they put about theyr neckes,) 
thys must beleashe wise, as hunters weares their homes. This solempne Syre played Christes part, 
a God's name. Then another companye of singers, chyldren and al, song, in pricksong, the 
Jewe's part and the Deacon read the middel text. The Prest at the Alter al this while, because 
it was tediouse to be unoccupyed, made Crosses of Palme to set upon your doors, and to beare in 
your purses, to chace away the Divel." 

" Hath not our spiritualtie well ordered this matter (trow ye) to turne the reading and preach- 
ing of Christes Passion into such wel favoured Pastymes ? But tell me, Nicholas, hath not thy 
wyfe a Crosse of Palme aboute her ? (Nich.) Yes, in her purse. (Oliver J And agoon felowshippe 
tel me, thinckest thou not sometyme, the Devil is in her toungue ? Syghe not man. (Nich.) I 
wold she heard you, you might fortune to finde him in her tong and fist both. (Oliver.J Then I 


" Upon Palm Sunday," says Carew, in his Survey of Cornwall, p. 144, " at 
our Lady Nant's Well, at Little Colan, idle-headed seekers resorted, with a 
Palm Crosse in one hand and an Offering in the other. The Offering fell to 
the priest's share, the Cross they threw into the Well, which if it swamme, the 
party should outlive that yeare ; if it sunk, a short ensuing death was boded, 

se wel he cometh not in her purse, because the holi palme Crosse is ther; but if thou couldest in- 
treate her to beare a crosse in her mouth, then he would not come there neither." 

The ceremony of bearing Palms on Palm Sunday was retained in England after some others 
were dropped, and was one of those which Henry VIII. in 1536, declared were not to be con- 
temned and cast away. In the first volume of Proclamations, &c. folio, preserved in the Library 
of the Society of Antiquaries of London, p. 138, is an original Proclamation, printed and dated 
26th February 30 Henry VIII. " concernyng Rites and Ceremonies to be used in due fourme in 
the Churche of Englande," wherein occurs the following clause: " On Palme Sonday it shall be 
declared that bearing of Palmes renueth the memorie of the receivinge of Christe in lyke maner 
into Jerusalem before his deathe." In Fuller's Church History, also, p. 222, we read that " bear- 
ing of Palms on Palm Sunday is in memory of the receiving of Christ into Hierusalem a little 
before his death, and that we may have the same desire to receive him into our hearts." Wheat- 
ley, from Collier, informs us, that Palms were used to be borne here with us till 2 Edward VI. ; 
and the Rhemish Translators of the New Testament mention also the bearing of Palms on this 
day in their country when it was Catholic. 

A similar interpretation of this ceremony to that given in King Henry the Eighth's Procla- 
mation, occurs in Bishop Bonner's Injunctions, 4to, 1555, signal. A 2. "To cary their Palmes 
discreatlye," is among the Roman Catholic Customs censured by John Bale in his Declaration of 
Bonner's Articles, 1554, signal. D. b. as is, ibid. D. 2 b. " to conjure Palmes." In Howes's edition 
of Stowe's Chronicle, it is stated, under the year 1548, that " this yeere the ceremony of bearing 
of Palmes on Palme Sonday was left off, and not used as before." That the remembrance of this 
custom, however, was not lost is evident. In " Articles to be enquired of within the Archdeaconry 
of Yorke, by the Churche Wardens andsworne men, A. D. 163 + " (any year till 1640), 4to, Lond. 
b. 1. I find the following, alluding, it should seem, both to this day and Holy Thursday. " Whether 
there be any superstitious use of Crosses with Towels, Palmes, Metwands, or other memories of ido- 
laters." Mr. Douce's MS Notes say : "I have somewhere met with a proverbial saying, that he 
that hath not a Palm in his hand on Palm Sunday must have his hand cut off." 

In " Yet a Course at the Romishe Foxe ; a Dysclosynge or Openynge of the Manne of Synne, 
contayned in the late Declaration of the Pope's olde Faythe made by Edmonde Boner, Byshopp of 
London, &c. by Johan Harryson : [J. Bale:] printed at Zurik A.D. 1542," 8vo, signat. D4, the 
author enumerates some " auncyent rytes and lawdable ceremonyes of holy ehurche," then it 
should seem laid aside, in the following censure of the Bishop : " Than ought my Lorde also to 
suffre the same selfe ponnyshment for not rostyng egges in the Palme ashes fyre," &c. 


and perhaps not altogether untruly, while a foolish conceyt of this halsenyng 
might the sooner help it onwards." 

The Russians (of the Greek Church) have a very solemn procession on Palm 


In " Dives and Pauper," cap. iv. on the first commandment, we read : " On Palme Sondaye at 
procession the priest drawith up the veyle before the rode., and falleth down to the ground with all 
the people, and saith thrice, Ave Rex Noster, Hayle be thou our King. He speketh not to the 
image that the carpenter hath made, and the peinter painted, but if the priest be a fole, for that 
stock or stone was never King; but he speakethe to hym that died on the crosse for us all, to him 
that is Kynge of all thynge." p. 15 b. 

In the Churchwardens Accounts of St. Mary at Hill in the city of London, from the 17th to tha 
1 9i h year of King Ed w. IV. I find the following entry : Box and Palm on Palm Sunday, 1 2d." And, 
ibid, among the annual Church disbursements, the subsequent : " Palm, Box, Cakes, and Flowers, 
Palm Sunday Eve, Sd." Ibid. I486': "Item, for fiowrs, obleyes, and for Box and Palme ayenst 
Palm Sondaye, 6d." Ibid. 1493 : " For settyug up the frame over the porch on Palme Sonday 
E\e, G'</." Ibid. 1531 : " Paid for the hire of the Rayment for the Prophets, 12d. and of Clothes 
of Aras Is. 4d. for Palm Sunday." Nichols's " Illustrations of the Manners and Expences of 
Antient Times." In Coates's History of Reading, p. 216', Churchwardens Accounts of St. Lau- 
rence parish, 1505 : " It. payed to the Clerk for syngyng of the Passion on Palme Sunday, in ale, 
Id." P. 217. 1509. " It. payed for a q'rt of bastard, for the singers of the Passhyon on Palme Son- 
daye, iiijd." P. 221. 1541. " Payd to Loreman for playing the P'phett (Prophet) on Palme Son- 
day, iiijd." 

Among Dr. Griffith's Extracts from the old Books of St. Andrew Hubbard's parish, I found : 1 524-5. 
" To James Walker, for making clene the churchyard ag'st Palm Sonday, Id." Ibid. " On Palm 
Sonday, for Palm, Cakes, and Fiowrs, fid. ob." 1526-7. " The here of the Angel on Palme Sonday, 
8d." " Clothes at the Tow'r on Palme Sonday, 6d." 1535 7. " For Brede, Wyn, and Oyle, on 
Palm Sonday, Gil." " A Freest and Chylde that playde a Messenger, Sd." 1538 40. " Rec'd in 
the Church of the Players, Is." " Pd for syngyng bread, 2d." " For the Aungel, 4d." 

In Mr. Lysons's Environs of London, vol. I. p. 231, among his curious Extracts from the 
Churchwardens and Chamberlains Accounts at Kingston upon Thames occurs the following: 
" 1 Hen. VIII. For Ale upon Palm Sonday on syngyng of the Passion sS.O. Os. Id. 


(First of April.) 

" Hunc Joaa mensem 
Vindicat ; hunc Risus et tinefelle sales." 


"APRIL with Fools, and May with bastards blest." 


" While April morn her Folly's throne exalts ; 
While Dob calls Nell, and laughs because she halts ; 
While Nell meets Tom, and says his tail is loose, 
Then laughs in turn, and calls poor Thomas goose ; 
Let us, my Muse, thro' Folly's harvest range, 
And glean some Moral into Wisdom's grange." 

Verses on several Occasions, 8vo, Lond. 1782, p. 50. 

A CUSTOM, says " The Spectator," prevails every where among us on the 
first of April, when every body strives to make as many Fools as he can a . The 

a I find in Poor Robin's Almanack for 176O a metrical description of the modern fooleries on 
the 1st of April, with the open avowal of being ignorant of their origin. 
" The first of April, some do say, 
Is set apart for Mi-Fools' Day; 
But why the people call it so, 
Nor I, nor they themselves do know. 
But on this day are people sent 
On purpose, for pure merriment ; 
And though the day is known before. 
Yet frequently there is great store 
Of these Forgetfuls to be found, 
Who 're sent to dance Moll Dixon't round i 
And, having tried each shop and stall. 
And disappointed at them all, 
At last some tells them of the cheat 
Then they return from the pursuit, 
VOL. I. Q, 


wit chiefly consists in sending persons on what are called sleeveless errands b , 

And straightway home with shame they run, 
And others laugh at what is done. 
But 'tis a thing to be disputed, 
Which is the greatest Fool reputed, 
The man that innocently went, 
Or he that him design'dly sent. 

The following curious passage was communicated by the Rev. W. Walter, Fellow of Christ's Col- 
lege, Cambridge : Ala TI ra. KujwaXia MfiPQN EOPTHN oxofta^outriy ; ti on Triv tiftrjay fa,v\nt aTriJs^Wfmxv 
(w; Iiuoaf <f>n<7j) 1015 T{ aurnv $*T{ij yvoso-v TOIJ juw (Waoiv, <UOTTE{ 01 Xowoi, XX.TO, Qv\a,s ev TOI,- cpajva- 
xaXtc<s, &' ao^oAiav " BWeSfl/**"' "' yoi f^oSi TH tjjutpa T'JT*I TIV K>f7 EXSIVDV cwroXafestv. That is j " Why 
do they call the Quirinalia the Feast of Fools ? Either, because they allowed this day (as Juba tella 
us) to those who could not ascertain their own tribes, or because they permitted those who had 
missed the celebration of the Fornacalia in their proper tribes, along with the rest of the people, 
either out of negligence, absence, or ignorance, to hold their festival apart on this day." Plu. 
Quaest. Rom. Opera, cum Xylandri notis, fol. Franc. 1599, torn. ii. p. 285. 

The Quirinalia were observed in honour of Romulus on the 1 1th of the kal. of March ; that is, 
the 19th of February. The Fornacalia, instituted by Numa, in honour of the God Fornax, were 
held on the 12th of the kal. of March, i. e. on the 18th of February. 

b In " John Heywood's Workes," 4to, Lond. 1566, signal. B 3. b. I find the following couplet : 
" And one mornyng timely he tooke in hande 
To make to my house a sleeveles errande." 

Skinner guesses this to mean a lifeless errand. I am not satisfied with his etymon, which is 
merely conjectural, and for which he does not venture to assign any cause. This epithet is found 
in Chaucer. The following passage, which 1 extract from Whitlock's Zuotomia, &c. 8vo, Loud. 
1654, p. 360, seems to explain it. " But, secondly, the more subtle (and more hard to sleave a 
two) silken thred of self-seeking, is that dominion over consciences," &c. The meaning of the ex- 
pression " to sleave a two" appears plainly to be " to untwist or unfold;" q. d. The silken thread is 
so subtle or fine, that it is very difficult to untwist it. " Sleeveless," then, should seem to mean 
(as every one knows that " less" final is negation,) that which cannot be unfolded or explained, an 
epithet which perfectly agrees with the errands of which we are speaking. 

The word is used by Bishop Hall in his Satires : 

" Worse than the logogryphes of later times, 

Or hundreth riddles shak'd to sleevelesse rhymes." B. iv. Sat. 1. 

In Whimzies : or a new Cast of Characters, 12mo, Lond. 1631, p. 83, speaking of " a Laun- 
derer," the author says : " Shee is a notable, witty, tailing titmouse ; and can make twenti* 
skevelesse errands in hope of a good turne." 


for the History of Eve's Mother r for Pigeon's Milk, with similar ridiculous 

absurdities . He takes no notice of the rise of this singular kind of Anni- 

c In Ward's " Wars of the Elements, &c." 8vo, Lond. 1708, p. 55, in his Epitaph on the French 
Prophet, who was to make his resurrection on the 25th May, he says : 

" O' th' first of April had the scene been laid, 

I should have laugh' d to've seen the living made 

Such April Fools and blockheads by the Dead." 

Dr. Goldsmith, also, in his Vicar of Wakefield, describing the manners of some rustics, tells us, 
that, among other customs which they followed, they " shewed their wit on the first of April." 
So, in " The First of April, or Triumphs of Folly," 4to, Lond. 1777: 

" 'Twos on the morn when April doth appear, 

And wets the primrose with its maiden tear ; 

'Twas on the morn when laughing Folly rules, 

And calls her sons around, and dubs them Fools, 

Bids them be bold, some untry'd path explore, 

And do such deeds as Fools ne'er did before " 

A late ingenious writer in the World (No. 10), if 1 mistake not, the late Earl of Orford, has 
tome pleasant thoughts on the effect the alteration of the stile would have on the First of April. 
" The oldest tradition affirms that such an infatuation attends the first day of April, as no foresight 
can escape, no vigilance can defeat. Deceit is successful on that day out of the mouths of babes 
and sucklings. Grave citizens have been bit upon it : usurers have lent their money on bad se- 
curity: experienced matrons have married very disappointing young fellows : mathematicians have 
missed the longitude : alchymists the philosopher's stone : and politicians preferment on that day." 
Our pleasant writer goes on. " What confusion will not follow if the great body of the nation 
are disappointed of their peculiar holiday. This country was formerly disturbed with very fatal 
quarrels about the celebration of Easter ; and no wise man will tell me that it is not as reasonable 
to fall out for the observance of April- Fool-Day. Can any benefits arising from a regulated Ca- 
lendar make amends for an occasion of new sects ? How many warm men may resent an attempt 
to play them off on a false first of April, who would have submitted to the custom of being made 
fools on the old computation ? If our clergy come to be divided about Folly's anniversary, we may 
well expect all the mischiefs attendant on religious wars." He then desires his friends to inform' 
him what they observe on that holiday both according to the new and old reckoning. " How often 
and in what manner they make or are made fools : how they miscarry in attempts to surprize, or 
baffle any snares laid for them. I do not doubt but it will be found that the balance of folly lies 
greatly on the side of the old first of April ; nay, I much question whether infatuation will have 
any force on what I calFthe false April Fool Day :" and concludes with requesting an union of en- 
deavours " in decrying and exploding a reformation, which only tends to discountenance good old 
practices and venerable superstitions." I never remember to have met with an happier display of irony. 


The French too have their All Fools Day, and call the person imposed upon 
" an April Fish," " Poisson d'Avril" whom we term an April fool. Bellingen, 
in his Etymology of French Proverbs, endeavours at the following explanation 
of this custom d : the word "Poisson" he contends is corrupted through the 

d " Dormer du poisson d' Avril" signifies to cheat or play the fool with any one. See JLeroux 
Dictionaire Comique, torn. i. p. 70. 

" Et si n'y a ne danger ne peril 

Mais j'en seray vostre poisson d'Avril." 

Poesies de Pierre Michault. Goujet Biblioth. Fran. torn. ix. p. 351. 

The passage in Bellingen is as follows : " Quant au mot de poisson, il a esle corrumpu, comme 
line infinite d'autres, par 1'ignorance du vulgaire, et la longueur du temps a presque efface la me- 
moire du terme originel ; car au lieu qu'on dit presentment Poisson on a (lit Passion des le com- 
mencement ; parceque la passion du Sauveur du Monde est arrivee environ ce Temps la, et d'autant- 
que que les Juifs Jirent faire diverse Courses i Jesus Christ, pour se moquer de luy if pour lay faire de 
la peine, le renroyans d'Anne d Ca'tphe, de CaJphe ii Pilate, de Pilate h Htrode, et d' Herode a Pilate, 
on a pris cette ridicule ou plustost impie Couslume de faire courir et de renvoyer d'un end-roil a. I'autre, 
ceux desquels on se veut inoqucr environ cts jours fe." L'Etymologie ou Explication dcs Proverbes 
Franois par Fleury de Bellingin. 8vo, a La Haye, 1656, p. 34. 

Minshew renders the expression "Poisson d'Avril," a young bawd; a page turned pandar; a 
mackerel! ; which is thus explained by Bellingen : " Je s^ay que la plus part du monde ignorant 
cette raison, 1'attribne & une autre cause, & que parceque les man-hands de chair humaine, ou cour- 
tiers de Venus, sont deputez a faire de messages d' Amour, If courtnt de part et d'autre pour faire lew 
infame traffic, on prend aussy plaitir a faire courir ceux qu'on choisit d cejour la pour objtt de raille- 
rie, comme si on leur vouloit faire exercer ce mestier lionteux." Ibid. He then confesses his igno- 
rance why the month of April is selected for this purpose, unless, says he, " on account of its 
being the season for catching mackerel!, or that men, awaking from the torpidity of the winter 
season, are particularly influenced by the passions, which suddenly breaking forth from a long 
slumber, excite them to the pursuit of their wonted pleasures." This may perhaps account for 
the origin of the word " macquereau" in its obscene sense. The substance of the above remarks 
is given also in the " Nouveau Dictionnaire d'Anecdotes," torn. ii. p. 97, with an additional reason 
not worth transcribing. 

A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine also, vol. L1II. for July 1783, p. 578, conjectures that 
" the custom of imposing upon and ridiculing people on the first of April may have an allusion to 
the mockery of the Saviour of the World by the Jews. Something like this, which we call making 
April Fools, is practised also abroad in Catholic countries on Innocents' Day, on> which occasion 
people run through all the rooms, making a pretended search in and under the beds, in memory, 
I believe, of the search made by Herod for the discovery and destruction of the child Jesus, and 
his having been imposed upon and deceived by the Wise Men, who, contrary to his orders and ex- 
pectation, ' returned to their own country another way.' " 


ignorance of the people from " Passion ;" and length of time has almost totally 
defaced the original intention, which was as follows : that, as the Passion of our 
Saviour took place about this time of the year, and as the Jews sent Christ 
backwards and forwards to mock and torment him, i. e. from Annas to Caiaphas, 
from Caiaphas to Pilate, from Pilate to Herod, and from Herod back again to 
Pilate, this ridiculous or rather impious custom took its rise from thence, by 
which we send about from one place to another such persons as we think proper 
objects of our ridicule. Such is 13ellingen's explanation. 

Calling this " All Fools Day" seems to denote it to be a different day from 
" the Feast of Fools," which was held on the 1 st of January, of which a very 
particular description may be found in Du Cange's learned Glossary, under the 
word Kalendac. And I am inclined to think the word " All" here is a corrup- 
tion of our Northern word " auld" e for old; because I find in the antient Ro- 
mish Calendar which I have so often cited mention made of a " Feast of old 
Fools." It must be granted that this Feast stands there on the first day of 
another month, November; but then it mentions at the same time that it is by 
a removal. " The Feast of old Fools is removed to this day f ." Such removals 
indeed in the very crouded Romish Calendar were often obliged to be made. 

There is nothing hardly, says the author of the Essay to retrieve the antient 
Celtic, that will bear a clearer demonstration than that the primitive Christians, 
by way of conciliating the Pagans to a better worship, humoured their prejudices 
by yielding to a conformity of names', and even of customs, where they did not 
essentially interfere with the fundamentals of the Gospel doctrine. This was 
done in order to quiet their possession, and to secure their tenure : an admirable 
expedient, and extremely fit in those barbarous times to prevent the people from 
returning to their old religion. Among these, in imitation of the Roman Satur- 
nalia, was the Festum Fatuorum, when part of the jollity of the season was a 
burlesque election of a mock Pope, mock Cardinals, mock Bishops h , attended 

Auldborough in Yorkshire is always pronounced .^borough, though the meaning of the first 
syllable is undoubtedly old. 

* " Festum Stultorum veterum hue translatum est." 

g This writer contends that the antient Druidical religion of Britain and the Gauls had its Pope, 
its Cardinals, its Bishops, its Deacons, &c. 

h ANDREW, says this Writer, signifies a head Druid, or Divine. Hence it was that, when the 
Christians, by way of exploding the Druids, turned them into ridicule, in their Feast or Holiday 


with a thousand ridiculous and indecent ceremonies, gambols, and antics, such 
as singing and dancing in the churches, in lewd attitudes, to ludicrous anthems, 
all allusively to the exploded pretensions of the Druids, whom these sports were 
calculated to expose to scorn and derision. 

This Feast of Fools, continues he, had its designed effect ; and contributed, 
perhaps, more to the extermination of those heathens than all the collateral aids 
of fire and sword, neither of which were spared in the persecution of them. The 
Continuance of customs (especially droll ones, which suit the gross taste of the 
multitude) after the original cause of them has ceased, is a great, but no un- 
common absurdity. 

Our epithet of Old Fools (in the Northern and old English auld) does not ill 
accord with the pictures of Druids transmitted to us. The united appearance 
of age, sanctity, and wisdom, which these antient priests assumed, doubtless 
contributed in no small degree to the deception of the people. The Christian 
Teachers, in their labours to undeceive the fettered multitudes, would probably 
spare no pains to pull oft' the masks from these venerable hypocrites, and point 
out to their converts that age was not always synonimous with wisdom ; that 

of Fools, one of the buffoon personages was " a Merry Andrew." This name is usually, but as 
erroneously, as it should seem from this Writer's explication, derived from the Greek, where it 
signifies manly or courageous. From the contrarieties in the definitions of Etymologists, Philology 
sec-ins but too justly to bear the reproachful title of " Eruditio ad libitum ;" science that we may 
twist and turn at our pleasure. 

Mr. Pennant, in his Zoology, vol. III. p. 342, edit. Svo. Lond. 1776, tells us : "It is very sin- 
gular that most nations give the name of their favourite dish to the facetious attendant on every 
mountebank; thus the Dutch call him Pickle Herring; the -Italians Macaroni; the French Jean 
Potage; the Germans Hans H'urst, i.e. Jack Sausage; and we dignify him with the title of Jack 

Hearne, in his Appendix to the Preface of " Bencdictus Abbas Petroburgensis de Vita & Gestis 
Hen. II. et Ric. I." p. 51, speaking of the famous Dr. Andrew Borde, says, " 'Twas from the 
Doctor's method of using such speeches at markets and fairs, that, in after times, those that imi- 
tated the like humourous, jocose language, were stiled Merry Andrews, a term much in vogue on 
our Stages." He tells us before, p. 50, " Dr. Borde was an ingenious man, and knew how to humour 
and please his patients, readers, and auditors. In his travels and visits he often appeared and 
spoke in public, and would often frequent markets and fairs, where a conflux of people used to 
get together, to whom he prescribed, and, to induce them to flock thither the more readily, he 
would niake humourous speeches, couch'd in such language as caused mirth, and wonderfully 
propagated his fame." He died in 1549. 


youth was net the peculiar period of folly ; but that, together with young ones, 
there were also old (auld) Fools. 

Should the above be considered as a forced interpretation', it can be offered 
in apology that, in joining the scattered fragments that survive the mutilation of 
antient customs, we must be forgiven if all the parts are not found closely to 
agree. Little of the means of information has been transmitted to us ; and that 
little can only be eked out by conjecture k . 

1 I have sometimes thought, (but what end is there to our vague thoughts and conjectures ?) 
that the obsolete sports of the antieut Hoc-tide, an old Saxon word, said to import "the time of 
scorning or triumphing," which must have been observed about this time of the year, might 
have degenerated into the April Fooleries. But I find no authority for this supposition. If 
I were asked to turn this " Fools-day" into Latin, methinks it could not be more aptly ren- 
dered than by " Dies irrisorius :" and so I find some of our best Antiquaries translate the Saxon 
Jjucx bsj. 

k In the British Apollo, fol. Lond. 1708. vol. I. No. 1. Supernumerary Monthly Paper for the 
month of April, is the following query : "Whence proceeds the custom of making April Fools ? 
Answer. It may not improperly be derived from a memorable transaction happening between the 
Romans and Sabines, mentioned by Dionysius, which was thus : the Romans, about the infancy 
of the city, wanting wives, and finding they could not obtain the neighbouring women by their 
peaceable addresses, resolved to make use of a stratagem; and, accordingly, Romulus institutes 
certain Games, to be performed in the beginning of April (according to the Roman Calendar), 
in honour of Neptune. Upon notice thereof, the bordering inhabitants, with their whole fami- 
lies, flocked to Rome to see this mighty celebration ; where the Romans seized upon a great 
number of the Sabine virgins, and ravished them, which imposition we suppose may be ihe founda- 
tion of this foolish custom." This solution is ridiculed in No. 18. of the same work, as follows : 

" Ye witty Sparks, who make pretence 
To answer questions with good sense, 
How comes it that your monthly Phcebus 
Is made a Fool by Dionysius : 
For had the Sabines, as t hey came, 
Departed with their virgin fame, 
The Romans had been styl'd dull tools, 
And they, poor girls ! been April Fools. 
Therefore, if this be n't out of season, 
Pray think, and give a better reason." 

The following is from the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. XXXVI. for April 1766, p. 186, with the 
signature of T. Row : 

" It is matter of some difficulty to account for the expression, ' an April Fool,' and the strange 


The custom of making Fools on the 1st of April prevails among the Swedes 1 . 
In Toreen's Voyage to China, he says : " We set sail on the 1st of April, and 
the wind made April Fools of us, for we were forced to return before Shagen, 
and to anchor at Riswopol." 

custom so universally prevalent throughout this kingdom, of peoples making fools of one another, 
on the first of April, by trying to impose upon each other, and sending one another, upon that 
day, upon frivolous, ridiculous, and absurd errands. However, something I have to offer on the 
subject, and I shall here throw it out, if it were only to induce others to give us their sentiments. 
The custom, no doubt, had an original, and one of a very general nature j and, therefore, one 
may very reasonably hope that, though one person may not be so happy as to investigate the mean- 
ing and occasion of it, yet another possibly may. But I am the more ready to attempt a solution 
of this difficulty, because I find Mr. Bourne, in his ' Antiquitates Vulgares,' has totally omitted 
it, though it fell so plainly within the compass of his design. I observe, first, that this custom 
and expression has no connection at all with the Festum Hypodiaconorum , Festum Stultorum, Fes- 
turn Fatuorum, Festum Itinocentium, &c. mentioned in Du Fresne ; for these jocular festivals were 
kept at a very different time of the year. Secondly, that I have found no traces, either of the 
name or of the custom, in other countries, insomuch that it appears to me to be an indigcnal 
custom of our own. I speak only as to myself in this ; for others, perhaps, may have discovered 
it in other parts, though I have not. Now, thirdly, to account for it ; the name undoubtedly 
arose from the custom, and this 1 think arose from hence : our year formerly began, as to some 
purposes, and in some respects, on the 25th of March, which was supposed to be the Incarnation 
of our Lord ; and it is certain that the commencement of the new year, at whatever time that was 
supposed to be, was always esteemed an high festival, and that both amongst the antient Romans and 
with us. Now great festivals were usually attended with an Octave, (see Gent. Mag. 1762. p. 568.) 
that is, they were wont to continue eight days, whereof the first and last were the principal ; and 
you will find the 1st of April is the octave of the 25th of March, and the close or ending, conse- 
quently, of that feast, which was both the Festival of the Annunciation and of the New Year. 
From hence, as I take it, it became a day of extraordinary mirth and festivity, especially amongst 
the lower sorts, who are apt to pervert and make a bad use of institutions, which ut first might be 
very laudable in themselves." T. Row, it need hardly be added, was Dr. Pegge, the venerable 
rector of Whittington, in Derbyshire. 

The following is extracted from the Public Advertiser, April 13th, 1?89 : 

" Humorous Jewish Origin of the Custom of making Fools on the First of April. 

" This is said to have begun from the mistake of Noah in sending the Dove out of the Ark 
before the water had abated, on the first day of the month among the Hebrews which answers to 
our first of April : and, to perpetuate the memory of this deliverance, it was thought proper, 
whoever forgot so remarkable a circumstance, to punish them by sending them upon some sleeve- 
less errand similar to that ineffectual message upon which the bird was sent by the patriarch." 

The subsequent too had been cut out of some Newspaper. 


In the North of England persons thus imposed upon are called "April 
Gowks." A Gouk, or Gowk, is properly a Cuckoo, and is used here, meta- 
phorically, in vulgar language, for a Fool. The Cuckoo is, indeed, every 
where a name of contempt. Gauch, in the Teutonic, is rendered stulttis, fool, 
whence also our Northern word, a Goke, or a GawJcy m . 

In Scotland, upon April Day, they have a custom of " hunting the Gowk," 
as it is termed. This is done by sending silly people upon fools errands, from 
place to place, by means of a letter, in which is written : 

" On the first day of April 
Hunt the Gawk another mile". 

"The 1st of April, 1792. 

"No Antiquary has even tried to explain the custom of making April Fools. It cannot be con- 
nected with ' the Feast of the Ass,' for that would be on Twelfth Day ; nor with the ceremony 
of 'the Lord of Misrule,' in England, nor of the 'Abbot of Unreason,' in Scotland, for these 
frolics were held at Christmas. The writer recollects that he has met with a conjecture, some- 
where, that April Day is celebrated as part of the festivity of New Year's Day. That day used to 
be kept on the 25th of March. All Antiquaries know that an octave, or eight days, usually com- 
pleted the Festivals of our forefathers. If so, April day, making the octave's close, may be sup- 
posed to be employed in Fool-making, all other sports having been exhausted in the foregoing 
seven days." 

Mr. Douce's MS Notes say : " I am convinced that the ancient ceremony of the Feast of Fools 
has no connection whatever with the custom of making Fools on the 1st of April. The making of 
April Fools, after all the conjectures which have been formed touching its origin, is certainly bor- 
rowed by us from the French, and may, I think, be deduced from this simple analogy. The French 
call them April Fish (Poissons d'Avril), i. e. Simpletons, or, in other words, silly Mackerel, who suf- 
fer themselves to be caught in this month. But, as, with us, April is not the season of that Fish, 
we have very properly substituted the word Fools." 

1 " On the Sunday and Monday preceding Lent, as on the 1st of April in England, people are 
privileged here (Lisbon) to play the fool. It is thought very jocose to pour water on any person 
who passes, or throw powder on his face ; but to do both is the perfection of wit." 

Southey's Letters from Spain and Portugal, p. 497. 

Of this kind was the practice alluded to by Dekker : " the Booke-seller ever after, when you 
passe by, pinnes on yourbackes the badge offooles, to make you be laught to scorne, or cf sillie 
carpers to make you be pittied." Seven deadlie Shines of London, 4to. 1606. Pref. to Reader. 

Mr. Douce's interleaved copy of the Popular Antiquities, p. 209, has the following : " A la Saint 
Simon et St. Jude on envoit au Temple les Gens un peu simple demander des Ncfles, (Medlars,) a 
fin de les attraper & faire noircir par des Valets." Sauval Antiq. de Paris, ii. 617. 

m Vide Skinner, in verbo. 

" In the old Play of "The Parson's Wedding," the Captain says: "Death! you might have- 

VOL. I. B 


Maurice, in his "Indian Antiquities," vol. VI. p. 71. speaking of "the first of 
April, or the antient Feast of the Vernal Equinox, equally observed in India 
and Britain," tells us : " The first of April was anciently observed in Britain 
as a high and general Festival, in which an unbounded hilarity reigned 
through every order of its inhabitants ; for the sun, at that period of the year, 
entering into the sign Aries, the New Year, and with it the season of 

left word where you went, and not put me to hunt like Tom Fool." See Reed's Old Plays, II. 419. 
So, in " Secret Memoirs of the late Mr. Duncan Campbel," 8vo. Lond. 1732. p. 163 : " I had my 
labour for my pains ; or, according to a silly custom in fashion among the vulgar, was made an 
April-Fool of, the person who had engaged me to take this pains never meeting me." 

The following elegant verses on this light subject are taken from " Julia, or Last Follies,". 4to. 
1798. p. 37 : 

" To a Lady, who threatened to make the Author an April Fool. 

" Why strive, dear Girl, to make a Fool 

Of one not wise before ; 
Yet, having scap'd from Folly's School, 

Would fain go there no more. 

" Ah ! if I must to school again, 

Wilt thou my teacher be ? 
I 'm sure no lesson will be vain 

Which thou canst give to me ? 

" One of thy kind and gentle looks, 

Thy smiles devoid of art, 
Avail beyond all crabbed books, 

To regulate my heart. 
" Thou need'st not call some fairy elf, 

On any April Day, 
To make thy bard forget himself, 

Or wander from his way. 
" One thing he never can forget, 

Whatever change may be, 
The sacred hour when first he met 

And fondly gaz'd on thee. 
" A seed then fell into his breast ; 

Thy spirit placed it there : 
Need I, my Julia, tell the rest? 

Thou see'st the blossoms here." 


rural sports and vernal delight, was then supposed to have commenced. The 
proof of the great antiquity of the observance of this annual Festival, as well as 
the probability of its original establishment in an Asiatic region, arises from the 
evidence of facts afforded us by Astronomy. Although the reformation of the year 
by the Julian and Gregorian Calenders, and the adaptation of the period of its 
commencement to a different and far nobler system of theology, have occasioned 
the festival sports, anciently celebrated in this country on the first of April, to have 
long since ceased : and although the changes occasioned, during a long lapse of 
years, by the shifting of the Equinoctial points, have in Asia itself been productive 
of important Astronomical alterations, as to the exact sera of the commencement 
of the year ; yet, on both Continents, some very remarkable traits of the jocundity 
which then reigned, remain even to these distant times. Of those preserved in 
Britain, none of the least remarkable or ludicrous is that relic of its pristine 
pleasantry, the general practice of making April-Fools as it is called, on the first 
day of that month : but this, Colonel Pearce (Asiatic Researches, vol. II. p. 334,) 
proves to have been an immemorial custom among the Hindoos, at a celebrated 
Festival holden about the same period in India, which is called the Hull Festival. 
' During the Huli, when mirth and festivity reign among the Hindoos of every 
class, one subject of diversion is to send people on errands and expeditions that 
are to end in disappointment, and raise a laugh at the expence of the person 
sent. The Huli is always in March, and the last day is the general holiday. 
I have never yet heard any account of the origin of this English custom; but it 
is unquestionably very antient, and is still kept up even in great towns, though 
less in them than in the country. With us, it is chiefly confined to the lower 
class of people ; but in India, high and low join in it ; and the late Suraja Dou- 
lah, I am told, was very fond of making Huli Fools, though he was a Mussul- 
man of the highest rank. They carry the joke here so far, as to send letters 
making appointments, in the name of persons who it is known must be absent 
from their house at the time fixed upon; and the laugh is always in proportion 
to the trouble given.' The least enquiry into the ancient customs of Persia, or 
the minutest acquaintance with the general astronomical mythology of Asia, 
would have taught Colonel Pearce that the boundless hilarity and jocund sports 
prevalent on the first day of April in England, and during the Huli Festival of 
India, have their origin in the ancient practice of celebrating with festival rites 


the period of the Vernal Equinox, or the day M'hen the new year of Persia an- 
ciently began." 

Mr. Cambridge, in his Notes on the Scribleriad (Book V. line 247), tells us, 
that the first day of April was a day held in esteem among the Alchemists, be- 
cause Basilius Valentinus was born on it. See the History of Basilius Valen- 
tinus in the Spectator, No. 426. 




SHERE THURSDAY is the Thursday before Easter, and is so called " for 
that in old Fathers days the people would that day shere theyr hedes and clypp 
theyr berdes, and pool theyr heedes, and so make them honest ayenst Easter 
day a ." It was also called Maunday Thursday ; and is thus described by the 
Translator of Naogeorgus in " The Popish Kingdome," fol. 51. 

a From an old Homily quoted in the Weekly Packet of Advice from Rome, i. p. 168. See also 
the Festival, 1511, fol. 31. 

In Fosbrooke's British Monachism, vol. II. p. 127, mention occurs, at Barking Nunnery, of 
" Russeaulx (a kind of allowance of corn) in Lent, and to bake with Eels on Sheer Thursday .-" 
also, p. 12S, " stubbe Eels and shafte Eels baked for Sheer Thursday." 

A Writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for July 1779, vol. XLIX. p. 349, says : " Maundy 
Thursday, called by Collier Shier Thursday, Cotgrave calls by a word of the same sound and im- 
port, Sheere Thursday. Perhaps, for I can only go upon conjecture, as sheer means purus, mun- 
dus, it may allude to the washing of the disciples feet (John xiii. 5, & seq.), and be tantamount to 
clean. See ver. 10 : and Lye's Saxon Dictionary, v. j-cip. If this does not please, the Saxon j cipan 
signifies tlividere, and the name may come from the distribution of alms upon that day ; for which 
see Archseol. Soc. Antiq. vol. I. p. 7, seq ; Spelman, Gloss, v. Mandatum ; and Du Fresne, vol. iv. 
p. 400. Please to observe too, that on that day they also washed the dltars: so that the term in 
question may allude to that business. See Collier's Eccles. Hist. vol. ii. p. 197. 

In More's Answer to Tyndal, on the Souper of our Lord, pref. is the following passage : " he 


" And here the monkes their Maundie make, with sundrie solemne rights 

And signes of great humilitie, and wondrous pleasaunt sights. 

Ech one the others feete doth wash, and wipe them cleane and drie, 

With hatefull minde, and secret frawde, that in their heartes doth lye : 

As if that Christ, with his examples, did these things require, 

And not to helpe our brethren here, with zeale and free desire; 

Ech one supplying others want, in all things that they may, 

As he himselfe a servaunt made, to serve us every way. 

Then strait the loaves doe walke, and pottes in every place they skinke, 

Wherewith the holy fathers oft to pleasaunt damsels drinke b ." 

Cowell describes Maunday Thursday as the day preceding Good Friday, 
when they commemorate and practise the commands of our Saviour, in washing 
the feet of the poor, &c. as our Kings of England have long practised the good 
old custom on that clay of washing the feet of poor men in number equal to the 
years of their reign, and giving them shoes, stockings, and money. Some derive 
the word from mandatum, command, but others, and I think much more pro- 
bably, from maund, a kind of great basket c or hamper, containing eight bales, 
or two fats d . See the Book of Rates, fol. 3. 

treateth, in his secunde parte, the Maundye of Chryste wyth hys Apostles upon Shere Thurs- 
day." Among the Receipts and Disbursements of the Canons of the Priory of St. Mary in Hunting- 
don, in Nichols's " Illustrations of the Manners and Expences of antient Times in England," 4to, 
Lond. 1797. p. 294, we have: " Item, gyven to 12 pore men upon Shere Thorsday, 2s." In an 
Account of Barking Abbey in " Select Views of London and its Environs," 4to, 1804, Signat. 3 S. we 
read, inter alia, in transcripts from the Cottonian Manuscripts and the Monasticon, " Deliveryd 
to the Co' vent coke, for rushefals for Palme Sundaye, xxi pounder fygges. Item, delyveryd to the 
seyd coke on Slier Thursday viii pounde lyse. Item, delyveryd to the said coke for Shere Thursday 
xviii pounde almans." 

b " On Maundy Thursday hath bene the tnaner from the beginnyng of the Church to have a 
general drinkyng, as appeareth by S. Paule's writyng to the Corinthians, and Tertulliane to his 
wyfe." Langley's Polidore Vergill, fo. 101 b. 

c [COanb. corbis. sporta. Hinc forsan nostra Maunday-Thursday , sc. dies Jovis in hebdomada 
ante Pascha, quo principes nostri, de antiqua regni consuetudine, eleemosynas suas, sportutis con- 
gestas, pauperibus solebant elargiri. Spelm. v. Lye in voce.] 

d The British Apollo, vol. ii. No. 7 (fol. Lond. 1709), says: " Maunday is a corruption of the 
Latin word Mandatum, a command. The day is therefore so called, because as on that day our 
Saviour washed his disciples feet, to teach them the great duty of being humble. And therefore he 
gives them in command to do as he had done, to imitate their Master in all proper instances of 
condescension and humility." 


The following is from the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. I. for April 1731, 
p. 172: " Thursday April 1.5 being Maunday Thursday, there was distributed 
at the Banquetting House, Whitehall, to forty-eight poor men and forty-eight 
poor women (the king's age forty-eight) boiled beef and shoulders of mutton, and 
Small bowls of ale, which is called dinner ; after that, large wooden platters of 
fish and loaves, viz. undressed, one large old ling, and one large dried cod ; 
twelve red herrings, and 12 white herrings, and four half quarter loves. Each 
person had one platter of this provision ; after which was distributed to them 
shoes, stockings, linen and woollen cloth, and leathern bags, with one penny, 
two penny, three penny, and four penny pieces of silver, and shillings ; to each 
about four pounds in value. His Grace the Lord Archbishop of York, Lord 
High Almoner, performed the annual ceremony of washing the feet of a certain 
number of poor in the Royal Chapel, Whitehall, which was formerly done by 
the kings themselves, in imitation of our Saviour's pattern of humility, &c. 
James the Second tras the last king who performed this in person e ." 

" Maunday Thursday," says a writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for July 1779, voL XLIX. p. 354, 
" is the poor people's Thursday, from the Fr. maundier, to beg. The King's liberality to the poor 
on that Thursday in Lent [is at] a season when they are supposed to have lived very low. Maun- 
diant is at this day in French a beggar." 

In " Wits, Fits, and Fancies," 4to, b. I. p. 82, is the foDowing : " A scrivener was writing a mar- 
chant's last will and testament ; in which the marcbant expressed many debts that were owing him, 
which he willed his executors to take up, and dispose to such and such uses. A kinsman of this 
marchant's then standing by, and hoping for some good thing to be bequeathed him, long'd to 
heare some goode news to that effect, and said unto the scrivener, Hagh, hagh, what saith my uncle 
now ? doth he note make hit Maundies? No (answered the scrivener), he is yet in his dtmaunds." 
In Quarks' Shepbeard's Oracles, 4to, Lond. 1646, p. C6, is the following passage : 

" Nay, oftentimes their flocks doe fare 

No better than chamelions in the ayre ; 
Not having substance, but with forc'd content 
Making their maundy with an empty tent" 

e In Langfey's Polydore Vergil, foL 98, we read : " The kynges and queues of England on that 
day washe the feete of so many poore menne and women as they be yeres olde, and geve to every of 
them so many pence, with a gowue, and another ordinary alraes of meate, and kysse their feete ; 
and afterward geve their pownes of their backes to them that they se most nedy of al the nomber." 

[Nor was this custom entirely confined to Royalty. In " the Earl of Northumberland's Household 
Book," begun anno Domini 1512, fol. 354, we have an enumeration of 


A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. LI. p. 500, states, that " it is a 
general practice of people of all ranks in the Roman Catholic countries to dress 

" AL MANNER OF THINGS yerly ycven by my Lorde of hit MAUNDY, ande my Laidis and his 
Lordshippis Childeren, as the consideracion WHY more playnly hereafter folowith. 

" Furst, my Lorde useth undo accustomyth yerely uppon Maundy Thursday, when his Lordship 
is at home, to gyf yerly as manny gownnes to as manny poor men as my l^orde is yeres of aige, 
with hoodes to them, and one for the yere of my Lordes aige to come, of russet cloth, after iii 
yerddes of brode cloth in every gowne and hoode, ande after xiid. the brod yerde of clothe. 

" Item, my Lorde useth ande accustomyth yerly uppon Maundy Thursday, when his Lordship is 
at home, to gyf yerly as mutiny sherts of lynnon cloth to as manny poure men as his Lordshipe is 
yers of aige, and one for the yere of my Lord's aige to come, after ii yerdis dim. in every shert, 
aude after .... the yerde. 

" Item, my Lorde useth ande accustomyth yerly uppon the said Mawndy Thursday, when his 
Lordship is at home, to gyf yerly as manny tren platers after ob. the pece, with a cast of brede and 
a certen meat in it, to as mauny poure men as his Lordship is yeres of aige, and one for the yere of 
my Lordis aige to come. 

" Item, my Lorde used and accustomyth yerly, uppon the said Maundy Thursday, when his Lord- 
ship is at home, to gyf yerely as many eshen cuppis, after ob. the pece, with wyne in them, to 
as many poure men as his Lordeship is yeres of aige, and one for the yere of my Lordis aige to 

" Item, my Lorde useth and accustomyth yerly uppon the said Mawndy Thursday, when his 
Lordshipe is at home, to gyf yerly as manny pursses of lether, after ob. the pece, with as many pen- 
nys in every purse, to as many poore men as his Lordship is yeres of aige, and one for the yere of 
my Lord's aige to come. 

" Item, my Lorde useth ande accustomyth yerly, uppon Mawndy Thursday, to cause to be 
bought iii yerdis and iii quarters of brode violett cloth, for a gowne for his Lordshipe to doo ser- 
vice in, or for them that schall doo service in his Lordshypes absence, after iiis. viiid. the yerde, 
and to be furrede with blake lamb, contenynge ii keippe and a half, after xxx skjunes in a kepe, 
and after vis. iiirf. the kepe, and after iirf. ob. the skynne, and after Ixxv skynnys for furringe of 
the said gowne, which gowne my Lord werith all the tyme his Lordship doith service ; and after 
his Lordship hath done his service at his said Maundy, doith gyf to the pourest man that he fyndyth, 
as he thynkyth, emongs them all the said gowne. 

" Item, my Lorde useth and accustomyth yerly, upon the said Mawnday Thursday, to cans to be 
delyvered to one of my Lordis chaplayns, for my Lady, if she be at my Lordis fyndynge, and not 
at hur owen, to comaunde hym to gyf for her as many groits to as many poure men as hir Ladyship 
is yeres of aige, and one for the yere of hir age to come, owte of my Lordis coffueres, if sche be not 
at hir owen fyndynge. 

" Item, my Lorde useth and accustomyth yerly, uppon the said Maundy Thursday, to caus to 
be delyvered to one of my Lordis chaplayns, for my Lordis eldest sone the Lord Percy, for hym to 


in their very best cloaths on Maundy Thursday. The churches are unusually 
adorned, and every body performs what is called the Stations ; which is, to visit 
several churches, saying a short prayer in each, and giving alms to the numerous 
beggars who attend upon the occasion." 

Another writer in the same Miscellany, vol. LIII. for July 17H3, p. 577, tells 
us that " the inhabitants of Paris, on Thursday in Passion Week, go regularly 
to the Bois de Boulogne, and parade there all the evening with their equipages. 
There used to be the Penitential Psalms, or Tenebres, sung in a chapel in the 
wood on that day, by the most excellent voices, which drew together great 
numbers of the beat company from Paris, who still continued to resort thither, 
though no longer for the purposes of religion and mortification (if one may judge 
from appearances) but of ostentation and pride. A similar cavalcade I have 
also seen, on a like occasion, at Naples, the religious origin of which will pro- 
bably soon cease to be remembered." 


1IOSPINIAN tells us that the Kings of England had a custom of hallowing 
llings, with much ceremony, on Good Friday, the wearers of which will not be 
afflicted with the falling-sickness. He adds, that the custom took its rise from 
a Ring which had been long preserved, with great veneration, in Westminster 
Abbey, and was supposed to have great efficacy against the cramp and falling- 
sickness, when touched by those who were afflicted with either of those disorders. 

comaunde to gyf for hym as manny pens of ii pens to as many poure men as his Lordship is yeeres 
of aige, and one for the yere of his Lordshipis age to come. 

" Item, my Lorde useth and accustomyth yerly, uppon Mawndy Thursday, to caus to be delyverit 
to one of my Lordis chaplayns, for every of ray yonge maisters, my Lordis yonger sonnes, to gyf 
for every of them as manny penns to as manny poore men as every of my said maisters is yeres of 
aige, and for the yere to come."] 

Among the ancient annual Church Disbursements of St. Mary at Hill, in the City of London, I 
find the following entry : " Water on Maundy Thursday and Ester Eve, Id." 


This Ring is reported to have been brought to King Edward by some persons 
coming from Jerusalem, and which he himself had long before given privately 
to a poor person, who had asked alms of him for the love he bare to St. John 
the Evangelist*. 

The old Popish ceremony, of "creepinge to the Crosse" on Good Friday, is 
given, from an ancient book of the Ceremonial of the Kings of England, in the 
Notes to the Northumberland Household Book. The Usher was to lay a car- 
pet for the Kinge to " creepe to the Crosse upon." The Queen and her Ladies 
were also to creepe to the CROSSE. In an original Proclamation, black letter, 
dated 26th February, 30 Hen. VIII. in the first volume of a Collection of Pro- 
clamations in the Archives of the Society of x\ntiquaries of London, p. 138, we 

* " Reges denique Angliae consueverunt, in die Paresceues, multil ceremonial sacrare annulos, 
queuiadmodum Pontifices Romani sequenti die Cereum Paschalem, quos qui gerunt comitiali 
morbo non vexari creduntur. Mos hie inde natus est, quod in templo VVestmonasterij annulus, 
multa veneratione per diu servatus fuit, qu&d salutaris esset membris stupentibus, valeretque ad- 
versus comitialem morbum, quum tangeretur ab iis, qui eiusmodi tentarentur morbU. Annulus 
hie allatus dicitur Eduuardo Regi a quibusdam Hierosolyma venientibus, quern ipse diu antea 
pauperi clam dederat, qui pro amore, quem erga D. Joannem Evangelistam habebat, eleemosy- 
nam petierat, sicut Polyd. Vergilius scribit lib. 8. Histories Anglicse." Hos^ inian de Orig. Festor. 
Christianor. fol. 61. b. 

Andrew Boorde, in his Breviary of Health, 4to, 1557. fol. 166. speaking of the cramp, adopts 
the following superstition among the remedies thereof: " The Kynge's Majestic hath a great helpe 
in this matter in halowyng Crampe Ringcs, and so geven without money or petition." 

[Lord Berners, the accomplished Tianslator of Froissart, when ambassador to the Emperor 
Charles Vth, writing " to my Lorde Cardinall's grace, from Saragoza, the xxi daie of June" 1518, 
says: " If yo r g'ce rememb'r me w* some Crampe Ryngs, ye shall doo a thing muche looked for; 
and I trust to bestowe thaym well wt Godd's g'ce, who eu'mor p's've and encrease yo r moost reu'ent 
astate." -Hart. MS. 295. fol. 1 19 b.] 

" On s'imagine en Flandre, que les Enfans, nez le Vendredy- Saint, out le pouvoir de guerir natu- 
rellement des Jievres tierees, des Jlevres quartes, et de plusieurs autres maux. Mais ce pouvoir 
mest beaucoup suspect, parceque j'estime que c'est tomber dans la superstition de 1'observance 
des jours et des temps, que de croire que les Enfans nez le Vendredy-Saint puissent guerir des 
maladies plutost que ceux qui sont nez un autre jour." Traite" des Superstitions, &c. 12mo. 
Par. 1679. torn. i. p. 436. 

M. Thiers, in the same work, p. 316, says, that he has known people who preserve all the 
year such eggs as are laid on Good-Friday, which they think are good to extinguish fires in which 
they may be thrown. He adds, that some imagine that three loaves baked on the same day, and 
put into a heap of corn, will prevent its being devoured by rats, mice, weevils, or worms. 
VOL. I. S 


read : " On Good Friday it shall be declared howe creepyng of the Crosse sig- 
nifyeth an humblynge of ourselfe to Christe, before the Crosse, and the kyssynge 
of it a memorie of our redemption, made upon the Crosse b ." 

The following is Barnabe Googe's account of Good Friday, in the English 
Version of Naogeorgus, fo. 51 b: 

" Two Priestes, the next day following, upon their shoulders beare 

The Image of the Crucifix, about the Altar neare, 

Being clad in coape of crimozen die c , and dolefully they sing : 

At length before the steps, his coate pluck t of, they straight him bring, 

And upon Turkey carpettes lay him down full tenderly, 

With cushions underneath his heade, and pillows heaped hie ; 

Then flat upon the grounde they fall, and kisse both hand and feete, 

And worship so this woodden God, with honour farre unmeete ; 

Then all the shaven sort falles downe, and foloweth them herein, 

As workemen chiefe of wickednesse, they first of all begin : 

And after them the simple soules, the common people come, 

And worship him with divers giftes, as golde, and silver some, 

And others corne or egges againe, to poulshorne persons sweete, 

And eke a long-desired price, for wicked worship meete. 

b See also Bonder's Injunctions, A. D. 1555. 4to. Signat. A. 2. In "A short Description of 
Antichrist," &c. see Herbert, p. 1579, the author notes the popish custom of "creepinge to the 
Crosse with egges and apples." " Dispelinge with a white rodde" immediately follows : though I 
know not whether it was upon the same day. 

" To holde forth the Crosse for Egges on Good Friday" occurs among the Roman Catholic cus- 
toms censured by John Bale, in his Declaration of Bonner's Articles, 1554. Signat. D. 3. as is ibid. 
D. 4. b. " to creape to the Crosse on Good Friday featly." 

It is stated in a curious Sermon preached at Blanford Forum, in Dorsetshire, January 17th, 
1570, by William Kethe, minister, and dedicated to Ambrose Earl of Warwick, Svo. Lond. p. 18. 
that on Good Friday the Roman Catholics " offered unto Christe Egges and Bacon to be in hys fa- 
vour till Easter Day was past ;" from which we may at least gather with certainty that Eggs and 
Bacon composed a usual dish on that day. 

In "Whimzies, or a new Cast of Characters," 12mo. Lond. 1631. p. 196. we have this trait of 
"a zealous brother:" "he is an Antipos to all Church-government : when she feasts he fasts ; 
when she fasts he feasts : Good Friday is his Shrove Tuesday : he commends this notable carnall 
caveat to his family eate flesh upon dayes prohibited, it is good against Popery." 

c In the Lost of Church Plate, Vestments, &c. in the Churchwardens Accounts of St: Mary at 
Hill, 10 Hen. VI. occurs, " also an olde Vestment of red silke lyned with zelow for Good Friday." 


How are the Idoles worshipped, if this religion here 

Be Catholike, and like the spowes of Christ accounted dere ? 

Besides, with Images the more their pleasure here to take, 

And Christ, that every where doth raigne, a laughing-stock to make, 

An other Image doe they get, like one but newly deade, 

With legges stretcht out at length, and handes upon his body spreade ; 

And him, with pompe and sacred song, they beare unto his grave, 

His bodie all being wrapt in lawne, and silkes and sarcenet brave ; 

The boyes before with clappers go, and filthie noyses make ; 

The Sexten beares the light : the people hereof knowledge take, 

And downe they kneele, or kisse the grounde, their hands held up abrod, 

And knocking on their breastes, they make this wooddeu blocke a God : 

And, least in grave he should remaine without some companie, 

The singing bread is layde with him, for more idolatrie. 

The Priest the Image worships first, as falleth to his turne, 

And franckencense, and sweet perfumes, before the breade doth burne : 

With tapers all the people come, and at the barriars stay, 

Where downe upon their knees they fall, and night and day they pray, 

And violets, and every kinde of flowres, about the grave 

They straw, and bring in all their giftes, and presents that they have : 

The singing men their dirges chaunt, as if some guiltie soule 

Were buried there, that thus they may the people better poule." 


Hutchinson, in his History of Northumberland, following Mr. Bryant's Ana- 
lysis, derives the Good Friday Bun from the sacred Cakes which were offered 
at the Arkite Temples, stiled Boun, and presented every seventh day. 

d These are constantly marked with the form of the Cross. Indeed the country-people in the 
North of England make, with a knife, many little cross-marks on their cakes, before they put 
them into the oven. I have no doubt but that this too, trifling as the remark may appear, is a 
remain of Popery. Thus also persons who cannot write, instead of signing their names, are 
directed to make their marks, which is generally done in the form of a Cross. From the form of 
a Cross at the beginning of a horn-book, the alphabet is called the Christ-Cross Row. The Cross 


Mr. Bryant has also the following passage on this subject: "The offerings 
which people in ancient times used to present to the Gods, were generally pur- 
chased at the entrance of the Temple ; especially every species of consecrated 
bread, which was denominated accordingly. One species of sacred bread which 
used to be offered to the Gods was of great antiquity, and called Bonn. The 
Greeks who changed the Nu final into a Sigma, expressed it in the nominative 

used in shop-books Butler seems to derive from the same origin : 

" And some against all idolizing 
The cross in shop-books, or baptizing." 

Hudibras, P. 3. c. 2. 1. 313. 

The round O of a milk-score is, if I mistake not, also marked with a Cross for a shilling, 
though unnoted by LluelHn in the following passage : 

"By what happe 

The fat Harlot of the Tappe 
Writes, at night and at noone, 
For a tester half a Moorte, 
And a great round O for a shilling." 

Lluellin's Poems, 8vo. Lond. 1679. p. 40. 

Richard Flecknoe, in his " ./Enigmatical Characters," 8vo. Lond. 1665. p. 83. speaking of 
" your fanatick reformers," says : " had they their will, a bird should not fly in the air with its 
wings across, a ship with its cross-yard sail upon the sea, nor prophane taylor sit cross-legged on 
his shop-board, or have cross-bottoms to winde his thread upon." This whimsical detestation of 
the cross-form, no doubt, took its rise from the odium at that time against every thing derived 
from Popery. 

In a curious and rare book, intituled, "The Canterburian's Self-Conviction," 4to. 1640. in the 
Scottish dialect, no place or printer's name, p. 81. chap. 6. "anent their superstitions," is this 
passage : " They avow that signing with the signe of the Crosse at rysing or lying downe, at going 
out or coming in, at lighting of candles, closing of windowes, or any such action, is not only a 
pious and profitable ceremonie, but a very apostolick tradition." 

Mr. Pennant, in his Welch MS. says : "At the delivery of the bread and wine at the Sacrament, 
several, before they receive the bread or cup, though held out to them, will flourish a little with 
their thumb, something like making the figure of the Cross. They do it (the women mostly) 
when they say their prayers on their first coming to church." 

Dalrymple, in his Travels in Spain, says, that there " not a woman gets into a coach to go a 
hundred yards, nor a postillion on his horse, without crossing themselves. Even the tops of ta- 
vern-bills and the directions of letters are marked with Crosses." 

Among the Irish, when a woman milks her cow, she dips her finger into the milk, with which 
she crosses the beast, and piously ejaculates a prayer, saying, " Mary and our Lord preserve thee, 
until I come to thee again." Gent. Mag. 1795, p. 202. 


Bey, but in the accusative more truly Boun, Us*. Hesychius speaks of the 
Boun, and describes it a kind of cake with a representation of two horns. 
Julius Pollux mentions it after the same manner, a sort of Cake with horns. 
Diogenes Laertius, speaking of the same offering being made by Etnpedocles, 
describes the chief ingredients of which it was composed. " He offered one of 
the sacred Liba, called a Bouse, which was made of fine flour and honey." It 
is said of Cecrops that he first offered up this sort of sweet bread. Hence we 
may judge of the antiquity of the custom, from the times to which Cecrops is 
referred. The prophet Jeremiah takes notice of this kind of offering, when he 
is speaking of the Jewish women at Pathros, in Egypt, and of their base idola- 
try; in all which their husbands had encouraged them. The women, in their 
expostulation upon his rebuke, tell him : "Did we make her cakes to worship 
her?" Jerem. xliv. 18. 19. vii. 18. "Small loaves of bread," Mr. Hutchinson 
observes, "peculiar in their form, being long and sharp at both ends, are called 
Buns." These he derives as above, and concludes: "We only retain the name 
and form of the Boun, the sacred uses are no more." 

A Writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. LIII. for July 1783. p. 519,. 
speaking of CROSS BUNS, Saffron Cakes, or Symnels 6 , in Passion Week, ob- 
serves that "these being, formerly at least, unleavened, may have a retrospect 
to the unleavened bread of the Jews, in the same manner as Lamb at Easter to 
the Paschal Lamb." 


VARIOUS superstitions crept in by degrees among the rites of this day : 
such as putting out all the fires in churches and kindling them anew from flint, 
blessing the Easter Wax, &c. 

Hutchinson, Hist, of Northumb. vol. ii. ad finem, has the following: " Semeslins. We have 
a kind of cake, mixed with fruit, called Semeslins. The Romans prepared sweet bread for their 
feasts held at seed time, when they invoked the Gods for a prosperous year. In Lancashire they 
are called Semens. We have the old French word still in use in Heraldry, Semee, descriptive of 
being sown or scattered," p. 18. 


They are described by Hospinian, in the poetical language of Thomas Nao- 
georgus, in his Fourth Book of "The Popish Kingdom*/' thus translated by 
Barnabe Googe: 

- ilt.^rt 3 4 J t 

" On Easter eve the fire all is quencht in every place, 
And fresh againe from out the flint is fetcht with solenine grace : 
The priest doth halow this against great daungers many one, 
A brande whereof doth every man with greedie minde take home, 
That, when the fearefuli storme appeares, or tempest black arise, 
By lighting this he safe may be from stroke of hnrtfull skies. 
A taper great, the PASCHALL b namde, with musicke then they blesse, 

a " Ante diem Paschae vetus apte extinguitur ignis, 
Et novus e silicum venis extruditur : ilium 
Adjurat multis adversum incommoda pastor. 
Cujus quisque capit torrem molimine summo, 
Fertque domum, ut quanilo tempestas ingruat atra, 
Succenso, coeli plaga sit tutus ab onmi. 
Cereus bine ingens, Paschalis dictus, amoeno 
Sacratur cantu : cui ne mysteria desint, 
Thurea compingunt, in facta foramina grana. 
Hie ad honoretn ardet vinccntis tartara Christi, 
Nocte dieque quasi hoc ritu capiatur inani." 

Hospinian de Orig. Fest. Christ, fol. 67 b. 

l> In Coates's History of Reading, 4to, 1802, p. 131, under Churchwardens Accounts, we find 
the subsequent entry, sub anno 1559. 

" Paid for makynge of the PASCALL and the Funtc Taper, 5*. 3d." 

A note on this observes : " The Pascal taper was usually very large. In 1557, the Pascal taper 
for the Abbey Church of Westminster was 3OO pounds weight." 

In the ancient annual Church-Disbursements of St. Mary at Hill, in the City of London, I find 
the following article : " For a quarter of coles for the hallowed fire on Easter Eve, 6d." * Also 
the subsequent : " To the Clerk and Sexton (for two men) for watching the Sepulchre from Good 
Friday to Easter Eve, and for their meate and drinke, 14d." 

I find also in the Churchwardens Accounts, ibid. 5th Hen. VI. Gelam and Gretyng Church- 
wardens, the following entries : 

" For the Sepulchre, for divers naylis and wyres and glu, 9d. ob. 
Also payd to Thomas Joynor for makyng of the same Sepulchre, 4i. 
Also payd for bokeram for penons, and for the makynge, 22<J. 

* In "A Short Description of Antichrist, &c." already quoted at p. 130, the author censures, among other 
popish customs, " the halowyng ofjiere." 


And franckencense herein they pricke, for greater holynesse : 
This burneth night and day as signe of Christ that conquerde hell, 

Also payd for betyng and steynynge of the peuons, 6*. 
For a pece of timber to the newe Pascall, 2. 
Also payd for a dysh of peuter for the Paskall, 8d. 
Also payd for pynnes of iron for the same Pascall, 4d." 

It was customary in the popish times to erect, on Good Friday, a small building to represent 
the Sepulchre of our Saviour. In this was placed the host, and a person set to watch it both that 
night and the next ; and the following morning very early the host being taken out, Christ waa 
said to have arisen. 

In Coates's Hist, of Reading, p. 130, under Churchwardens Accounts, we read, sub anno 1558-. 
" Paide to Roger Brock for watching of the Sepulchre, 8d. 
" Paide more to the saide Roger for syscs and colles, 3d." 

With this note : " This was a ceremony used in churches in remembrance of the soldiers watching 
the Sepulchre of our Saviour. We find in the preceding Accounts the old Sepulchre and " the 
Toumbe of brycke" had been sold." 

The accounts alluded to are at p. 128, and run thus : 
"A.D. 1551. 

" Receyvid of Henry More for the Sepulcher, xiij*. iiijd. 
Receyvid of John Webbe for the Toumbe of brycke, xijd." 

Under A. D. 1499, p. 214, we read : " Imprimis, payed for wakyng of the Sepulcr' viiiJ. It. 
payed for a li. of encens. xiid." and under " Receypt," " It. rec. at Estur for the Pascall xxxviis." 
Ibid. p. 216, under 1507 are the following: 

" It. paied to Sybel Derling for nayles for the Sepulcre, and for rosyn to the Resurrection 
play, iid. ob. 

It. paied to John Cokks for wryting off the Fest of J'hu, and for vi hedds and herds to the 

It. paied a carter for carying of pypys and hogshedds into the Forbury, ijd. 
It. paied to the laborers in the Forbury for setting up off the polls for the scaphoid, ixd. 
It. paied for bred, ale, and here, yt longyd to ye pleye in the Forbury, ij. jd. 
It. payed for the ii Boks of the Fest of J'hu and the Vysytacyon of our Lady, ijs. viijd. 
1508. It. payed to Water Barton for xx 1. wex for a pascall pic. le li. vd. S'ma iij. iiijd. 
It. payed for one li of grene flowr to the foreseid pascall, vjd." 
Ibid. p. 214, sub anno 1499. " It. rec. of the gaderyng of the stage-play xvhV 
Ibid. p. 215, under the same year, we have: 

" It. payed for the pascall bason, and the hanging of the same, xviii*. 
It. payed for making leng' Mr. Smyth's molde, wt a Judas for the pascal!, vid." 
, P. 214. " It. payed for the pascall and the fonte taper to M. Smyth iiii*." 

P. 377. St. Giles's parish, A. D. 1519. " Paid for making a Judas for the pascall iiiid. 
" To houl over the paschal" is mentioned among the customs of the Roman Catholics censured 
by John Bale in his " Declaration of Bonner's Articles;" 1554, fol. 19. 


As if so be this foolish toye suffiseth this to tell. 

Then doth the bishop or the priest the water halow straight, 

That for their baptisme is reservde : for now no more of waight 

Is that they vsde the yeare before ; nor can they any more 

Young children christen with the same, as they have done before. 

With wondrous pomp and furniture amid the church they go, 

With candles, crosses, banners, chrisme, and oyle appoynted tho' : 

Nine times about the font they marche, and on the Saintes do call ; 

Then still at length they stande, and straight the priest begins withall. 

And thrise the water doth he touche, and crosses thereon make ; 

Here bigge and barbrous wordes he speakes, to make the Deuill quake ; 

And holsome waters coniureth, and foolishly doth dresse ; 

Supposing holyar that to make which God before did blesse. 

And after this his candle than he thrusteth in the floode, 

And thrice he breathes thereon with breath that stinkes of former foode. 

And making here an ende, his chrisme he poureth thereupon, 

The people staring hereat stande, amazed every one ; 

Beleaving that great powre is given to this water here, 

By gaping of these learned men, and such like trifling gere. 

Therefore in vessels brought they draw, and home they carie some 

Against the grieues that to themselves, or to their beastes may come. 

Then clappers ceasse, and belles are set againe at libertee, 

And herewithall the hungrie times of fasting ended bee." 

On Easter Even it was customary in our own country to light the churches 
with what were called Paschall Tapers c . 

Among the ancient annual Disbursements of the Church of St. Mary at Hill, 1 find the following 
entry against Easter : 

" Three great garlands for the crosses, of roses and lavender "I 
Three dozen other garlands for the quire ---------) 

The same also occurs in the Churchwardens Accounts, ibid. 1512. Also, among the Church- 
Disbursements, ibid, in the Waxchandler's Accompt, "for making the pascal at Ester, 2*. 8d." 
" For garnishing 8 torches on Corpus Christi day, 2s. 8d." Ibid. 1486. " At Ester, for the howslyn 
people for the pascal, 11s. 5d." 

[A more particular account of the ceremony of the Holy Sepulchre, as used in this and other 
countries, will be found in the Vetusta Monumenta of the Society of Antiquaries, vol. iii. pi. xxxi. 

See more on this subject, Gent. Mag. 1796, vol. LXVI. p. 293. 


: !.,: . ' \iii ,. 'iv;> yfis <\>( 

.4 tsHrrisAt r "! ii->ija ypi; W .fi.'.'..TJ'|/ T > !(-=' '' ' 'i; 

trri! ');!..;<; . ;/. O'ij 'bf/fi : ''ji'iffTMn vtsffirp Jjffim^"- 

" .T >/iV)*;j--iri 'ti .{trip : : iij Jo -vjiiori C.KJ ;ffso^ .osqi 
::i; i;a-; 'int> jiil vluo ;lou .sii'iitn.: ol Mod '.) vcm 


IT was formerly a custom for the vulgar and uneducated to rise early on this 
day and walk into the fields to see the sun dance b , which, as antient tradition 
asserts, it always does on this day. This is now pretty much laid aside. It 
had not escaped the notice of Sir Thomas Browne, the learned author of the 
Vulgar Errors, who has left us the following quaint thoughts on the subject : 
" We shall not, I hope," says he, " disparage the Resurrection of our Redeemer, 
if we say that the sun doth not dance on Easter Day c : and though we would 

a " Easter is so called from the Saxon Oster, to rise,, being the day of Christ's Resurrection; 
or, as others think, from one of the Saxon goddesses called Easter, whom they always worshipped 
at this season." Wheatley on the Common Prayer, 8vo, p. 234. See also Gale's Court of the Gen- 
tiles, b. ii. c. 2. 

k In the "Country-man's Counseller," by E. P. Philomath. Lond. 1633, p. 220, is the following 
note: "Likewise it is observed, that, if the sunne shine on Easter Day, it shines on Whitsunday 

The following is an answer to a query in the Athenian Oracle, vol. II. p. 348 : " Why does the 
sun at his rising play more on Easter day than Whitsunday ?" " The matter of fact is an old, 
weak, superstitious error, and the sun neither plays nor works on Easter day more than any other. 
It's true, it may sometimes happen to shine brighter that morning than any other ; but, if it does, 
'tis purely accidental. In some parts of England, they call it the lamb-playing, which they look 
for as soon as the sun rises in some clear spring or water, and is nothing but the pretty reflection it 
makes from the water, which they may find at any time, if the sun rises clear, and they themselves 
early, and unprejudiced with fancy." 

In a rare book, intitled, " Recreation for ingenious Head Pieces," &c. 8vo, Lond. 1667, 1 find 
this popular notion alluded to in an old Ballad : 

" But, Dick, she dances such away ! 
No sun upon an Easter day 
Is half so fine a sight." 
VOL. I. T 


willingly assent unto any sympathetical exultation, yet we cannot conceive therein 
any more than a tropical expression. Whether any such motion there was in 
that day wherein Christ arised, Scripture hath not revealed, which hath been 
punctual in other records concerning solary miracles ; and the Areopagite that 
was amazed at the eclipse, took no notice of this : and, if metaphorical ex- 
pressions go so far, we may be bold to affirm, not only that one sun danced, 
but two arose that day; that light appeared at his nativity, and darkness at 
his death, and yet a light at both ; for even that darkness was a light unto the 
Gentiles, illuminated by that obscurity. That 'twas the first time the sun set 

In the " British Apollo," fol. Lond. 1708, vol. I. No. 40, we read : 
Q. Old wives, Phoebus, say 
That on Easter Day 

To the musick o' th' spheres you do caper. 
If the fact, sir, be true, 
Pray let 's the cause know, 

When you have any room in your Paper. 
A. The old wives get merry, 
With spic'd ale or sherry, 

On Easter, which makes them romance ; 
And whilst in a rout 
Their brains whirl about, 

They fancy we caper and dance. 

I have heard of, when a boy, and cannot positively say from remembrance, whether I have not 
seen tried, an ingenious method of making an artificial Sun-dance on Easter Sunday. A vessel full 
of water was set out in the open air, in which the reflected sun seemed to dance, from the tremulous 
motion of the water. This will remind the classical scholar of a beautiful simile in the Loves of 
Medea and Jason, in the Argonautics of Apollonius Rhodius, where it is aptly applied to the wa- 
vering reflections of a love-sick maiden. 

'HtXtov taq T*J TE OOJLKHS In waXXe/ai aiyXtj 

iaviowra, TO ij VEO 
H? wow iy yat/Xc? Kt^vlut' rt J'(9a xat itQa, 
'fttu'in cTfo^aXiP/r Tivticrcrslai <iic7(roii<7<x' 

*n & &c. Argonaut. T. 1. 756. Ed. R. F. P. Brunck, 8vo, Argent. 1780. 

Reflected from the sun's far cooler ray, 

As quiv'ring beams from tossing water play 

(Pour'd by some maid into her beechen bowl), 

And ceaseless vibrate as the swellings roll, 

So heav'd the passions, &c." J. B. 


above the horizon. That, although there were darkness above the earth, yet 
there was li"ht beneath it, nor dare we say that Hell was dark if he were in it d ." 
Barnabe Goo^e, in his Adaptation of Naogeorgus, has thus preserved the 
ceremonies of the day in "The Popish Kingdome," fol. 52.: 

" At midnight then with carefull minJe, they up to mattens ries, 
The Clarke doth come, and, after him, the Priest with staring eies." 
" At midnight strait, not tarying till the daylight doe appeere, 
Some gettes in flesh and glutton lyke, they feecle upon their cheere. 
They rost their flesh, and custardes great, and egges and radish store% 
Ana trifles, clouted creauie, and cheese, and whatsoeuer more 
At first they list to eate, they bring into the Temple straight, 
That so the Priest may halow them with wordes of wond'rous waight. 

* In Mr. Lysons's Environs of London, vol. i. p. 230. among his curious extracts from the 
Churchwardens' and Chamberlain's Books at Kingston -upon-Thames, are the following entries 

concerning some of the ancient doings on Easter Day : 

. s. d. 

5 Hen. VIII. For thred for the Resurrection O01 

For three yerds of Dornek for a pleyer's cote, and the makyng - O 1 3 

12 Hen. VIII. Paid for a skin of parchment and gunpowder, -i 

f O O o 
for the play on Easter Day ----------J 

For brede and ale for them that made the stage, and other i 
things belonging to the play ---------- J 

By the subsequent entry these pageantries should seem to have been continued during the reign 
of Queen Elizabeth, 1565. " Rec d of the players of the stage at Easter, ll. 2s. H</." 

e In " The Doctrine of the Masse Book," &c. from Wyttonburge, by Nicholas Dorcastor, 8vo. 
1554. Signat. C. b. in the Form of " the halowing of the Pascal Lambe, Egges, and Herbes, on 
EASTER DA YE," the following passage occurs: " O God ! who art the Maker of all flesh, who 
gavest commaundements unto Noe and his sons concerning cleane and uncleane beastes, who hast 
also permitted mankind to eate clean four-footed beastes, even as Egges and green herbs." The 
Form concludes with the following Kubrick : " Afterward, let al be sprinkled with holye water 
and censed by the priest." 

Dugdale, in his Origines Juridiciales, p. 276. speaking of Gray's Inn Commons, says : " In 23 
Eliz. (7 Maii,) there was an agreement at the cupboard, by Mr. Attorney of the Dutchy and all 
the Readers then present, that the dinner on Good Friday, which had been accustomed to be 
made at the cost and charges of the chief cook, should thenceforth be made at the costs of the 
house, with like provision as it had been before that time. And likewise, whereas they had used 
to have Eggs and green sauce on EASTER DAY, after service and communion, for those gentlemen 
who came to breakfast, that in like manner they should be provided at the charge of the house." 


The Friers besides, and pelting Priestes, from house to house do roame, 

Receyving gaine of every man that this will have at home. 

Some raddish rootes this day doe take before all other meate, 

Against the quartan ague, and such other sicknesse great." 

" Straight after this, into the fieldes they walke to take the viewe, 

And to their woonted life they fall, and bid the reast adewe." 

A Writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. LIII. for July 1783. p. .573. 
conjectures that " the flowers, with which many churches are ornamented on 
Easter Day, are most probably intended as emblems of the Resurrection, hav- 
ing just risen again from the earth, in which, during the severity of winter, they 
seem to have been buried'. 

"There was an ancient custom at Twickenham, of dividing two great 
cakes in the church upon Easter Day among the young people ; but it being 
looked upon as a superstitious relick, it was ordered by Parliament, 1645, that 
the parishioners should forbear that custom, and, instead thereof, buy loaves 
of bread for the poor of the parish with the money that should have bought the 
Cakes. It appears that the sum of . 1 . per annum is still charged upon the 
vicarage for the purpose of buying penny loaves for poor children on the 
Thursday after Easter. Within the memory of man they were thrown from the 
church-steeple to be scrambled for ; a custom which prevailed also, some time 
ago, at Paddington, and is not yet totally abolished s." 

Hasted, in his History of Kent, vol. III. p. 66, speaking of Biddenden, 
tells us, that "twenty acres of land, called the Bread and Cheese Land, lying 
in five pieces, were given by persons unknown, the yearly rents to be distri- 
buted among the poor of this parish. This is yearly done on Easter Sunday, 
in the afternoon, in 600 Cakes, each of which have the figures of two women 

f The Festival, 1511. fol. 36. says: " This day is called, in many places, Godde's Sondaye : ye 
knowe well that it is the nianer at this daye to do the fyre out of the hall, and the blacke wynter 
brondes, and all thynges that is foule with fume and smoke shall be done awaye, and there the fyre 
was shall be gayly arayed with fayre floures, and strewed with grenc Rysshes all aboute." 

In Mr. Nichols's Illustrations of Antient Manners and Expences, 4to. 1797. in the Churchwar- 
den's Accompts of St. Martin Outwich, London, under the year 1535 is the following item : 

" Paid for brome ageynst Ester, i d ." 

Lysons's Environs of London, vol. iii. p. 603. 

' .-,: >' 1 .-r.'i-l 9tJj JB bfllti ri.W V ?Mi.::. 


impressed on them, and are given to all such as attend the church ; and 270 
loaves, weighing three pounds and a half a-piece, to which latter is added one 
pound and a half of cheese, are given, to the parishioners only, at the same 
time. There is a vulgar tradition in these parts, that the figures on the Cakes 
represent the donors of this gift, being two women, twins, who were joined toge- 
ther in their bodies, and lived together so till they were between twenty and thirty 
years of age. But this seems without foundation. The truth seems to be, that 
it was the gift of two maidens, of the name of Preston ; and that the print of 
the women on the Cakes has taken place only within these fifty years, and were 
made to represent two poor widows, as the general objects of a charitable be- 

The following I copied from a collection of Carols, b. I. imperfect, in the 
collection of Francis Douce, esq. 

" Soone at Easter cometh Alleluya, 
With butter, cheese, and a Tansay:" 

which reminds one of the passage in "The Oxford Sausage," p. 22: 
"On Easter Sunday be the Pudding seen, 
To which the Tansey lends her sober green." 

On Easter Sunday, as I learnt from a Clergyman of Yorkshire, the young 
men in the villages of that county have a custom of taking off the young girls' 
buckles. On Easter Monday, young men's shoes and buckles are taken oft' by 
the young women. On the Wednesday they are redeemed by little pecuniary 
forfeits, out of which an entertainment, called a Tansey Cake, is made, with 
dancing h . 

The following is from Seward's "Anecdotes of some distinguished Persons," 
vol. I. p. 35. " Charles, i. e. the fifth, whilst he was in possession of his 
regal dignity, thought so slightingly of it, that when, one day, in passing through 
a village in Spain, he met a peasant who was dressed with a tin crown upon his 
head, and a spit in his hand for a truncheon, as the EASTEK KING (according 

h See an account of the practice of this custom at Rippon, in Yorkshire, in the Gentleman's 
Magazine for August 1790. p. 719. where it is added, that, "some years ago, no traveller could 
pass the town without being stopped, and having his spurs taken away, unless redeemed by a 
little money, which is the only way to have your buckles returned." 


to the custom of that great Festival in Spain), who told the Emperor that he 
should take off his hat to him : ' My good friend,' replied the Prince, ' 1 wish 
you joy of your new office ; you will find it a very troublesome one I can assure 


Mr. Douce's Manuscript Notes say : " It was the practice in Germany (dur- 
ing the sixteenth century, at least) for the preachers to intermix their sermons 
with facetious siories on Easter Day. This may be gathered from the " Convi- 
vialium Sermonum Liber." Bas. 1542. sig. K. 8. 

commonly called Pasche, or Paste Eggs*. 

THE learned Court de Gebelin, in his Religious History of the Calendar, 
vol. iv. p. 5 1 .) informs us that this custom of giving Eggs at Easter is to be 
traced up to the Theology and Philosophy of the Egyptians 11 , Persians, Gauls, 

1 A superstitious practice appears to have prevailed upon the Continent, of abstaining from flesh 
on Easter Sunday, to escape a fever for the whole year I know not whether it ever reached this 
Island. It was condemned by the Provincial Council of Reims in 15b3j and by that of Toulouse 
in 159O. See " Traite des Superstitions," &c. ISmo. Par. 1679. torn. i. p. 319. 320. 

The following is taken from the Antiquarian Repertory, No. 26. 4to. Lond. 1780. vol. iii. p. 44. 
from the MS Collections of Mr. Aubrey, in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, dated 1678 : "The 
first dish that was brought up to the table on Easter Day, was a red-herring riding away on horse- 
back ; i. e. a herring ordered by the cook something after the likeness of a man on horseback, 
set in a corn-sallad. The custom of eating a gammon of bacon at Easter, which is still kept up 
in many parts of England, was founded on this, viz. to shew their abhorrence to Judaism at that 
solemn commemoration of our Lord's Resurrection." 

* Coles, in his Latin Dictionary, renders the Pasch, or Easter Egg, by " Ovum Paschale, cro- 
ceum, seu luteum." It is plain, from hence, that he was acquainted with the custom of dying or 
staining Eggs at this season. Ainsworth leaves out these two epithets, calling it singly " Ovum 
Paschale." I presume he knew nothing of this ancient custom, and has therefore omitted the 
" croceum" and " luteum," because it is probable he did not understand them. It is in this man- 
ner that many English Dictionaries have been improved in modern editions. 

b Hutchinson, in his History of Northumberland, vol. ii. p. 1O. ad finem, speaking of 1 Pasche 
Eggt, says : " Eggs were held by the Egyptians as a sacred emblem of the renovation of mankind 
after thi Deluge. The Jews adopted it to suit the circumstances of their history, as a type of 


Greeks, Romans, &c. c among all of whom an Egg was an emblem of the uni- 
verse, the work of the supreme Divinity. 

Le Brim, in his Voyages, (fol. torn. i. p. 19 1 ) tells us that the Persians, on 
the 20th of March, 1704, kept ihe Festival of the Solar New Year, which he 
says lasted several days, when they mutually presented each other, among other 
things, with coloured Eggs. 

Easter, says Gebelin, and the New Year, have been marked by similar dis- 
tinctions : among the Persians, the New Year is looked upon as the renewal of 
all things, and is noted for the triumph of the Sun of Nature, as Easter is with 

their departure from the land of Egypt ; and it was used in the feast of the Passover as part of 
the furniture of the table, with the Paschal Lamb. The Christians have certainly used it on this 
day, as retaining the elements of future life, for an emblem of the Resurrection. It seems as if 
the Egg was thus decorated for a religious trophy after the days of mortification and abstinence 
were over, and festivity had taken place; and as an emblem of the resurrection of life, certified 
to us by the Resurrection, from the regions of death and the grave." 

The antient Egyptians, if the resurrection of the body had been a tenet of their faith, would 
perhaps have thought an Egg no improper hieroglyphical representation of it. The exclusion of 
a living creature by incubation, after the vital principle has lain a long while dormant, or seem- 
ingly extinct, is a process so truly maiTellous, that, if it could be disbelieved, would be thought 
by some a thing as incredible to the full, as that the Author of Life should be able to reanimate 
the dead. 

A Writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. LIU. for July 1783. p. 578. supposes the Egg at 
Easter " an emblem of the rising up out of the grave, in the same manner as the chick, entombed, 
as it were, in the Egg, is in due time brought to life." 

I h'nd the following in the " Ovi Encomium Eryci Puteani," preserved in a curious little book, 
entitled, " Dissertalionum ludicrarum et amoenitatum Scriptores varii." 12mo. Lugd. Bat. 1644. 
p. 639. " Paschale autem Ovum nemo ignorat, ubique celebratur." And, p. 612: "Candidum 
Ovum est et omnes tamen colores admittit et nunc ftaeum, mine rubrum, nunc coeruleum, patrii 
Ritus faciunt." Speaking, at p. 634. of Eggs among the Antients, he says: "Ovum tanta reli- 
gione dignum erat, Ovum expiabat ; Ovum purificabat ; Ovum aqua, igni, aere praestantius sanc- 
tiusque habebatur." He has the subsequent at p. 639 : " Honoris et amoris signum Ovum est :** 
and observes ibid. p. 59!). " Jam vero Ovi naturam et Gallinae puerperium si inspiciam, cedent et 
Araneorum doli, et Apum solertia, ct formicarum labor." 

c " Plinie, (Hist. Nat. liv. xix. ch. 7. & liv. xxiv. ch. 11.) dit que chez les Remains, les jeunes 
gens peignoient les oeufs en rouge, & les employoient a diffeYens jeux. 

" On les faisoit entrer aussi dans diverses ce're'tnonies, & sur-tout dans celles des expiations, 
comme on le voit dans Juvenal (Sat. vi.) & dans Ovide (Ars amandi). Ce dernier peint une vieille 
qui d'une main tremblante fait des lustrations avec du soufre et des oeufs : le premier nous apprend 
qu'on faisoit des expiations avec cent ceufs a 1'Equinoxe d'Automne, pour cchapper aux ravages 
de cette suiion & des vents du Midi." Gebelin, torn. iv. 253. 


Christians for that of the Sun of Justice, the Saviour of the World, over death, 
by his Resurrection d . 

The Feast of the New Year, he adds, was celebrated at the Vernal Equinox, 
that is, at a time when the Christians, removing their New Year to the Winter 
Solstice, kept only the Festival of Easter. Hence, with the latter, the Feast of 
Eggs has been attached to Easter, so that Eggs are no longer made presents of 
at the New Year 6 . 

Father Carmeli, in his History of Customs f , tells us that, during Easter and 
the following days, hard Eggs, painted of different colours, but principally red, 
are the ordinary food of the season. 

In Italy, Spain, and in Provence, says he, where almost every antient super- 
stition is retained, there are in the public places certain sports ivith Eggs. 

This custom he derives from the Jews or the Pagans, for he observes it is 
common to both. 

d " Pdskegg dicebantur OVA, quze varie ornata, varioque colore inducta, inuneris loco olim 
tempore Paschatis mittebantur, idque in niemoriam redeuntis libertatis ova manducandi, quae sub 
jejunii tempore, durante CatholicLsmo, interdicta erant. Apud Muschovitas obviis quibusvis hono- 
ris causa ova offerri, immo ipsi Iniperatori hoc munere litari, decent Itinerum Scriptores." Glos- 
sarium Suiogothicum : auctore .Tohanne Ihre. fol. Dps. 1769. torn. i. p. 390. v. EGG. 

c Gebelin, ut supra. 

f " Le P. Carmeli, dans son Histoire ties Usages, rapporte divers faits relatifs a celui-ci ' Pendant 
les Fetes de Paques, dit-il, & les jours suivans, on mange ordinairement des ceufs durs qu'on peint 
en diffe'rentes couleurs, mais principalement en rouge. En Italie, en Espagne, & en Provence 
ou Ton a conserve 1 presque toutes les superstitions anciennes, on fait dans les places publiques 
certains jeux avec des ceufs.' II ajoute que cet usage vient des Juifs ou des Payens ; qu'on trouve 
du moins cet usage chez les uns et chez lez autres. 

" Les femmes Juives p^oient a la Fete de Paques, sur une table pr6pare"e pour cela, des ceufs 
durs, symbole d'un oiseau appelle Ziz, sur lequel les Rabbins ont de'bite' mille fables." 

The Jews, in celebrating their Passover, placed on the table two unleavened cakes, and two 
pieces of the Lamb : to this they added some small Fishes, because of the Leviathan : a hard Egg, 
because of the bird Ziz : some Meal, because of the Behemoth: these three animals being, ac- 
cording to their Rabbinical Doctors, appointed for the feast of the elect in the other life. 

I saw at the window of a baker's shop in London, on Easter Eve 1805, a Passover Cake, with 
four Eggs, bound in with slips of paste, crossways, in it. I went into the shop, and enquired of 
the baker what it meant : he assured me it was a Passover Cake for the Jews. 

" On y fit aussi des deffenees de vendre des ceufs de couleur apres Pasques, parce que les enfans 
s'en joiioyent auparavant, qui estoit de mauvais exemple." Satyrre Menippee de la Vertu du Ca- 
tholicon d'Espagne. 8vo. 1595. fol. 94. The English version of this work renders ceufs de couleur 
speckled Eggs. 

EASTEtt EGGS. '145 

The Jewish wives, at the Feast of the Passover, upon a table prepared for 
that purpose, place hard Eggs, the symbols of a bird called Ziz, concerning 
which the Rabbins have a thousand fabulous accounts. 

The learned Hyde, in his Oriental Sports s, tells us of one with Eggs among 
the Christians of Mesopotamia on Easter Day and forty days afterwards, during 
which time their children buy themselves as many Eggs as they can, and stain 
them with a red colour in memory of the blood of Christ, shed as at that time 
of his Crucifixion. Some tinge them with green and yellow. Stained Eggs arc 
sold all the while in the market. The sport consists in striking their Eggs one 
against another, and the Egg that first breaks is won by the owner of the Egg 
that struck it. Immediately another Egg is pitted against the winning Egg, and 
so they go on, (as in that barbarous sport of a Welsh-main at Cockfighting,) till 
the last remaining Egg wins all the others, which their respective owners shall 
before have won. 

This sport, lie observes, is not retained in the midland parts of England, but 

* " De Ludis Orientalibus," 8vo. Oxon. 1691. p. 237. "De Ludo Ovorura." "Is apud Meso- 
potamienses Christianos exerceri solet a tempore Paschatis inde per 40 dies ; unde illud Anni tern- 
pus quo iste Ludus incipit & exercetur, in Orientalium Calendariis Turcice vocatur Kizil Yumur- 
da, & quod idem sonat Persic^ Beida surch ; i. e. Ovum rabrum, quod quidem tenipus in Turclcis 
Calendariis mense Adar seu Martio invenies. Hoc enim tempore Christianorum pueri emunt sibi 
quotquot possunt Ova, qua etiam rubro colore inficiunt, in memoriam effusi sanguinis Salvatoris 
eo tempore crucifixi. Aliqui autem ex eis primi Instituti sive ignari sive immcmores, viridi aut 
tiavo Ova sua subinde tingunt. jQuin et in ipso Foro sunt homines qui dicto tcmporc Ova hoc 
modo tincta vendunt. 

" Ludus iu eo cofisistit, ut unus puer manu teneat Ovum ita ut sola ejus extremitas in superiore 
parte manus inter Pollicis & Indicis complexum appareat : dum alter alio Ovo tanquam Malleolo 
superne ferit pulsatqwe leniter. Ille autem cujus Ovo accidit confusio aut levior aliqua fractura, 
vincitur, illudqne suum Ovum dicto modo eontusum perdit. Et sic deinceps proceditur. Post- 
quam verb pro multis Ovis luserunt, ille qui ultimus vincit, oninia quotquot Ova alter lucratus 
fuerat, reportat. Hujusmodi autem Ova Me ratkme non ita viliantur, quin postea pro minor! 
pretk) pauperibus facile vendantur. 

" Si quis fraude utitur, & artc aliqua Ova sua ita indurat nt ab allero frangi nequeant ; quando 
fraus detecta est, si ^ir adttltus sit, ab Officiario Turcico punitur; si puer, ejus parentes mulctan- 
tur. Nam Turcae libenter arripiunt omnem occasionem qui justitiam in Christianos exerceant. 

" Et quia hie est Ludus Aleae, i. e. a sorte et fortuna pendens, a Mohammedanis legum Docto- 
ribus improbstur, & in Alcorano ipso nomination damnatur, utpote qui etiam faerit Chrisrtanoruin 

VOt. I, C 


seems to be alluded to in the old proverb, "An Egg at Easter," because the 
liberty to eat Eggs begins again at that Festival, and thence must have arisen 
this festive Egg-game. 

For neither the Papists, nor those of the Eastern Church, eat Eggs during 
Lent, but at Easter begin again to eat them. And hence the Egg-feast for- 
merly at Oxford, when the scholars took leave of that kind of food, on the 
Saturday after Ash-Wednesday, on what is called " Cleansing Week h ." 

In the North of England, continues Hyde, in Cumberland and Westmor- 
land, boys beg, on Easter Eve, Eggs to play with, and beggars ask for them 
to eat. These Eggs are hardened by boiling, and tinged with the juice of herbs, 
broom-flowers, &c. The Eggs being thus prepared, the boys go out and play 
with them in the fields : rolling them up and down, like bowls, upon the ground, 
or throwing them up, like balls, into the air. Thus far Hyde'. Eggs, stained 
with various colours k in boiling, and sometimes covered with leaf-gold, are at 

h " Hie Lucius non retinetur in mediis partibus Anglise, sed subinnui videtur proverbial! Dicto 
an Egge at Easter*, & in Septentrione Angliae an Egge at Paese, i. e. Ovum in Paschate j quia 
redeunte Paschate, redit etiam Ova edendi Licentia, & propterea erat Festivalis Ovomm Ludus. 
Nam nee Papicolae nee Christiani Orientates durante Quadragesimal edunt Ova, donee venial Fes- 
tum Paschatis : & tune ineipiunt. Et sic olim in Univcrsitate Oxoniensi : idedque usque hodie 
(quamvis jam in Quadr. edainus Ova.) quasi non edercmus ea, prsemittimus Festvm Ovorum vale- 
dictorium inounte Quadragesima, sc. primo die Saturni post diem Cinerum, ea Septimana quae 
ideb vocatur Cleansing Week, quft consumuutur Carnes apud nos reliquae, nullas novas empturi 
nisi finita Quadr. Tune enim Carnes Ova rursus edere ordimur, Festivitatem Paschalem Ludis 
ac ovationibus celebrando." 

1 " Hoc auteni praecipue fit in Boreali paite Angliee, sc. in Cumbria & Westmeria, &c. Ibi 
cnim vesperi Pasehatis pauperes emendicant Ova ed edendum, pueri ad ludendum. Haecce ver6 
Ova coquendo indurata sunt, & herbarum succo tincta, nunc rubedine, nunc virore, aliisve colo- 
ribus. Flava tingi solent floribus Genistas aculeatae aut Narcissi, rubra corticibus Cueparum, viri- 
dia fere cujusvis herbae succo, obscure nigricantia corticibus Alneis, coerulea Indico ; quae quidem 
res tincloriae induntur eocturaa una cum Alumine ad firmandum colores. Ovis hoc uiodo paratis, 
pueri in Campos exeuntes Ovorum Luduni exercent magno cum gaudio, Ovis tinctis varie lu- 
dcndo ; scil. vet in ae'rem ad instar Pilarum jaciendo, vet dando & exoipiendo, vet ad instar Glo- 
bulorum hum! volvendo, pterunxjue ita ut sint obvia aliorum Ovis, & eis occurentia frangant: 
& alia id genus factitando, quae a Borealibus hominibus melius inquirantur." 

k In the neighbourhood of Newcastle they are tinged yellow with the blossoms of Furze, called 

* In Kay's Proverbs it is given thus: "1 '11 warrant you for an Egg at Easter." 


Easter presented to children, at Xewcastle-upon-Tyne, and other places in the 
North, where these young gentry ask for their " Paste Eggs," as for a fairing, 
at this season 1 . "l > asie"is plainly a corruption of "Pasque," Easter. 

That the Church of Rome has considered Eggs as emblematical of the Resur- 
rection, may be gathered from the subsequent prayer, which the reader will 

<'./, I I -III ft - ' . I* * .liT'ISil i ') !)!i ' '/!'* .;; : ;!; [ " 

there Whin-bloom. A curious tract in quarto, 1644, lies before me, entitled, "To Sion's Lovers, 
being a golden Egge, to avoitle Infection/' &c. a title undoubtedly referring to this superstition. 

1 In a curious Roll of the Expences of the Household of Edward the First, in his eighteenth 
year, remaining in the Tower of London, communicated to the Society of Antiquaries by Samuel 
Lysons, esq. March 7th, 1SO5, is the following item in the Accounts of Easter Sunday : 

" For four hundred and a half of Eggs, eighteen pence:" 

highly interesting to the investigator of our antient manners : not so much on account of the 
smallness of the sum which purchased them, as for the purpose for which so great a quantity was 
procured on this day in particular: i. e. in order to have them stained in boiling, or covered with 
leaf gold, and to be afterwards distributed to the Royal Household. This record is in Latin, and 
the original item runs thus : " Pro iiijc. di' ov' xviijJ." 

01 The following, from Emilianne's " Frauds of Romish Monks and Priests," is much to our 
purpose: "On Easter Eve and Easter Day, all the heads of families send great chargers, full of 
hard Eggs, to the Church, to get them blessed, which the priests perform by saying several ap- 
pointed prayers, and making great signs of the Cross over them, and sprinkling them with holy 
water. The priest, having finished the ceremony, demands how many dozen eggs there be in 
every bason >"****< These blest Eggs have the virtue of sanctifying the entrails of the body, 
and are to be the. first fat or fleshy nourishment they take after the abstinence of Lent. The Ita- 
lians do not only abstain from flesh during Lent, but also from Eggs, cheese, butter, and all 
white meats. As soon as the Eggs are blessed, every one carries his portion home, and causeth a 
large table to be set in the best room in the house, which they cover with their best linen, all be- 
strewed with flowers, and place round about it a dozen dishes of meat, and the great charger of 
Eggs in the midst. 'Tis a very pleasant sight to see these tables set forth in the houses of great 
persons, when they expose on side-tables (round about the chamber) all the plate they have in the 
house, and whatever else they have that is rich and curious, in honour to their Easter Eggs, 
which of themselves yield a very fair show, for the shells of them are all painted with divers colours, 
and gilt. Sometimes they are no less than twenty dozen in the same charger, neatly laid together 
in form of a pyramid. The table continues, in the same posture, covered, all the Easter week, 
and all those who come to visit them in that time are invited to eat an Eastern Egg with them, 
which they must not refuse." 

In "The Beehive of the Romishe Churche," 8vo. Lond. 1579. fol. 14 b. Easter Eggs occur in 
the following list of Romish superstitions : " Fasting Daves, Years of Grace, Differences and 
Diversities of Dayes, of Meates, of Clothing, of Candles, * * * * Holy Ashes, Holy Pace Eggs 


find in an Extract from the Ritual of Pope Paul the Filth, for the use of Eng- 
land, Ireland, and Scotland. It contains various other forms of benediction. 
"Bless, O Lord! we beseech thee, this thy creature of Eggs, that it may be- 
come a wholesome sustenance to thy faithful servants, eating it in thankfulness 
to thee, on account of the Resurrection of our Lord," &c n . 

This custom still prevails in the Greek Church. Dr. Chandler, in his Travels 
in Asia Minor, gives the following account of the manner of celebrating Easter 
amoncr the modern Greeks: "The Greeks now celebrated Easter. A small 


bier, prettily deckt with orange and citron buds, jasmine, flowers, and boughs, 
was placed in the church, with a Christ crucified, rudely painted on board, for 
the body. We saw it in the evening, and, before day-break, were suddenly 
awakened by the blaze and crackling of a large bonefire, with singing and shout- 
ing, in honour of the Resurrection. They made us presents of coloured Eggs 
and Cakes of Easter Bread." 

and Flanes, Palmes and Palme Boughes, * * * * Staves, Fooles Hoods, Shelles and Belles, Paxes, 
Licking of Rotten Bones," &c. The last articles relate to Pilgrims and Reli^ues. 

Mr. Deuce's MS Notes say : " the Author of " Le Voyageur a Paris," torn. ii. p. 1 12. supposes 
that the practice of painting and decorating Eggs at Easter, amongst the Catholics, arose from 
the joy which was occasioned by their returning to this favourite food after so long an abstinence 
from them during Lent. " Dans plusieurs villes," he adds, " les clercs des Eglises, les etudians 
des Ecoles et les autres jeune Gens, s'assemblaient sur une place au bruit des Sonnette= et des Tam- 
bours, portant des etandarts burlesques pour se rendre a TEglise principals, on its chantoient 
laudes avant de commence!' leur quele d'ceufs." 

In the antfent Calendar of the Romish Church, to which I have so often referred, I find the 
following : 

" Oca annunciates, ut aiunt, reponuntur," 

i. e. Eggs laid on the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary are laid by. This must have been for some 
such purpose as the following : " ad hanc superstitionem diariam referendi quoque sunt, qui 
Ova, qua: Gallinaj pariunt die Parasceues, toto asservant anno, qitia creditnt ea vim lutLere ad 
extinguenda incendia, si in ignem injiciantur." Delrio Disquis. Magic, lib. iii. p. 2. Quaest. 4. sect 6. 
edit. fol. Lugd. 1612. p. 2O5. 

Le Bran, too, iu his " Superstitions anciennes et modernes," says that some people keep Eggs 
laid on Good Friday all the year. 

i> "Subveniat, qurcsumus, Domfne, tuae benedictionis gratia, hui'c Ovorum creature, ut cibu 
aalubris fiat fidelibus tuis in tuarum gratiarum actione sumentibus, ob resurrectionem Domini 
nostri Jesu Christi, qui tecum vivit," &c. Ordo Baptizandi, &c. ex Rituali Romano jussu Pauli 
tj edito ; pro Anglia, Hibernia, & Scotia. J2mo. Par. 1657. p. 133. 


Easter Day, says the Abbe d' Auteroche, in his Journey to Siberia, is set 
apart for visiting in Russia. A Russian came into my room, offered me his 
hand, and gave me, at the same time, an Egg-. Another followed, who also- 
embraced, and gave me an Egg. I gave, him, in return, the Egg which I had just 
before received. The men go to each other's houses in the morning, and intro- 
duce themselves by saying, "Jesus Christ is risen." The answer is "Yes, he 
is risen." The people then embrace, give each other Eggs> and drink a great 
deal of brandy. 

The subsequent extract from Ilakluyt's Voyages" is of an older date, and 
shews how little the custom has varied : 

"They (the Russians) have an order at Easter, which they alwaies observe, 
and that is this : every yeerc, against Easter, to die or colour red, with Brazzel 
(Brazil wood), a great number of Egges, of which every man and woman giveth 
one unto the priest of the parish upon Easter Day in the morning. And. more- 
over, the common people use to carrie in their hands one of these red Egges, not 
only upon Easter Day, but also three or foure days after, and gentlemen and 
gentlewomen have Egges gilded?, which they carry in like maner. They use it, 
as they say, for a great love, and in token of the Resurrection, whereof they rejoice. 
For when two friends meete during the Easter Ilolydayes, they come and take 
one another by the hand ; the one of them saith, ' The Lord, or Christ, is 
risen;' the other answereth, 'It is so, of a tructh;' and then they kiss, and 
exchange their Egges, both men and women, continuing in kissing four dayes to- 
gether." Our antient Y^oyagc-writer means no more here, it should seem, than 
that the ceremony was kept up for four days^. 

Fol. Lond. 1589. b. 1. p. 34-2. 

' Dr. Chandler, in his Travels in Greece, tells us, that, at the city of Zante, " He saw a woman 
,in a house, with the door open, bewailing her little son, whose dead body lay by her, dressed, 
the hair powdered, the face paintedj and bedecked with leaf-gold." 

1 Gcbelin cites Mons. le Brun to the following' effect : " Le meme Voyageur s'etoit trouvl h 
Moscow deux Annces auparavant, au terns ofi Ton ce'lebroit la meme FSte. Le 5 Avril, 170?, 
dit-il, (torn. i. fol. p. 33.) on solemnisa la Fete de Paqucs. Les cloches ne cesscnt pas de sonner pen- 
dant toute la nuit qui pre'ce'de cette F6te, le jour meme, & le Icudemain. Ils commencent a se donner 
de= CEitfs de Paques, & ccla dure pendant 15 jours. Cette coutume se pratique panni les grands 
& les petits, les vieux & les jeunes, qui s'en donnent mutuellement ; les Boutiques en sent rcni- 
plies de tous cfites, qui sont teiuts & boullis. La couk-ur la plus ordinaire est cette d'une prune 


i fii jinHf : v . : .^> 

EASTER has ever been considered by the Church as a season of great festi- 
vity*. Belithus, a ritualist of antient times, tells us that it was customary in 
some churches for the Bishops and Archbishops themselves to play with the in- 

bleue: il s'en trouve cepenclant qui sont teints de verd & de blanc Plusieui's sur lesquels on 

trouve ces paroles, Christos was chrest. Christ est resuscite". Les personnes de distinction en ont 
chez eux qu'ils distribuent a ceux qui leur rcndent visite, & les baisent a la bouche en leur diaant 
les memes paroles, Christo was chrest; a quoi celui qui le re^oit r^pond, Woistino was chrest, il 
est veritablement ressuscite". Les gens d'un rang mediocre se les donnent dans la rue . . . Les 
Domestiques en portent aussia leurs Matties, dont ils re^oivent un present qu' ils nomment Prcesnik 
. . . Autrefois, ajoute ce Voyageur, on se faisoit une affaire tres serieuse de ces pr&ens ; mais cela 
est bien change depuis quelque terns, come toute le reste." 

"On Easter Day they greet one another with a kiss, both men and women, and give a red Egg, 
saying these words, Christos vos christe. In the Easter Week all his Majesty's servants and nobi- 
lity kiss the patriarch's hand, and receive either guilded or red eggs, the highest sort three, the 
middle two, and the most inferior one." Present State of Russia, 12mo. 1671. p. 18. 

Mr. Douce's Manuscript Notes say : " Dans tous les lieux ou nous passames, les Femmes nous 
offrirent des (Eufs rouges. C'est dans toute la Russie une ancienne coutume extremement reveree 
par ces peuples en ce temps la (Paques) des (Eufs rouges. Tout le monde generalement, les per- 
sonnes de qualit^, et le commun peuple, les jeunes gens, et les viellards, font gloire d'en porter, 
non seulement le jour de Paques mais pendant quinze jours apres. Dans toutes les rue's on trouve 
une infinite d' homines et des femmes qui vendent de ces (Eufs cuits et teints en rouge. Celui qui 
distribue, ou offre de ces CEufs a un autre, est oblige" de lui donner, en mfime temps un baiser, et 
personne, de quelque sexe et qualite qu'il soit, n'ose refuser ni l'(Euf ni le baiser qu'on lui pre- 
sente." Brand, Relation du Voyage de M. Evert Isbrand, p. 15. 

In the Museum Tradescantianum, 8vo. Lond. 1660. p. 1. we find, " Easter Egges of the Patri- 
archs of Jerusalem." 

a By the law concerning Holidays, made in the time of king Alfred the Great, it was appointed 
that the week after Easter should be kept holy. Collier's Ecclesiast. Hist. vol. I. p. 163. [See 
also Lambard's Archaionomia, fol. Cantabr. 1644, p. 33.] 

Fitzstephen, as cited by Stow, tells vis of an Easter Holiday amusement used in his time at 
London : " They fight battels on the water. A shield is hanged upon a pole (this is a species of 
the quintain) fixed in the midst of the stream. A boat is prepared without oars, to be carried by 
violence of the water, and in the forepart thereof standeth a young man ready to give charge 
upon the shield with his lance. If so be he break his lance against the shield and do not fall, he 
is thought to have performed a worthy deed. If so be that without breaking his launce he runneth 


I . 

ferior clergy at hand-ball, and this, as Durand asserts, even on Easter-day b 
itself. Why they should play at hand-ball at this time, rather than any other 
game, Bourne tells us he has not been able to discover; certain it is, however, 
that the present custom of playing at that game on Easter Holidays for a tanzy- 
cake has been derived from thence. Erasmus, speaking of the proverb, " Mea 
est pila," that is, " I Ve got the ball," tells us, that it signifies " I have obtained 
the victory. I am master of my wishes." The Romanists certainly erected a 
standard on Easier-day, in token of our Lord's Victory; but it would perhaps 
be indulging fancy too far to suppose that the Bishops and governors of 
churches, who used to play at hand-ball at this season, did it in a mystical way, 
and with reference to the triumphal joy of the season. Certain it is, however, 

strongly against the shield, down he falleth into the water, for the boat is violently forced with 
the tide; but on each side of the shield ride two boats furnished with young men, which recover 
him that falleth as soon as they may. Upon the bridge, wharfs, and houses, by the river side, stand 
great numbers to see and laugh thereat." P. 76. Henry, in his History of Britain, vol. III. p. 594, 
thus describes another kind of quintain. " A strong post was fixed in the ground, with a piece 
of wood, which turned upon a spindle, on the top of it. At one end of this piece of wood a bag 
of sand was suspended, and at the other end a board was nailed. Against this board they tilted 
with spears, which made the piece of wood turn quickly on the spindle, and the bag of sand strike 
the rulers on the back with great force, if they did not make their escape by the swiftness of their 

They have an antient custom at Coleshill, in the county of Warwick, that if the young men of 
the town can catch a hare, and bring it to the parson of the parish before ten o'clock on Easter 
Monday, the parson is bound to give them a calf's head and a hundred of eggs for their breakfast, 
and a groat in money. Beckwith's edit, of Blount's Jocular Tenures, p. 286. A writer in the 
Gent. Mag. vol LH 1. for July 1783, p. 578, mentions a beverage called " Braggot (which is a mix- 
ture of ale, sugar, and spices) in use at the Festival of Easter." 

b Sunt enim nonnullae ecclesiie in quibus usitatum est ut vel etiam episcopi et archiepiscopi in 
cxnobiis cum suis ludant subditis, ita ut etiam ad lusum pila- dimittant, &c. Belith. c. 120. In 
quibusdam locis hac die. Vid. Pasch. &c. Durand. lib. VI. cap. 86. See also Du Frcsiie in voce 


c It was an antient custom for the mayor, aldermen, and sheriff of Newcastle upon Tync, ac- 
companied with great numbers of the burgesses, to go every year, at the Feasts of Easter and 
'Whitsuntide, to a place without the walls called the Forth, a little Mall, where eveiy body walks, 
as they do in St. James's Park, with the mace, sword, and cap of maintenance carried before them. 
The young people of the town still assemble there on these holidays, at Easter particularly, play at 
hand-ball, dance, &c. but are no longer countenanced in their innocent festivity by the presence of 
their governors, who, no doubt, in antient times, as the Bishops did with the inferior clergy, used 
to unbend the brow of authority, and partake with their happy and contented people the seemingly 
puerile pleasures of the festal season. 


that many of their customs and superstitions are founded on still more trivial 
circumstances, even according to their own explanations of them, than this 
imaginary analogy. 

Tansay, says Scldcn, in hii Table Talk, v;as taken from the bitter herbs in 
ase among the Jews at this season. Our meats and sports, says he, have much 
of them relation to church works. The -coffin of our Christmass Pics, in shape 
long, is in imitation of the cratch d , i. (?. rack or manger, wherein Christ was 
laid. Our tansies 6 at Easter have reference to the bitter herbs; though at the 

d Among the MSS. in Genc't College, 'Cambridge, is a Translation of part of the New Testa- 
ment in the English spoken soon after the Conquest. The 7th verse of the 2d chapter of St. Luke 
is thus rendered i "And layde hym in a cratche, for to hym was no place in the dyversory." I will 
venture to subjoin another specimen, which strongly marks the mutability of language. Mark 
vi. 22. " When the doughtyr of Herodias was in cotnyn, and had tombylde and pleside to Ha- 
rowde, and also to the sittande at meate, the kyng says to the wench" 

.If the original Gm-k had not been preserved, one might have supposed from this English that, 
instead of excelling in the graceful accomplishment of dancing, the young lady had performed 
in some. exhibition like the present entertainments at Sadler's Wells. See Lewis's Hist, of the 
Engl. Translations of the Bible, p. 16. 

e In that curious book, intitled, " Adam in Eden, or Nature's Paradise," &c. fol. Lond. 1657> 
fay W r illiam Coles, Herbalist, our author, speaking of the medicinal virtues of tanscy, ch. ccxlix. says : 
" Therefore it is that Tanseys were so frequent not long since about Easter, being so called from this 
lierb tansey '. though I think the stttmach of those that eat them late are so squeamish) that they 
put little or none of It into them, having altogether forgotten the reason of their original!, which 
was to purge away from the stomach ahd guts the phlegme engendered by eating of fish in the 
Lent season (when Lent was kept stricter then now it i*)-, whereof worms are soon bred in them 
that are thereunto disposed, besides otler humours which the moist and cold constitution of Winter 
most usually infects the body of man with ; and this I say is the reason why Tanseys were and 
fchould be now more used in the Spring than at any other time of the year, though many under- 
stand it not, and some simple people take it (at a matter of superstition so to do." 

Johnson, in his edition of Gerard's Herball," foL Lond. 1633. p. 651. speaking of Tansie says: 
" In the spring time are made with the leaves hereof newly sprung up, and with egs, Cakes, or 
^Tansies, which be pleasant in tastt?, and good for the etotnacke ; for> if any bad humours cleave 
thereunto, it doth perfectly concoct them and scowre them downwards." 

Tansy -cakes are thus alluded 10 in Shipman's Poems> p. If-. He is describing the frost in 1654. 
" Wherever any grassy turf is vie\v'd> 
It seems a Tansie all with sugar strew'd-." 

It is related in J. Boeinus Aubanus's Description of antient Rites ir his Country, that there were 
ttt this season foot-courses in the meadows, in which the victors carried off -each a cake, given to be 
run fat-, as we say, by gome better sort of person m the neighbourhood. Sometimes two cakes 
were proposed, one for the young men, another for the girls ; and there was a great concourse of 


same time 'twas always the fashion for a man to have a gammon of bacon, to 
shew himself to be no Jew." 

people on the occasion *. This is a custom by no means unlike the playing at hand-ball for a 
Tanzy-cake, the winning of which depends chiefly upon swiftness of foot. It is a trial too of fleet- 
ness and speed, as well as the foot-race. The following beautiful description in the Mons Catha- 
riniB may almost equally be applied to hand-ball : 
" His datur orbiculum 

Pracipiti levem per gramina mittere lapsu: 
Ast aliis, quorum pedibus fiducia major 
Sectari, et jam jam salienti insistere prsedae ; 
Aut volitantem alte longeque per aera pulsum 
Suppiciunt, pronosque inhiant, captantque volatus, 
Sortiti fortunam ocuiis ; manibusque paratis 
Expectant propiorem, intercipiuntque caducum." p. 6. 

The two last lines compose a very fine periphrasis for the Northern word kepping, which is de- 
rived from the Anglo-Saxon cepan, capture, advertere, curare. 

In Lewis's English Presbyterian Eloquence, p. 17, speaking of the tenets of the Puritans, he 
observes that " all games where there is any hazard of loss, are strictly forbidden ; not so much as 
a game at .stool ball for a Tansy, or a cross and pyle for the odd penny at a reckoning, upon pain 
of damnation." 

The following is in a curious Collection, intitled, " A pleasant Grove of new Fancies, Svo. Lond. 
1657, p. 74. 

At stool-ball, Lucia, let us play 

For sugar, cakes, and wine ; 
Or for a Tansey let us pay, 

The loss be thine or mine. 
If thou, my dear, a winner be 

At trundling of the ball, 
The wager thou shalt have, and me, 

And my misfortunes all." 

Poor Robin, -in his Almanack for 1677, in his Observations on April, opposite the 16th and 17th, 
Easter Monday and Tuesday, says, 

" Young men and maids, 

Now very brisk, 
At Barley-break and 

Stool-ball frisk." 
If I mistake not, Galen wrote a book on the exercise of the little ball. 

* " In paschate vulgo placentae pinsuntur, quorum una, interdum dux, adolescent ibus una, ; ucllis altera, a 
iliticri aliquo proponuntur; pro quibus in prato, ubi ante noctem in gens hominum concursus fit, quique agiles 
pedestres currant." p. 268. 

VOL. I. X 


Durand tells us, that on Easter Tuesday f wives used to beat their husbands, 
on the day following the husbands their wives. The custom which has been 
already mentioned in a preceding page, on Easter Sunday, is still retained at the 
city of Durham in the Easter Holidays. On one day the men take off the 
women's shoes, or rather buckles, which are only to be redeemed by a present : 
on another day the women make reprisals, taking off the men's in like manners. 


SAMUEL LYSONS, esq. Keeper of his Majesty's Records in the Tower of 
London, communicated to the Society of Antiquaries, March 28, 1805, the fol- 
lowing extract from a record in his custody, entitled, " Liber Contrarotulatoris 
Hospicii, anno 18 Edw. I." fol. 45 b. 

" Domine de camera Regine. XV. die Maii, vu dominabus et domicellis re- 
gine, quia ceperunt dominum regem in lecto suo, in crastino Pasrhe. et ipsum fe- 
cerunt finire versus eas pro pace regis, quam fecit de dono suo per mantis Hu- 
gonis de Cerru, Scutiferi domine de Weston. xiiij li." 

The taking Edward Longshanks in his bed by the above party of ladies of the 
bedchamber and maids of honour, on Easter Monday, was very probably for the 
purpose of heaving or lifting the king, on the authority of a custom which then 
doubtless prevailed among all ranks throughout the kingdom, and which is yet 

f " In plerisque etiani regionibus mulieres secunda die post Pascha verbt-rant maritos suos : die 
vero tertia uxores suas." Durand, lib. VI. c. 86, 9. 

S " In the Easter Holidays," says the account in the Antiquarian Repertory, No. 26, from MS 
Collections of Mr. Aubrey, in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, date 1678, " was the clerk's ale, for 
his private benefit and the solace of the neighbourhood." Mr.Denne, in his " Account of stone figures 
carved on the porch of Chalk Church," (Archaeol. vol. xii. p. 11,) says : " the Clerks' ale was the me- 
thod taken by the Clerks of parishes to collect more readily their dues." Mr. Denne is of opinion 
that " Give-Ales" were the legacies of individuals, and from that circumstance entirely gratuitous. 
The rolling of young couples down Greenwich-hill, at Easter and Whitsontide, appears, by 
the following extract from R. Fletcher's Translations and Poems, Svo. Lond. 1656. p. 210. in a 
poem called " May Day," to be the vestiges of a May game : 

" The Game at best, the girls May rould must bee, 
Where Croyden and Mopsa, he and shee, 
Each happy pair make one Hermophrodite, 
And tumbling, bounce together, black and white." 


not entirely laid aside in some of our distant provinces ; a custom, by which, 
however strange it may appear, they intended no less than to represent our 
Saviour's Resurrection. At Warrington, Bolton, and Manchester, on Easter 
Monday, the women, forming parties of six or eight each, still continue to sur- 
round such of the opposite sex as they meet, and, either with or without their 
consent, lift them thrice above their heads into the air, with loud shouts at each 
elevation. On. Easter Tuesday, the men, in parties as aforesaid, do the same 
to the women. By both parties it is converted into a pretence for fining or 
extorting a small sum, which they always insist on having paid them by the 
persons whom they have thus elevated *. 

a In the Gentleman's Magazine for February 1784, p. 96, a gentleman from Manchester says, 
that " Lifting was originally designed to represent our Saviour's Resurrection. The men lift the 
women on Easter Monday, and the women the men on Tuesday. One or more take hold of each 
leg, and one or more of each arm, near the body, and lift the person up, in a horizontal position, 
three times. It is a rude, indecent, and dangerous diversion, practised chiefly by the lower class 
of people. Our magistrates constantly prohibit it by the bellman, but it subsists at the end of 
the town ; and the women have of late years converted it into a money job. 1 believe it is chiefly 
confined to these Northern counties." See an account of this ceremony, not very different, in the 
Monthly Magazine for April 70S, p. 273. 

The following extract is from the Public Advertiser for Friday, April 13th, 1787: 

" The custom of rolling down Greenwich-hill at Easter, is a relique of old City manners, but 
peculiar to the metropolis. Old as the custom has been, the counties of Shropshire, Cheshire, 
and Lancashire, boast one of equal antiquity, which they call Heaving, and perform with the fol- 
lowing ceremonies, on the Monday and Tuesday in the Easter week. On the first day, a party of 
men go with a chair into every house to which they can get admission, force every female to be 
seated in their vehicle, and lift them up three times, with loud huzzas. For this they claim the 
reward of a chaste salute, which those who are too coy to submit to may get exempted from by a 
fine of one shilling, and receive a written testimony, which secures them from a repetition of the 
ceremony for that day. On the Tuesday the women claim the same privilege, and pursue their 
business in the same manner, with this addition that they guard every avenue to the town, and 
stop every passenger, pedestrian, equestrian, or vehicular." 

[That it is not entirely confined, however, to the Northern counties, may be gathered from the 
following letter, which Mr. Brand received from a correspondent of great respectability in 1799 : 
" Dear Sir, 

" Having been a witness lately to the exercise of what appeared to me a very curious custom at 
Shrewsbury, I take the liberty of mentioning it to you, in the hope that amongst your researches 
you may be able to give some account of the ground or origin of it. I was sitting alone last 
Easter Tuesday at breakfast at the Talbot in Shrewsbury, when I was surprized by the entrance of 
all the female servants of the house handing in .an arm chair, lined with white, and decorated with 
ribbons and favours of different colours. I asked them what they wanted : their answer wa?, they 


II J* 


BY some this is thought to have been the remains of an heathen custom, 
which might have been introduced into this Island by the Romans*. 

Hoke Day, according to the most commonly received account, was an annual 
Festival, said to have been instituted in memory of the almost total destruction 

came to heave me. It was the custom of the place on that morning; and they hoped I would take 
a seat in their chair. It was impossible not to comply with a request very modestly made, and to 
a set of nymphs in their best apparel, and several of them under twenty. I wished to see all the 
ceremony, and seated myself accordingly. The groupe then lifted me from the ground, turned 
the chair about, and I had the felicity of a salute from each. I told them, I supposed there was a 
fee due upon the occasion, and was answered in the affirmative ; and, having satisfied the damsels 
in this respect, they withdrew to heave others. At this time I had never heard of such a custom ; 
but, on enquiry, I found that on Easter Monday, between nine and twelve, the men heave the 
women in the same manner as on the Tuesday, between the same hours, the women heave the 
men. I will not offer any conjecture on the ground of the custom, because I have nothing like 
data to go upon ; but if you should happen to have heard any thing satisfactory respecting it, 1 
should be highly gratified by your mentioning it. 1 have the honour to be, with much respect, Sir, 
Basinghall Street, Your obedient and faithful servant, 

May 7, 1799. Tho. Loggan."] 

Another writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. LIII. for July 1733, p. 578, having enquired 
whether the custom of Lifting is " a memorial of Christ being raised up from the grave," adds : 
" There is at least some appearance of it ; as there seems to be a trace of the descent of the Holy 
Ghost on the heads of the Apostles in what passes at Whitsuntide Fair, in some parts of Lancashire, 
where one person holds a stick over the head of another, whilst a third, unperceived, strikes the 
stick, and thus gives a smart blow to the first. But this, probably, is only local." 

In a " General History of Liverpool," reviewed in the Gent. Mag. for 179S, p. 325, it is said, 
" the only antient annual commemoration now observed is that of lifting ; the women by the men 
on Easter Monday, and the men by the women on Easter Tuesday." 

Mr. Pennant's MS, says, that, " In North Wales, the custom of Heaving, upon Monday and 
Tuesday in Easter week, is preserved ; and on Monday the young men go about the town and 
country, from house to house, with a fiddle playing before them, to heave the women. On the 
Tuesday the women heave the men." 

a Archajologia, vol. vii. p. 244. The Romans had their Feast of Fugalia for chasing out of 
the Kings. 

HOKE DAT. 137 

of the Danes in England by Ethelred, A. D. 1002. The learned Mr. Bryant 
has shewn this to be destitute of any plausible support. The measure is proved 
to have been as unwise as it was inhuman, for Sweyn, the next year, made a 
second expedition into England, and laid waste its Western Provinces with fire 
and sword. The conquest of it soon followed, productive of such misery and 
oppression, as this Country had, perhaps, never before experienced. A Holi- 
day could, therefore, never have been instituted to commemorate an everxt, 
which afforded matter rather for humiliation than of such mirth and festivity 6 . 

b The strongest testimony against this hypothesis is that of Henry, Archdeacon of Huntingdon, 
who expressly says that the massacre of the Danes happened on the feast of St. Brice, which u 
well known to be on the thirteenth of November. 

Mr. Douce's MS Notes say : " See a good deal of information concerning Hoc-tide in Plot'i 
History of Oxfordshire, fol. Oxf. 1677, p. 201. 

" Verstegan, with uo great probability, derives Hock-tide from Heughtyde, which, says he, in 
the Netherlands means a festival season ; yet he gives it as a mere conjecture, p. 262. The sub- 
stance of what Spelman says on this subject i as follows. Hoc Day, Hoke Day, Hoc-Tuesday, a 
Festival celebrated annually by the English, in remembrance of their having ignominiously driven 
out the Danes, in like manner as the Romans had their Fugalia, from having expelled their kings. 
He inclines to Lambarde's opinion, that it means ' deriding Tuesday,' as Hocken, in German, 
means to attack, to seize, to bind, as the women do the men on this day, whence it is called 
' Binding Tuesday.' The origin he deduces from the slaughter of the Danes by Ethelred, which 
is first mentioned in the Laws of Edward the Confessor, c. 35. He says the day itself is uncertain, 
and varies, at the discretion of the common people, in different places ; and adds, that he is at a 
loss why the women are permitted at this time to have the upper hand. 

" It is historically mentioned in the following authorities : 

" In the Laws of Edw. Confessor, c. 35. as above stated. But these are to be suspected. 

" Henry of Huntingdon, p. 36O. mentions that, in the year 1002, Ethelred caused all the 
Danes in England to be massacred on St. Brice's Day, as he had heard many old people relate in 
his infancy. Spelman remarks that St. Brice's Day being on the 13th of November, it could not 
be the origin of the Hoc-tide. His similar objection to the day after the Purification must stand 
for nothing, as he appears to have mistaken what is said on that subject in the Laws of Edw. Con- 
fessor, but to prove that it could not have been St. Brice's Day, he cites an old rental, which men- 
tions a period between Hoke Day and the Gule of August. 

" Matthew Paris has the following passages concerning Hoc-tide. ' Post diem Martis qua vulga- 
riter Hokedaie appellatur, factum est Parliamentum Londini,' p. 963. ' Die videlicet Lunae quae 
ipsum diem praecedit proximfr quern Hokedaie vulgariter appellamus,' p. 834. ' In quindena 
Paschae quae vulgariter Hokedaie appellatur,' p. 904. On these passages Watts, in his Glossary, 
observes, ' adhuc in ea die solent mulieres jocose vias Oppidorum funibus impedire, et transeuntes 
ad se attrahere, ut ab eis munusculum aliquod extorqueant, in pios usus aliquos erogandum;' 
and then refers to Spelman. 


The other generally-received opinion, that this festivity was instituted on the 
death of Hardicanute, seems a more plausible origin, because by his death our 

"Simeon Dunelmensis, p. 165. and Ethelred Rievallensis, p. 362. mention the massacre of the 
Danes by Ethelred, in 1002, but say nothing relating to Hoctide. 

"Radulphus de Diceto, p. 461. and Knighton, p. 2315. speak of this massacre having taken 
place on St. Brice's Day, but are also silent with respect to Hoctide. The Saxon Chronicle does 
the same. R. de Diceto places it in 1OOO. Florence of Worcester, and Langtoft, speak generally 
of the massacre ; and Robert of Gloucester speaks of it as having happened on St. Brice's Day. 
These three last writers do not mention a word concerning Hoctide. 

" Neither Alured Beverlacensis, Hardyng, nor the anonymous writer of the Chronicle usually 
called Caxton's, mention the massacre. 

"Higden says it happened on St. Brice's night, fol. 244. b. Fabyan says it happened on St. 
Brice's day, and began at Welvvyn in Hertfordshire, p. 259. Grafton follows him in the same 
words. Holingshed makes it to have taken place on St. Brice's day in the year 1012 ; and adds, 
that the place where it began is uncertain, some saying at Welwyn, and others at Howahil, in 
Staffordshire, 1st edit. fol. '242. Speed follows the accounts of H. Huntingdon and Higden, and 
refers to Matthew of Westminster, who 1 find, in p. 391. gives more particulars of the massacre 
than any other historian, and makes it to have happened in 1012, but says nothing of Hoctide in 
that place. Speed, p. 416. fixes it to the year 10O2. Stowc very briefly mentions the fact as hav- 
ing happened on St. Brice's day 10O2. 

"Other antient authorities for the mention of Hoctide are, 1. Matthew of Westm. p. 307. 'Die 
Lunae ante le Hokeday.' 2. Monast. Anglic, i. p. 104. ' A dio quac dicitur Hokedai usque ad 
festum S. Michaelis.' 3. An Instrument in Kennett's Paroch. Antiq. dated 1363. which speaks of 
a period between Hoke Day and St. Martin's day. 4. A Chartulary at Caen, cited by Du Cange, 
p. 1150, in which a period between ' Hocedei usque ad Augustum' is mentioned. 5. An Inspex- 
imus in Madox's Formularc, p. 225. dated 42 Ed. III. in which mention is made of 'die MartU 
proximo post Quindenam Paschae qui vocatur Hokeday.' 

" It seems pretty clear then that Hoc Tuesday fell upon the Tuesday fortnight after Easter day, 
and that it could not be in memory of the Danish massacre, if that happened on St. Brice's day, 
and which, in 1002, would fall on a Friday. 

" Matthew Paris appears to be the oldest authority for the word 'Hokedaie,' and he, as Plot 
well observes, makes it fall both on a Monday, 'quindena Paschae,' and on a Tuesday, 'die Mar- 
tis.' And yet he does not call the Monday by the name of Hokedaie. 

" Plot expressly mentions that in his time they had two Hocdays, viz. ' The Monday for the 
women,' which, says he, ' is the more solemn, and the Tuesday for the men, which is very incon- 

"Minshew, v. Hoc-tide, makes it to be St. Blaze's day, when countrywomen go about and 
make good cheer ; and, if they find any of their neighbours spinning, burn and make a blaze of 
the distaff. He is properly corrected by Plot. He is nearer the truth in deducing the term from 
the German Hoge-zeit, i. e. a time of feasting. Of this latter opinion is Skinner. 

HOKE DAY. 159 

countrymen were for ever released from the wanton insults and oppressive exac- 
tions of the Danes. 

" Junius derives the word from the Icelandic hogg, ccedes, and dag, dies; but this, no doubt, 
must be with a view to connect it with the slaughter of the Danes, for which event there seems 
to be no good authority. 

" Blount, in his edition of Cowell's Glossary, says, that Hoc Tuesday money was a duty given 
to the landlord, that his tenants and bondsmen might solemnize that day on which the English 
mastered the Danes, being the second Tuesday after Easter week. 

"InBlount's Glossographia, edit. 1681. it is said that at Coventry they yearly acted a play 
called Hoc Tuesday, till Queen Elizabeth's time. 

" Cocker, in his English Dictionary, says, that Hardicanute's death was so welcome to his sub- 
jects, that the time was annually kept, for some hundreds of years after, by men and women, who 
in merriment strove, at that time, to gain the mastery over each other. 

"Coles, in his English Dictionary, appears to have followed Minshew as to Dlaze-tide. 

"Bullokar, in his English Expositor, published by Browne, 1707- gives the best account, in 
the fewest words, but without any thing new. 

" Blount, in his own Law Dictionary, v. Hokeday, says he has seen a lease, without date, re- 
serving so much rent payable ' ad duos anni terminos, scil. ad le Hokeday, et ad festum S. Mich.' 
He adds, that in the accounts of Magdalen College, in Oxford, there is yearly an allowance pro 
mulieribus hocantibus, in some manors of theirs in Hampshire, where the men hoc the women on 
Monday, and contra on Tuesday. 

" On reconsidering Plot's correction of Matthew Paris, I think he may have mistaken the mean- 
ing of ' quindena Paschse,' which certainly denotes the sixteenth day after Easter, i. e. Hoc Tuesday, 
however absurd it may appear ; and this construction is warranted by all the almanacks that I 
have consulted, which place the return of the Sheriffs Writs on that day, and which, therefore, in 
a legal sense, would be deemed the day itself. Again, M. Paris uses the expression ' Hoke day," which 
is applicable exclusively to one day ; and, therefore, as to him at least, Hoc Monday is out of the 
question: and all the old authorities here before cited, speak of Hoke day as a definite period, or 
single day. Yet it must be confessed that the Instrument in Madox's Formulare as clearly fixes 
the Hoke Tuesday on the day after the Quindena Pascha, which must in that case have fallen on 
the Monday; and qucere, therefore, after all, whether, from the various modes of computing 
this return of Quindena Paschae, there did not arrive a double Hoc Day, viz. Monday and Tuesday. 

" It is impossible that the celebration of Hoctide could have arisen from the massacre of the 
Danes, or from the death of Hardiknute, both which events happened on an anniversary, or day 
certain, whereas the Hoke Day was a moveable time, varying with Easter. 

" Higgins, in his Short View of English History, says, that at Hoctide the people go about 
beating brass instruments, and singing old rhimes in praise of their cruel ancestors, as is recorded 
in an old Chronicle. 

"Schiller, in his Teutonic Glossary, e. Hochzit, cites Otfrid as speaking of Easter j but this i* 

16'0 HOKt DAY. 

This festival was celebrated, according to antient writers, on the Quindena 
Paschae, by which, Mr. Denne informs us, the second Sunday after Easter can- 
not be meant, but some day in the ensuing week : and Matthew Paris, and 
other writers, have expressly named Tuesday 6 . There are strong evidences 

not the case, and the word Hockin means, simply, high; but Hockzit may mean a festival, 
without reference to Easter, or any definite time. 

"From what Ihre says, in his Glossar. Suio-Goth. . Hogtid, torn. i. p. 911, it should seem 
that the word means nothing more than high time, or festival time. I find that, in modern 
German, Hochzeit is marriage, q. d. the High Festival. 

" See John Carpenter Bishop of Worcester's Letter for abolishing Hoctide, dated 1450, in Leland's 
Collectanea, vol. V. p. 298. 

"I find that Easter is called 'Hye-tyde' in Robert of Gloucester, vol. i. p. 156." 

Colonel Vallancey communicated to me a curious Paper, in his own hand-writing, to the fol- 
lowing effect : 

" Hock-tide. 

" In Erse and Irish Oach or Oac is rent, tribute. The time of paying rents was twice in the 
year, at La Samham, the day of Saman (2d Nov.) and La Oac, the day of Hock (April). See La 
Saman, Collectanea, No. 12. 

" Hoguera (Spanish) el fuego que se haze con hacina de lennos que levanta llama ; y assi se en- 
ciende siempre en lugar descubierto. Hazian hogueras los antiguos para quemar los cuerpos, 
dt los difuntos, y en ciertas fiestas que llamavam bistros; y en tiempo de peste se han usado para 
puriticar el aire. For regoziio se hazen hogueras en la fiesta de san Juan Baptista, y otros Santos, 
y en las alegrias por nacimientos tie principes, y por otras causas. El saltar por encima de las 
hogueras se haze agora con simplicidad ; pero antiguamente tenia cierto genero de supersticion ; y 
tuvo origen de los Caldeos, segun escriven autores graves. Lle\ adme cavallera, y sea a la hoguera. 
Esto dixo una hechizera, llevandola a quemar. Acostumbran en muchas partes llevar a losque 
han de justiciar por su pie : y pienso que la costumbre de llevarlos en Castilla cavalleros es piay 
llegada a razon ; porque el que va a padecer va debilitado, temblando con todo su cuerpo : y con 
esta fatiga puede ser, que no vaya tan atento, ni los religiosos que le van confortando. Vltra desto, 
coino va levantado en alto, venle todos, para exemplo, y para comiseracion." Tesoro de la Lingua 
Castellana por Don Seb. de Cobarruvias Orosco. fol. Madr. 1611. 

c Hardicanute is mentioned to have died on Tuesday (Feria 3") the 6th, of the Ides of June, 
according to Simeon Dunelm. X. Script, col. 181. 44. Diceto 474. Brompton 934. 24. 

Mr. Denne supposes the change of the Hock, or Hoketyde, from June to the second week after 
Easter, (changes of this nature he evinces were frequent,) might be on the following accounts : 
"when the 8th of June fell on a Sunday, the keeping of it on that day would not have been al- 
lowed ; and as, when Easter was late, the 8th of June was likely to be one of the Ember days in 
the Pentecost week, (a fast to be strictly observed by people of all ranks,) the prohibition would 
adso have been extended to that season." 

Wise, in hia "Further Observations upon the White Horse," &c. 4to. Oxford. 1742. p. 54. 



re-nain''ng to shew that more days were kept than one d . 

Various etymologies are given of the word. Mr. Bryant gives the preference 
to - ' Hock," high ; and apprehends that Hock-day means no more than a high- 
day 6 . Against this, Mr. Denne objects that, as it was doubtless in an age of 
extreme superstition when the holiday commenced, and acquired this appella- 
tion, supposing it to denote a high festival, should we not expect to find it 

speaking of the Danes, tells us, that their inhuman behaviour drew upon them, at length, the 
general resentment of the English in King Ethelrcd's reign: so that, in one day (St. Brice's day), 
A. D. 1001. Chron. Sax. p. 133.) they were entirely cut off in a general massacre. And, though 
this did not remain long unrevenged, yet a festival was appointed in memory of it, called Hoc 
Tuesday, which was kept up in Sir Hemy Spelman's time, and, perhaps, may be so in some parts 
of England. (D. Henr. Spelman. Glossarium, in voce Hocday.) I find this, amongst other sports, 
exhibited at Kcnilworth Castle by the Earl of Leicester, for the entertainment of Queen Elizabeth, 
A. D. 1 575. " And that there might be nothing wanting that these parts could afford, hither 
came the Covcntre men, and acted the ancient play, long since used in that city, called, HOCKS- 
TUESDAY, setting forth the destruction of the Danes in King Ethelred's lime, with which the Queen 
was so pleas'd, that she gave them a brace of bucks, and five marks in money, to bear the charges 
of a feast." Sir Will. Dugdale's Antiq. of Warwickshire, fol Lond. 1656. p. 166.) 

The Warwick Antiquary derives its original from the death of the Danish King Haideknute : 
but, however that be, it is plain he meant the same festival. " Post eum fratersuus Hardeknutus, 
qui obiit quadam die Martis post Pascha. Isti Dani in Angliam induxerunt immoderatum modum 
bibendi Hardeknuto mortuo libcrata est Anglia extunc a servitute Dancrum. In citjiis signum 
usque hodie ilia die vulgariter dicta HOXTUISDAY ludunt in villis trahendo cordas partialiter, cum 
aliis jocis." Joannis Rossi Warwicensis Historia Regum Anglia;. 8vo. Oxon. 1716, p. 105/ 

d The expression Hock, or Hohetyde, comprizes both days. Tuesday was most certainly the 
principal day, the dies Martis ligatoria. Hoke Monday was for the men, and Hock Tuesday for 
the women. On both days the men and women, alternately, with great merriment intercepted 
the public roads with ropes, and pulled passengers to them, from whom they exacted money to 
be laid out in pious uses. So that Hoketyde season, if you will allow the pleonasm, began on 
the Monday immediately following the second Sunday after Easter, in the same manner as several 
feasts of the dedications of churches, and other holidays, commenced on the day or the vigil before, 
and was a sort of preparation for, or introduction to, the principal feast. 

e Archaeologia, vol. vii. p. 256. So also Dr. White Kennett, in his Glossary to the Parochial. 

In " an Indenture (printed in Hearne's Appendix to the History and Antiquities of Glastonbury, 
p. 328.) constituting John atte Hyde steward of the Priory of Poghley," among many other things 
granted him, are two oxen for the larder on Hoke-day. " Item ii. Boves pro lardario apud Hoc- 
coday." It is dated on the Feast of the Annunciation, in the 49th of Edward the Third. 
VOL. I. Y 

162 HOKE DAY. 

applied to a sacred rather than to a civil anniversary, perhaps to commemorate 
the birth, or the martyrdom, of some greatly venerated Saint? 

Lambarde imagined it to be a corruption of hucxtybe, and to signify the time 
of scorning and mocking ; of which definition few, says Mr. Denne, have ap- 

Sir Henry S pel man derives Hock-day from the German word Hocken, to 

Mr. Denne conjectures the name of this festivity to have been derived from 
"Hockzeit," the German word for a wedding, and which, according to Bailey's 
Dictionary, is particularly applied to a wedding-feast h . 

"As it was then," says he, "at the celebration of the feast at the wedding of 
a Danish Lord, Canute Prudan, with Lady Githa, the daughter of Osgod 
Clape, a Saxon nobleman, that Hardicanute died suddenly", our ancestors had 
certainly sufficient grounds for distinguishing the day of so happy an event by a 
word denoting the wedding feast, the wedding day, the wedding Tuesday. 
And, if the justness of this conjecture shall be allowed, may not that reason be 
discovered, which Spelman says he could not learn, why the women bore rule 
on this celebrity, for all will admit that, at a wedding, the bride is the queen 
of the day?" 

f Archseol. ut supra. " If contumely and derision," says Mr. Denne, " had been chiefly aimed 
at, it is more likely that the feast would have been called Lourdaine, as that, he tells us, conti- 
nued in his time to be the bye-word of reproach, instead of Lord Dane; a title of dignity with 
which the English complimented the Danes during their ascendancy." 

Lambarde's words are : "The common people have celebrated the annual day of Hardicanute's 
death ever after with open pastime in the streates, calling it, even till this our time, Hoctuesday, 
insteade (as I thinke) of hucxcuej-baej, that is to say, the skorning, or mocking Tuesday.' 1 Mr, 
Douce obseiTes : " In this he partly follows Ross of Warwick. The etymology is, I believe, his 
own, and not deserving of much attention." 

* ' Vulgar! tamen nomini bene convenit hodiernus celebrandi Ritus ; nam cum Hocken idem sit 
Germanice, quod obsidere, cingere, incubarc: alii in hac celebritate alios obsident, capiunt, ligant, 
(praesertim viros foeminae) atquc inde binding Tuesday; i. diem Martis ligatoriam appellant." 

h Archaeol. vol. vii. p. 257. 

1 Simeon of Durham (Decem Scriptor. col. 181.) says: " Dum in Convivio, in quo Osgodus 
Clapa magnae vir potential filiam suam Githam Danico et praepotenti viroTovio, Prudan cognomento, 
in loco qui dicitur Lamhithe, magna cum laetitia tradebat nuptui laetus, sospes, et hylaris cum 
sponsa prtedicta et quibusdam viris bibens staret, repente inter bibendum miserabili casu ad terram 
eorruit et sic mutus permanens vi. idus Junii feria iij. expiravit." 

HOKJi DAY. 165 

Dr. Plott says, that one of the uses of the money collected at Hoketyde was, 
the reparation of the several parisli churches where it was gathered. This is 
confirmed by extracts from the Lambeth Book k . The observance of Hoketyde 
declined soon after the Reformation. Joyful commemorations of a release from 
the bondage of Popery obliterated the remembrance of the festive season insti- 

k "1556 1557. Item of Godman Rundell's wife, Godman Jackson's wife, and Godwife Tegg, 
for Hoxce money by them received to tlie use of the Church, xijs." (Archaeol. vol. vii. p. 252) 

" 1518 1519. Item of William Klyot and John Chamberlayne, for Hoke money gydered in 
the pareys, iijs. ixd." 

" Item of the gaderyng 'of the Churchwardens wijffes on Hoke Mondaye, viijs. iijd." (Ibid. 251.) 

In Peshall's History of the city of Oxford, under St. Maiy's parish, are the following curious 
extracts from old records : 

p. 67. " 1510. sub tit. Recepts. Reed, atte Hoctyde of the wyfes gaderynge, xvs. ijd. From 1522 
to 3, sub tit. Rec. /or the wyfes gatheryng at Hoctyde de claro, xvis. xd." 

p. 83. Parish of St. Peter in the East. " 1662. About that time it was customary for a parish 
that wanted to raise money to do any repairs towards the church to keep a Hocktyde, the benefit of 
which was often very great : as, for instance, this parish of St. Peter in the East gained by the 
Hocktide and Whitsuntide, anno 1664, the sum of sl4. 

" 1663. Hocktide brought in this year j6." 

" 1G67. j4. 10s. gained by Hocktide: the last time it is mentioned here." 

In the Churchwardens Accounts of St. Mary at Hill, in the city of London, under the year 1496, 
is the follow ing article: " Spent on the wyves that gaderyd money on Hob Monday, lOd." Ibid. 
1518. there is an order for several sums of money gathered on Hob Monday, &c. to go towards 
the Organs, but crossed out with a pen afterwards. Ibid. 1497. " Gatherd by the women on Hob 
Monday, 13s. 4d. By the men on the Tuesday, 5s." In Mr. Nichols's Illustrations of Antient 
Manners and Expences, 4to. 1797, are other extracts from the same Accounts, p. 102. under 
the year 1499, is the following article: " For two rybbs of bief, and for bred and ale, to the 
\vyvys yn the parish that gathered on Hok Monday, Is. Id." Ibid. p. 105. A. D. 1510. "Received 
of the gaderynge of Hob Monday and Tewisday, sl. 12s. 6d." 

In Mr. Lysons's Environs of London, vol. i. p. 229, among many other curious extracts from 
the Churchwardens and Chamberlains Books at Kingston-upon-Tltames, are the following con- 
cerning Hocktyde : 

" 1 Hen. VIII. Rec d for the gaderyng at Hoc-tyde, 14s. 
2 Hen VIII. Paid for mete and drink at Hoc-tyde, 12c/." 

The last time that the celebration of Hocktyde appears is in 1578: 

" Rec d of the women upon Hoc Monday, 5s. 2d." 

Ibid. vol. n. p. 145. Parish of Chelsea. " Of the women that went a hocking, 13 April, 1607, 45s." 

In Coates's History of Reading, p. 214, in the Churchwardens Accounts of St. Laurence's 
parish, under 1499, 14 Hen. VII. are the following entries : " It. rec. of Hok money gaderyd of 
women, xxs. " It. rec. of Hok money gaderyd of men, iiijs." 

Ibid. p. 226, we read the following observation, A. D. 1573 : 

164 HOKE DAY. 

tuted on account of a deliverance from the Danish yoke 1 ; if we dare pronounce 
k certain that it was instituted on that occasion m . 

"The collections on Hock Monday, and on the Festivals, having ceased, it was agreed, that every 
woman seated by the Churchwardens in any seat on the South side of the church, above the doors, 
or in the middle range above the doors, should pay 4d. yearly, and any above the pulpit 6d. at 
equal portions." 

Ibid. p. 131. St. Mary's parish, sub anno 1559: 

" Hoctyde money, the mens gatheryng, iiijs. 
The womens --------- xijs." 

Ibid. p. 378. Parish of St. Giles, Reading, sub anno 1526 : " Paid for the wyv's supper at 
Hoctyde, xxiiijc/." Here a note observes : "The Patent of the 5th of Henry V. has a confirmation 
of lands to the Prior of St. Frideswide, and contains .a recital of the Charter of Ethelred in 1O04 ; 
in which it appears that, with the advice of his lords and great men, he issued a decree for the 
destruction of the Danes. According to Milncr's History of \Vincbcster, vol. i. p. 172, " the 
massacre took place on November the 5th, St. JJrice's day, whose name is still preserved in the 
Calendar of our Common Prayer : but, by an order of Ethelred, the sports were transferred to 
the Monday in the third week after Easter." 

Sub anno 1535. " Hock-money gatheryd by the wyves, xiiis. ixrf." 

It appears clearly, from these different extracts, that the women made their collection on the 
Monday : and it is likewise shewn that the women always collected more than the men. 

The custom of men and women heaving each other alternately on Easter Monday and Easter 
Tuesday, in North Wales, (mentioned in Mr. Pennant's MSS. ; see p. 156) must have been de- 
rived from this hocking each oilier on Hok-days, after the keeping of the original days had been 
set aside. 

There is preserved in the fifth volume of Leland's Collectanea, Svo, Lond. 1770, p. 298, a curious 
inhibition of John, Bishop of Worcester, against the abuses of the Hoc-days, dated 6th April, 
1450: " Uno certo die, heu [/. HOC] vocitato, hoc solempni festo Paschatis transacto, mulieres 
homines, alioque die homines mulieres ligare, ac cetera media utinani non iuhonesta vel deteriora 
facere moliantur & exercere, lucrum ecclesiffi Dngentes, set dampnum anima: sub fucato colore 
lucrantes : quorum occasionc plura oriuntur scandala, adulteriaque, & alia crimiua committuntur," 
&c. In this Letter they are expressly called " Hoc-dayes." 

1 The discovery and prevention of the Gunpowder Plot occasioned the establishment, by law, of 
a yearly day of thanksgiving, for ever, on the 5th of November. 

m I know no other head to which I can so properly reduce the following extract from Mr. Bag- 
ford's Letter relating to the Antiquities of London, printed in the 1st vol. of Leland's Collectanea, 
(Svo. Lond. 1770,) and dated Feb. 1, 17] 4 15, p. Ixxvi. 

" This brings to my mind another antient custom, that hath been omitted of late years. It 
seems that, in former times, the Porters that ply'd at Bilinsgate used civilly to intreat and desire 
every man that passed that way to salute a post that stood there in a vacant place. If he refused 
to do this, they forthwith laid hold of him, and by main force bouped his * * * * against the post ; 
but, if he quietly submitted to kiss the same, and paid down sixpence, then they gave him a name, 

HOKE DAY. 165 

There is, however, a curious passage in Wythers' "Abuses stript and whipt," 
8vo. Loud. 1618. p. 232. which seems to imply that Hock-tide was still generally 
observed : 

" Who think (forsooth) because that once a yeare 

They can affoord the poore some slender cheere, 

Observe their country feasts, or common doles, 

And entertaine their Christmass Wassaile Boles, 

Or els because that, for the Churche's good, 

They in defence of HOCK TIDE customc stood: 

A Whitsun-ale, or some such goodly motion, 

The better to procure young men's devotion : 

What will they do, I say, that think to please 

Their mighty God with such fond things as these ? 

Sure, very ill." 

{April the Twenty-third.) 

IT appears that blue Coats were formerly worn by people of fashion on St. 
George's Day. See Reed's Old Plays, vol. XII. p. 398*. 

Among the Fins, whoever makes a riot on St. George's Day is in danger of 
suffering from storms and tempests. Tooke's Russia, vol. I. p. 47- 

and chose some one of the gang for his godfather. 1 believe this was done in memoiy of some 
old image that formerly stood there, perhaps of Belus, or Belin." He adds: "Somewhat of the 
like post, or rather stump, was near St. Paul's, and is at this day call'd St. Paul's Stump." 

It is the duty of the Rector of St. Mary at Hill, in which parish Billingsgate is situated, to preach 
a sermon every year on the first Sunday after Midsummer day, before the Society of Fellowship 
Porters, exhorting them to be charitable towards their old decayed brethren, and " to bear one 
another's burthens." 

The stump spoken of by Bagford is probably alluded to in " Good Newes and Bad Newes," by 
S. R. 4to, Lond. 1622, signat. F. 3 b. where the author, speaking of a countryman who had been 
to see the sights of London, mentions 

" The Water- workes^ huge Pauls, old Charing Crosse, 
Strong London Bridge, at Billingsgate the Basse!" 

a In Coates's History of Reading, p. 221, under Churchwardens Accounts in the year 1536, arc 
the following entries : 


(April the Twenty-jifth,) 


IT is customary in Yorkshire, as a clergyman of that county informed me, 
for the common people to sit and watch in the church porch on St. Mark's Eve, 
from eleven o'clock at night till one in the morning. The third year (for this 
must be done thrice), they are supposed to see the ghosts of all those who are 
to die the next year, pass by into the church. When any one sickens that is 
thought to have been seen in this manner, it is presently whispered about that 
he will not recover, for that such, or such an one, who has watched St. Mark's 
Eve, says so. 

This superstition is in such force, that, if the patients themselves hear of it, 
they almost despair of recovery. Many are said to have actually died by their 
imaginary fears on the occasion ; a truly lamentable, but by no means incredible, 
instance of human folly. 

Mr. Pennant's MS. says, that in North Wales no farmer dare hold his team 
on St. Mark's Day, because, as they believe, one man's team was marked that 
did work that day with the loss of an ox. The Church of Rome observes St. 

" Charg' of Saynt George. 

" Ffirst payd for iii caffes-skynes, and ii horse-skynnes, iiii'. vi j . 
Payd for makeying the loft that Saynt George standeth upon, vi d . 
Payd for ii plonks for the same loft, viij d . 
Payd for iiij pesses of clowt lether, ij s . ij d . 
Payd for makeyng the yron that the hors resteth upon, vj d . 
Payd for makeyng of Saynt George's cote, viii d . 
Payd to John Paynter for his labour, xlv s . 
Payd for roses, bells, gyrdle, sword, and dager, iy*. iiij d . 
Payd for settyng on the bells and roses, iij*. 
Payd for naylls necessarye thereto, x d . ob." 


Mark's Day as a day of abstinence, in imitation of St. Mark's disciples, the first 
Christians of Alexandria, who, under this Saint's conduct, were eminent for their 
great prayer, abstinence, and sobriety *. 


in Rogation Week, or on one of the three Days before 


" That ev'ry man might keep his owne possessions, 

Our fathers us'd, in reverent Processions, 

(With zealous prayers, and with praisefull cheere,) 

To walke their parish-limits once ayeare; 

And well knowne markes (which sacrilegious hands 

Now cut or breake) so bord'red out their lands, 

That ev'ry one distinctly knew his owne ; 

And many brawles, now rife, were then unknowne." 

Withers' Emblems, fol. 1635, p. 161. 

IT was a general custom formerly, says Bourne, and is still observed in some 
country parishes, to go round the bounds and limits of the parish, on one of the 

a See Wheatley on the Common Prayer, 8vo, Lond. 1741, p. 304. Strype, in his Annals of the 
Reformation, vol. i. p. 191, under anno 1559, informs us : " The 25th April, St. Mark's Day (that 
year), was a procession in divers parishes of London, and the citizens went with their banners 
abroad in their respective parishes, singing in Latin the Kyrie Eleeson, after the old fashion." 

In a most rare book, entitled, " The burnynge of Paules Church in London 1561, and the 
4 day of June, by Lyghtnynge, &c." 8vo, Lond. 1563, signat. I, 2 b. we read : " Althoughe Am- 
brose saye that the churche knewe no fastinge day betwix Easter and Whitsonday, yet beside 
manye fastes in the Rogation weeke, our wise popes of late yeares have devysed a monstrous fast 
on Saint Marke's Daye. All other fastinge daies are on the holy day Even, only Saint Marke must 
have his day fasted. Tell us a reason why, so that will not be laughen at. We knowe wel ynoiigh 
your reason of Tho. Beket, and thinke you are ashamed of it : tell us where it was decreed, by 
the Churche or Gcnerall Counsell. Tell us also, if ye can, why the one side of the strete in 


three days before Holy Thursday, or the Feast of our Lord's Ascension, when 
the minister, accompanied by his churchwardens and parishioners, were wont to 
deprecate the vengeance of God, beg a blessing on the fruits of the earth, and 
preserve the rights and properties of the parish a . 

Cheapeside fastes that daye, being in London diocesse, and the other side, beinge of Canturbury 
diocesse, fastes not ? and soe in other townes moe. Could not Becket's holynes reache over the 
strete, or would he not ? If he coulde not, he is not so mighty a Saint as ye make hym ; if he 
would not, he was maliciouse, that woulde not doe soe muche for the citye wherein he was borne." 

" In the yeare of our Lord 1 589, I being as then but a boy, do remember that an ale wife, 
making no exception of dayes, would needes brue upon Saint Marke's days ; but loe, the mar- 
vailous worke of God ! whiles she was thus laboring, the top of the chimney tooke fire ; and, be- 
fore it could bee quenched, her house was quite burnt. Surely, a gentle warning to them that 
violate and prophane forbidden dales." Vaughan's Golden Grove, Svo, 1C08, signat P 7- 

" On St. Mark's day, blessings upon the corn are implored." Hall's Triumphs, p. 58. 

l Antiq. Vulg. ch. xxvi. " It is the custom in many villages in the neighbourhood of Exeter to 
' hail the Lamb,' upon Ascension morn. That the figure of a lamb actually appears in the East 
upon this morning is the popular persuasion : and so deeply is it rooted, that it hath frequently 
resisted (even in intelligent minds) the force of the strongest argument." See Gent. Mag. for 
1787, vol. Ivii. p. 718. 

The following superstition relating to this day is found in Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft, fol. 
Lend. 1665, p. 152. "In some countries they run out of the doors in time of tempest, blessing them- 
selves with a cheese, where,upon was a cross made with a rope's end upon Ascension Day." " Item, 
to hang an egg laid on Ascension Day in the roof of the house, preserveth the same from all hurts." 
The same writer mentions the celebrated Venetian superstition on this day, which is of great antiquity : 
" Every year, ordinarily, upon Ascension Day, the Duke of Venice, accompanied with the States, 
goeth with great solemnity to the sea, and, after certain ceremonies ended, casteth thereinto a 
gold ring of great value and estimation, for a pacificatory oblation ; wherewith their predecessors 
supposed that the wrath of the sea was assuaged." This custom " is said to have taken its rise 
from a grant of Pope Alexander the Third, who, as a reward for the zeal of the inhabitants in his 
restoration to the papal chair, gave them power over the Adriatick Ocean, as a man has power over 
his wife. In memory of which, the chief magistrate annually throws a ring into it, with these 
words : ' Desponsamus te, Mare, in signum perpetui dominii ;' We espouse thee, O Sea, in testimony 
of our perpetual dominion over thee." Gent. Mag. vol. XXXIV. for Novemb. 1764, p. 483. See 
also Gent. Mag. vol. V. for March 1735, p. 118. In another volume of the same Miscellany, for 
March 1798, p. 184. we have an account of the ceremony rather more minute: " On Ascension 
Day, the Doge, in a splendid barge, attended by a thousand barks and gondolas, proceeds to a 
particular place in the Adriatic. In order to compose the angry gulph, and procure a calm, the 
patriarch pours into her bosom a quantity of holy water. As soon as this charm has had its effect, 
the Doge, with great solemnity,- through an aperture near his seat, drops into her kp a gold ring, 


He cites Spelman b as deriving this custom from the times of the Heathens, 
and that it is an imitation of the Feast called Terminalia, which was dedicated 
to the God Terminus, whom they considered as the guardian of fields and 
landmarks, and the keeper up of friendship and peace among men. The pri- 
mitive custom used by Christians on this occasion was, for the people to accom- 
pany the bishop or some of the clergy into the fields, where Litanies were 

repeating these words, ' Desponsamus te, Mare, in signum veri perpetuique domirdi.-' We espouse 
thee, O Sea, in token of real and perpetual dominion over thee. But, alas ! how precarious are 
all matrimonial contracts in the present licentious age ! This cara sposa, notwithstanding her 
repeated engagements, has been lately guilty of crim. con. to a flagrant degree, and now resigns 
herself to the possession of debauchees. It is therefore most probable that this annual ceremony 
will be no more repeated. This harlot will be divorced for ever." 

b " Refert Plutarcluis in Problem. 13. Numam Popilium cum finithnis agri terminis constituisse 
et in ipsis finibus Terminum Deum, quasi finium praesidem, amicitiaeque ac pacis custodem po- 
suisse. Hinc festa ei dicata quae Terminalia nuncupantur, quorum vice noa quotannis ex vc- 
tustissima consuetudine parochiarum terminos lustramus." Spelm. Gloss, v. PERAMBUI.ATIO. 

c In Mr. Lysons's " Environs of London," vol. I. p. 309, among his curious extracts from 
the Churchwarden's Accounts at Lambeth, I find the following relative to our present subject : 

. s. d. 
" 3516. Paid for dyinge of buckram for the Lett'y clothes 008 

For paynting the Lett'mj clothes -------- O S 

For lynynge of the Lett'ny clothes ------- o 4 

probably for the processions in which they chaunted the Litany on Rogation Day." 

A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for August 1790, p. 719, under the signature of Ripo- 
niensis, tells us : " Some time in the Spring, I think the day before Holy Thursday, all I he clergy, 
attended by the singing men and boys of the choir, perambulate the town in their canonicals, 
singiug Hymns; and the blue-coat Charity boys follow, singing, with green boughs in their hands." 

In London, these parochial processions are still kept up on Holy Thursday. 

Shaw, in his History of Staffordshire, vol. ii. part I, p. 165, speaking of Wolverhampton, says : 
" Among the local customs which have prevailed here may be noticed that which was popularly 
called ' Processioning.' Many of the older inhabitants can well remember when the sacrist, 
resident prebendaries, and members of the choir, assembled at Morning Prayers on Monday and 
Tuesday in Rogation Week, with the charity children, bearing long poles clothed with all kinds of 
flowers then in season, and which were afterwards carried through the streets of the town with 
much solemnity, the clergy, singing men and boys, dressed in their sacred vestments, closing 
the procession, and chanting in a grave and appropriate melody, the Canticle, Benedicite, Ouinia 
Opera, &c. 

" This ceremony, innocent at least, and not illaudable in itself, was of high antiquity, having 
probably its origin in the Roman offerings of the Primitiae, from which (after being rendered 


made; and the mercy of God implored, that he would avert the evils of plague 
and pestilence, that he would send them good and seasonable weather, and give 
them in due season the fruits of the earth. 

conformable to our purer worship) it was adopted by the first Christians, and handed down, 
through a succession of ages, to modern times. The idea was, no doubt, that of returning thanks 
to God, by whose goodness the face of nature was renovated, and fresh means provided for the 
sustenance and comfort of his creatures. It was discontinued about 1765." 

" The boundaries of the township and parish of Wolverhampton are in many points marked out 
by what are called Gospel Trees, from the custom of having the Gospel read under or near them 
by the clergyman attending the parochial perambulations. Those near the town were visited for 
the same purpose by the Processioners before mentioned, and are still preserved with the strictest 
care and attention." 

The subsequent is from Herrick's Hesperides, p. 18. 

" Dearest, bury me 

Under that Holy-Oke, or Gospel Tree; 
Where (though thou see'st not) thou may'st think upon 
Me, when t/iou yeerly go 'st Procession." 

It appears, from a curious Sermon preached at Blanford Forum, Dorsetshire, January 17th, 
1570, by William Kcthe, minister, and dedicated to Ambrose Earl of Warwick, 8vo. Lond. 
p. 20. that in Rogation Week the Catholicks had their "Gospelles at superstitious CROSSES, 
declc'd like idols*." 

Plott, in his History of Oxfordshire, p. 203, tells us that at Stanlake, in that county, the 
minister of the parish, in his Procession in Rogation Week, reads the Gospel at a barrel's head, in 
the cellar of the Chequer Inn, in that town, where some say there was formerly an hermitage, 
others that there was antiently a Cross, at which they read a Gospel in former times ; over which 
the house, and particularly the cellar, being built, they are forced to continue the custom in man- 
ner as above. 

J. Boemus Aubanus tells us, that in Franconia, in his time, the following rites were used on 
this occasion, some of which are still retained at Oxford, and in London, and probably in many 
other places. 

"Tribus illis diebus, quibus Apostolico Instituto, rnajores Litanise passim per totum orbempera- 

* The following occurs among Flecknoe's Epigrams, p. 85 : 

" On the Fanaticks, or Cross-Haters. 
" Who will not be baptiz'd, onely because 
In Baptism they make the sign o" th' Cross, 
Shewing, the whilst, how well the Divel and he, 
In loving of the signe ' th' Cross, agree. 
Seeing how every one in swimming does 
Stretch forth their arms, and make the sign o' th' Cros, 
Were he to swim, rather than make (I think) 
The si^ne o' th' Cross, he'd sooner chuse to sink." 


The Litanies or Rogations then used gave the name of Rogation Week d to 
this time. They occur as early as the 550th year of the Christian aera, when 
they were first observed by Mamertius Bishop of Vienna, on account of the 

guntur, in plurimis Franconiae locis multts Cruces (sic enim dicunt parochianos Coctus, quibus 
turn sanctae Crucis Vexillum praeferri solet) conveniunt. In sacrisque aedibus non siinul et unain 
inclodiam, sed singular singulam per chores separatim canunt : et puellae et adolescent es mun- 
diori quique habitu amicti frondentibus sertis caput coronati omnes et scipionibus salignis in- 
structi. Stant sacrarum /Kdimn sacerdotes diligenter singularum cantus attendcntes s et quam- 
cunque suavius cantare cognoscunt, illi ex veteri more aliquot vini conchas dari adjudicant." p. 269. 

At Oxford, at this time, the little Crosses cut in the stones of buildings, to denote the division 
of the parishes, are whitened with chalk. Great numbers of boys, with peeled willow-rods in 
their hands, accompany the minister in the Procession. 

In one of " Skelton's Merie Tales," he says to a cobler, " Neybour, you be a tall man, and in 
the kynge's warres you must here a standard : a Standard, said the cobler, what a thing is tliat J 
Skelton saide, it is a great Banner, such a one as thou dooest use to beare in Rogacyon Wceke." 

In Bridges's History of Northamptonshire are recorded various instances of having Processions 
on Cross Monday. 

Mr. Pennant, in his Tour from Chester to London, p. 30, tells us, that, " on Ascension Day, 
the old inhabitants of Nantwich piously sang a hymn of thanksgiving for the blessing of the Brine. 
A veiy antient Pit, called the Old Brine, was also held in great veneration, and till within these 
tew years was annually, on that Festival, bedecked with boughs, flowers, and garlands, and was 
encircled by a jovial band of young people, celebrating the day with song and dance." 

<1 In " The Epistles and Gospelles," &c. London, imprinted by Richard Bankes, 4to. b. I. fol. 
.'J9. is given a " Sermon in the Crosse Dayes, or Rogation Dayes." It begins thus : " Good people, 
this weke is called the Rogation Weke, bycause in this wekc we be wonte to make Bolempne & 
generall supplications, or prayers, which be also called Lytanyes." The preacher complains: 
" Alacke, for pitie ! these solenme and accustomable processions and supplications be nowe growen 
into a right foule and detestable abuse, so that the moost parte of men and women do come forth 
rather to set out and shew themselves, and to passe the time with vayne and unprofitable tales and 
mery fables, than to make generall supplications and prayers to God, for theyr lackes and necessi- 
ties. I wyll not speake of the rage and furour of these uplandysh processions and gangynges about, 
which be spent in ryotyng and in belychere. Furthermore, the Banners and Badges of the Crosse 
be so unreverently handled and abused, that it is merveyle God destroye us not in one daye. In 
these Rogation Days, if it is to be asked of God, and prayed for, that God of his goodnes wyll 
defende and save the corne in the felde, and that he wyll vouchsave to pourge the ayer. For this 
cause be certaine Gospels red in the wide felde amonges the corne and grasse, that by the vertue 
and operation of God's word, the power of the wicked spirites, which kepe in the air and infccte 
the same (whence come pestilences and the other kyndes of diseases and syknesses), may be layde 
downe, and the aier made pure and cleane, to th' intent the corne may remaine unharmed, and 
not infected of the sayd hurteful spirites, but serve us for our use and bodely sustenauuce." 


frequent earthquakes that happened, and the incursions of wild beasts, which 
laid in ruins and depopulated the City 6 . 

Blount tells us that Rogation Week (Saxon, Dang bagaj-, i. e. days of perambulation,) is always 
the next but one before Whitsunday ; and so called, because on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednes- 
day of that week, Rogations and Litanies were used ; and fasting, or, at least, abstinence, then 
enjoined by the Church to all persons, not only for a devout preparative to the feast of Christ's 
glorious Ascension, and the descent of the Holy Ghost shortly after, but also to request and sup- 
plicate the blessing of God upon the fruits of the earth. And, in this respect, the solemnization 
of matrimony is forbidden, from the first day of (he said week till Trinity Sunday. The Dutch 
call it Cruys-week, Cross-week, and it is so called in some parts of England, because of old, (as 
still among the Roman Catholicks,) when the Priests went in procession this week, the Cross was 
carried before them. In the Inns of Court, he adds, it is called Grass-week, because the commons 
of that week consist much of sallads, hard eggs, and green sauce upon some of the days. The 
feast of the old Romans, called llobigalia and Ambarvalia (quod victima arva ambiret) did, in 
their heathenish way, somewhat resemble these institutions, and were kept in May, in honour of 

Johnson, in his edition of Gerarde's Herbal, speaking of the Bircti Tree, p. 14/8, says : " It serveth 
well to the decking up of houses and banquetting-rooms, for places of pleasure, and for beautify- 
ing of streets in the Crosse or Gang Week, and such like." 

Rogation Week, in the Northern parts of England, is still called GANG WEEK, from to gang, 
which, in the North, signifies to go. Gang-puca, also, occurs in the rubrick to John, c. 17, in 
the Saxon Gospels : and Ganjj-bagaj- are noticed in the Laws of Alfred, c. 6. and in those of 
Athelstan, c. 13. See Lambard's Archaionomie, fol. Cantabr. 1044. pp. 24. 49. Ascension Day, 
emphatically termed Huly Thursday with us, is designated in the same manner by King Alfred, 
On pone haljan punpej- ba;j. Gang-days are classed under certain " Idolatries maintained by the 
Church of England," in a work intitled, "The Cobler's Book." See Herbert's edit, of Ames, 
p. 1687. See Wheatley's Illustration of the Common Prayer, 8vo. Lond. 1741. p. 240. Du Cange 
Gloss, v. ROGATIO. Hire. Glossar. Suio-Gothicum, v. GANGDAYAR. 

In "TheTryall of a Man's owne selfe," by Thomas Newton, 12mo. Lond. 1602. p. 47. he 
enquires, under " Sinnes externall and outward," against the first Commandment, whether the 
parish clergyman "have patiently winked at, and quietly suffered, any rytes wherein hath been 
apparent superstition as gadding and raunging about with procession." To gadde in procession is 
among the customs censured by John Bale, in his Declaration of Bonuer's Articles, 1554. 
signal, D. 3. 

In Michael Wodde's Dialogue, (already cited under Palm Sunday,) A. D. 1554. signat. D. 8. 
we read : " What say ye to procession in Gang-dales, when Sir John saith a Gospel to our corne 
feldes. (Oliver^ As for your Latine Gospels read to the corne, I am sure the corne under- 
standeth as much as you, and therefore hath as much profit by them as ye have, that is to sai, 
none at al." 

' " Dum Civitas Viennensium crebro Terra; motu subrueretur et Bestiarum desolaretur iucursu, 


By the Canons of Cuthbert, Archbishop of Canterbury, made at Cloveshoo, 
in the year 747, it was ordered that Litanies, that is, Rogations, should be 
observed by the clergy and all the people, with great reverence, on the seventh 
of the Calends of May, according to the rites of the Church of Rome, which 
terms this the greater Litany, and also, according to the custom of our fore- 
fathers, on the three days before the Ascension of our Lord, with fastings, &c. f 

In the Injunctions also made in the reign of Queen Elizabeths, it is ordered 

^ _________^_ . : _ : . . ___ . . : . . t 

sanctus Mamertus, ejus Civitatis Episcopus, eas legitur pro mails, qua premisimus ordinasse. 
Walifred. IStral. c. 28. clc Rep. Ecclesiast. 

f Concil. Cloveshoviae sub Cuthberto Arch. Cant. An. 747- cap. 1C. Ut Laetauia;, t. Rogationes, a 
clero omnique populo his die-bus cum magna revcrentia agantur, id est, septimo Kalendarum 
Maiarum juxta ritum Romans; Ecclcsis, qu:e et Letania Major apud earn vocatur. Et item quo- 
que secundum inorem priorum nostrorum, 3 dies ante Ascensionem Domini nostri in ccelos, 
cum jejunio, &c. Cone. Brit. p. 249. Spelman, Gloss, p. 3t!9. v. LITANIA. 

f Injunct. 19. Eliz. By " Advertisements partly for due Order in the publique Administration 
of Common Prayers, &c. by vertue of the Queene s Majesties Letters commaunding the same, the 
25th day of January (/ An. Eliz.) 4to. Lond. imp. by Reginalde Wolfe, signat. B. 1. it was di- 
rected, inter alia "Item, that, in the Rogation Dates of Procession, they singe or saye in Englishe 
the two Psalntes beginnyng ' Benedic Anima mea,' &c. withe the Letanye S; suffrages thereunto, 
tcithe one homelye of thanlfes^evyng to God, alreadie devised and divided into foure partes, with- 
out addition of any superstitious ceremonyes heretofore used." 

I find the following in Articles of Enquiry within the Archdeaconry of Middlesex, A. D. 1662, 
4to. " Doth your Minister or Curate, in Rogation Dayes, go in Perambulation about your Parish, 
saying and using the Psalms and Suffrages by Law appointed, as viz. Psalm 103. and 104. the 
Letany and Suffrages, together with the Homily, set out for that end and purpose ? Doth he admo- 
nish the people to give thanks to God, if they see any likely hopes of plenty, and to call upon him 
for his mercy, if there be any fear of scarcity : and do you, the Churchwardens, assist him in it }" 

In similar Articles for the Archdeaconry of Northumberland, 1662, the following occurs : 
" Doth your Parson or Vicar observe the three Rogation Dayes." 

In others for the Diocese of Chichester, 1637, is the subsequent: "Doth your Minister 
yeerely, in Rogation Weeke, for the knowing and distinguishing of the bounds of parishes, and 
for obtaining God's blessing upon the fruites of the ground, walke the Perambulation, and say, 
or sing, in English, the Gospells, Epistles, Letanie, and other devout Prayers ; together with 
the 103d and 101th Psalmes ?" 

In Herbert's Country Parson, 12mo. Lond. 1652, p. 157. ch. 35, we are told: "The Countrey 
Parson is a lover of old customs, if they be good and harmlesse. Particularly, he loves Procession, 
and maintains it, because there are contained therein four manifest advantages. First, a blessing 
of God for the fruits of the field. 2. Justice in the preservation of bounds. 3. Charitie in loving, 
walking, and neighbourly accompanying one another, with reconciling of differences at that time, 


" that the Curate, at certain and convenient places, shall admonish the people 
to give thanks to God, in the beholding of God's benefits, for the increase and 
abundance of his fruits, saying the 103d Psalm, &c. At which time the mini- 
ster shall inculcate these, or such sentences, 'Cursed be he which translateth 
the bounds and doles of his neighbours,' or such orders of prayers as shall be 

What is related on this head in the life of Hooker, author of the Ecclesiasti- 
cal Polity, is extremely interesting 11 : " He would by no means omit the cus- 
tomary time of Procession, persuading all, both rich and poor, if they desired 
the preservation of love and their parish rights and liberties, to accompany him 

if there be any. 4. Mercie, in relieving the poor by a liberal distribution and largess, which at that 
time is or ought to be used. Wherefore he exacts of all to be present at the Perambulation, and 
those that withdraw and sever themselves from it he mislikes, and reproves as uncharitable and 
unneighbourly ; and, if they will not reforme, presents them." 

In Mr. Nichols's Churchwardens' Accounts, 4to. 1797, St. Margaret's Westminster, under 
A. D. 1555, is the following article : 

" Item, paid for spiced bread on the Ascension-Even, and on the Ascension Day, Is." 


" Item, paid for bread, wine, ale, and beer, upon the Ascension-Even and Day, against my 
Lord Abbott and his Covent cam in Procession, and for strewing herbs the samme day, 7. Id." 


" Item, for bread, ale, and beer, on Tewisday in the Rogacion Weeke, for the parishioners that 
went in Procession, Is." 


" Item, for bread and drink for the parishioners that went the Circuit the Tuesday in the Roga- 
tion Week, 3s. 4d." 

" Item, for bread and drink the Wednesday in the Rogation Week, for Mr. Archdeacon and the 
Quire of the Minster, 3s. 4d." 


" Item, paid for going the Perambulacion, for fish, butter, cream, milk, conger, bread and 
drink, and other necessaries, 4s. 8d." 


" Item, for the charges of diet at Kensington for the Perambulation of the Parish, being a yeare 
of great scarcity and deerness, a6. 8s. 8d." 


" Item, paid for bread, drink, cheese, fish, cream, and other necessaries, when the worshipful! 
and others of the parish went the Perambulation to Kensington, s.\.5. 
fc See Zouch's edit, of Walton's Lives, Svo. York, 1807, p. 239. 


hi his Perambulation': and most did so: in which Perambulation he would 
usually express more pleasant discourse than at other times, and would then 
always drop some loving and facetious observations, to be remembered against 
the next year, especially by the boys' and young people: still inclining them, 

1 "On Ascension Day," says Sir John Hawkins, in his History of Music, vol. II. p. 112, "it is 
the custom of the inhabitants of parishes, with their officers, to perambulate in order to perpe- 
tuate the memory of their boundaries, and to impress the remembrance thereof in the minds of 
young persons, especially boys ; to invite boys, therefore, to attend to this business, some little 
gratuities were found necessary; accordingly, it was the custom, at the commencement of the Pro- 
cession, to distribute to each a willow-waud, and at the end thereof a handful of points, which 
were looked on by them as honorary rewards long after they ceased to be useful, and were called 

In the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Mary at Hill, in the City of London, 1682, are the fol- 
lowing entiies : sS- s. d. 
" For fruit on Perambulation Day 1 O 
For points for two yeres -----2 10 

The following extracts are from the Churchwardens' Books of Chelsea : 
" 1670. Spent at the Perambulation Dinner 3 10 O 
Given to the boys that were whipt - - 4 O 
Paid for poynts for the boys - - - - O 2 

Lysons's Environs of London, vol. ii. p. 146. 

The second of these entries alludes to another expedient for impressing the recollection of par- 
ticular boundaries on the minds of some of the young people. 

It appears from an Order of the Common Council of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, dated 15th May 
1657, that the scholars of the public grammar-school there, and other schools in the town, were 
invited to attend the magistrates when they perambulated the boundaries of the town. 

On Ascension Day, the Magistrates, River-Jury, &c. of the Corporation of the above town, 
according to an antient custom, make their annual procession by water in their barges, visiting 
the bounds of their jurisdiction on the river, to prevent encroachments. Chearful libations are 
offered on the occasion to the Genius of our wealthy Flood, which Milton calls the " coaly Tyne :" 

" The sable stores on whose majestic strand 
More tribute yield than Tagus' golden sand." 
In the Painted Hall at Greenwich Hospital the Genius of the Tyne is represented pouring forth 

* The following occurs in Hcrrick's Hesperides, p. 102, and seems to prove that children used to play at some 
game fn points and pins : 

" A little transverce bone, 
Which boyes and bruckel'd children call 
(Playing for points and pins) Cockall." 


and all his present Parishioners, to meekness, and mutual kindnesses and love; 
because love thinks not evil, but covers a multitude of infirmities." 

The word Parochia, or Parish, antiently signified what we now call the Dio- 
cese of a Bishop. 

In the early ages of the Christian Church, as kings founded cathedrals, so 
great men founded parochial churches, for the conversion of themselves and 
their dependants : the bounds of the parochial division being commonly the 
same with those of the founder's jurisdiction. 

Some foundations of this kind were as early as the time of Justinian the 

Before the reign of Edward the Confessor, the Parochial Divisions in this 
kingdom were so far advanced, that every person might be traced to the Parish 
to which he belonged. This appears by the Canons published in the time of 
Edgar and Canute. The distinction of Parishes as they now stand appears to 
have been settled before the Norman Conquest. In Domesday Book the Pa- 
rishes agree very near to the modern division k . 

Camclen tells us that this kingdom was first divided into Parishes by Ilono- 
rius, Archbishop of Canterbury, A. D. 636, and counts two thousand nine 
hundred and eighty-four Parishes. 

The Lateran Council made some such division as this. It compelled every 
man to pay Tithes to his Parish-priest. Men before that time payed them to 
whom they pleased ; but, without being sarcastical, one might observe, that 
since then it has happened that few, if they could be excused from doing it, 
would care to pay them at all. 

The following is the account given of "Procession Weeke" and "Ascension 
Day," in Barnabc Googe's Translation of the " Ilegrium Pupisticum" of Nao- 
georgus, fol. 53 : 

his coal in great abundance. There is the Severn with her lampreys, and the Humber with his 
pigs of lead, which, with the Thames and Tyne, compose the four great rivers of England. 

Heath, in his History of the Scilly Islands, 8vo. Lond. 1750, p. 128, tells us : " At Exeter, in 
Devon, the boys have an annual custom of damming-up the channel in the streets, at going the 
bounds of the several parishes in the city, and of splashing the water upon people passing by." 
" Neighbours as well as strangers are forced to compound hostilities, by giving the boys of each 
parish money to pass without ducking : each parish asserting its prerogative, in this respect." 

k See Collier's Eceles. Hist. vol. I. p. 231. 


" Now comes the day wherein they gad abrade, with Crosse in hande, 

To bounties of every field, and round about their neighbour's lande : 

And, as they go, they sing and pray to euery saint aboue, 

But to our Ladie specially, whom most of all they loue. 

When as they to the towne are come, the Church they enter in, 

And looke what Saint that Church doth guide, they humbly pray to him, 

That he preserve both come andfruite from storms and tempest great, 

And them defend from harme, and send them store of drink e and meat. 

This done, they to the taverne go, or in the fieldes they dine, 

Where downe they sit and feede a pace, and fill themselues with wine, 

So much that oftentymes without the Crosse they come away, 

And miserably they reele, till as their stomacke vp they lay. 

These things three dayes continually are done, with solemne sport, 

With many Crosses often they vnto some Church resort, 

Whereas they all do chaunt alovvde, wherby there streight doth spring, 

A bawling noyse, while euery man seekes hyghest for to sing." 

"Then conies the day when Christ ascended to his father's seate, 
Which day they also celebrate, with store of drinke and meate 1 . 

1 The following is from Hasted's History of Kent, vol. i. p. 109 : 

" There is an odd custom used in these parts, about Keston and Wickham, in Rogation Week ; 
at which time a number of young men meet together for the purpose, and with a most hideous 
noise, run into the orchards, and, incircling each tree, pronounce these words : 

" Stand fast root ; bear well top ; 
God send us a youling sop, 
Every twig apple big, 
Every bough apple enow." 

For which incantation the confused rabble expect a gratuity in money, or drink, which is no 
less welcome ; but if they are disappointed of both, they with great solemnity anathematize the 
owners and trees with altogether as insignificant a curse. 

" It seems highly probable that this custom has arisen from the antient one of Perambulation 
among the Heathens, when they made prayers to the Gods for the use and blessing of the fruits 
coming up, with thanksgiving for those of the preceding year ; and as the Heathens supplicated 
Eolus, God of the Winds, for his favorable blasts, so in this custom they still retain his name 
with a very small variation j this ceremony is called Youling, and the word is often used in their 

Armstrong, in his History of Minorca, Svo. Lond. 1752, p. 5, speaking of the Terminalia, feast* 

instituted by the Romans in honour of Terminus, the guardian of boundaries and landmarks, 

whose festival was celebrated at Rome on the 22d or 23d of February every year, when cakes 

and fruits were offered to the God, and sometimes sheep and swine, says : " He was represented 

VOL. I, A A 


Then every man some birde must eate, I know not to what ende, 
And after dinner all to Church they come, and their attende. 
The blocke that on the aultar still till then was scene to stande, 
Is drawne vp hie aboue the roofe, by ropes, and force of hande : 
The Priestes about it rounde do stand, and chaunt it to the skie, 
For all these mens religion great in singing most doth lie. 
Then out of hande the dreadfull shape of Sathan downe they throw, 
Oft times, with fire burning bright, and dasht asunder tho, 
The boyes with greedie eyes do watch, and on him straight they fall, 
And beate him sore with rods, and breake him into peeces small. 
This done, the wafers downe doe cast, and singing Cakes the while, 
With Papers rounde amongst them put, the children to beguile. 
With laughter great are all things done : and from the beames they let 
Great streames of water downe to fall, on whom they meane to wet. 
And thus this solemne holiday, and hye renowmed feast, 
And all their whole deuotion here is ended with a ieast." 

under the figure of an old man's head and trunk to the middle without arms, which they erected 
on a kind of pedestal that diminished downwards to the base, under which they usually buried a 
quantity of charcoal, as they thought it to be incorruptible in the earth ; and it was criminal by 
their laws, and regarded as an act of impiety to this Divinity, to remove or deface any of the 
Termini. Nay, they visited them at set times, as the Children in London are accustomed to per- 
ambulate the limits of their Parish, which they call processioning ; a custom probably derived to 
them from the Romans, who were so many ages in possession of the Island of Great Britain." 

The following customs, though not strictly applicable to Parochial Perambulations, can pro- 
perly find a place no where but in this Section. 

" Shaftsbury is pleasantly situated on a hill, but has no water, except what the inhabitants 
fetch at a quarter of a mile's distance from the manour of Gillingham, to the lord of which they 
pay a yearly ceremony of acknowledgement, on the Monday before Holy Thursday. They dress 
up a garland very richly, calling it the Prize Besom, and carry it to the Manour-house, attended 
by a calf's-head and a pair of gloves, which are presented to the lord. This done, the Prize 
Besom is returned again with the same pomp, and taken to pieces; just like a milk-maid's 
garland on May Day, being made up of all the plate that can be got together among the house- 
keepers." Travels of Tom Thumb, p. 16. 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xv. p. 45. (8vo. Edinb. 1795,) Parish of Lanark, 
in the county of Lanark, we read of " the riding of the Marches, which is done annually upon 
the day after Whitsunday Fair by the Magistrates and Burgesses, called here the Landsmark or 
Langemark Day, from the Saxon langemark. It is evidently of Saxon origin, and probably esta- 
blished here in the reign of, or sometime posterior to Malcolm I." 

My servant, B. Jelkes, who lived several years at Evesham in Worcestershire, informed me of 
an ancient custom at that place for the master-gardeners to give their work-people a treat of 
baked peas, both white and grey, (and pork,) every year on Holy Thursday. J. B. 



" If them lov'st me then, 

Steal forth thy father's house to-morrow night ; 
And in the wood, a league without the town, 
Where I did meet thee once with Helena, 
To do observance to a morn of MAY, 
There will I stay for thee." 

Shakesp. Mids. N. Dream, A. i. sc. 1. 

IT was anciently the custom for all ranks of people to go out a Maying early 
on the first of May a . Bourne b tells us that, in his time, in the villages in the 
North of England, the juvenile part of both sexes were wont to rise a little after 
midnight on the morning of that day, and walk to some neighbouring wood, 
accompanied with musick and the blowing of horns c , where they broke down 

a Stubbs, in the "Anatomic of Abuses," Svo. Lond. 1585, fol. 94, tells us: "Against Maie 
every parishe, towne, and village, assemble themselves together, bothe men, women, and chil- 
dren, olde and yong, even all indifferently : and either goyng all together, or deuidyng themselves 
into companies, they goe some to the woodes and groves, some to the hilles and niountaines, 
some to one place, some to another, where they spende all the night in pastymes, and in the 
mornyng they returne, bringing with them birch, bowes, and braunches of trees, to deck their 
assemblies withall." " I have heard it credibly reported," he adds, " (and that riva voce) by men 
of great gravitie, credite, and reputation, that of fourtie, three score, or a hundred maides goyng 
to the woode ouer night, there have scarcely the thirde parte of them returned home againe 

b Antiquit. Vulg. chap. xxv. 

c Hearne, in his Preface to Robert of Gloucester's Chronicle, p. xviii. speaking of the old custom 

of drinking out of Horns, observes : " 'Tis no wonder, therefore, that upon the Jollities on the 

Jirst of May formerly, the custom of blowing with, and drinking in, HORNS so much prevailed, 

which, though it be now generally disus'd, yet the custom of blowing them prevails at this sea- 


branches from the trees and adorned them with nosegays and crowns of flowers. 
This done, they returned homewards with their booty, about the time of sun- 
rise, and made their doors and windows triumph in the flowery spoil d . 

There was a time when this custom was observed by noble and royal per- 
sonages, as well as the vulgar. Thus we read, in Chaucer's Court of Love, 
that, early on May Day, " fourth goth al the Court, both most and lest, to 
fetche the flouris fresh, and braunch, and blome." 

It is on record that King Henry the Eighth and Queen Katherine partook of 
this diversion 6 : and historians also mention that he, with his courtiers, in the 

son, even to this day, at Oxford, to remind people of the pleasantness of that part of the year, 
which ought to create mirth and gayety, such as is sketch'd out in some old Books "of Offices, 
such as the Prymer of Salisbury, printed at Rouen, 1551, 8vo." 

[Aubrey, in his " Remains of Gentilisme and Judaisme," MS. Lansd. 226. fol. 5 b. says : " Me- 
morandum, at Oxford the boys do blow cows horns and hollow canes all night ; and on May Day 
the young maids of every parish carry about garlands of flowers, which afterwards they hang up 
in their churches."] 

Mr. Henry Rowe, in a note in his Poems, vol. ii. p. 4. says : "The Tower of Magdalen Col- 
lege, Oxford, erected by Cardinal Wolsey, when bursar of the College, A. D. 1492, contains a 
musical peal of ten bells, and on May Day the Choristers assemble on the top to usher in the Spring." 
[Dr. Chandler, however, in his Life of Bishop Waynflete, assures us that WoLsey had no share in 
the erection of the structure : and Mr. Chalmers, in his History of the University, refers the ori- 
gin of the custom to a mass of requiem, wlu'ch, before the Reformation, used to be annually per- 
formed on the top of the Tower, for the soul of Henry the Seventh. " This was afterwards com- 
muted," he observes, " for a few pieces of musick, which are executed by the Choristers, and for 
which the Rectory of Slimbridge, in Gloucestershire, pays annually the sum of slO."] 
d In Herrick's Hesperides, p. 74, are the following allusions to customs on May Day : 
"Come, my Corinna, come: and comming, marke 
How each field turns a street ; each street a park 
Made green and trimmed with trees : see how 
Devotion gives each house a bough, 
Or branch : each porch, each doore, ere this, 
An arke, a tabernacle is 
Made up of white-thorn, neatly enterwove." 
* * * * 

" A deale of youth, ere this, is come 
Back, and with white-thorne laden home, 
Some have dispatch'd their cakes and creame, 
Before that we have left to dreame." 
* Stow, in his " Survay of London," 4to. Lond. 1603, p. 99, quotes from Hall an account of 


beginning of his reign, rose on May Day very early to fetch May, or green 
boughs, and they went, with their bows and arrows, shooting to the wood. 

Henry the Eighth's riding a Maying from Greenwich to the high ground of Shooter's-hill, with 
Queen Katherine his wife, accompanied with many Lords and Ladies. He tells us, also, that 
" on May Day in the morning, every man, except impediment, would walke into the sweete mea- 
dowes and greene woods, there to rejoyce their spirites with the beauty and savour of sweete 
flowers, and with the harmony of birds, praysing God in their kind." "I finde also," he adds, 
" that in the moneth of May, the citizens of London of all estates, lightly in every parish, or 
sometimes two or three parishes joyning togither, had their severall Mayings, and did fetch in 
May-poles, with diverse warlike shewes, with good archers, morice-dauncers, and other devices, 
for pastime all the day long, and towards the evening they had stage-playes, and bonefiers in the 
streetcs. Of these Mayings we reade, in the raigne of Henry the Sixt, that the aldermen and 
shiriffes of London being, on May Day, at the Bishop of London's wood, in the parish of Stebun- 
heath, and having there a worshipfull dinner for themselves and other commers, Lydgate the 
Poet, that was a monke of Bery, sent to them by a pursiuant a joyfull commendation of that sea- 
son, containing sixteen staves in meter roiall, beginning thus: 

" Mightie Flora, Goddesse of fresh flowers, 

Which clothed hath the soyle in lustie greene, 
Made buds spring, with her sweete showeis, 

By influence of the sunne-shine. 
To doe pleasance of intent full cleane, 
Vnto the States which now sit here, 
Hath Vere downe sent her owne daughter deare." 

Polydore Vergil says, that " at the Calendes of Maie," not only houses and gates were gar- 
nished with boughs and flowers, but "in some places the Churches, whiche fashion is derived of 
the Romaynes, that use the same to honour their goddesse Flora with suche ceremonies, whom 
they named Goddesse of Fruites." Langley's Poljd. Verg. fol. 102 b. 

In an Account of Parish Expences in Coates's Hist, of Reading, p. 216. A. D. 1504, we have: 
" It. payed, for felling and bryngy'g home of the bow (bough) set in the M'cat-place, for settyng 
up of the same, mete and drink, viii d ." 

In "Vox Graculi," 4to. 1623, p. 62, under "May," are the following observations : 

" To Islington and Hogsdon runncs the streame 
Of giddie people, to eate cakes and creame." 

" May is the merry moneth on the first day, betimes in the morning, shall young fellowes and 
mayds be so enveloped with a mist of wandring out of their wayes, that they shall fall into ditches 
one upon another. In the afternoone, if the skie cleare up, shall be a stinking stirre at picke- 
hatch, with the solemne revels of morice-dancing, and the hobbie-horse so neatly presented, as if 
one of the masters of the parish had playd it himselfe. Against this high-day, likewise, shall be 


Shakespeare says, (Hen. VIII. A. v. sc. 3.) it was impossible to make the peo- 
ple sleep on May Morning; and (Mids. N. Dream, A., iv. sc. 1.) that they rose 
early to observe the rite of May. 

The Court of King James the First, and the populace, long preserved the 
observance of the Day, as Spelman's Glossary remarks, under the word 

Milton has the following beautiful Song - 

" On May Morning. 

"Now the bright morning star, day's harbinger, 
Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her 
The flow'ry May, who from her green lap throws 
The yellow Cowslip and the pale Primrose. 
Hail bounteous May ! that dost inspire 
Mirth and youth and warm desire ; 
Woods and groves are of thy dressing, 
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing. 
Thus we salute thee with our early Song, 
And welcome thee, and wish thee long." 

In the old Calendar of the Romish Church so often referred to in this work, 
I find the following observation on the 30th of April : 

" The boys go out and seek May trees f ." 

This receives illustration from an Order in a Manuscript in the British 
Museum, which has been already quoted more than once, intitled, "The State 
of Eton School, A. D. 1560 s ," wherein it is stated, that, on the day of St. 

such preparations for merry meetings, that divers durty sluts shall bestow more in stuffe, lace, 
and making up of a gowne and a peticote, then their two yeares wages come to, besides the be- 
nefits of candles' ends and kitchen stuffe." 

In "Whimzies : or a true Cast of Characters," 12mo. Lond. 1631, p. 132, speaking of a Ruf- 
fian, the author says : " His^ sovereignty is showne highest at May-games, Wakes, Summerings, 
and Rush-bearings." 

f " Mail Arbores & pueris exquiruntur." 

B " Status Scholae Etonensis, A. D. 1560," MS. Brit. Mus. Donat. 4843. " Mense Maio. In die 
Philippi et Jacobi, si lubeat preceptor! et si sudumj&jerit, surgant qui volunt circiter 4 tam ad col- 
ligendps ramos Maios, modo non sit madefactis pedibus : et turn ornant Fenestras Cubiculi fron- 
dibus virentibus, redolentque domus fragrantibus herbis." 


Philip and St. James, if it be fair weather, and the Master grants leave, those 
boys who choose it may rise at four o'clock to gather May branches, if they can 
do it without wetting their feet : and that on that day they adorn the windows of 
the bed-chamber with green leaves, and the houses are perfumed with fragrant 

Misson, in his Travels in England, translated by Ozell, p. 307, says : " On 
the first of May, and the five and six days following, all the pretty young coun- 
try girls that serve the town with milk, dress themselves up very neatly, and 
borrow abundance of silver plate, whereof they make a pyramid, which they 
adorn with ribbands and flowers, and carry upon their heads, instead of their 
common milk-pails. In this equipage, accompanied by some of their fellow 
milk-maids and a bagpipe or fiddle, they go from door to door, dancing before 
the houses of their customers, in the midst of boys and girls that follow them 
in troops, and every body gives them something." 

In the Dedication to Col. Martin's familiar Epistles, c. 4to. Lond. 1685, 
we have the following allusion to this custom : 

" What's a May-day-milking-pail without a garland and fiddle ?" 

"The Mayings," says Mr. Strutt, "are in some sort yet kept up by the 
milk-maids at London, who go about the streets with their garlands and musick, 
dancing : but this tracing is a very imperfect shadow of the original sports ; for 
May-poles were set up in the streets, with various martial shows, morris-dan- 
cing and other devices, with which, and revelling, and good chear, the day was 
passed away. At night they rejoiced, and lighted up their bonfires h ." 

h Manners and Customs, vol. II. p. 99. In Scot's " Discovery of Witchcraft," p. 152, he tells 
us of an old superstition : " To be delivered from witches, they hang in their entries (among other 
things) hay-thorn, otherwise white-thorn, gathered on May Day." The following Divination on 
May Day is preserved in Gay's Shepherd's Week, 4th Pastoral : 

" Last May Day fair, I search'd to find a snail 

That might my secret lover's name reveaj.4 

Upon a gooseberry-bush a snail I found, 

For always snails near sweetest fruit abound. 

I seiz'd the vermine ; home I quickly sped, 

And on the hearth- the milk-white embers spread : 

Slow crawl'd the snail, and, if I right can spell, 

In the soft ashes mark'd a curious L : 


These May Customs are not yet quite forgotten in London and its vicinity. 

In the Morning Post, Monday, May 2d, 1791, it was mentioned, "that 
yesterday, being the first of May, according to annual and superstitious cus- 
tom, a number of persons went into the fields and bathed their faces w itn the 
dew on the grass, under the idea that it would render them beautiful." 1 re- 
member, too, that in walking that same morning between Hounslow and 
Brentford, I was met by two distinct parties of girls with garlands of flowers, 
who begged money of me, saying, " Pray, Sir, remember the Garland." 

The young chimney-sweepers, some of whom are fantastically dressed in 
girls' clothes, with a great profusion of brick-dust by way of paint, gilt paper, 
&c. making a noise with their shovels and brushes, are now the most striking 
objects in the celebration of May Day in the streets of London 1 . 

Oh, may this wondrous omen lucky prove ! 

For L is found in Lubberkin and Love." 

* I have more than once been disturbed early on May morning at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, by 
the noise of a song, which a woman sung about the streets who had several garlands in her hands, 
and which, if I mistook not, she sold to any that were superstitious enough to buy them. It is 
homely and low, but it must be remembered that our Treatise is not on the sublime : 

" Rise up, maidens ! fy for shame ! 
For I've been four lang miles from hame: 
I've been gathering my garlands gay : 
Rise up, fair maids, and take in your May." 

Here is no pleonasm. It is simply, as the French have it, your May. In a Royal Household 
Account, communicated by Craven On), esq. of the Exchequer, I find the following article: 
"July 7, 7 Hen. VII. Item, to the Maydens of Lambeth for a May, lOsh." So, among " Receipts 
and Disbursements of the Canons of the Priory of St. Mary, in Huntingdon," in Mr. Nichols's 
"Illustrations of the Manners and Expences of Ancient Times in England," 4to. Lond. 1797, 
p. 294, we have : " Item, gyven to the Wyves of Herford to the niakyng of there May, 12d." 

The following shews a custom of making fools on the first of May, like that on the first of 
April: " U. P. K. spells May Goslings," is an expression used by boys at play, as an insult to the 
losing party. U. P. K. is " up pick," that is, up with your pin or peg, the mark of the goal. 
An additional punishment was thus ; the winner made a hole in the ground, with his heel, into 
which a peg about three inches long was driven, its top being below the surface ; the loser, with 
his hands tied behind him, was to pull it up with his teeth, the boys buffeting with their hats, 
and calling out, " Up pick, you May Gosling," or " U. P. K. Gosling in May." A May Gosling, on 
the first of May, is made with as much eagerness, in the North of England, as an April Noddy, 
(Noodle,) or Fool, on the first of April." Gent. Mag. for April 1791, p. 327. 


In "The Laws of the Market, printed by Andrew Clark, printer to the 
Hon'" le City of London," 12mo. 1677, under "The Statutes of the Streets of 
this City against Noysances," 29. I find the following : " No man shall go in 
the streets by night or by day with bow bent, or arrows under his girdle, nor 
with sword unscabbar'd, under pain of imprisonment ; or with hand-gun, having 
therewith powder and match, except it be in a usual May-game or Sight*." 

To May Day sports may be referred the singular bequest of Sir Dudley Diggs, knt. (mentioned 
in Hasted's Kent, vol. ii. p. 787 ) who by his last will, dated in 1638, left the sum of ^20. to 
be paid yearly to two young men and two maids, who, on May 19th, yearly, should run a tye, at 
Old Wives Lees in Chilham, and prevail ; the money to be paid out of the profits of the land of this 
part of the manor of Selgrave, which escheated to him after the death of Lady Clive. These 
lands, being in three pieces, lie in the parishes of Preston and Faversham, and contain about 
forty acres, and all commonly called the Running Lands. Two young men and two young maids 
run at Old Wives Lees in Chilham, yearly on May 1st, and the same number at Sheldwich Lees 
on the Monday following, by way of trial, and the two which prevail at each of those places run 
for the ^10. at Old Wives Lees, as abovementioned, on May 19." A great concourse of the 
neighbouring gentry and inhabitants constantly assemble there on this occasion. 

"There was, till of late years," says the same writer, (Hist, of Kent, vol. ii. p. 284.) "a singu- 
lar, though a very ancient custom, kept up, of electing a Deputy to the Dumb Borsholder of 
Chart, as it was called, claiming liberty over fifteen houses in the precinct of Pizein-well ; every 
householder of which was formerly obliged to pay the keeper of this Borsholder one penny yearly. 

" This Dumb Borsholder was always first called at the Court- Leet holden for the hundred of 
Twyford, when its keeper, who was yearly appointed by that Court, held it up to his call, with a 
neckcloth or handkerchief put through the iron ring fixed at the top, and answered for it. This 
Borsholder of Chart, and the Court Leet, has been discontinued about fifty years: and the 
Borsholder, who is put in by the Quarter Sessions for Watringbury, claims over the whole parish. 
This dumb Borsholder is made of wood, about three feet and half an inch long, with an iron ring 
at the top, and four more by the sides, near the bottom, where it has a square iron spike fixed, 
four inches and a half long, to fix it in the ground, or, on occasion, to break open doors, &c. 
which used to be done, without a warrant of any Justice, on suspicion of goods having been un- 
lawfully come by and concealed in any of these fifteen houses." (He subjoins an engraving of it.) 
" It is not easy," Mr. Hasted adds, " at this distance of time, to ascertain the origin of this dumb 
officer. Perhaps it might, have been made use of as a badge or ensign by the office of the market 
here. The last person who acted as deputy to it, was one Thomas Clampard, a blacksmith, whose 
heirs have it now in their possession." 

k By the subsequent, No. 43, it should seem that London had then some of those disgraceful 
customs which have been so much complained of, even recently, in Edinburgh, Madrid, &c. " No 
man shall cast any urine-boles or ordure-boles into the streets by day or night, afore the.hour of 

VOL. I. B B 


Browne, in his " Britannia's Pastorals," 8vo, Lond. 1625, B. ii. p. 122, thus 
describes some of the May revellings : 

" As I have seene the LADY of the MAY' 

Set in an arbour (on a Holy-day) 

Built by the May-pole, where the jocund swaines 

Dance with the maidens to the bagpipes straines, 

When envious Night commands them to be gone, 

Call for the merry youngsters one by one, 

And, for their well performance, soone disposes, 

To this a garland interwove with roses ; 

To that a carved hooke or well-wrought scrip ; 

Gracing another with her cherry lip ; 

To one her garter ; to another then 

A hand-kerchiefe cast o'er and o'er agen : 

And none returneth emptie that hath spent 

His paines to fill their rurall meriment. 

So, &c." 

Hutchinson, in his History of Northumberland (vol. ii. p. 14, adjinem), tells 
us, that a syllabub is prepared for the May Feast, which is made of warm milk 

nine in the night : and also he shall not cast it out, but bring it down and lay it in the ehanel, 
under the pein of 3s. 4d. ; and if he do cast it upon any person's head, the party to have a lawful 
recompence, if he have hurt thereby." No. 22 and No. 23 are worth citing : " No man shall blow 
any horn in the night within this city, or whistle after the hour of nine of the clock in the night, 
under pein of imprisonment :" " No man shall use to go with vizards, or disguised by night, 
under like pein of imprisonment :" as are 14 and 16 : " No Goung-Farmer shall carry any ordure 
till after nine of the clock in the night, under pein of 13s. 4d." " No man shall bait any bull, 
bear, or horse, in the open street, under pein of 20s." I do not understand the following, No. J. 
" No budge-man shall lead but two horses, and he shall not let them go unled, under pein of 2*." 
1 Audley, in "A Companion to the Almanack, &c." 12mo, Cambr. 1802, p. 21. May Day. says: 
" Some derive May from Maia, the mother of Mercury, to whom they offered sacrifices on the first 
day of it ; and this seems to explain the custom which prevails on this day where the writer re- 
sides (Cambridge), of children having a figure dressed in a grotesque manner, called a May Lady, 
before which they set a table, having on it wine, &c. They also beg money of passengers, which 
is considered as an offering to the manikin; for their plea to obtain it is, " Pray remember the poor 
May Lady." Perhaps the Garlands, for which they also beg, originally adorned the head of the 
goddess. The bush of Hawthorn, or, as it is called, May, placed at the doors on this day, may point 
out the first fruits of the Spring, as this is one of the earliest trees which blossoms." 


from the cow, sweet cake and wine : and a kind of divination is practised, by 
Jishing with a ladle for a wedding ring, which is dropped into it, for the pur- 
pose of prognosticating who shall be first married." 

Mr. Toilet, in the description of his famous window, of which more will be 
said hereafter, tells us : " Better judges may decide that the institution of this 
festival originated from the Roman Floralia, or from the Celtic La Beltine, 
while I conceive it derived to us from our Gothic ancestors." Olaus Magnus de 
Gentibus Septentrionalibus, Lib. xv. c. 8, says : " that after their long winter 
from the beginning of October to the end of April, the Northern nations have a 
custom to welcome the returning splendour of the sun with dancing, and mu- 
tually to feast each other, rejoicing that a better season for fishing and hunting 
was approached." In honour of May Day the Goths and Southern Swedes had 
a mock battle between Summer and Winter, which ceremony is retained in the 
Isle of Man, where the Danes and Norwegians had been for a long time masters. 

Mr. Borlase, in his curious Account of the Manners of Cornwall, speaking 
of the May Customs, says : This usage " is nothing more than a gratulation 
of the Spring;" and every house exhibited a proper signal of its approach, " to 
testify their universal joy at the revival of vegetation m ." 

m He says : " An antient custom still retained by the Cornish is, that of decking their doors and 
porches on the first day of May with green boughs of sycamore and hawthorn, and of planting 
trees, or rather stumps of trees, before their houses." 

In the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. xxiv. for 1754, p. 354 (Life of Mrs. Pilkington), a custom is 
alluded to, yet, 1 believe, not entirely obsolete. The writer says, " They took places in the waggon, 
and quitted London early on May morning ; and it being the custom in this month for the pas- 
sengers to giveJthe waggoner at every inn a ribbon to adorn his team, she soon discovered the origin 
of the proverb, '' as fine as a horse ;" for, before they got to the end of their journey, the poor 
beasts were almost blinded by the tawdry party-coloured flowing honours of their heads." 

Another writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for June 1790, vol. Ix. p. 520, says : " At Hel- 
stone, a genteel and populous borough-town in Cornwall, it is customary to dedicate the eighth of 
May to revelry (festive mirth, not loose jollity). It is called the Furry Day, supposed Flora's Day ; 
not I imagine, as many have thought, in remembrance of some festival instituted in honour of that 
goddess, but rather from the garlands commonly worn on that day. In the morning, very early, 
troublesome rogues go round the streets with drums, or other noisy instruments, disturbing 


In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xi. 8vo, Edinb. 1794, 
p. 620, the minister of Callander in Perthshire, speaking of " Peculiar Cus- 
toms," says : " The people of this district have two customs, which are fast 
wearing out, not only here, but all over the Highlands, and therefore ought to 
be taken notice of while they remain. Upon the first day of May, which is called 
Beltan or Bal-tein-da.y, all the boys in a township or hamlet meet in the moors. 
They cut a table in the green sod, of a round figure, by casting a trench in the 
ground of such circumference as to hold the whole company. They kindle a 
fire, and dress a repast of eggs and milk in the consistence of a custard. They 
knead a cake of oatmeal, which is toasted at the embers against a stone. After 

their sober neighbours, and singing parts of a song, the whole of which nobody now recollects, 
and of which I know no more than that there is mention in it of " the grey goose quill," and of 
going to the green wood to bring home " the Summer and the May-o." And, accordingly, haw- 
thorn flowering branches are worn in hats. The commonalty make it a general holiday ; and if 
they find any person at work, make him ride on a pole, carried on men's shoulders, to the river, 
over which he is to leap in a wide place, if he can ; if he cannot, he must leap in, for leap he 
must, or pay money. About 9 o'clock they appear before the school, and demand holiday for the 
Latin boys, which is invariably granted ; after which they collect money from house to house. 
About the middle of the day they collect together, to dance hand-in-hand round the streets, to the 
sound of the fiddle, playing a particular tune, which they continue to do till it is dark. This 
they call a " Faddy." In the afternoon, the gentility go to some farm-house in the neighbourhood, 
to drink tea, syllabub, &c. and return in a Morrice dance to the town, where they form a Faddy, 
and dance through the streets till it is dark, claiming a right of going through any person's house, 
in at one door, and out at the other. And here it formerly used to end, and the company of all 
kinds to disperse quietly to their several habitations ; but latterly corruptions have in this as in 
other matters crept in by degrees. The ladies, all elegantly dressed in white muslins, are now 
conducted by their partners to the ball-room, where they continue their dance till supper time j 
after which they all faddy it out of the house, breaking off by degrees to their respective houses. 
The mobility imitate their superiors, and also adjourn to the several public houses, where they 
continue their dance till midnight. It is, upon the whole, a very festive, jovial, and withall so 
sober, and I believe singular custom : and any attempt to search out the original of it, inserted 
in one of your future Magazines, will very much please and gratify DURGAN." 

The month of May is generally considered as an unlucky time for the celebration of marriage. 
This is an idea which has been transmitted to us by our popish ancestors, and was borrowed by 
them from the antients. Thus Ovid, in his Fasti, lib. v. 

" Nee viduae taedis eadem, nee virginis apta 

Tempora. Quas nupsit, non diuturna fuit. 
Hac quoque de causa, (si te proverbia tangunt) 
Mense malar- Maio nubere vulgus ait;' 1 


the custard is eaten up, they divide the cake into so many portions, as similar 
as possible to one another in size and shape, as there are persons in the com- 
pany. They daub one of these portions all over with charcoal, until it be per- 
fectly black. They put all the bits of the cake into a bonnet. Every one, 
blindfold, draws out a portion. He who holds the bonnet is entitled to the 
last bit. Whoever draws the black bit is the devoted person who is to be 
sacrificed to Baal n , whose favour they mean to implore, in rendering the year 
productive of the sustenance of man and beast. There is little doubt of these 
inhuman sacrifices having been once offered in this country as well as in the 
East, although they now pass from the act of sacrificing, and only compel the 
devoted person to leap three times through the flames ; with which the cere- 
monies of this festival are closed." The other custom, supposed to have a 
similar mystical allusion, will be found under ALLHALLOW EVEN. 

In the same work, vol. v. p. 84, the Minister of Logierait, in Perthshire, 
says : " On the first of May, O. S. a festival called Beltan is annually held 
here. It is chiefly celebrated by the Cowherds, who assemble by scores in the 
fields to dress a dinner for themselves, of boiled milk and eggs. These dishes 
they eat with a sort of cakes baked for the occasion, and having small lumps, 
in the form of nipples, raised all over the surface. The cake might, perhaps, 
be an offering to some Deity in the days of Druidism." 

Mr. Pennant's account of this rural sacrifice is more minute. He tells us 
that, on the first of May, in the Highlands of Scotland, the Herdsmen of every 
village hold their Bel-tein. " They cut a square trench in the ground, leaving 
the turf in the middle ; on that they make a fire of wood, on which they dress 

" " Bal-tein signifies the Fire of Baal. Baal or Ball is the only word in Gaelic for a globe. 
This festival was probably in honour of the sun, whose return, in his apparent annual course, they 
celebrated, on account of his having such a visible influence by his genial warmth on the produc- 
tions of the earth. That the Caledonians paid a superstitious respect to the sun, as was the prac- 
tice among many other nations, is evident, not only by the sacrifice at Baltein, but upon many 
other occasions. When a Highlander goes to bathe, or to drink waters out of a consecrated foun- 
tain, he must always approach by going round the place from East to West on the South side, in 
imitation of the apparent diurnal motion of the sun. This is called in Gaelic going round the 
right, or the lucky way. The opposite course is the wrong, or the unlucky way. And if a person's 
meat or drink were to affect the wind-pipe, or come against his breath, they instantly cry out 
deisheal ! which is an ejaculation, praying that it may go by the right way." 


a large caudle of eggs, butter, oatmeal, and milk, and bring, besides the in- 
gredients of the caudle, plenty of beer and whiskey : for each of the company 
must contribute something. The rites begin with spilling some of the caudle on 
the ground, by way of libation : on that, every one takes a cake of oatmeal, 
upon which are raised nine square knobs, each dedicated to some particular 
being, the supposed preserver of their flocks and herds, or to some particular 
animal, the real destroyer of them. Each person then turns his face to the fire, 
breaks oft' a knob, and, flinging it over his shoulders, says: ' This I give to 
thee, preserve thou my horses;' ' This to thee, preserve thou my sheep; and 
so on. After that, they use the same ceremony to the noxious animals. ' This 
I give to thee, O fox! spare thou my lambs? c this to thee, O hooded crow;' 
'this to thee, eagle T When the ceremony is over, they dine on the caudle; 
and, after the feast is finished, what is left is hid by two persons deputed for 
that purpose ; but on the next Sunday they re-assemble, and finish the reliques 
of the first entertainment." (Tour in Scotland, 8vo. Chester, 1771, p- 90.) 

1 found the following note in p. 14-9 of " The Muses' Threnodie," Svo. Perth, 
1774: "We read of a cave called 'The Dragon Hole,' in a steep rock on the 
face of Kinnoul Hill, of very difficult and dangerous access. On the first day 
of May, during the aera of Popery, a great concourse of people assembled at 
that place to celebrate superstitious games, now (adds the writer) unknown to 
us, which the Reformers prohibited under heavy censures and severe penalties, 
of which we are informed from the ancient records of the Kirk Session of 
Perth ." 

Martin, in his Account of the Western Islands of Scotland, (edit. 1716, p. 7-) 
speaking of the Isle of Lewis, says, that "the natives in the village Barvas 
retain an antient custom of sending a man very early to cross Barvas river, 
every first day of May, to prevent any females crossing it first ; for that, they 
say, would hinder the salmon from coming into the river all the year round. 
They pretend to have learn 'd this from a foreign sailor, who was ship-wreck'd 
upon that coast a long time ago. This observation they maintain to be true, 
from experience. 

Sir Henry Piers, in his Description of Westmeath, 1682, tells us that the 
See also Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xviii. p, 560. 


Irish " have a custom every May Day, which they count their first day of sum- 
mer, to have to their meal one formal dish, whatever else they have, which 
some call stir-about, or hasty-pudding, that is, flour and rnilk boiled thick; 
and this is holden as an argument of the good wive's good huswifery, that made 
her corn hold out so well as to have such a dish to begin summer fare with; for 
if they can hold out so long with bread, they count they can do well enough for 
\vhat remains of the year till harvest; for then milk becomes plenty, and butter, 
new cheese and curds and shamrocks, are the food of the meaner sort all this 
season. Nevertheless, in this mess, on this day, they are so formal, that even 
in the plentiiullest and greatest houses, where bread is in abundance all the 
year long, they will not fail of this dish, nor yet they that for a month before 
wanted bread P." 

Cainden, in his "Antient and Modern Manners of the Irish," says: "They 
fancy a green bough of a tree, fastened on May Day against the house, will 
produce plenty of milk that summer'." 

General Vallancey, in his " Essay on the Antiquity of the Irish Language," 
8vo. Dubl. 1772, p. 19, speaking of the first of May, says : " On that day the 
Druids drove all the cattle through the fires, to preserve them from disorders 
the ensuing year. This pagan custom is still observed in Munster and Con- 
naught, where the meanest cottager worth a cow and a wisp of straw practises 
the same on the first day of May, and with the same superstitious ideas r ." 

[Aubrey, in his " Remains of Gentilisme," MS. Lansd. 226, informs us that 
"'Tis commonly sayd in Germany that the witches do meet in the night before 

f Vallancey's Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis, No. 1. p. 121, 8vo. Dubl. 1770. 

* Cough's Cau'den, fol. Lond. 17SJ, vol. iii. p. 659 [properly, 6'(>7]. Du Chesne, in his History 
of England, p. 18, mentions the same circumstance. " II tiennent pour Sorciere la premiere 
femme qui leur demande du feu le premier jour de May : tuent ce jour mesme un lievre au milieu 
de leurs troupeaux, pour empescher qu'on ne derobe leur beurre ; et mettant encore a pareil 
jour des rameux ver<is a leurs portes, a fin que le laict abonde a leur bestiail tout le long de 1'Estd." 
See also " Memorable Things noted in the Description of the World," p. 112. 

' In the " Survey of the South of Ireland," p. 233, we read something similar to what has been 
already quoted in a note from the Statistical Account of Scotland. " The sun/y (says the writer,) 
" was propitiated here by sacrifices of fire : one was on the first of May, for a blessing on the seed. 
> f 


the first day of May, upon an high mountain, called the Blocks-berg, situated 
in Ascanien," (Hercynia, the Hartz-forest) " where they, together with the devils, 
doe dance and feast; and the common people doe, the night before the said 
day, fetch a certain thorn, and stick it at their house-door, believing the witches 
can then doe them no harm."] 

Bourne cites Polydore Vergil as telling us that, among the Italians, the youth, 
of both sexes, were accustomed to go into the fields on the Calends of May, 
and bring thence the branches of trees, singing all the way as they came, and 
so place them on the doors of their houses. 

This, he observes, is the relick of an ancient custom among the Heathens, 
who observed the four last days of April, and the first of May, in honour of 
the Goddess Flora, who was imagined the deity presiding over the fruit and 
flowers : a festival that was observed with all manner of obscenity and 

sown. The first of May is called, in the Irish language, La Beal-tine, that is, the day of Deal's 
fire. Vossius says it is well known that Apollo was called Belinus, and for this he quotes Hero- 
dian, and an inscription at Aquileia, Apollini Belino. The Gods of Tyre were Baal, Ashtaroth, 
and all the Host of Heaven, as we learn from the frequent rebukes given to the backsliding Jews 
for following after Sidonian idols : and the Phenician Baal, or Baalam, like the Irish Beal, or 
Bealin, denotes the sun, as Asturoth does the moon." 

' Antiq. Vulg. ch. xxv. " Est item consuetudinis ut juventus promiscui sexus laetabunda cal. 
Maii exeat in agros, et cantillans inde virides reportet arborum ramos, eosque ante domorum 
fores ponat prsesertim apud Italos. Haec vel a Romanis mutuo sumpta videntur, apud quos sic 
Flora cunctorum fructuum dea mense Maio, lascive colebatur, sicut supra diximus, vel ab Athe- 
niensibus sunt, quod illi in fame in templo Delphico "jKriavnv, id est, iresionem ponebant, hoc est 
ramum olivae, sive lauri plenum variis fructibus." Polyd. Verg. de Rer. Invent. 1. v. c. ii. fol. Bas. 
1525, p. 145. 

So Hospinian de Festis Judaeor. & Ethnicor. fol. 100. " Celebrabantur autem has Feriae atque 
Ludi, Lactantio teste, cum omni lascivia verbis et moribus pudendis, ad placandam Deam, qua? 
floribus et fructibus praeerat. Nam per Tubam convocabantur omnis generis Meretrices. Unde 
Juvenaiis, [Sat. vi. 1. 249.] 

' dignissima prorsus 

Florali Matrons Tuba.' 

Ese in thcatro denudatae," &c. 


Dr. Moresin follows Polydore Vergil in regard to the origin of this 


BOURNE, speaking of the first of May, tells us: "The after-part of the 
day is chiefly spent in dancing round a tall Poll, which is called a May Poll ; 
which being placed in a convenient part of the village, stands there, as it were 
consecrated to the Goddess of Flowers, without the least violation offer'd to it, 
in the whole circle of the year." 

Stubs, a puritanical writer of Queen Elizabeth's days, in continuation of a 
passage already quoted from his "Anatomic of Abuses 1 ," says: "But their 
cheefest Jewell they bring from thence" [the woods] " is their Male poole, 
whiche they bring home with greatc veneration, as thus. They have twentie or 
fourtie yoke of oxen, every oxe havyng a sweete nosegaie of flowers tyed on 
the tippe of his homes, and these oxen drawe home this Maie poole, (this 
stinckyng Idoll rather,) which is covered all over with flowers and hearbes, 
bounde rounde aboute with stringes, from the top to the bottomo, and some- 
tyme painted with variable colours, with twoo or three hundred men, women, 
and children followyng it, with greate devotion. And thus beyng reared up, 
with handkercheifes and flagges streamyng on the toppe, they strawe the grounde 
aboute, binde greene boughes about it, sett up Sommer haules, Bowers, and 
Arbours hard by it. And then fall they to banquet and feast, to leape and 
daunce aboute it, as the Heathen people did at the dedication of their Idollcs, 
whereof this is a perfect patterne, or rather the thyng itself b ." 

' " Maio mense exire in agros et cantando viridein frondem reportare, quam in domibus & 
domorum foribus appendant, aut a Flora lascivice Romanic dea, aut ab Atheniensibus est." Pa- 
patus, p. 91. 

See p. 179, note a. 

b In " Vox Graculi," 4to. 1623, p. 63, speaking of May, the author says : '' This day shall be 
erected long wooden Idols, called May Poles ; whereat many greasie churles shall murmure, that 
VOL. I. C C 


Mr. Tollett, of , Betley, in Staffordshire, in the account of his painted 
window printed in Mr. Steevens's Shakespeare, at the end of the play of King 
Henry IV. Part I. tell us, that the May Pole there represented " is painted 
yellow and black, in spiral lines. Spelraan's Glossary mentions the custom of 
erecting a tall May Pole, painted with various colours : and Shakespeare, in 

will not bestow so much as a faggot-sticke towards the warming of the poore : an humour that, 
while it seemes to smell of conscience, savours indeed of nothing but covetousnesse." 

M. Stevenson, in "The Twelve Moneths," &c. 4to. Lond. 1661, p. 2 1 2, says : "The tall young 
oak is cut down for a May Pole, and the frolick fry of the town prevent the rising sun, and, with 
joy in their faces and boughs in their hands, they march before it to the place of erection." 

I find the following in a curious collection of poetical pieces, entitled, " A pleasant Grove of 
New Fancies," Svo. Lond. 1657, p. 74 : 

" The May Pole. 
" The May Pole is up, 
Now give me the cup, 
I' 11 drink to the garlands around it, 
But first unto those 
Whose hands did compose 
The glory of flowers that crown'd it." 

On the subject of the May Pole consult Vossius de Orig. & Prog. Idololatrise, lib. ii. 

In Northbrooke's "Treatise wherein Dicing, Dauncing, vaine Playes, or Enterluds, with other 
idle Pastimes, &c. commonly used on the Sabboth Day, are reproued." 4to. Lond. H. Bynnem. p. 14O, 
is the following passage : " What adoe make our yong men at the time of May ? Do they not use night- 
watchings to rob and steale yong trees out of other mens grounde, and bring them home into 
their parishe, with minstrels playing before : and, when they have set it up, they will decke it 
with floures and garlandes, and daunce rounde, (men and women togilher, moste unseemely and 
intolerable, as I have proved before,) about the tree, like unto the children of Israeli that 
daunced about the golden calfe that they had set up," &c. 

Owen, in his Welsh Dictionary, rote BEDWEN, a Birch-tree, explains it also by " a May Pole, 
because it was always (he says) made of birch. It was customary to have games of various sorts 
round the Bcdwen ; but the chief aim, and on which the fame of the village depended, was, to 
preserve it from being stolen away, as parties from other places were continually on the watch 
for an opportunity ; who, if successful, had their feats recorded in songs on the occasion." 

In the Chapel Wardens' Accounts of Brentford, under the year 1623, is the following article : 
" Received for the May-pole, egl. 4s." Lysons's Envir. of Lond. vol. ii. p. 54. 

c " Apud nostrates hodie sospitat, cum in plebe turn in Regis palatio. Solet juventus palum in 
villis erigere eximia: proceritatis, tarns pictum coloribus, floribusque, fasciis, et teniis adornatum : 
celebritatis Dominam ceu Reginam eligere quae circa palum choreas ducit. Mane etiam Diei ad 
nemora coufluunt, deductisque inde Ramis viridibus aedes tarn sacras quam profanas excolunt. 


the play of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act Hi. sc. 2, speaks of a painted 
May Pole. Upon our Pole (adds Mr. Tollett) are displayed St. George's red 
cross, or the banner of England, and a white penon, or streamer, emblazoned 
with a red cross, terminating like the blade of a sword, but the delineation 
thereof is much faded d ." "Keysler," (he goes on to observe,) "in p. 78 
of his Northern and Celtic Antiquities, gives pens, rhaps, the original of 
May Poles; and that the French used to erect them appears also from 
Mezeray's History of their King Henry IV. and from a passage in Stow's 
Chronicle, in the year 1560. Mr. Theobald and Dr. Warburton acquaint us 
that the May Games, and particularly some of the characters in them, became 
exceptionable to the puritanical humour of former times. By an ordinance of 
the [Long] Parliament, in April 1644, all May Poles were taken down, and 
removed by the constables, churchwardens, &c. After the restoration, they 
were permitted to be erected again'." 

Egrediuntur et cum coetu aulico ad nemus ipse Rex et Regina frondcs atque ramulos referentes. 
Viguisse sub Edouardo I. consueludinem ex eo constat, quod ab uxore Robert! Breucii, forlissimi 
coronse Scotiae restauratoris, cum apud Anglos captiva teneretur, et de Regno desperaret, dictum 
est anno 1306, futures ipsos Regem et Reginam eis similes, qui choreas ducunt circa palum Maiuma:. 
Spclmanni Glossarium, fol. Lond. 1687, v. MAIUMA. See also Ducange, v. MAIUMA, and Car- 
penticr's Glossary, v. MAIUM. 

d Lodge, in his Wits Miserie, or the Devils of their age/' 4to. Lond. 1596, p. <27, de- 
scribing Usury, says : " His Spectacles hang beating * * * like the Flag in the Top of a May Pole." 
Borlase, speaking of the manners of the Cornish people, says : " From towns they make excursions 
on May Eve into the country, cut down a tall elm, bring it into the town with rejoicings, and 
having fitted a straight taper pole to the en;! of it, ami painted it, erect it in the most public part, 
and, upon holidays and festivals, dress it with garlands of flowers, or ensigns and streamers." 

e Reed's Shaksp. 8vo. 1803, vol. xi. p. 440. By King Charles the First's warrant, dated Oct. 
IS, 1633, it was enacted, that, " for his good people's lavvfull recreation, after the end of Divine 
Service, his good people be not disturbed, letted, or discouraged from any lawfull recreation: 
such as dancing, either men or women; archery for men, leaping, vaulting, or any other such 
harmless recreations ; nor from having of May Games, Whitson Ales, and Morris Dances, and the 
setting up of MAY POLES, and other sports therewith used ; so as the same be had in due and con- 
venient time, without impediment or neglect of Divine Service. And that women shall have leave 
to carry rushes to the church, for the decorating of it, according to their old custom. But with 
all his Majesty doth hereby account still as prohibited, all unlawful games to be used on Sundays 


In "Pasquil's Palinodia, a Poem," 4to. Lond. 1634, is preserved a curious 
description of May Poles f : 

"Fairely we marched on, till our approach 

Within the spacious passage of the Strand, 
Objected to our sight a summer-broach, 

Ycleap'd a May Pole, which, in all our land, 
No city, towne, nor streete, can parralell, 
Nor can the lofty spire of darken -well, 
Although we have the advantage of a rocke, 
Pearch up more high his turning weather-cock. 

" Stay, quoth my Muse, and here behold a Signe 
Of harmelesse mirth and honest neighbourhood, 
Where all the parish did in one combine 

To mount the rod of peace, and none withstood : 
When no capritious constables disturb them, 
Nor justice of the peace did seeke to curb them, 
Nor peevish puritan, in rayling sort, 
Nor over-wise church-warden, spoyl'd the sport. 

only, as bear and bull-baitings, interludes, and, at all times in the meaner sort of people by 
law prohibited, bowling." Harris's Life of Charles I. p. 48, note. 

The following were the words of the ordinance for their destruction, 4to. Lond. printed by Rob. 
White, 1644 : " And because the prophanation of the Lord's Day hath been heretofore greatly oc- 
casioned by May Poles, (a heathenish vanity, generally abused to superstition and wickednesse,) 
the Lords and Commons do further order and ordain, that all and singular May Poles, that are or 
shall be erected, shall be taken down and removed by the constables, borsholders, tything men, 
petty constables, and churchwardens of the parishes, when the same be ; and that no May Pole 
shall be hereafter set up, erected, or suffered to be within this kingdom of England or dominion 
of Wales, The said officers to be fined five shillings weekly till the said May Pole be taken downe." 
Die Sabbathi, 6 April, 1644. 

f [Mr. Douce observes that, " during the reign of Elizabeth, the Puritans made considerable 
liavoc among the May Games, by their preachings and invectives. Poor Maid Marian was assimi- 
lated to the Whore of Babylon ; Friar Tuck was deemed a remnant of Popery ; and the Hobby- 
horse as an impious and Pagan superstition : and they were at length most completely put to the 
rout as the bitterest enemies of religion. King James's Book of Sports restored the Lady and the 
Hobby-horse : but, during the Commonwealth, they were again attacked by a new set of fana- 
tics ; and, together with the whole of the May festivities, the Whitsun-ales, &c. in many parts 
of England, degraded." Illustr. of Shakspeare and of Ancient Manners, vol. ii. p. 463.] 


" Happy the age, and harmlesse were the dayes, 

(For then true love and amity was found,) 
When every village did a May Pole raise, 

And Whitson-ales and MAY-GAMES did abound : 
And all the lusty yonkers, in a rout, 
With merry lasses daunc'd the rod about, 
Then Friendship to their banquets bid the guests, 
And poore men far'd the better for their feasts. 
" The lords of castles, manners, tovvnes, and towers, 

Rejoic'd when they beheld the farmers flourish, 
And would come dovvne unto the summer-bowers 

To see the country-gallants dance the Morrice. 

" But since the SUMMER POLES were overthrown, 

And all good sports and merriments decay'd, 
How times and men are chang'd, so well is knowne, 

It were but labour lost if more were said. 


" Alas, poore May Poles ; what should be the cause 

That you were almost banish't from the earth ? 
Who never were rebellious to the Lawes ; 

Your greatest crime was harmelesse, honest mirth : 
What fell malignant spirit was there found, 
To cast your tall Pyramides to ground ? 
To be some envious nature it appeares, 
That men might fall together by the eares. 
" Some fiery, zealous brother, full of spleene, 

That all the world in his deepe wisdom scornes, 
Could not endure the May-Pole should be scene 

To weare a coxe-combe higher than his homes : 
He tooke it for an Idoll, and the feast 
For sacrifice unto that painted beast; 
Or for the wooden Trojan asse of sinne, 
By which the wicked merry Greeks came in. 

" But I doe hope once more the day will come, 

That you shall mount and pearch your cocks as high 


As ere you did, and that the pipe and drum 

Shall bid defiance to your enemy ; 
And that all fidlers, which in comers lurke, 
And have been almost starv'd for want of worke, 
Shall draw their crowds, and, at your exaltation, 
Play many a fit of merry recreation. 

"And you, my native town*, which was, of old, 

(When as thy bon-fires burn'd and May Poles stood, 
And when thy wassail-cups were uncontrol'd,) 

The summer bower of peace and neighbourhood. 
Although, since these went down, thou lyst forlorn, 
By factious schismes and humours over-borne, 
Some able hand I hope thy rod will raise, 
That thou mayst see once more thy happy dales." 

After the Restoration, as has been already noticed, May Poles were permit- 
ted to be erected again h . Thomas Hall, however, another of the puritanical 
writers, published his "Funebriae Flora? 1 , the Downfall of May Games," so 
late as 1660. At the end is a copy of verses, from which the subsequent selec- 
tion has been made : 

"I am Sir May-pole, that's my name; 
Men, May, and Mirth, give me the same. 

"And thus hath Flora, May, and Mirth, 
Begun and cherished my birth, 

t Leed. [Leeds?] 

h In a curious Tract, intitled, "The Lord's loud Call to England/' published by H. Jessey, 
1660, there is given part of a letter from one of the Puritan party in the North, dated " New- 
castle, 7th of May, 1660:" "Sir, the countrey, as well as the town, abounds with vanities ; now 
the reins of liberty and licentiousness are let loose : May-poles, and playes, and juglers, and all 
things else, now pass current. Sin now appears with a brazen face," &c. 

1 Dr. Stukeley, in his Itinerarhun Curiosum, fol. Lond. 1724, p. 29, says : There is a May-pole 
hill near Horn Castle, Lincolnshire, " where probably stood an Hermes in Roman times. The 
boys annually keep up the festival of the Floralia on May Day, making a procession to this hill 
with May gads (as they call them) in their hands. This is a white willow wand, the bark peel'd 
off, ty'd round with cowslips, a thyrsus of the Bacchinals. At night they have a bonefire, and 
Other merriment, which is really a sacrifice, or religious festival." 


Till time and means so favour'd mee, 
That of a twigg I waxt a tree : 
Then all the people, less and more, 
My height and tallness did adore. 

" under Heaven's cope, 

There's none as I so near the Pope. 
Whereof the Papists give to mee, 
Next papal, second dignity. 
Hath holy father much a doe 
When he is chosen ? so have I too : 
Doth he upon men's shoulders ride ? 
That honour doth to mee betide : 
There is joy at my plantation, 
As is at his coronation ; 
Men, women, children, on an heap, 
Do sing, and dance, and frisk, and leap ; 
Yea, drumms and drunkards, on a rout, 
Before mee make a hideous shout; 

For, where 'tis nois'd that I am come, 
My followers summon'd are by drum. 
I have a mighty retinue, 
The scum of all the raskall crew 
Of fidlers, pedlers, jayle-scap't slaves, 
Of tinkers, turn-coats, tospot-knaves, 
Of theeves and scape-thrifts many a one, 
With bouncing Besse, and jolly Jone, 
With idle boyes, and journey-men, 
And vagrants that their country run : 
Yea, Hobby-horse doth hither prance, 
Maid-Marrian and the Morrice-dance. 
My summons fetcheth, far and near, 
All that can swagger, roar, and swear k , 

k In ''The Honcstie of this Age," by Barnabe Rych, 4to. Loud. 1615, p. 5, is the following 


All that can dance, and drab, and drink, 
They run to mee as to a sink. 
These mee for their commander take, 
And I do them my black-guard make. 


I tell them 'tis a time to laugh, 
To give themselves free leave to quafl', 
To drink their healths upon their knee, 
To mix their talk with ribaldry. 


Old crones, that scarce have tooth or eye, 
But crooked back and lamed thigh, 
Must have a frisk, and shake their heel 
As if no stitch nor ache they feel. 
I bid the servant disobey, 
The childe to say his parents nay. 
The poorer sort, that have no coin, 
I can command them to purloin. 
All this, and more, I warrant good, 
For 'tis to maintain neighbourhood. 

The honour of the Sabbath-day 
My dancing-greens have ta'en away 
Let preachers prate till they grow wood, 
Where I am they can do no good/' 

At page 10, he says: "The most of these May-poles are stolien, yet they 
give out that the poles are given them." " There were two May-poles set up 
in my parish [King's-Norton] ; the one was stolien, and the other was given by 
a profest papist. That which was stolien was said to bee given, when 'twas 
proved to their faces that 'twas stolien, and they were made to acknowledge 
their offence. This pole that was stolien was rated at five shillings : if all the 
poles one with another were so rated, which were stolien this May, what a con- 
siderable sum would it amount to ! Fightings and bloodshed are usual at such 

passage : " the country swaine, that will sweare more on Sundaies, dancing about a May Pole, 
then he will doe all the week after at his worke, will have a cast at me." 


meetings, insomuch that 'tis a common saying, that 'tis w> festival unless there 
bee somejightings." 

" If Moses were angry (he says in another page) when he saw the people 
dance about a golden calf, well may we be angry to see people dancing the 
morrice about a post in honour of a whore, as you shall see anon." 

" Had this rudeness," he adds, " been acted only in some ignorant and ob- 
scure parts of the land, I had been silent; but when I perceived that the com- 
plaints were general from all parts of the land, and that even in Cheapside itself 
the rude rabble had set up this ensign of prophaneness, and had put the lord- 
mayor to the trouble of seeing it pulled down, I could not, out of my dearest 
respects and tender compassion to the land of my nativity, and for the preven- 
tion of the like disorders (if possible) for the future, but put pen to paper, and 
discover the sinful rise, and vile prophaneness that attend such misrule 1 ." p. 5. 

The author of the pamphlet, intitled, " The Way to Things by Words, and 
Words by Things," in his specimen of an Etymological Vocabulary, considers the 
May-pole in a new and curious light. We gather from him that our ancestors held 
an anniversary assembly on May-day ; and that the column of May (whence 
our May-pole) was the great standard of justice in the Ey-Commons or Fields 

1 In " Small Poems of divers Sorts, written by Sir Aston Cokain," 8vo, Lond. 1658, p. 209, is 
the following : 33. Of Wakes, and May-poles. 

" The Zelots here are grown so ignorant, 
That they mistake Wakes for some ancient Saint, 
They else would keep that Feast ; for though they all 
Would be cal'd Saints here, none in heaven they call : 
Besides they May-poles hate with all their soul, 
I think, because a Cardinal was a Vole." 

Stevenson, in " The Twelve Moneths," already quoted in another note, has these observations at 
the end of May : 

- " Why should the Priest against the May-pole preach ? 
Alas ! it is a thing out of his reach : 
How he the errour of the time condoles, , 
And sayes, 'tis none of the celestial poles ; 
Whilst he (fond man!) at May-poles thus perplext, 
Forgets he makes a May-game of his text. 
But May shall tryumph at a higher rate, 
Having Trees for poles, and Boughs to celebrate ; 
And the green regiment, in brave array, 
Like Kent's Great walking Grove, shall bring in May." P. 5, 



of May m . Here it was that the people, if they saw cause, deposed or punished 
their governors, their barons, and their kings. The judge's bough or wand (at 
this time discontinued, and only faintly represented by a trifling nosegay), and 
the staff or rod of authority in the civil and in the military (for it was the mace 
of civil power, and the truncheon of the field officers), are both derived from 
hence. A mayor, he says, received his name from this May, in the sense of 
lawful power; the crown, a mark of dignity and symbol of power, like the 
mace and sceptre, was also taken from the May, being representative of the gar- 
land or crown, which, when hung on the top of the May or Pole, was the great 
signal for convening the people ; the arches of it, which spring from the circlet, 
and meet together at the mound or round bell, being necessarily so formed, to 
suspend it to the top of the pole. 

The word May-pole, he observes, is a pleonasm ; in French it is called singly 
the Mai. 

He farther tells us, that this is one of the most antient customs, which from 
the remotest ages has been, by repetition from year to year, perpetuated down 
to our days, not being at this instant totally exploded, especially in the lower 
classes of life. It was considered as the boundary day, that divided the confines 
of M'inter and summer, allusively to which there was instituted a sportful war 
between two parties ; the one in defence of the continuance of winter, the other 
for bringing in the summer. The youth were divided into troops, the one in 
winter livery, the other in the gay habit of the spring. The mock battle" was 

m "At Hcsket (in Cumberland) yearly on St. Barnabas's Day, by the highway side under a thorn 
tree (according to the very ancient manner of holding assemblies in the open air), is kept the 
court for the whole Forest of Englewood." Nicolson and Burn's Hist, of Westmor. and Cumb. 
vol. ii. p. 344. 

Keysler, says Mr. Borlase, thinks that the custom of the May Pole took its rise from the earnest 
desire of the people to see their king, who seldom appearing at other times, made his procession 
at this time of year to the great assembly of the States held in the open air. 

11 " Suecis meridionalibus et Gothis, longissimo provinciarum spatio a polo remotis, alius ritus 
est, ut prime die Maii, sole per taurum agente cursum, duplices a magistratibus urbium consti- 
tuantur robustorum juvenum et virorum equestres turms, seu cohortes, tanquam ad durum ali- 
quem conflictum progressurae, quarum altera sorte deputato duce dirigitur : qui Hyemis titulo & 
habitu, variis indutus pellibus, hastis focalibus armatus, globatas nives, & crustatas glacies spargens, 
ut frigora prolonget,-sobequitat victoriosus : eoque duriorem se simulat, et efficit, quo ab vaporariis 
stiriae glaciales,tlependere videntur. Rursumque alterius equestris cohortis praefectus jEstatis Comes 
tiorialis appellatus, virentibus arboram frondibus, foliisque et floribus (difficulter repertis) vestitus, 


always fought booty ; the spring was sure to obtain the victory, which they ce- 
lebrated by carrying triumphantly green branches with May flowers, proclaiming 
and singing the song of joy, of which the burthen was in these or equivalent 
terms : " We have brought the summer home ." 

In a beautiful poem preserved in " The World," vol. i. No. 82, entitled, 
" The Tears of Old May Day," ascribed to Mr. Loveybond, are the following 
stanzas, in allusion to the alteration of the style : 

" Vain hope ! no more in choral bands unite 

Her virgin vot'ries, and at early dawn, 
Sacred to May, and Love's mysterious rite, 

Brush the light dew-drops from the spangled lawn P. 
To her no more Augusta's wealthy pride 

Pours the full tribute from Potosi's mine ; 
Nor fresh-blown garlands village-maids provide, 

A purer offering at her rustic shrine. 

cestivalibus indumentis parum securis, ex campo cum duce hyemali, licet separate loco et ordine, 
civitates ingrediuntur, hastisque edito spectaculo publico, quod sestas hyemem exuperet, experiuntur." 
Olai Magni Historise Septentr. Gentium Breviai-ium. 12mo. Lugd. Bat. 1645, lib. xv. cap. ii. p. 404. 

A singular custom used to be annually observed on May Day by the boys of Frindsbury *, and 
the neighbouring town of Stroud. They met on Rochester bridge, where a skirmish ensued be- 
tween them. This combat probably derived its origin from a drubbing received by the monks 
of Rochester in the reign of Edward I. These monks, on occasion of a long drought, set 
out on a procession for Frindsbury to pray for rain ; but the day proving windy, they apprehended 
the lights would be blown out, the banners tossed about, and their order much discomposed. 
They, therefore, requested of the Master of Stroud Hospital leave to pass through the orchard of 
his house, which he granted without the permission of his brethren ; who, when they had heard 
what the Master had done, instantly hired a company of ribalds, armed with clubs and bats, who 
way-laid the poor monks in the orchard, and gave them a severe beating. The monks desisted 
from proceeding that way, but soon after found out a pious mode of revenge, by obliging the men 
of Frindsbury, \vith due humility, to come yearly on Whit Monday, with their clubs in procession 
to Rochester, as a penance for their sins. Hence probably came the by-word of Frindsbury Clubs." 
Ireland's Picturesque Views of the Medway, sect. 4. 

P Alluding to the country custom of collecting May-dew. 

1 The plate-garlands of London. In the British Apollo, fol. Lond. 1708, vol. i. No. 25, to one 
asking " whence is derived the custom of setting up May-poles, and dressing them with garlands ; 
and what is the reason that the milk-maids dance before their customers doors with their pail* 
dressed up with plate?" it is answered : " It was a custom among the ancient "Britons, before con- 

* Hasted's History of Knt, vol. I. p. 548, says : " The boys of Rochester and Stroud." 


No more the May-pole's verdant height around, 
To valours games th' ambitious youth advance ; 

No merry bells and Tabor's sprightlier sound 
Wake the loud carol and the sportive dance." 

Sir Henry Piers, in his Description of Westmeath, in Ireland, 1682, says; 
" On May Eve, every family sets up before their door a green bush, strewed 
over with yellow flowers j which the meadows yield plentifully. In countries 
Avhere timber is plentiful, they erect tall slender trees, which stand high, and 
they continue almost the whole year ; so as a stranger would go nigh to imagine 
that they were all signs of ale-sellers, and that all houses were ale-houses r ." 



MR. TOLLET, in his Description of the Morris Dancers upon his window, 
thus describes the celebrated Maid Marian, who, as Queen of May, has a 
golden crown on her head, and in her left hand a red pink, as emblem of Sum- 
verted to Christianity, to erect these May-poles, adorned with flowers, in honour of the goddess 
Flora ; and the dancing of the milk-maids may be only a corruption of that custom in complyance 
with the town." 

r Vallancey's Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis, No. 1, p. 123. 

a The Morris Dance, in which bells are gingled, or staves or swords clashed, was learned, says 
Dr. Johnson, by the Moors, and was probably a kind of Pyrrhick, or military dance. 

" Morisco," says Blount, " (Span.) a Moor ; also a Dance, so called, wherein there were usu- 
ally five men, and a boy dressed in a girl's habit, whom they called the Maid Marrion, or, per- 
haps, Morian, from the Italian Morione, a head-piece, because her head was wont to be gaily 
trimmed up. Common people call it a Morris Dance." 

The Churchwardens' and Chamberlains' Books of Kingston-upon-Thames, furnished Mr. Lysons 
with the following particulars illustrative of our subject, given in the "Environs of London," 
vol. i. p. 226, under the head of 

" Robin Hood and May Game. 

. i. d. 
"23 Hen. VII. To the menstorel upon May-day 004 


iner. Her vesture was once fashionable in the highest degree. Margaret, the 
eldest daughter of Henry the Seventh, was married to James King of Scotland 
with the crown upon her head and her hair hanging down. Betwixt the crown 

23 Hen. VII. For paynting of the Mores garments, and for sarten grot leveres * 



s. d. 
2 4 
2 11 
O 10 
O 12 
1 3 
3 4 

9 4 
3 G 

5 4 

24 Hen. VII. For Little John's cote - - - - - 
1 Hen. VIII. For silver paper for the Mores dawnsara - 

5 Hen. VIII. Rec" 1 for Robin-hood's gaderyng at Croydon 
11 Hen. VIII. Paid foi three brode yerds of rosett for makyng the frcr's cote - 

7d. a peyre 
13 Hen. VIII. Eight yerds of fustyan for the Mores daunsars coats - 

The Word Livery was formerly used to signify any thing delivered: see the Northumberland Household 
Book, p. GO. If it ever bore such an acceptation at that time, one might be induced to suppose, from the fol- 
lowing entries, that it here meant a badge, or something of that kind : 

. s. ,1. 

" 15 C of leveres for Robin-hode 050 
For leveres, paper, and sateyn - 20 

For pynnes and leveryes 6 5 

For 13 C. of leverys- 4 4 

For 24 great lyverys 4." 

Probably these were a sort of cockades, given to the company from whom the- money was collected. J. B. 
t Mr. Steevens suggests, with great probability, that this word may have the same meaning as Howve, or 
Houve, used by Chaucer for a head-dress; Maid Marian's head-dress was always very fine, 
t It appears that this, as well as other games, was made a parish concern. 


and the hair was a very rich coif, hanging down behind the whole length of the 
body. This simple example sufficiently explains the dress of Marian's head. 




13 Hen. 


A dosyn of gold skynnes * for the Morres 



15 Hen. 


Hire of hats for Rohyn hode 

- o 


P&id for the litil th;it was lost _ - - - - 




16 Hen. 


Rec d at the Church-ale and Robyn-hode, all things deducted 

- 3 



Payd for 6 yerds -V of satyn for Robyn-hode's cotys - 




For makyng the same - 




For 3 ells of locramf - 

- O 



21 Hen. 


For spunging and brushing Robyn-hode's cotys 



28 Hen. 


Five hats and 4 porses for the daunsars - 




- o 


2 ells of worstede for Maide Maryan's kyrtle - 




For 6 payre of double sollyd showne 

- o 



To the mynstrele 




Tn flip frvpr ami flip ninpr fnr tn crn tn l~!rnvilnn 

- o 


" 29 Hen. VIII. Mem. lefte in the keping of the Wardens now beinge, a fryer's cote of russet, 
and a kyrtele of worsted weltyd with red cloth, a mowren's { cote of buckram, and 4 Morres daun- 
sars cotes of white fustian spangelyd, and two gryne saten cotes, and a dysardd's cote of cotton, 
and 6 payre of garters with bells." 

"After this period," says Mr. Lysons, " I find no entries relating to the above game||. It was 
so much in fashion in the reign of Henry VIII. that the king and his nobles would sometimes 
appear in disguise as Robinhood and his men, dressed in Kendal, with hoods and hosen." (See 
Holinshed's Chron. iii. f. SO5.) 

In Coates's History of Reading, p. 130, Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Mary's parish, we have : 

. s. d. 
A. D. 1557, " Item, payed to the Mynstrels and the Hobby Horse uppon May Day - O 3 

Item, payed to the Moirys Daunsers and the Mynstrelles, mete and drink 

at Whitsontide - - O 3 4 
Payed to them the Sonday after May Day - - O 20 

P d to the Painter for painting of their cotes - - O 2 8 

P d to the Painter for 2 dz. of Lyveryes - . - O 2O 

In the rare tract, of the time of Queen Elizabeth, entitled, " Plaine Percevall the Peace-maker 
of England," 4to. B. 4. b. mention is made of a "stranger, which seeing a quintessence (beside 
the Foole and the Maid Marian) of all the picked youth, strained out of a whole endship, footing 

* Probably gilt leather, the pliability of which was particularly accommodated to the motion of the dancers. 

f- A sort of coarse linen. 

J Probably a Moor's coat; the word Morian is sometimes used to express a Moor. Black buckram appears 
to have been much used for the dresses of the ancient mummers. 

llisard is an old word for a fool. 

|| [In the Churchwardens' Accounts of Great Marlow, it appears that dresses for the Morris Dance " were lent 
out to the neighbouring parishes. They are accounted for so late as 1629." See Langley's Antiquities of Des- 
borough, 4to. 1797, p. 142.] 


Her coif is purple, her surcoat blue, her cuffs white, the skirts of her robe yel- 
low, the sleeves of a carnation colour, and her stomacher red, with a yellow 

the Morris about a May-pole, and he not hearing, the minstrelsie for the fidling, the tune for the 
sound, nor the pipe for the noise of the tabor, bluntly demaunded if they were not all beside 
themselves, that they so lip'd and skip'd without an occasion." 

" Shakspeare makes mention of an English Whitson Morrice Dance, in the following speech of 
the IXiuphiu in Hen. V. 

"No, with no more, than if we heard that England 
Were busied with a Whitson Morrice Dance." 

" The English were famed," says Dr. Grey, " for these and such like diversions ; and even the 
old, as well as young persons, formerly followed them : a remarkable instance of which is given 
by Sir William Temple, (Miscellanea, Part 3. Essay of Health and Long Life,) who makes men- 
tion of a Morrice Dance in Herefordshire, from a noble person, who told him lie had a pamphlet 
in his library, written by a very ingenious gentleman of that county, which gave an account how, 
in such a year of King James's reign, there went about the country a sett of Morrice Dancers, 
composed of ten men, who danced a Maid Marrian, and a tabor and pipe : and how these ten, 
one with another, made up twelve hundred years. 'Tis not so much, says he, that so many in 
one county should live to that age, as that they should be in vigour and humour to travel and 
dance." Grey's Notes on Shakspeare, vol. i. p. SSS. 

The following description of a Morris Dance occurs in a very rare old Poem, intitled, " Cobbe's 
Prophecies, his Signes and Tokens, his Madrigalls, Questions and Answers," &c. 4to. Lond. 1614. 

" It was my hap of late, by chance, 

To meet a Country Morris Dance, 

When, cheefest of them all, the Foole 

Plaied with a ladle and a toole ; 

When every younger shak't his bells 

Till sweating feet gave fohing smells ; 

And fine M;iide Marian, with her smoile, 

Shew'd how a rascall plaid the roile : 

But, when the Hobby-horse did wihy, 

Then all the wenches gave a tihy : 

But when they gan to shake their boxe, 

And not a goose could catch a foxe, 

The piper then put up his pipes, 

And all the woodcocks look't like snipes, 

And therewith fell a show'ry streame," &c. 
As is the following in Cotgrave's "English Treasury of Wit and Language," 8vo. Lond. 1655, p. 56 : 

"How they become the Morris, with whose bells 

They ring all in to Whitson Ales, and sweat 

Through twenty scarfs and napkins, till the Hobby-horse 

Tire, and the Maid Marian, resolv'd to jelly, 

Be kept for spoon-meat." 


lace in cross-bars. In Shakespeare's play of Henry the Eighth, Anne Boleyn, 
at her coronation, is in her hair, or, as Holinshed says, her hair hanged 

We have an allusion to the Morris dancer in the Preface to " Mythomistes," a tract of the time 
of Charles I. printed by Henry Seyle, at the Tiger's Head in St. Paul's Church-yard : "Yet such 
helpes, as if nature have not beforehand in his byrth, given a Poet, all such forced art will come 
behind as Lame to the businesse, and deficient as the best taught countrey Morris dauncer, with all 
his bells and napkins, will ill deserve to be, in an Inne of Courte at Christmas, tearmed the thing 
the call a fine reveller." 

Stevenson, in "The Twelve Moneths," 4to. Lond. 1661, p. 17, speaking of April, tells us: 
"The youth of the country make ready for the Morris-dance, and the merry milk-maid supplies 
them with ribbands her true love had given her." 

In "Articles of Visitation and Enquiry for the Diocese of St. David," 4to. 1662, I find the fol- 
lowing article : " Have no minstrels, no Morris-dancers, no dogs, hawks, or hounds, been suf- 
fred to be brought or come into your church, to the disturbance of the congregation ?" 

The Editor of " The sad Shepherd," 3vo. 1783, p. 255, mentions seeing a company of Morrice- 
dancers from Abington, at Richmond in Surrey, so late as the summer of 1783. They appeared 
to be making a kind of annual circuit. See Reed's edit, of Shakspeare, Svo. Lond. 1803, 
vol. xiii. p. 276. 

A few years ago, a May Game, or Morris Dance, was performed by the following eight men in 
Herefordshire, whose ages, computed together, amounted to 80O years : J. Corley, aged 109 ; 
Thomas Buckley, 106 ; John Snow, 101 ; John Edey, 104 ; George Bailey, 106 ; Joseph Med- 
bury, 100; John Medbury, 95; Joseph Pidgeon, 79. 

[Since these Notes were collected, a Dissertation on the ancient English Morris Dance has ap- 
peared, from the pen of Mr. Douce, at the end of the second volume of his " Illustrations of Shak- 
speare and of Ancient Manners." 

Both English and Foreign Glossaries, Mr. Douce observes, uniformly ascribe the origin of this 
dance to the Moors : although the genuine Moorish, or Morisco Dance, was, no doubt, very dif- 
ferent from the European Morris. Strutt, in his Sports and Pastimes of the People of England, 
has cited a passage from the play of Variety, 1649, in which the Spanish Morisco is mentioned, 
And this, Mr. Douce adds, not only shews the legitimacy of the term Morris, but that the real 
and uncorrupted Moorish dance was to be found in Spain, where it still continues to delight both 
natives and foreigners, under the name of the Fandango. The Spanish Morrice was also danced 
at puppet-shews by a person habited like a Moor, with castagnets; and Junius has informed us 
that the Morris-dancers usually blackened their faces with soot, that they might the better pass 
for Moors*. 

Having noticed the corruption of the Pyrrhica Saltatio of the ancients, and the uncorrupted 
Morris Dance, as practised in France about the beginning of the thirteenth century, Mr. Doiice 
says : " It has been supposed that the Morris Dance was first brought into England in the time 

* " Fa.eiem plerumque inficiunt fuligine, et peregrinum vestium cultum assumunt, qui ludicris talibus 

indulgent, ut Mauri esse videantur, aut e longius reraota patria credantur advolasse, atque insolens recrea- 
tit'iiis genus advexisse." 


down, but on her head she had a coif, with a circlet ahout it full of rich 
stones b . 

After the Morris degenerated into a piece of coarse buffoonery, and Maid 
Marian was personated by a clown, this once elegant Queen of May obtained 

of Edward the Third, when John of Gaunt returned from Spain, (see Peck's Memoirs of Milton, 
p. 135,) but it is much more probable that we had it from our Gallic neighbours, or even from 
the Flemings. Few if any vestiges of it can be traced beyond the reign of Henry the Seventh, 
about which time, and particularly in that of Henry the Eighth, the Churchwardens accounts in 
several parishes afford materials that throw much light on the subject, and show that the Morris 
Dance made a very considerable figure in the parochial festivals." 

" We find also," Mr. Douce continues, " that other festivals and ceremonies had their Morris ; 
as, Holy Thursday ; the Whitsun Ales ; the Bride Ales, or Weddings ; and a sort of Play, or 
Pageant, called the Lord of Misrule. Sheriffs too had their Morris Dance." 

" The May Games of Robin Hood," it is observed, " appear to have been principally instituted 
for the encouragement of archery, and were generally accompanied by Mo.rris-dancers, who, never- 
theless, formed but a subordinate part of the ceremony. It is by no means clear that, at any time, 
Robin Hood and his companions were constituent characters in the Morris." " In Laneham's Let- 
ter from Kenilworth, or Killingworth Castle, a Bride Ale is described, in which mention is made 
of 'a lively Moris dauns, according too the auncient manner: six dauncerz, Mawdmarion, and 
the fool."] 

In "Pasquill and Marforius," 4to. 1589, signal. B. 3 b. we read of "The May-game of Mar- 
tinisme, veric defBie set out, with pompes, pagents, motions, maskes, scutchions, emblems, iin- 
preases, strange trickes and devises, betweene the ape and the o\vle, the like was never yet secnc 
in Paris Garden. Penry the Welchman is the foregallant of the Mortice with the treble belles, 
shot through the wit with a woodcock's bill. I would not for the fayrest horne-beast in all his 
countrey, that the Church of England were a cup of Metheglin, and came in his way when he is 
overheated ; every Bishopricke would procure but a draught, when the mazer is at his nose." 

" Martin himselfe is the Mayd-Marian, trimlie drest uppe in a cast gowne, and a kerchcr of 
Dame Lawsons, his face handsomelic muffled with a Diaper-Napkin to cover his beard, and ;i 
great nose-gay in his hande of the principalest flowers I could gather out of all hys works. 
Wiggenton daunces round about him in a cotten-coate, to court him with a leatherne pudding and 
a woodden ladle. Pagct marshalleth the way with a couple of great clubbes, one in his foote, an- 
other in his head, and he cryes to the people, with a loude voice, ' beware of the man whom God 
hath markt.' I cannot yet finde any so fitte to come lagging behind, with a budget on his ncckc 
to gather the devotion of the lookers on, us the stocke- keeper of the Bridewelhouse of Canterburic; 
he musi carry the purse to defray their charges, and .then hee may be sure to serve himselfe." 

b In Coates's History of Reading, 4to. 1802, p. 220. In the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. 
Lawrence Parish is the following entry : 

" 1531. It. for ffyre ells of canvas for a cote for Made Maryon, at iii d . oh. the ell. xvij d . ob.'" 
VOL. I. E E 


the name of Malkin c . To this Beaumont and Fletcher allude in Monsieur 

Thomas : 

" Put on the shape of order and humanity, 

Or you must marry Malkyn, the May Lady." 

Bishop Percy and Mr. Steevens agree in making Maid Marian the mistress of 
Robin Hood. " It appears from the old play of 'The Downfall of Robert Earl 
of Huntingdon,' 1(501," (says Mr. Steevens d ,) "that Maid Marian was origi- 
nally a name assumed by Matilda the daughter of Robert Lord Fitzwalter, 
while Robin Hood remained in a state of outlawry: 

" Next 'tis agreed (if thereto shee agree) 

That faire Matilda henceforth change her name ; 

And, while it is the chance of Robin Hoode 

To live in Sherewodde a poor outlaw's life, 

She by Maide Marian's name be only call'd. 

"Mat. I am contented ; reade o'n, Little John : 

Henceforth let me be nam'd Maide Marian." 

"This Lady was poisoned by King John at Dunmow Prior}', after he had 
made several fruitless attempts on her chastity. Drayton has written her 
legend 6 ." 

c In Greene's Quip for an upstart Courtier," 4to. Lond. 1620, fol. 11 a. that effeminate looking 
young man, we are told, used to act the part of Maid Marian, " to make the foole as faire, for- 
sooth, as if he were to play Maid Marian in a May Game or a Morris Dance." 

In Shakerley Mannion's " Antiquary," Act 4, is the following passage : " A merry world the 
while, my boy and I, next Midsommer Ale, / may serve for a fool, and he for Maid Marrian." 
Shakspeare, Hen. IV. Part 1. A. iii. sc. 3, speaks of Maid Marian in her degraded state. It appears 
by one of the extracts already given from Mr. Lysons's Environs of London, that in the reign of 
Hen. VIII. at Kingston- iij>on-Thames, the character was performed by a woman who received a 
shilling each year for her trouble. 

d See Reed's Shaksp. Svo. Lond. 1803, vol. xi. p. 363. 

In Brathwaite's Strappado for the Divell, Svo. Lond. 1615, p. 63, is the following passage: 

" As for his bloud, 

He says he can deriv't from Robin Hood 
And his May-Marian, and I thinke he may, 
For 's Mother plaid May-Marian t' other day." 

[Mr. Douce, however, considers this story as a dramatic fiction: "None of the materials," he 
observes, " that constitute the more authentic history of Robin Hood, prove the existence of such 
a character in the shape of his mistress. There is a pretty French pastoral drama of the eleventh 
or twelfth century, entitled Le Jeu du berger et de la bergert, in which the principal characters 


Waldron, in his Description of the Isle of Man, (Works, fol. p. 154,) tells us, 
that the month of May is there every year ushered in with the following cere- 
mony : " In almost all the great parishes, they chuse from among the daughters, 
of the most wealthy farmers a young maid for the Queen of May. She is 
drest in the gayest and best manner they can, and is attended by about twenty 
others, who are called maids of honour : she has also a young man, who is 
her captain, and has under his command a good number of inferior officers. In 
opposition to her is the Qtieen of Winter, who is a man drest in woman's 
clothes, with woollen hoods, furr tippets, and loaded with the warmest and hea- 
viest habits one upon another : in the same manner are those who represent her 
attendants drest, rior is she without a captain and troop for her defence. Both 
being equipt as proper emblems, of the beauty of the Spring, and the deformity 
of the Winter, they set forth from their respective quarters; the one preceded 
by violins and flutes, the other with the rough musick of the tongs and cleavers. 
Both companies march till they meet on a common, and then their trains engage 
in a mock battle. If the Queen of Winter's forces get the better so far as to 
take the Queen of May prisoner, she is ransomed for as much as pays the ex- 
pences of the day. After this ceremony, Winter and her company retire, and 
divert themselves in a barn, and the others remain on the green, where, having 
danced a considerable time, they conclude the evening with a feast : the Queen 
at one table with her maids, the Captain with his troop at another. There are 
seldom less than fifty or sixty persons at each board, but not more than three 

are Robin and Marion, a shepherd and shepherdess. Mr. Warton thought that our English Marian 
might be illustrated from this composition; but Mr. Ritson is unwilling to assent to this opinion, 
on the ground that the French Robin and Marion 'are not the Robin and Marian of Sherwood.' 
Yet Mr. Warton probably meant no more than that the name of Marian had been suggested from 
the above drama, which was a great favourite among the common people in France, and per- 
formed much about the season at which the May Games were celebrated in England. The great 
intercourse between the countries might have been the means of importing this name amidst an 
infinite variety of other matters; and there is, indeed, no other mode of accounting for the intro- 
duction of a name which never occurs in the page of English History. The story of Robin Hood 
was, at a very early period, of a dramatic cast ; and it was perfectly natural that a principal cha- 
racter should be transferred from one drama to another. It might be thought, likewise, that the 
English Robin deserved his Marian as well as the other. The circumstance of the French Marian 
being acted by a boy contributes to support the above opinion ; the part of the English character 
having been personated, though not always, in like manner."] 


[Mr. Douce says, " it appears that the Lady of the May was sometimes car- 
ried in procession on men's shoulders ; for Stephen Batman, speaking of the 
Pope and his ceremonies, states that he is carried on the backs of four deacons, 
'after the maner of carying Whytepot Queenes in Western May Games f ." 

Mr. Douce adds, in another page, " There can be no doubt that the Queen 
of May is the legitimate representative of the Goddess Flora in the Roman 


Bishop Latimer, in his sixth Sermon before King Edward the Sixth, men- 
tions Robin Hood's Day, kept by country people in memory of him. " I 
came once myself," says he, " to a place, riding a journey homeward from 
London, and sent word over-night into the town that I would preach there in 
the morning, because it was a holy-day, and I took my horse and my company 
and went thither, (I thought I should have found a great company in the 
church ;) when I came there, the church-door was fast locked. I tarried there 
half an hour and more; at last the key was found, and one of the parish comes 
tome, and says: 'This is a busy day with us, we cannot heare you, this is 
Robin Hoode's daye, the parish is gone abroad to gather for Robin Hoode. 
I thought my rochet should have been regarded, though I were not: but it 
would not serve, but was fayne to give place to Robin Hoode's 

f In the Gentleman's Magazine for October 1793, p. 888, there is a curious anecdote of Dr. 
Geddes, the well-known translator of the Bible, who, it should seem, was fond of innocent festi- 
vities. He was seen in the Summer of that year, "mounted on the poles behind theQusEtt of tht 
MAY at Marsden Fair, in Oxfordshire." 

g In Coates's Histoiy of Reading, p. 214, in the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Lawrence Parish, 
under the year 1499, is the following article : " It. rec. of the gaderyng of Robyn-hod, xixs." 

In the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Helen's, Abingdon, under the year 1566, we find 
eighteen pence charged for setting up Robin Hood's bower. See Mr. Nichols's Illustrations of 
Ancient Manners and Expences, p. 143. 

[Mr. Douce thinks " the introduction of Robin Hood into the celebration of May, probably sug- 
gested the addition of a King or Lord of May." The Summer King and Queen, or Lord and Lady 
of the May, however, are characters of very high antiquity. The conversation between Robert 
Bruce and his Queen, in 1306, has been already quoted from Spelman : and even in the Synod at 
Worcester, A. D. 1240, can. 38, a strict command was given, " Ne intersint ludis inhonestis nee 


We read, in Skene's Regiam Majestatem, "Gif anie provest, baillie, coun- 
sell, or communitie, chuse Robert Hude, litell John, Abbat of Unreason, 
Queens of Mali, the chusers sail tyne their friedome for five Zeares; and sail 
bee punished at the King's will : and the accepter of sick ane office, salbe 

sustineant ludos fieri de REGE et REGINA, nee Arietes levari, nee palestras publicas." See Kennett's 
Paroch. Antiq. Gloss, v. Arietum levatio. 

Ihre, in his Suio-Gothic Glossary, makes the following mention of the King or Lord of May 
upon the Continent : 

" MAIGREFWE dicebatur, qui mense Maijo serto floreo redimitus solenni pompa per plateas et 
vicos circumducebatur. Commemorant Historic!, Gustavum I. Suionum Regem anno 1526 sub 
nundinis Ericianis vel d. 18. Mali ejusmodi Comitem Majum creasse Johannem Magnum, Archiep. 
Upsaliensem. Et quum moris esset, ut Comes hie imaginarius satellitium, quod eum stipaverat, 
convivio exciperet, fecit id Johannes lion sine ingenti impensa, ut ipse in Historia Metropolitana 
conqueritur. Conf. Westenhielms Hist. Gust. 1. ad annum, nee non Tegel in Historia hujus Reg. 
Part. 1. In Anglia quoque ejusmodi Reges et Regime Majales floribus ornati a juventute olim 
creabantur, quo facto circa perticam eminentiorem, nostris MAISTANG dictam, choreas ducebant, 
& varios alios ludos exercebant." torn. ii. p. 1 i8. sub D.] 

Mr. Lysons, in his Extracts from the Churchwardens' and Chamberlains' Accounts at Kingston- 
upon-Thames, affords us some curious particulars of a sport called the " Kyngham," or KING- 

"Be yt in mynd, that y e 19 yere of King Harry the 7, at the geveng out of the Kynggam by 
Harry Bower and Harry Nycol, cherchewardens, amounted clerely to s. 2s. 6d. of that same 
game." =. s. d. 

" Mem. That the 27 day of Joun, a. 2 1 , Kyng H. 7, that we, Adam Bakhous and Harry 

Nycol, hath made account for the Kenggam, that same tym don Wylm Kempe, Kenge, 

and Joan Whytebrede, quen, and all costs deducted - - -450 

''23 Hen. 7. Paid for whet and malt and vele and mottonand pygges and ger and coks 

for the Kyngam - - 33 O 

To the taberare - - ......068 

To the leutare - - O 2 
1 Hen. 8. Paid out of the Churche-box at Walton Kyngham - - - 3 6 
Paid" to Robert Neyle for goyng to Wyndesore for maister doctor's horse 

agaynes the Kyngham day - __-._. -04O 

For bakyng the Kyngham brede ... ..-O06 

To a laborer for bering home of the geere after the Kyngham was don - - 1 0" 

The contributions to the celebration of the same game, Mr. Lysons observes, in the neighbour- 
ing parishes, show that the Kyngham was not confined to Kingston. See Envir. of London, 
vol. i. p. 225. 

In another quotation from the same Accounts, 24 Hen. VII. the " cost of the Kyngham and 
Robyn-hode" appears in one entry, viz. 


banished furth of the Realme." And under " pecuniall crimes," "all persons, 
quha a land wort, or within burgh, chuses Robert Hude, sail pay ten pounds, 
and sail be warded induring the King's pleasure." Mar. Parl. 6. c. 61 h . 


Mr. Toilet describes this character upon his window as in the full clerical 
tonsure, with a chaplet of white and red beads in his right hand : and, expres- 
sive of his professed humility, his eyes are cast upon the ground. His corded 




" A kylderkin of 3 halfpennye here and a kilderkin of singgyl bere 



7 bushels 

ofwhete - 

- O 



2 bushels 

and of rye - 

. O 



3 shepe 



A lamb 




2 calvys 





6 pygges 



3 bushell 

of colys - - - 

- O 


The coks 

for their labour 




The clear profits, 15 Henry VIII. (the last time Mr. Lysons found it mentioned,) amounted to 

s9. 10s. fid. a very considerable sum. 

In a comedy by Beaumont and Fletcher, entitled "The Knight of the burning Pestle," 4to. 

1613, Rafe, one of the characters, appears as Lord of the May : 

" And, by the common-councell of my fellows in the Strand, 
With gilded staff, and crossed skarfe, the May-Lord here I stand." 
He adds : 

"The Morrice rings while Hobby Horse doth foot it featously;" 

and, addressing the groupe of citizens assembled around him, " from the top of Conduit-head," says : 
" And lift aloft your velvet heads, and, slipping of your govvne, 
With bells on legs, and napkins cleane unto your shoulders ti'de, 
With scarfs and garters as you please, and Hey for our town cry'd: 
March out and shew your willing minds, by twenty and by twenty, 
To Hogsdon or to Newington, where ale and cakes are plenty. 
And let it nere be said for shame, that we, the youths of London, 
Lay thrumming of our caps at home, and left our custome undone. 
Up then, I say, both young and old, both man and maid, a Maying, 
With drums and guns that bounce aloude, and merry taber playing." 

h In Sir David Dalrymple's Extracts from the Book of the Universal Kirk, in the year 1576, 
Robin Hood is styled King of May. 


girdle and his russet habit denote him to be of the Franciscan Order, or one of 
the Grey Friars. His stockings are red, his red girdle is ornamented with a 
golden twist, and with a golden tassel. At his girdle hangs a wallet for the 
reception of provision, the only revenue of the mendicant orders of religious, 
who were named Walleteers, or Budget- bearers. Mr. Steevens supposes this 
Morris Friar designed for Friar Tuck, chaplain to Robin Hood, as King of 


Mr. Toilet, describing the Morris Dancers in his window, calls this the Coun- 

* [Mr. Douce says : " Tnere is no very ancient mention of this person, whose history is very 
uncertain. Draytor. has thus recorded him, among other companions of Robin Hood : 

' Of Tuck, the merry Friar, which many a sermon made 
In praise of Robin Hood, his outlaws and their trade.' Polyolb. Song xxvi. 
He is known to have formed one of the characters in the May Games during the reign of Hemy 
the Eighth, and had been probably introduced into them at a much earlier period. From the 
occurrence of this name on other occasions, there is good reason for supposing that it was a sort 
of generic appellation for any friar, and that it originated from the dress of the order, which was 
tucked or folded at the waist by means of a cord or girdle. Thus Chaucer, in his Prologue to the 
Canterbury Tales, says of the Reve : 

' Tucked he was, as is a frere aboute :' 
and he describes one of the friars in the Sompnour's Tale : 

' With scrippe and tipped staff, ytucked hie.' 

This Friar maintained his situation in the Morris under the reign of Elizabeth, being thus 
mentioned in Warner's Albion's England : 

' Tho' Robin Hood, Hell John, frier Tucke, and Marian, deftly play :' 

but is not heard of afterwards. In Ben Jonson's Masque of Gipsies, (Works, 1?56, vol. vi. p. 93,) 
the clown takes notice of his omission in the Dance."] 

The Friar's coat, as appears from some of the extracts of Churchwardens' and Chamberlains' 
Accounts of Kingston, already quoted, was generally of russet. In an antient drama, called the 
Play of Robin Hood, very proper to be played in May games, a friar, whose name is Tuck, is one 
of the principal characters. He comes to the forest in search of Robin Hood, with an intention to 
fight him, but consents to become chaplain to his Lady. See Lysons's Environs of London, 
vol. i. p. 227. 

[Mr. Toilet observes in a note, that, " when the parish priests were inhibited by the diocesan 
to assist in the May-games, the FRANCISCANS might give attendance, as being exempted from 
episcopal jurisdiction."] 


terfeit Fool, that was kept in the royal palace, and in all great houses, to make 
sport for the family. He appears with all the badges of his office ; the bauble 
in his hand, and a coxcomb hood, with asses ears, on his head. The top of the 
hood rises into the form of a cock's neck and head k , with a bell at the latter: and 
Minshew's Dictionary, 1627, under the word Cocks comb, observes, that "natu- 
ral idiots and fools have [accustomed] and still do accustome themselves to weare 
in their cappes cocke's feathers, or a hat with the necke and head of a cocke on 
the top, and a bell thereon." His hood is blue, guarded or edged with yellow at 
its scalloped bottom, his doublet is red, striped across, or rayed, with a 
deeper red, and edged with yellow, his girdle yellow, his left-side hose yellow, 
with a red shoe, and his right-side hose blue, soled with red leather. 

There is in Olaus Magnus, 1555, p. 524, a delineation of a Fool, or Jester, 
with several bells 1 upon his habit, with a bauble in his hand ; and he has on his 
head a hood with asses ears, a feather, and the resemblance of the comb of a 

It seems from the Prologue to the play of King Henry the Eighth, that 
Shakspeare's Fools should be dressed "in a long motley coat, guarded with 

k " The word Cockscomb afterwards was used to denote a vain, conceited, meddling fellow." 
Reed's Shaksp. 8vo. Lond. 1803, vol. xvii. p. 358. In the old play, called "The First Part of An- 
tonio and Melida," (Marston's Works, Svo. Lond. 1633,) we read: "Good Faith, He accept of 
the Cockescombe, so you will not refuse the Bable." 

1 In the Churchwardens' Accounts of the parish of St. Helen's in Abingdon, Berkshire, from 
the first year of the reign of Philip and Mary, to the thirty-fourth of Queen Elizabeth, the Mor- 
rice bells are mentioned. Anno 15(JO, the third of Elizabeth, " For two dossin of Morres bells." 
As these appear to have been purchased by the community, we may suppose the diversion of the 
Morris Dance was constantly practised at their public festivals. See Reed's Shaksp. vol. xiii. p. 276. 
" Bells for the dancers" have been already noticed from the Churchwardens' Accounts of King- 
ston upon Thames : and they are mentioned in those of St. Mary at Hill, in the City of London. 

[A note signed HARRIS, in Mr. Reed's edition of Shakspeare, ut supra, informs us, that " Mor- 
rice dancing, with bells on the legs, is common at this day in Oxfordshire and the adjacent coun- 
ties, on May Day, Holy Thursday, and Whitsun Ales, attended by the Fool, or, as he is generally 
' called, the Squire, and also a Lord and Lady ; the latter, most probably, the Maid-Marian men- 
tioned in Mr. Toilet's note : ' nor is the Hobby Horse forgot'."] 
- 01 In " The Knave of Hearts," Signal. B. b. we read: 

" My sleeves are like some Morris-dansing fellow, 
My stockings, IDBOT-LIKE, red, greene, yellow." 


Mr, Steevens observes : " When Fools were kept for diversion in great fami- 
lies, they were distinguished by a calf-skin coat, which had the buttons down 
the back ; and this they wore that they might be known for fools, and escape 
the resentment of those whom they provoked with their waggeries. 

"The custom is still preserved in Ireland ; and the Fool in any of the legends 
which the mummers act at Christmass always appears in a calf's or cow's skin." 

"The properties belonging to this strange personage," says Mr. Strutt, "in 
the early times, are little known at present; they were such, however, as recom- 
mended him to the notice of his superiors, and rendered his presence a sort of 
requisite in the houses of the opulent." According to " the Illuminators of the 
thirteenth century, he bears the squalid appearance of a wretched ideot, 
wrapped in a blanket which scarcely covers his nakedness, holding in one hand 
a stick, with an inflated bladder attached to it by a cord, which answered the 
purpose of a bauble. If we view him in his more improved state, where his 
clothing is something better, yet his tricks" are so exceedingly barbarous and 
vulgar, that they would disgrace the most despicable Jack-Pudding that ever 
exhibited at Bartholomew fair : and even when he was more perfectly equipped 
in his party-coloured coat and hood, and completely decorated with bells , his 
improvements are of such a nature as seem to add but little to his respectabi- 
lity., much less qualify him as a companion for kings and noblemen. 

"In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Fool, or more properly 
the Jester, was a man of some ability; and, if his character has been strictly 
drawn by Shakspeare and other dramatic writers, the entertainment he afforded 
consisted in witty retorts and sarcastical reflections; and his licence seems, 
upon such occasions, to have been very extensive. Sometimes, however, these 
gentlemen overpassed the appointed limits, and they were therefore corrected or 
discharged. The latter misfortune happened to Archibald Armstrong, Jester to 
King Charles the First. The wag happened to pass a severe jest upon Laud, 

n "In one instance he is biting the tail of a dog, and seems to place his fingers upon his body, 
as if he were stopping the holes of a flute, and probably moved them as the animal altered its cry; 
The other is riding on a stick with a bell, having a blown bladder attached to it." 

"This figure," referred to by Mr. Strutt, " has a stick surmounted with a bladder, if I mis- 
take not, which is in lieu of a bauble, which we frequently see representing a fool's head, with 
hood'and bells, and a cock's comb upon the hood, very handsomely carved. William Summers, 
Jester to Henry the Eighth, was habited 'in a motley jerkin, with motley hosen .' History of 
Jack of Newbury 1 ." 

VOL. I. j.- p 


Archbishop of Canterbury, which so highly offended the supercilious prelate, 
that he procured an order from the King in Council for his discharge?." 


These appear to have been Robin Hood's companions from the following old 

ballad : 

" I have heard talk of Robin Hood 

Derry, Deny, Derry down, 
And of brave Little John, 
Of Friar Tuck and Will Scarlet, 
Stokesley and Maid Marrian, 

Hey down," &C.T 

Among the extracts given by Mr. Lysons from the Churchwardens' and 
Chamberlain's Accounts of Kingston-upon-Thames, an entry has been already 
quoted "for Little John's cote r ." 

f Strutt's Complete View of the Dress and Habits of the People of England, vol. ii. p. 313, 
PI. Ixxi. The Order for Archy's discharge was as follows : " It is, this day, (March 11, A.D. 1637,) 
ordered by his Majesty, with the advice of the Board, that Archibald Armstrong, the King's Fool, 
for certain scandalous words of a high nature, spoken by him against the Lord Archbishop of 
Canterbury his Grace, and proved to be uttered by him by two witnesses, shall have his coat 
pulled over his head, and be discharged the King's service, and banished the court ; for which the 
Lord Chamberlain of the King's household is prayed and required to give order to be executed." 
And immediately the same was put in execution. Rushworth's Collections, Part II. vol. i. p. 471. 
The same authority, p. 470, says : " It so happened that, on the llth of the said March, that 
Archibald, the King's Fool, said to his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, as he was going to 
the Council-table, ' Whea's feule now ? doth not your Grace hear the news from Striveling about 
the Liturgy ?' with other words of reflection : this was presently complained of to the Council, 
which produced the ensuing order." 

Bedlamer was a name for a Fool. He used to carry a horn. Quaere if from thence the expres- 
sion " horn-mad." See a Boulster Lecture, 8vo. Lond. 1640, p. 242. 

Robin Hood's Golden Prize, Old Ballads, vol. ii. p. 121. See likewise George a Green, Pinner 
of Wakefield, a comedy. Old Plays published 1744, vol. i. p. 211. Grey's Notes on Shakspeare, 
vol. i. p. 98. 

' [Mr. Douce says, Little John " is first mentioned, together with Robin Hood, by Fordun the 
Scottish Historian, who wrote in the fourteenth century, and who speaks of the celebration of the 
story of these persons in the theatrical performances of his time, and of the minstrels' songs relat- 
ing to them, which he says the common people preferred to all other romances." Illustrations of 
Shakspeare, vol. ii. p. 49. See also Fordun's Scotichronicon, fol. 1759, torn. ii. p. 104.] 



Among the extracts already quoted in a note from Mr. Lysons's Environs of 
London, there is one entry which shews that the Piper was sent (probably to 
make collections) round the country. 

Mr. Toilet, in the Description of his Window, says, to prove No. 9 to be 
Tom the Piper, Mr. Steevens has very happily quoted these lines from Dray- 
ton's third Eclogue : 

" Myself above Tom Piper to advance, 
Who so bestirs him in the Morris Dance 
For penny wage." 

His Tabour, Tabour-stick, and Pipe, attest his profession ; the feather in his 
cap, his sword, and silver-tinctured shield*, may denote him to be a squire- 
minstrel, or a minstrel of the superior order. Chaucer, 1721, p. 181, says: 
" Minstrels used a red hat." Tom Piper's bonnet is red, faced, or turned up 
with yellow, his doublet blue, the sleeves blue, turned up with yellow, some- 
thing like red muffettees at his wrists, over his doublet is a red garment, like a 
short cloak with arm-holes, and with a yellow cape, his hose red, and gar- 
nished across and perpendicularly on the thighs, with a narrow yellow lace. 
His shoes are brown. 


Mr. Toilet, in his Description of the Morris Dancers in his Window, is in- 
duced to think the famous Hobby Horse to be the King of the May, though 
he now appear as a juggler and a buffoon, from the crimson foot-cloth 1 fretted 
with gold, the golden bit, the purple bridle, with a golden tassel, and studded 

[Mr. Douce says : " What Mr. Tollett has termed his silver shield seems a mistake for the 
lower part, or flap, of his stomacher." Illustr. of Shaksp. vol. ii. p. 463.] 

' The foot-cloth, however, was used by the Fool. In Brathwaite's Strappado for the Divell, al- 
ready ijuoted, p. 30, we read : 

" Erect our aged Fortunes make them shine 
(Not like tlte Foole in'ifoot-cloath but) like Time 
Adorn'd with true Experiments," &c. 


with gold, the man's purple mantle with a golden border, which is latticed 
with purple, his golden crown, purple cap, with a red feather and with a golden 

"Our Hobby," he adds, "is a spirited horse of paste-board, in which 
the master dances and displays tricks of legerdemain, such as the threading 
of the needle, the mimicking of the whigh-hie, and the daggers in the nose, &c. 
as Ben J.onson, edit. 1756, vol. i. p. 171, acquaints us, and thereby explains 
the swords in the man's cheeks. What is stuck in the horse's mouth I appre- 
prehend to be a ladle, ornamented with a ribbon. Its use was to receive the 
spectators pecuniary donations." "The colour of the Hobby Horse is a reddish 
white, like the beautiful blossom of the peach-tree. The man's coat, or doublet, 
is the only one upon the window that has buttons upon it, and the right side of 
it is yellow, and the left red." 

In the old play of " The Vow-Breaker, or the Fayre Maid of Clifton," 4to. 
Lond. 1636, by William Sampson, signal. I. 2 b. is the following dialogue 
between Miles, the Miller of Ruddington, and Ball, which throws great light 
upon this now obsolete character : 

" Ball. But who shall play the Hobby Horse ? Master Major? 

" Miles. I hope I looke as like a Hobby Horse as Master Major. I have 
not liv'd to these yeares, but a man woo'd thinke I should be old enough and 
wise enough to play the Hobby Horse as well as ever a Major on 'em all. Let 
the Major play the Hobby Horse among his brethren, and he will; I hope our 
towne ladds cannot want a Hobby Horse. Have I practic'd my reines, my 
carree'res, my pranckers, my ambles, my false trotts, my smooth ambles, and 
Canterbury paces, and shall Master Major put me besides the Hobby Horse ? 
Have I borrow'd the fore horse-bells, his plumes, and braveries, nay, had his 
mane new shorne and frizl'd, and' shall the Major put me besides the Hobby 
Horse? Let him hobby-horse at home, and he will. Am I not going to buy 
ribbons and toyes of sweet Ursula for the Marian, and shall I not play the 
Hobby Horse? 

" Ball. What shall Joshua doe ? 

" Miles. Not know of it, by any meanes ; hee'l keepe more stir with the Hobby 
Horse then he did with the Pipers at Tedbury Bull-running : provide thou for 
the Dragon, and leave me for a Hobby Horse. 


" Ball. Feare not, I'le be a fiery Dragon." And afterwards, when Boote 
askes him : 

.it ^ Miles, the Miller of Ruddington, gentleman and souldier, what make you 
bere ? 

" Miles. Alas, Sir, to borrow a few ribbandes, bracelets, eare-rings, wyer- 
tyers, and silke girdles and hand-kerchers for a Morice, and a show before the 

"Boote. Miles, you came to steale my Neece. 

"Miles. Oh Lord! Sir, I came to furnish the Hobby Horse. 

" Boote. Get into your Hobby Horse, gallop, and be gon then, or I'le Moris- 
dance you Mistris, waite you on me. Exit. 

" Ursula. Farewell, good Hobby Horse. IFeehee." Exit. 

[Mr. Douce informs us, that the earliest vestige now remaining of the Hobby 
Horse is in the painted window at Betley, already described. " The allusions 
to the omission of the Hobby Horse are frequent in the old Plays, and the line, 

' For O, for O, the Hobby Horse is forgot,' 

is termed by Hamlet an epitaph, which Mr. Theobald supposed, with great 
probability, to have been satirical." A scene in Beaumont and Fletcher's 
"Women pleased," Act iv. best shows the sentiments of the Puritans on this 

"Whoever," says Mr. Douce, "happens to recollect the manner in which 
Mr. Bayes's troops, in ' The Rehearsal,' are exhibited on the stage, will have a 
tolerably correct notion of a Morris Hobby Horse. Additional remains of the 
Pyrrhic, or sword-dance, are preserved in the daggers stuck in the man's cheeks, 
which constituted one of the hocus-pocus or legerdemain tricks practised by this 
character, among which were the threading of a needle, and the transferring of 
an egg from one hand to the other, called by Ben Jonson the travels of' the egg u . 
To the horse's mou,th was suspended a ladle, for the purpose of gathering money 
from the spectators. In later times the fool appears to have performed this 
office, as may be collected from Nashe's play of " Summer's last Will and Tes- 
tament," where this stage-direction occurs : " Ver goqs in and fetcheth out the 

' : ' "','" '. ' ' <!'! '' I '; ., i'!l 1 - , , 'I r-TT , < 

Every Man of out of his Humour, Act ii. sc. I. 


Hobby-horse and the Morrice Daunce, who daunce about' Ver then saya : 
' About, about, lively, put your horse to it, reyne him harder, jerke him with 
your wand, sit fast, sit fast, man; Foole, hold up your ladle there.' Will 
Summers is made to say, 'You friend with the Hobby Horse, goe not too 
fast, for fear of wearing out my lord's tyle-stones with your hob-nayles.' After- 
wards there enter three clowns and three maids, who dance the Morris, and at 
the same time sing the following song : 

' Trip and goe, heave and hoe, 

Up and downe, to and fro, 

From the towne, to the grove, 

Two and two, let us rove, 

A Maying, a playing ; 

Love hath no gainsaying : 

So merrily trip and goe.' " 

Lord Orford, in his Catalogue of English Engravers, under the article of 
Peter Stent, has described two paintings at Lord Fitzwilliam's, on Richmond 
Green, which came out of the old neighbouring palace. They were executed 
by Vinckenboom, about the end of the reign of James I., and exhibit views of 
the above palace : in one of these pictures a Morris Dance is introduced, con- 
sisting of seven figures, viz. a fool, a Hobby-horse, a piper, a Maid Marian, and 
three other dancers, the rest of the figures being spectators." Of these, the first 
four and one of the dancers Mr. Douce has reduced in a plate from a tracing 
made by the late Captain Grose. " The fool has an inflated bladder, or eel- 
skin, with a ladle at the end of it, and with this he is collecting money. The 
piper is pretty much in his original state; but the hobby-horse wants the leger- 
demain apparatus, and Maid Marian is not remarkable for the elegance of her 

" A short time before the Revolution in France," Mr. Douce informs us, 
" the May games and Morris Dance were celebrated in many parts of that 
country, accompanied by a fool and a Hobby-horse. The latter was termed un 
chevalet; and, if the authority of Minshew be not questionable, the Spaniards 
had the same character under the name of tarasca *." 

* Illustrations of Shakspeare and of Ancient Manners, vol. ii. pp. 463, 468, 471. 


(Twenty-fifth of May.) 

UNDER Saint Paul's Day, I have shown that it is customary in many parts 
of Germany to drag the image of St. Urban to the river, if on the day of his 
feast it happens to be foul weather. 

J. B. Aubanus tells us, that " upon St. Urban's Day all the vintners and 
masters of vineyards set a table either in the market-steed, or in some other 
open and public place, and covering it with fine napery, and strawing upon it 
greene leaves and sweete flowers, do place upon the table the image of that 
holy bishop, and then if the day be cleare and faire, they crown the image with 
greate store of wine ; but if the weather prove rugged and rainie, they cast filth^ 
mire, and puddle water upon it; persuading themselves that, if that day be faire 
and calme, their grapes, which then begin to flourish, will prove good that year; 
but if it be stormie and tempestuous, they shall have a bad vintage." p. 282. 

The same anecdote is related in the Regnum Papisticum of Naogeorgus. 


ON the twenty-ninth of May a , the anniversary of the Restoration of Charles 
the Second, it is still customary, especially in the North of England, for the 

a "May the 29th, (says the author of the Festa Anglo-Romana, 12mo. Lend. 1678,) is celebrated 
upon a double account ; first, in commemoration of the birth of our sovereign king Charles the 
Second, the princely son of his royal father Charles the First of happy memory, and Mary the daughter 


common people to wear in their hats the leaves of the oak, which are some- 
times covered on the occasion with leaf-gold. 

This is done, as every body knows, in commemoration of the marvellous escape 
of that monarch from those that were in pursuit of him, who passed under the 
very Oak tree in which he had secreted himself, after the decisive battle of 
Worcester b . 

I remember the boys at Newcastle upon Tyne had formerly a taunting rhime 
on this occasion, with which they used to insult such persons as they met on this 
day who had not oak-leaves in their hats : 

" Royal Oak, 

The Whigs to provoke." 

There was a retort courteous by others, who contemptuously wore plane-tree 
leaves, which is of the same homely sort of stuff: 
" Plane-tree leaves ; 
The Church-folk are thieves." 

Puerile and low as these and such like sarcasms may appear, yet they breathe 
strongly that party-spirit which they were intended to promote, and which it is 

of Henry the Fourth, the French king, who was born the 29th day of May 1630 ; and also, by Act of 
Parliament, 12 'Car. II. by the passionate desires of the people, in memory of his most happy 
Restoration to his crown and dignity, after twelve years forced exile from his undoubted right, 
the crown of England, by barbarous rebels and regicides. And on the 8th of this month, his 
Majesty was with universal joy and great acclamations proclaimed in London and Westminster, 
and after throughout all his dominions. The 16th he came to the Hague ; the 23d, with his two 
brothers, ernbarqued for England ; and on the 25th he happily landed at Dover, being received 
by General Monk and some of the army ; from whence he was, by several voluntary troops of the 
nobility and gentry, waited upon to Canterbury; and on the 29th, 1660, he made his magnificent 
entrance into that emporium of Europe, his stately and rich metropolis, the renowned city of 
London. On this very day also, anno 1662, the king came to Hampton Court with his queen Ca- 
therine, after his marriage at Portsmouth. This, as it is his birth-day, is one of his collar-days, 
without offering." p. 66. 

b " It was the custom, some years back, to decorate the monument of Richard Penderell (in 
the church-yard of St. Giles in the Fields, London), on the 29th of May, with oak branches ; but, 
in proportion to the decay of popularity in kings, this practice has declined." Caulfield's Memoirs 
of remarkable Persons, p. 186. Had Mr. Caulfield attributed the decline of this custom to the 
inch-easing distance of time from the event that first gave rise to it, he would perhaps have come 
much nearer to the truth. 


the duty of every good citizen and real lover of his country to endeavour to 
suppress . 

The Royal Oak was standing in Dr. Stukeley's time d , inclosed with a brick 
wall, but almost cut away in the middle by travellers, whose curiosity led them 

c The party spirit on this occasion shewed itself very early : for, in the curious tract, entitled, 
" The Lord's loud Call to England," published by H. Jessey, 4to, 1660, p. 29, we read of the 
following judgement, as related by the Puritans, on an old woman for her loyalty. 

" An antient poor woman went from Wapping to London to buy flowers, about the 6th or 7th of 
May 1660, to make garlands for the day of the king's proclamation (that is, May 8th), to gather the 
youths together to dance for the garland } and when she had bought the flowers, and was going 
homewards, a cart went over part of her body, and bruised her for it, just before the doors of such 
as she might vex thereby. But since, she remains in a great deal of misery by the bruise she had 
gotten, and cryed out, the devil ! saying, the devil had owed her a shame, and now thus he had 
paid her. It's judged at the writing hereof that she will never overgrow it." 

I find a note too in my MS Collections, but forget the authority, to the following effect : " Two. 
oldiers were whipped almost to death, and turned out of the service, for wearing boughs in their 
hats on the 29th of May 1716." 

d " A bow-shoot from Boscobel-house," says Dr. Stukeley, in his Itinerarium Curiosum, fol. Lond. 
1724. Iter. iii. p. 57, "just by a horse-track passing through the wood, stood the Royal Oak, into 
which the king; and his companion, colonel Carlos, climbed by means of the hen-roost ladder, when 
they judg'd it no longer safe to stay in the house ; the family reaching them victuals with the nut- 
hook. The tree is now enclosed in with a brick wall, the inside whereof is covered with lawrel, 
of which we may say, as Ovid did of that before the Augustan palace, ' mediatnque tuebere quer- 
cum.' Close by its side grows a young thriving plant from one of its acorns. Over the door of 
tlie inclosure, I took this inscription in marble : 

" Felicissimam arborem quam in asylum 
potentissimi Regis Caroli II. Deus O. M. 
per quern reges regnant hie crescere 
voluit, tain in perpetuam rei tantse memo- 
riam, quam specimen firmse in reges 
iick'i, muro cinctam posteris commendant 
Basilius et Jana Fitzherbert. 

Quercus amica Jovi." 

K '! l:i fT'j'E VI 

In " Carolina, or Loyal Poems," by Thomas Shipman, esq. 8vo, Lond. 1683, p. 53, are the fol- 
lowing Thoughts on this Subject : 

" Blest Charles then to an oak his safety owes ; 

The Royal Oak ! which now in songs shall live. 
Until it reach to Heaven with its boughs ; 

Boughs that for loyalty shall garlands give. 
VOL. I. G G 


to see it. The king, after the Restoration, reviewing the place, carried some of 
the acorns, and set them in St. James's Park or Garden, and used to water them 



FOR the church ale, says Carcw, in his Survey of Cornwall, p. 68, ' ' two 
young men of the parish are yerely chosen by their last foregoers to be wardens, 
who, dividing the task, make collection among the parishioners of whatsoever 
provision it pleaseth them voluntarily to bestow. This they employ in brewing, 
baking, and other acates, against Whitsontide ; upon which holydays the neigh- 
bours meet at the church house, and there merily feed on their owne victuals, 
contributing some petty portion to the stock, which, by many smalls, groweth to 
a meetly greatnes : for there is entertayned a kind of emulation between these 
wardens, who by his graciousness in gathering, and good husbandry in expending, 
can best advance the churches profit. Besides the neighbour parishes at those 
times lovingly visit one another, and this way frankly spend their money together. 
The afternoones are consumed in such exercises as olde and yong folke (having 
leysure) doe accustomably weare out the time withall. 

Let celebrated wits, with laurels crown' d, 

And wreaths of bays, boast their triumphant brows ; 

I will esteem myself far more renown'd 

In being .honour'd with these oaken boughs. 

The Genii of the Druids hover'd here, 

Who under oaks did Britain's glories sing ; 

Which, since, in Charles compleated did appear : 
They gladly came now to protect their king." 


"When the feast is ended, the wardens yeeld in their account to the pa- 
rishioners ; and such money as exceedeth the disburstnent is layd up in store, to 
defray any extraordinary charges arising in the parish, or imposed on them for 
the good of the countrey or the prince's service : neither of which commonly 
gripe so much, but that somewhat stil remayneth to cover the purse's bottom." 

The Whitsun-ales have been already mentioned as common in the vicinity of 

There lies before me, "A serious Dissuasive against Whitsun Ales, as they 
are commonly so called : or the publick Diversions and Entertainments which 
are usual in the Country at Whitsuntide : in a Letter from a Minister to his 
Parishioners in the Deanery of Stow, Gloucestershire." 4to, 1736. Twenty 

At p. 8, we read : " These sports are attended usually with ludicrous gestures, 
and acts of foolery and buffoonry but children's play, and what therefore 
grownup persons should be ashamed of." "Morris Dances, so called, are 
nothing else but reliques of Paganism." " It was actually the manner of the 
heathens, among other their diversions, to dance after an antick way in their 
sacrifices and worship paid to their gods; as is the fashion of those who now- 
a-days dance round about their idol the May-pole as they call it. Hence the 
ancient Fathers of the Christian Church, as they did rightly judge it to be sinful 
to observe any reliques of Paganism, so they did accordingly, among other prac- 
tices of the heathens, renounce Morris Dances." Our author adds in the Post- 
script : " What I have now been desiring you to consider, as touching the evil and 
pernicious consequences of WHITSUN-ALES among us, doth also obtain against 
Dovers Meeting, and other the noted places of publick resort of this nature in 
this country ; and also against Midsummer Ales and Mead-mowings; and like- 
wise against the ordinary violations of those festival seasons commonly called 
Wakes. And these latter in particular have been oftentimes the occasion of 
the profanation of the Lord's Day, by the bodily exercise of wrestling and 
cudgel-playing, where they have been suffered to be practised on that holyday*." 
_ . __ 

a In Coates's History of Reading, 4to, 18O2, p. 130, under Churchwarden's Accounts, St. Mary's 
parish, we find the following : 

" A.D. 1557. Item, payed to the Morrys Daunsers and the Mynstrelles, mete and drink at 
Whytsontide., iijs. iiijd." 


"At present," says Mr. Douce b , " the Whitson-ales are conducted in the 
following manner. TVo persons are chosen, previously to the meeting, to be 
lord and lady of the ale, who dress as suitably as they can to the characters they 
assume. A large empty barn, or some such building, is provided for the lord's 
hall, and fitted up with seats to accommodate the company. Here they assemble 
to dance and regale in the best manner their circumstances and the place will 
afford and each young fellow treats his girl with a ribband or favour. The lord and 
lady honour the hall with their presence, attended by the steward, sword-bearer, 
purse-bearer, and mace-bearer, with their several badges or ensigns of office. 
They have likewise a train-bearer or page, and a fool or jester, drest in a party- 
coloured jacket, whose ribaldry and gesticulation contribute not a little to the 
entertainment of some part of the company. The lord's music, consisting of a 
pipe and tabor, is employed to conduct the dance. Some people think this 
custom is a commemoration of the antient Drink-lean, a day of festivity for- 
merly observed by the tenants and vassals of the lord of the fee within his 
manor; the memory of which, on account of the jollity of those meetings, the 
people have thus preserved ever since . The glossaries inform us, that this 
Drink-lean was a contribution of tenants towards a potation or Ale provided to 
entertain the lord or his steward." 

Mr. Douce previously observes that, " concerning the etymology of the 
word Ale much pains have been taken, for one cannot call it learning. The 

Also, p. 216. Parish of St. Laurence, " A. D. 1502. It. payed to Will'm Stayn' for makyng up 
of the mayclen's ban' cloth, viijd." " A. D. 1504. It. payed for bred and ale spent to the use of 
the church at Whitsontyd, ijs. vjd ob. It. for wyne at the same tyme, xiiijd." " A. D. 1505. It. 
rec. of the mayden's gaderyng at Whitsontyde by the tre at the church dore, clerly ijs. vjd. It. rec. 
of Richard Waren, for the tre at the church dore, iijd." 

Ibid. p. 378. Parish of St. Giles, sub anno 1535. " Of the Kyng play at Whitsuntide, xxxvjs. 

This last entry probably alludes to something of the same kind with the Kyngham, already men- 
tioned in p. 213. In p. 214 of Mr. Coates's History, parish of St. Laurence, we read : " A. D. 1499. 
It. payed for horse mete to the horses for the kyngs of Colen on May-day, vjd." A note adds : 
" This was a part of the pageant called the King-play, or King-game, which was a representation 
of the Wise Men's Offering, who are supposed by the Romish Church to have been kings, and to 
have been interred at Cologne." Then follows . " It. payed to mynstrells the same day, xijd." 

b Description of Sculptures on the outside of St. John's church, Cirencester, in Carter's Antient 
Sculpture, &c. vol. ii. p. 10. 

See Rudder's History of Gloucestershire, fol. Cirenc. 1779. pp. 23, 24. 


best opinion however seems to be that, from its use in composition, it means 
nothing more than a feast or merry-making, as in the words Leet-Ale, Lamb- 
Ale, Whitson-Ale, Clerk-Ale, Bride-Ale, Church-Ale, Scot-Ale, Midsummer- 
Ale, &c. d At all these feasts, Ale appears to have been the predominant liquor, 
and it is exceedingly probable that from this circumstance the metonymy arose. 
Dr. Hickes informs us that the Anglo-Saxon Deol, the Dano-Saxon lol, and the 
Icelandic Ol, respectively have the same meaning ; and perhaps Christmas was 
called by our Northern ancestors Yule, or the Feast, by way of preeminence." 
He cites here Warton's History of Poetry, vol. iii. p. 128, and Junius's Etymo- 
logicon Anglicum, voce Yeol. Mr. Douce is of opinion that Warton has con- 
founded Church-Ales with Saints Feasts e . 

d In Sir Richard Worsley's History of the Isle of Wight, p. 210, speaking of the parish of Whit- 
well, he tells us, that there is a lease in the parish chest, dated 15*4, " of a house called the 
church house, held by the inhabitants of Whitwell, parishioners of Gatcombe, of the lord of the 
manor, and demised by them to John Brode, in which is the following proviso : Provided always, 
that, if the Quarter shall need at any time to make a Quarter-Ale, or Church- Me, for the main- 
tenance of the chapel, that it shall be lawful for them to have the use of the said house, with all the 
rooms, both above and beneath, during their Ale." 

It appears from a Sermon made at Blanford Forum, in the Countie of Dorset, on Wensday the 
17th of January 157O, by William Kethe, 8vo, that it was the custom at that time for the Church 
Ales to be kept upon the sabbath-day ; which holy day, says our author, " the multitude call their 
revelyng day, which day is spent in bulbeatings, bearebeatings, bowlings, dicyng, cardyng, daun- 
synges, drunkennes, and whoredome," " in so much, as men could not keepe their servauntes from, 
lyinge out of theyr owne houses the same sabbath-day at night." 

For Scot-Ales, Give-Ales, Leet-AIes, Bride-Ales, Clerk-Ales, &c. see the Archteologia, vol. xii. 
p. 1117. 

c Stubs, in his " Anatomic of Abuses, 8vo, 1585, p. 95, gives the following account of '" The 
Maner of Church-Ales in England." 

" In ceftaine townes where dronken Bacchus beares swaie, against Christmas and Easter, 
Whitsondaie, or some other tyme, the churchewardens of every parishe, with the consent of the 
whole parishe, provide halfe a score or twenty quarters of mault, wherof some they buy of the 
churche stocke, and some is given them of the parishioners themselves, every one conferring some- 
what, according to his abilitie; whiche mault being made into very strong ale or beere, is sette 
to sale, either in the church or some other place assigned to that purpose. Then when this is set 
abroche, well is he that can gette the soonest to it, and spend the most at it. In this kinde of prac- 
tice they continue sixe weekes, a quarter ef a yeare, yea, halfe a year together." " That money, 
they say, is to repaire their churches and chappels with, to buy bookes for service, cuppes for the 
celebration of the Sacrament, surplesscs for sir John, and such other necessaries. And they main- 
taine other extraordinarie charges in their Parish besides." 


In the Introduction to the Survey and Natural History of the North Division 

"At a Vestry held at Brentford, in 1621, several articles were agreed upon with regard to the 
management of the parish stock by the chapel- wardens. The preamble stated, that the inhabitants 
had for many years been accustomed to have meetings at Whitsontide, in their church-house and 
other places there, in friendly manner to eat and drink together, aud liberally to spend their 
monies, to the end neighbourly society might be maintained; and also a common stock raised for 
the repairs of the church, maintaining of orphans, placing poor children in service, and defraying 
other charges." " In the Accompts for the Whitsontide Ale 1624, the gains are thus discrimi- 
nated : gg. s. d. 

Imprimis, cleared by the pigeon holes - 4 19 

by hocking - -737 

by riffeling - - 2 

by victualling - - 8 2 

22 2 9 

The hocking occurs almost every year till 1640, when it appears to have been dropt. It was col- 
lected at Whitsuntide. 

1618. Gained with hocking at 'Whitsuntide gg.lS. 12*. 3d. 

The other games were continued two years later. Riffeling is synonymous with raffling." Lysons's 
Environs of London, vol. ii. j>. 55. In p. .54., are the following Extracts from the Chapel Warden's 
Account Books : 




" 1620. Paid for 6 boules - ------ 









Paid to her that was LADY at Whitsontide, by consent 



Good wife Ansell, for the pigeon holes - - - - - 

- o 



Paid for the Games ---,___ 

- 1 




Received of Robert Bicklye, for the use of our Games 

- o 



Of the said R. B. for a silver bar which was lost at Elyng - - 





Paid for the silver Games ------- 





Paid to Thomas Powell, for pigeon holes - 




The following occur in the Churchwardens Books at Chiswick : 

" 1622. Cleared at Whitsuntide - _ -50O 

Paid for making a newe pair of pigeing-holes - - - - -O26" 

Ibid. vol. ii. p. 221. 

At a Court of the Manor of Edgware, in 1555, " it was presented that the butts at Edgware were 
very ruinous, and that the inhabitants ought to repair them ; which was ordered to be done before 
the ensuing Whitsontide." 

" Sir William Blackstone says, that it was usual for the lord of this manor to provide a minstrel 


of the County of Wiltshire, by J. Aubrey, esq. f at page 32 is the following cu- 
rious account of Whitsun Ales : " There were no Rates for the poor in my 
grandfather's days ; but for Kingston St Michael (no small parish) the Church- 
Ale of Whitsuntide did the business. In every parish is (or was) a church 
house, to which belonged spits, crocks, c. utensils for dressing provision. 
Here the housekeepers met and were merry, and gave their charity. The young 
people were there too, and had dancing, bowling, shooting at butts, &c., the 
ancients sitting gravely by, and looking on. All things were civil, and without 
scandal. The Church-Ale is doubtless derived from the AyaTrou, or Love Feasts, 
mentioned in the New Testament^." 

The following lines on Whitsunday occur in Barnabe Googe's translation of 
Naogeorgus : 

" On Whitsunday whyte pigeons tame in strings from heauen flie r 

And one that framed is of wood still hangeth in the skie. 

Thou seest how they with Idols play, 'and teach the people to ; 

None otherwise then little gyrles with pvppets vse to do b ." fo. 53. b. 

or piper for the diversion of the tenants while they were employed in his service." Ibid, 
vol. ii. p. 244. 

( Miscellanies on several curious Subjects, 8vo, Lond. printed for E. Curll, 1714. 

He adds: "Mr. A. Wood assures, that there were no almshouses, at least they were very 
scarce, before the Reformation ; that over against Christ Church, Oxon. is one of the ancicntest. 
In eveiy church was a poor man's box, but I never remembered the use of it ; nay, there was 
one at great inns, as I remember it was before the wars. These were the days when England 
was famous for the grey goose quills." 

h Among the antient annual church disbursements of St. Mary at Hill, in the city of London, I 
find the following entiy : "Garlands, Whitsunday, iijd." Sometimes also tlie subsequent : " Water 
for the Funt on Whitson Eve, id." This is explained by the following extract from Strutt's Manners 
and Customs, vol. iii. p. 1/4. " Among many various ceremonies, I find that they had one called 
* the Font hallowing,' which was performed, on Easter Even and Whitsunday Eve; and, says the 
author [of a MS volume of Homilies in the Harleian Library, No. 2371], ' in the begynnyng of 
holy chirch, all the children weren kept to be crystened on thys even, at the Font hallowyng ; but 
now, for enchesone that in so long abyclynge they might dye without crystendome, therefore holi 
chirch ordeyneth to crysten at all tymes of the yeare ; save eyght dayes before these Evenys, the 
chylde shalle abyde till the Font hallowing, if it may savely for perrill of death, and ells not.' " 

Collinson, in his History of Somersetshire, vol. iii. p. 620, speaking of Yatton, says, that " John 
Lane of this parish, gent, left half an acre of ground, called the Groves, to the poor for ever, 
reserving a quantity of the grass for strewing the church on Whitsunday." 


A superstitious notion appears antiently to have prevailed in England, that, 
" whatsoever one did ask of God upon Whitsunday morning, at the instant when 
the sun arose and play'd, God would grant it him." See Arise Evans's " Echo 
to the Voice from Heaven ; or, a Narration of his Life," 8vo, Lond. 16*52, p. 9- 
He says, " he went up a hill to see the sun arise betimes on Whitsunday morn- 
ing," and saw it at its rising " skip, play, dance, and turn about like a wheel." 

" At Kidlington, in Oxfordshire, the custom is, that, on Monday after Whit- 
son Week, there is a fat live lamb provided ; and the maids of the town, having 
their thumbs tied behind them, run after it, and she that with her mouth takes 
and holds the lamb is declared Lady of the Lamb, which being dressed, with 
the skin hanging on, is carried on a long pole before the lady and her com- 
panLns to the Green, attended with music, and a Morisco dance of men, and 
another of women, where the rest of the day is spent in dancing, mirth, and 
merry glee. The next day the lamb is part baked, boiled, and roast, for the 
Lady's Feast, where she sits majestically at the upper end of the table, and her 
companions with her, with music and other attendants, which ends the so- 
lemnity'." Beckwith's edition of Blount's Jocular Tenures, p. 281. 

1 Ex relatione Habitantium. filount 149. In Poor Robin's Almanack for 1676, stool-ball 
and barley-break are spoken of as Wbitson sports. In the Almanack for the following year, in 
June, opposite Whitsunday and Holidays, we read : 

" At Islington At Highgate and At Totnam Court 

A fair they hold, At Holloway, And Kentish Town, 

Where cakes and ale The like is kept And all those places 

Are to be sold. Here every day. Up and down." 



IN Lysons's Environs of London, vol. i p. 310, among his curious extracts 
from the Churchwardens' Accounts at Lambeth are the following: 

. s. d. 

"1519- Item, for garlonds and drynk for the chylderne on Trenyte Even 006 
- To Spryngwell and Smyth for syngyng with the Procession on 

Trenete Sonday Even - - 12 
Item, for four onssys of garnesyng rebonds, at 9d. the onse - 3 


" IN Wales, on Thursday after Trinity Sunday, which they call Dudd son 
Duw, or Dydd gwyl duw, on the Eve before, they strew a sort of fern before 
their doors, called Red yn Mair." This is at Caerwis. Mr. Pennant's MS. 

(The Eleventh of June.) 

In the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Mary at Hill, in the city of London, 
17 and \Q Edward IV. Palmer and Clerk Churchwardens, the following entry 
occurs : 
" For Rose-garlondis and Woodrove K -garlondis on St. Barnebes' Daye, xjd." 

And, under the year 1486: 

" Item, for two doss' di BOCSE GARLANDS for prestes and clerks on Saynt Bar- 
nabe dave, js. xrf." 

a A Note on this word in the printed copy of these Accounts, (see Mr. Nichols's Illustrations 
of Ancient Manners,) says, " Q. Woodbine." Skinner gives a choice of etymologies for it " Wood- 
roof ab A. S. fubu-Rope, asperula herba, nescio an a nostro Wood, A. S. J^ubu, Sylva, et 

VOL. I. H H 


Ibid. 1512, Woulffe and Marten Churchwardens, the following : 
" Rec d of the gadryng of the Maydens on St. Barnabas' Day, vjs. 

And, among the church disbursements of the same year, we have: 
" Rose-garlands and Lavender, St. Barnabas, is. vjd." 

In the same Accounts, for 1509, is the following : 

"For bred, wine, and ale, for the Singers of the King's Chapel, and for the 
Clarks of this town, on St. Barnabas, is. iijd." 

Collinson, in his History of Somersetshire, vol. ii. p. 265, speaking of Glas- 
tonbury, tells ^is, that, " besides the holy Thorn, there grew' in the Abbey 
Church-yard, on the North side of St. Joseph's Chapel, a miraculous Walnut 
Tree, which never budded forth before the feast of St. Barnabas, viz. the ele- 
venth of June, and on that very day shot forth leaves, and" flourished like its 
usual species. This tree is gone, and in the place thereof stands a very fine 
Walnut-tree of the common sort. It is strange to say how much this tree was 
sought after by the credulous ; and, though not an uncommon Walnut, Queen 
Anne, King James, and many of the nobility of the realm, even when the times 
of monkish superstition had ceased, gave large sums of money for small cuttings 
from the original." 

Among Ray's Proverbs, (edit. 8vo. 1?68, p. 39,) the following is preserved 
relating to Saint Barnabas : 

" Barnaby Bright, 
The longest day and the shortest night." 

[The author of the " Festa Anglo Romana," says, p. 7^, " This Barnaby-day, 
or thereabout, is the Summer Solstice or Sun-sted, when the Sun seems to stand, 

Loena, Sagum, sic dicta quia Sylvis gaudet, easque instar straguli operit, vel potius a Wood et 
Rowel, quia sc. flores Stellam vel Calcaris radios referunt." 

" Woodroofe, Asperula, hath many square stalkes full of joynts, and at every knot or joynt seven 
or eight long narrow leaves, set round about like a star, or the rowell of a spurre. The flowres 
grow at the top of the stems, of a white colour and of a very sweet smell, as is the rest of the 
herbe, which being made up into garlands or bundles, and hanging up in houses in the heat of sum- 
mer, doth very well attemper the aire, coole and make fresh the place, to the delight and comfort of 
such as are therein." " Woodroofle is named of divers in Latine Asperula odorata, and of most 
men Aspergida odorata .- of others Cordialis, and Stellaria : in English, Woodrooffe, Woodrowe, 
and Woodrowell. It is reported to be put into wine, to make a man merry, and to be good for the 
heart and liver." Gerard's Herball, p. 1124. 


and begins to go back, being the longest day in the year, about the 1 1th or 12th 
of June; it is taken for the whole time, when the days appear not for fourteen 
days together either to lengthen or shorten."] 

(Fifteenth of June.) 

IN the Sententiae Rythmicas of J. Buchlerus, p. 384, is a passage which 
seems to prove that St. Vitus's Day was equally famous for rain with St. 

Swithin's : 

" Lux sacrata Vito si sit pluviosa, sequentes> 
Triginta facient omne maclere solum." 

.Barnabe Googe, in the Translation of Naogeorgus, says : 

"The nexte is VITUS soclcle in oyle, before whose ymage faire 

Both men and women bringing hennes for offring do repaire : 

The cause whereof I doe not know, I thinke, for some disease 

Which he is thought to drive away from such as him do please." fol. 54 b. 

See a Charm against St. Vitus's Dance in Turner on the Diseases of the 
Skin, p. 419. 



(The Fourteenth of June.) 

CORPUS CHRISTI Day, says the " Festa Anglo Romans," p. 73, in all 
Roman Catholic Countries is celebrated with musick, lights, flowers strewed all 
along the streets, their richest tapestries hung out upon the walls, &c. 

The following is Barnabe Googe's Translation of what Naogeorgus has said 
upon the Ceremonies of this Day in his Popish Kingdom, fol. 53 b. 


" Then doth ensue the solemne feast of Corpus Christi Day, 

Who then can shewe their wicked use, and fond and foolish play ? 

The hallowed bread, with worship great, in silver pix they beare 

About the church, or in the citie passing here and theare. 

His armes that beares the same two of the welthiest men do holde, 

And over him a canopey of silke and cloth of golde. 

Foure others use to beare aloufe, least that some filthie thing 

Should fall from hie, or some mad birde hir doung thereon should fling. 

Christe's passion here derided is, with sundrie maskes and playes, 

Faire Ursley, with hir maydens all, doth passe amid the wayes : 

And, valiant George, with speare thou killest the dreadfull dragon here, 

The Devil's house is drawne about, wherein there doth appere 

A wondrous sort of damned sprites, with foule and fearefull looke, 

Great Christopher doth wade and passe with Christ amid the brooke : 

Sebastian full of feathred shaftes, the dint of dart doth feele, 

There walketh Kathren, with hir sworde in hande, and cruel wheele : 

The Challis and the singing Cake with Barbara is led, 

And sundrie other pageants playde, in worship of this bred, 

That please the foolish people well : what should I stand upon 

Their Banners, Crosses, Candlestickes, and reliques many on, 

Their Cuppes, and carved Images, that priestes, with count'nance hie 

Or rude and common people, beare about full solemlie ? 

Saint John before the bread doth go, and poynting towards him, 

Doth shew the same to be the Lainbe that takes away our sinne : 

On whome two clad in angels shape do sundrie flowres fling, 

A number great of Sacring Belles with pleasant sound doe ring. 

The common wayes with bowes are strawde, and every streete beside, 

And to the walles and windowes all, are boughes and braunches tide. 

The monkes in every place do roame, the nonnes abrode are sent, 

The priestes and schoolmen lowd do rore, some use the instrument. 

The straunger passing through the streete, upon his knees doe fall : 

And earnestly upon this bread, as on his God, doth call. 

For why, they counte it for their Lorde, and that he doth not take 

The form of flesh, but nature now of breade that we do bake. 

A number great of armed men here all this while do stande, 

To looke that no disorder be, nor any filching hande : 

For all the church-goodes out are brought, which certainly would bee 

A bootie good, if every man might have his libertie. 


This Bread eight dayes togither they in presence out do bring, 
The organs all do then resound, and priestes alowde do sing : 
The people flat on faces fall, their handes held up on hie, 
Eeleeving that they see their God, and soveraigne Majestie. 
The like at Masse they doe, while as the Bread is lifted well, 
And Challys shewed aloft, when as the sexten rings the bell." 
* * * * 

"In villages the Husbandmen about their corne doe ride, 

With many Crosses, Banners, and Sir John their priest beside : 

Who in a bag about his necke doth beare the blessed Breade, 

And oftentyme he downe alightes, and Gospel lowde doth reade. 

This surely keepes the corne from winde, and raine, and from the blast, 

Such fayth the Pope hath taught, and yet the Papistes hold it fast." 

In Lysons's Environs of London, vol. i. p. 229, I find the following extracts 
from the Churchwardens' and Chamberlains' Accounts at Kingston upon 
Thames, relating to this Day : 

"21 Hen. VII. Mem. That we, Adam Backhous and Harry . s. d. 

Nycol, amounted of a Play - - - 4 

"27 Hen. VII. Paid for pach-thred on Corpus Christi Day -001 

: 'This," Mr, Lysons adds, "was probably used for hanging the pageants, 
containing the History of our Saviour, which were exhibited on this day, and 
explained by the Mendicant Friars-V 

In the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Mary at Hill, in the City of London, 
17 and 19 Edw. IV. Palmer and Clerk Churchwardens, the following entry 
occurs : 

" Garlands on Corpus Christi Day, x d ." 

* The Cotton MS. Vesp. D. viii. contains a Collection of Dramas in old English verse (of the fif- 
teenth century) relating principally to the Histoiy of the New Testament. Sir William Dugdale 
mentions this Manuscript under the name of Ludus Corporis Christi, or Liulus Coventriae ; and 
adds, "I have been told by some people, who in their younger years were eye-witnesses of these 
pageants so acted, that the yearly confluence of people to see that shew was extraordinary great, 
and yielded no small advantage to this city." See Antiq. of Warwickshire, p. 11G. It appears 
by the latter end of the prologue, that these plays or interludes were not only played in Coventry, 
but in other towns and places upon occasion; See Reed's edit, of Shakspeare, 8vo, Lond. 18O3. 
Historical Account of the English Stage, vol. iii. p. 18. 


I find also, among the ancient annual Church disbursements, "For four 
(six, or eight) men bearing torches about the parish" on this Day, payments of 
id. each. 

Among the same Accounts, for the 19th and 21st years of Edw. IVth, we have: 

" For flaggs and garlondis, and pak-thredde for the torches, upon Corpus 
Christi Day, and for six men to bere the said torches, iiijjr. vijrf." 

And, in 1485, "For the hire of the garments for pageants, i*. viijrf." 

Rose-garlands on Corpus Christi Day are also mentioned under the years 
1524 and 1525, in the Parish Accounts of St. Martin Outwich. 

Mr. Pennant's Manuscript says, that in North Wales, at Llanasaph, there i 
a custom of strewing green herbs and flowers at the doors of houses on Corpus 
Christi Eve. 



THE Pagan Rites of this Festival at the Summer Solstice, may be considered 
as a counterpart of those used at the Winter Solstice at Yule-tide. There is 
one thing that seems to prove this beyond the possibility of a doubt. In the 
old Runic Fasti, as will be shewn elsewhere, a Wheel was used to denote the 
Festival of Christrnass. The learned Gebelin derives Yule from a primitive 
word, carrying with it the general idea of revolution and a wheel ; and it was 
so called, says Bede, because of the return of the sun's annual course, after the 
Winter Solstice. This Wheel is common to both Festivities. Thus Durand, 


speaking of the Rites of the Feast of St. John Baptist, informs us of this curious 
circumstance, that in some places they roll a Wheel about, to signify that the 
Sun, then occupying the highest place in the Zodiac, is beginning to descend*; 
and in the amplified account of these ceremonies given by the Poet Naogeorgus, 
we read that this Wheel was taken up to the top of a mountain and rolled down 
from thence ; and that, as it had previously been covered with straw, twisted 
about it and set on fire, it appeared at a distance as if the sun had been falling 
from the sky. And he farther observes, that the people imagine that all their 
ill-luck rolls away from them together with this Wheel b . 

* " ROT AM quoque hoc die in quibusdam locis volvunt, ad signiricandum quod Sol alti^imum 
tune locum in Coelo occupet, et clescendere incipiat in Zodiaco." 

Among the Harleian Manuscripts, now in the British Museum, No. 2345, Art. 100, is an Ac- 
count of the Rites of St. John Baptist's Eve, in which the Wheel is also mentioned. The writer 
is speaking, " de Tripudiis qua; in Vigilia B. Johannis fieri solent, quorum tria genera." " In Vi- 
gilia enim beati Johannis," the author adds, " colligunt pueri in quibusdam regionibus ossa & 
quedam alia immunda, & in simul cremant, et exinde producitur fumus in aere. Cremant ? ctiam 
Brandas (sen Fasces) et circuiunt arva cum Brandis. Tertium, de ROTA quamfaciunt volvi. Quod 
cum immunda cremant, hoc habent ex Gentilibus." 

The Catalogue describes this curious Manuscript thus : " Codex membranaceus in 4to cujus 
mine plura desiderantur folia : quo tamen continebantur diversa cujusdam Monachi, uti vidctur, 
Winchelcumbensis Opuscula." 

b The following is Naogeorgus's account of the Rites of this Festivity : 
"In die magni Baptists solstitiiim fort, 
Omnibus in vicis qua vulgo accenditur ignis, 
Inq; foro atque viis, laetas circumque choreas 
Solliciti ducunt juvenes, cupideque puellae, 
Verbenis cincti, & Mausoli conjugis herba, 
Nonnullisque aliis : nigra et vacinia palmis 
Gestantes, creduntque superstitionibus omnes 
Non doliturum oculos qui per vacinia flammas 
Inspiciat. Postquam saltarunt noctis ad vmbram, 
Tandem transiliunt ignem certamine magno, 
Injiciuntque hcrbas prece, votisque, vt sua eisdem 
Cuncta exurantur simul infortunia flammis, 
Quo se ilium credunt tutos e febribus annum. 
Est vbi detritam, stupisque & stramine multo 
Intextam, tractamque BOTAM in celsissima mentis 
Succendunt, postquam. coelo hesperus ardet opaco. 


Bourne tells us, that it was the custom in his time, in the North of Eng- 
land, chiefly in country villages, for old and young people to meet together 

Volvuntque in prssceps : quod solis ab arce cadentis 
Coelesti simulat speciem, horrendumque videtur. 
At sua turn credunt paritcr dispendia volvi 
In praece ps, tutosque a cunctis se esse periclis." 

Hospinian. de Origine Festor. Christian, fol. 113 b. 
" Then doth the joyfull feast of John the Baptist take his turne, 
When bonfiers great, with lot'lie flame, in every towne doe burne : 
And yong men round about with maides, doe daunce in every streete, 
With garlands wrought of Motherwort, or else with Vervain sweete, 
And many other flowrcs faire, with Violets in their handes, 
Whereas they all do fond'y thinke, that whosoever staiides, 
And thorow the fluwres beholdes the flame, his eyes shall feel no paine. 
When thus till night they daunced have, they through the fire am line, 
With striving mindes doe runne, and all their heaibes they cast therein, 
And then with worries devout and prayers they solemnc-ly begin, 
Desiring God that all their illes may there consumed bee ; 
Whereby they thinke through all that yeare from agues to be free. 
Some others get a rotten Wheele, all worne and cast aside, 
Which, covered round about with strawe and tow, they closely hide : 
And caryed to some mountaines top, being all with lire light, 
They hurle it downe with violence, when darke appears the night : 
Resembling much the sunne, that from the Heavens down should fal, 
A straunge and monstrous sight it seemes, and fearefull to them all : 
But they suppose their mischiefes all are likewise throwne to hell. 
And that from harmes and daungers now, in safetie here they dwell." 

The Popish Kingdome, fol. 54 b. 

The Reader will join with me in thinkingthe following extract from the Homily " De Festo Sancti 
Johannis Baptistae," a pleasant piece of absurdity : 

" In worshyp of Saint Johan the people waked at home, and made three maner of fyres : one 
was clene bones, and noo woode, and that is called a Bone Fyre ; another is clene woode, and no 
bones, and that is called a Wode Fyre, for people to sit and wake therby ; the thirde is made of 
wode and bones, and it is callyd Saynt Johannys fyre. The first fyre, as a great clerke Johan Bel- 
leth telleth he was in a certayne countrey, so in the countrey there was soo greate hete the which 
causid that dragons to go togyther in tokenynge that Johan dyed in brennynge love and charyte 
to God and man, and they that dye in charyte shall have parte of all good prayers, and they that 
do not, shall never be saved. Then as these dragons flewe in th' ayre they shed down to that water 
froth of ther kynde, and so envenymed the waters, and caused moehe people for to take theyr deth 
therby, and many dyverse sykenesse. Wyse clerkes knoweth well that dragons hate nothyng more 


and be merry over a large fire, which was made for that purpose in the open 
street 6 . This, of whatever materials it consisted, was called a Bonefire d . 

Over and about this fire they frequently leap, and play at various games, 
such as running, wrestling, dancing, &c. : this, however, is generally confined 
to the younger sort ; for the old ones, for the most part, sit by as spectators 

than the stenche of brennynge bones, and therefore they gaderyd as many as they mighte fynde, 
and brent them ; and so with the stenche thereof they drove away the dragons, and so they were 
brought out of greete dysease. 

" The seconde fyre was made of woode, for that wyl brenne lyght, and wyll be seen farre. For 
it is the chefe of fyre to be seen farre, and betokennynge that Saynt Johan was a lanterne of lyght 
to the people. Also the people made biases of fyre for that they shulde be seene farre, and spe- 
cyally in the nyght, in token of St. Johan's having been seen from far in the spirit by Jeremiah. 
The third fyre of bones betokenneth Johan's martyrdome, for hys bones were brente, and how'ye 
shall here." The Homilist accounts for this by telling us that after John's disciples had buried 
his body, it lay till Julian, the apostate Emperor, came that way, and caused them to be taken 
up and burnt, " and to caste the ashes in the wynde, hopynge that he shuld never ryse again 
to lyfe." 

e See Antiq. Vulg. chap, xxvii. 

4 These fires are supposed to have been called Bonefires because they were generally made of 
bones. There is a passage in Stow, however, wherein he speaks of men finding wood or labour 
towards them, which seems to oppose the opinion. The learned Dr. Hickes also gives a very dif- 
ferent etymon. He defines a Bonefire to be a festive or triumphant fire. In the Islandic Lan- 
guage, he says, Baal signifies a burning. In the Anglo Saxon, Bael-pyp, by a change of letters 
of the same organ is made Baen-pyp, whence our Bone-fire. 

In the Tinmouth MS. cited so often in the History of Newcastle, "Boon-er," and " Boen- 
Harow," occur for plowing and harrowing gratis, or by gift. There is a passage also, much to 
our purpose, in Aston's Translation of J. B. Aubanus, p. '282. "Common Fires (or as we call 
them hecre in England Bonefires.)" I am, therefore, strongly inclined to think that Bone-fire 
means a Contribution-fire, that is, a fire to which every one in the neighbourhood contributes a 
certain portion of materials. The contributed Plowing Days in Northumberland are called 
" Bone-dargs." 

" Bon-tire," says Lye (apud Junii Etymolog.) not a fire made of bones, but a 6oon-fire, a fire 
made of materials obtained by begging. Boon, Bone, Bene, vet. Angl. petitio, preces." 

Fuller, in p. ^5 of his " Mixt Contemplations in better Times," 12mo. Loud. 1658, says he hai 
met wi^h " two etymologies of Bone-fires. Some deduce it from fires made of bones, relating it 
to the burning of martyrs, first fashionable in England in the reign of King Henry the Fourth : 
But others derive the word (more truly in my mind) from boon, that is good, and fires." ^ 

See lso a Letter of Dr. Pegge's, signed T. Row, in the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. xliv. for 
1774, p. 315. 



only of the vagaries of those who compose the 

" Lasciva decentius Betas," 

and enjoy themselves over their bottle, which they do not quit till midnight, and 
sometimes till Cock-crow the next morning. 

The learned Gebelin, in his Allegories Orientales, accounts in the following 
manner for the custom of making Fires on Midsummer Eve : " Can one," says 
he e , " omit to mention here the St. John Fires, those sacred Fires, kindled about 
midnight, on the very moment of the Solstice, by the greatest part as well of 
antient as of modern nations ; a religious ceremony of the most remote anti- 

" Peut-on me"connoitre ici les Feux de la S. Jean, ces Feux sacres allumes a minuit au moment 
du Solstice chez la plupart des nations anciennes and modernes ? Ce're'inonie religieuse, qui re- 
monte ainsi & la plus haute antiquite", & qu'on observoit pour la prosperit6 des etats et des peu- 
ples, and pour (^carter tous les maux. 

" L' engine de ce Feu que tant de Nations conservent encore et qui se perd dans 1'antiquite", est 
tres simple. C'etoit un Feu de joie allurae" au moment ou 1'Ann^e commen^oit ; car la premiere 
de toutes les anne'es, la pius ancienne done on ait quelque connoissance, s'ouvroit au mois de Juin. 
De-la le nom mfeme de ce mois, Junior, le plus jeune, qui se renouvelle ; tandis que celui qui 
le pre'ce'de est le mois de Mai, ou major, 1'ancien ; aussi 1'un etoit le mois des jeunes gens, & 1'autre 
celui des vieillards. 

" Ces Feux-de-joie e'toient accompagnes en mtoie terns de voeux & de sacrifices pour la pro- 
'perite des peuples & de biens de la terre : on dansoit aussi autour de ce Feu ; car y a-t-il quelque 
fete sans danse ? et les plus agiles sautoient par-dessus. En se retirant, chacun emportoit un 
tison plus ou moins grand, et le reste dtoit jette 1 au vents, a fin qu'il emportat tout malheur 
comme il emportoit ces cendres. 

" Lorsqu'apres une longue suite d'anne'es, le Solstice n'en fit plus 1'ouverture, on continua De- 
fendant e'galement 1'usage des Feux dans le meme tems, par une suite de 1'habitude, et des ide"es 
euperstitieuses qu'on y avoit. attaches ; d'ailleurs, il eut e"te triste d'ane"antir un jour de joie, dans 
des tems ou il y en avoit peu ; aussi cet usage s'est-il maintenu jusqu"a nous." Monde Primitif, 
torn. i. Hist. d'Hercule, p. 203. 

Levinus Lemnius, in his Treatise de Occultis Naturae Miraculis, lib. 3, cap. 8, has the follow- 
ing : " Natalis dies Joannis Baptists non solum Judffiis ac Christianis, sed Mauris etiam ac Bar- 
baris, quique a nostra religione alieni ac Mahumeto addicti sunt, Celebris est et sacro-sanctus, 
tametsi nonnulli hujus noctem superstitioso quodam cultu congestis lignorum acervis, accensisque 
Ignibus, ut Corybantes ac Cybeles cultores, strepitu ac furiosis clamoribus transigant, quin et 
impuberes congestis collisisque ignitis carbonibus bonibos ac crepitaeula excutiunt." He cites 
Olaus Magnus as describing how the Goths kept this night. " Omnia enim generis sexusque ho- 
mines turaatim in publicum concurrunt, extructisque luculeutis ignibue atque accensis facibiw,, 
^horeis, trijiudiieque se exercent." 


quity, which was observed for the prosperity of states and people, and to dispel 
every kind of evil. 

"The origin of this Fire, which is still retained by so many nations, though 
enveloped in the mist of antiquity, is very simple : it was a Feu de Joie, kindled 
the very moment the year began ; for the first of all years, and the most antient 
that we know of, began at this month of June. Thence the very name. of this 
month, junior, the youngest, which is renewed ; while that of the preceding 
one is May, major, the antient. Thus the one was the month of young people, 
while the other belonged to old men. 

"These Feux de Joie were accompanied at the same time with vows and sa- 
crifices for the prosperity of the people and the fruits of the earth. Tbej 
danced also round this Fire ; for what feast is there without a dance ? and the 
most active leaped over it. Each on departing took away a fire-brand, great 
or small, and the remains were scattered to the wind, which, at the same time 
that it dispersed the ashes, was thought to expel every evil. When, after a 
long train of years, the year ceased to commence at this solstice, still the custom 
of nuking these fires at this time was continued by force of habit, and of those 
superstitious ideas that are annexed to it. Besides, it would have been a sad 
thing to have annihilated a day of joy in times when there were not many of 
them. Thus has the custom been continued and handed dowjr to us f ." 

la the Gent. Mag. vol. iii. for May 1733, p. 2'<J5, a posthumous piece of Sir Isaac Newton, in- 
titled, " Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John," is cited, 
where that grew Philosopher, on Daniel ii, v. 38, 39, observes, that "the Heathens were delighted 
with (he Festivals of their Gods, and unwilling to part with those ceremonies ; therefore Gre- 
gory, Bit>hop of Neo-Caesarea, in Pontus, to facilitate their conversion, instituted annual Festi- 
vals to the Saints and Martyrs : hence the keeping of Christmas with ivy, feasting, plays, and 
sports, came in the room of the Bacchanalia and Saturnalia ; the celebrating May Day with 
flowers, in the room of the Floralia ; and the Festivals to the Virgin Mary, John the Baptist, and 
divers of the Apostles, in the room of the solemnities at the entrance of the Sun into the Signs of 
the Zodiac in the old Julian Calendar." 

' Borlase, in his Antiquities of Cornwall, p. 130, tells us : " Of the fires we kindle in many 
parts of England, at some stated times of the year, we know not certainly the rise, reason, or 
occasion, but they may probably be reckoned among the relicks of the Druid superstitious Fires. 
In Cornwall, the festival Fires, culled Bonfires, are kindled on the Eve of St. John Baptist and St. 
Peter's Day j and Midsummer is thence, in the Cornish tongue, called " Goluan," which signifies 
Ooth light and rejoicing. At these Fires the Cornish attend with lighted torches, tarr'd and 


So far our learned and ingenious foreigner. But I can by no means acquiesce 
with him in thinking that the act of leaping over these fires was only a trial of 

pitch 'd at the end, and make their perambulations round their Fires, and go from village to village 
carrying their torches before them, and this is certainly the remains of the Druid superstition, 
for ' faces prapferre,' to cariy lighted torches, was reckoned a kind of Gentilisrn, and as such par- 
ticularly prohibited by the Gallick Councils : they were in the eye of the law ' accensores facu- 
larum,' and thought to sacrifice to the devil, and to deserve capital punishment." 

In Ireland, " on the Eves of St. John Baptist and St. Peter, they always have in every town a 
Bonfire late in the evenings, and cany about bundles of reeds fast tied and fired; these being dry, 
will last long, and flame better than a torch, and be a pleasing divertive prospect to the distant 
beholder ; a stranger would go near to imagine the whole country was on fire." Sir Henry Piers's 
Description of West Meath, 1682, in Vallancey's Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis, No. I. p. 123. 

The author of " The Survey of the South of Ireland," says, p. 232 : "It is not strange that 
many Druid remains should still exist ; but it is a little extraordinary that some of their customs 
should still be practised. They annually renew the sacrifices that used to be offered to Apollo, 
without knowing it. On Midsummer's Eve, every eminence, near which is a habitation, blazes 
with Bonfires ; and round these they cany numerous torches, shouting and dancing, which affords 
a beautiful sight, and at the same time confirms the observation of Scaliger : ' En Irlande, ils 
sont quasi tous papistes, mais c'est Papaute mdslee de Paganisme, comme partout.' Though 
historians had not given us the mythology of the pagan Irish, and though they had not told us 
expressly that they worshipped Beal, or Bealin, and that this Beal was the Sun and their chief 
God, it might nevertheless be investigated from this custom, which the lapse of so many centuries 
has not been able to wear away." " I have however heard it lamented that the alteration of the 
style had spoiled these exhibitions : for the Roman Catholics light their Fires by the new style, as 
the correction originated from a pope ; and for that very same reason the Protestants adhere to 
the old." 

I find the following, much to our purpose, in the Gentleman's Magazine for February 1795, vol. 
ixv. p. 124 : " The Irish have ever been worshippers of Fire and of Baal, and are so to this day. This 
is owing to the Roman Catholics, who have artfully yielded to the superstitions of the natives, in 
order to gain and keep up an establishment, grafting Christianity upon Pagan rites. The chief 
festival in honour of the Sun and Fire is upon the 21st* of June, when the sun arrives at the 
summer solstice, or rather begins its retrograde motion. I was so fortunate in the summer of 
1782, as to have my curiosity gratified by a sight of this ceremony to a very great extent of 
country. At the house where I was entertained, it was told me that we should see at midnight 
the most singular sight in Ireland, which was the lighting of fires in honour of the Sun. Accord- 
ingly, exactly at midnight, the Fires began to appear : and taking the advantage of going up to 
the leads of the house, which had a widely extended view, 1 saw on a radius of thirty miles, ail 

* Qu. if this is not a mistake for the 23d. 


agility. A great deal of learning might be produced here to shew farther that 
it was as much a religious act as making them R. 

Stow, in his Survey of London, tells us, " that, on the vigil of St. John Bap- 

around, the Fires burning on every eminence which the country afforded. I had a farther satis- 
faction in learning-, from undoubted authority, that the people danced round the Fires, and at the 
close went through these fires, and made their sons and daughters, together with their cattle, 
pass through the Fire ; and the whole was conducted with religious solemnity." This is at the 
end of some Reflections by the late Rev. Donald M'Queen, of Kilmuir in the Isle of Sky, on an- 
tient Customs preserved in that Island. 

The author of " The Comical Pilgrim's Pilgrimage into Ireland," 8vo, Lond. 1723, p. 92, says: 
" On the vigil of St. John the Baptist's Nativity, they make Bonfires, and run along the streets 
and fields with wisps of straw blazing on long poles to purify the air, which they think infectious> 
by believing al the devils, spirits, ghosts, and hobgoblins fly abroad this night to hurt mankind. 
Farthermore, it is their dull theology to affirm the souls of all people leave their bodies on the 
Eve of this Feast, and take their ramble to that very place, where, by land or sea, a final sepa- 
ration shall divorce them for evermore in this world." 

Levinus Lemnius, in the work already quoted, tells us, that the Low Dutch have a proverb, 
that "when men have passed a troublesome night's rest, and could not sleep at all, they say, we 
have passed St. John Baptist's Night ; that is, we have not taken any sleep, but watched all night ; 
and not only so, but we have been in great troubles, noyses, clamours, and stirs, that have held 
us waking." " Some," he previously observes, " by a superstition of the Gentiles, fall down be- 
fore his image, and hope to be thus freed from the epileps ; and they are further persuaded, that 
if they can but gently go unto this Saint's shrine, and not cry out disorderly, or hollow like mad- 
men when they go, then they shall be a whole year free from this disease ; but if they attempt to 
bite with their teeth the Saint's head they go to kisse, and to revile him, then they shall be 
troubled with this disease every month, which commonly comes with the course of the moon, yet 
extream juglings and frauds are wont to be concealed under this matter." English Translat. fol. 
1658, p. 28. 

f Leaping over the Fires is mentioned among the superstitious rites used at the Palilia in Ovid'i 
Fasti : 

" Moxque per ardentes stipulae crepitantis acervos 
Trajicias celeri strenua membra pede." 

The Palilia were Feasts instituted in honour of Pales, the goddess of shepherds (though Varro 
makes Pales masculine,) on the Calends of May. In order to drive away wolves from the folds, 
and distempers from the cattle, the shepherds on this day kindled several heaps of straw in their 
fields, which they leaped over. See Sheridan's Persius, 2d edit. p. 18. 

The following passage may be thought, however, to make for Gebelin : it is in an old Collection 
of Satyres, Epigrams, &c. where this leaping over a Midsummer Bonefire is mentioned among, 
other pastimes : 


tistj every man's door being shadowed with green birch h , long fennel, St. John's 

" At shove-groate, venter-point, or crosse and pile, 
At leaping over a Jlidsommer Hone-fitr, 
Or at the drawing dun out of the inyer." 

Reeds edit, of Shaksp. 8vo, Lond. 1803, vol. xx. p. 51. note. 

In " The Works of William Browne," vol. iii. 8vo. Lond. 1772, " The Shepherd's Pipe," p. 53. 
occur the following lines : 

" Neddy, that was wont to make 
Such great feasting at the wake, 

And the Blessing Fire.-" 

with a note front blessing Fire, informing us that " the Midsummer fires are termed so in the 
West parts of England." 

The following very curious passage on this head is extracted from Torreblanca's Demonology, 
p. 1O6 : " Ignis histrationis, qua: in filiorum consecratione fiebat, sive expiation?, ad stabiliendam 
eorum fortunam, de qua agit sacra Paroemia, Reg. 4, c. 17. Et consecraverunt filios suos, & filias 
per Ignem. Quse fiebat ex transjectione per ignem, ex qua similiter felices illi casus j.r&nuncia- 
bant, quam superstitionem damnatam invenio Deut. c. 18. Nee inveniatur in te, qui lustrat 
filium suum, aut filiam ducens per ignem. In quo peccant German! in successione Pyrarum, 
quas pie in hcnorem D. Johannis accendnnt, dum ad crepitum, fumum, fiammae modum, & similia 
attendant. Nam sunt reliqniae veteris paganism! ut censet Conrad. Wissin de Divinat. c. 2. Nee 
non qui pyras hujus'n^di definitis vicibus se circumire et transilire debere putant in futuri r.iali 
averruncatione, ut tradit Gliucas, p. 2, Annal. fol. 269, quod ut hodie, ita testeOvid, lib. 4, Pastor. 
' Certe ego transilii positas ter in ordine flammas." 

In a most rare tract, entitled, " Perth Assembly," &c. 4to, 1619, p. 83. probably printed in 
Scotland, but without printer's name, we read : 

" Bel'armine telleth us (De Reliquiis, c. 4), Ignis accendi solet ad leetithm significandam etiam 
in rebus prophanis, that Fire useth to be kindled, even in civil and prophane things. Scaliger 
calleth the candeii and iorclies lightned upon Midsomer Even, thefoote steps of auncient gentility*." 
De Em<,ndat. Tempor. lib. vii. p. 713. 

In UM " Chcvreana," vol i. p. 397, on the Hebrew sacrifices to Moloch, we read: "On a doute" 
si 1'on fuisoi' biuler ces enfans, ou si on les faiboit simplement passer par le feu, comme je 1'ay 
vu souveut pratiquer en quelques Endroits, la veille, ou la f6te de Saint Jean, ce qui est un vilain 
reste d'!dolatrie." 

* In the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Mary at Hill, in the 17 and 19 Edw. IV. Palmer and 
Clock Churchwardens, I find the following entry: ''For birch at Midsummer, viiid." As also, 
amoi^- the annual church disbursements, ibid, the subsequent : " Birch Midsurn 1 " Eve, 
Ibid. 1486. " Item, for birch bowes agenst Midsummer." 

* Gentilism. 


wort 1 , orpin, white lilies, and such like, garnished upon with garlands of beau- 
tiful flowers, had also lamps of glass, with oil burning in them all the night. 
Some," he adds, " hung out branches of iron, curiously wrought, containing 
hundreds of lamps lighted at once. He mentions also Bonefires in the streets, 
every man bestowing wood and labour (without any notice taken of bones) 
towards them k . He seems, however, to hint that they were kindled on this oc- 
casion to purify the air. 

Coles, in his " Adam in Eden," speaking of the birch tree, says : " I remember once, as I rid 
through Little BrickhiJl in Buckinghamshire, which is a town standing upon the London road, 
between Dunstable and Stony-Str xtford, every signe-post in the towne almost was bedecked with 
green birch." This had been done, no doubt, on account of Midsummer Eve. 

Coles quaintly observes, among the civil uses of the birch-tree, " the punishment of children, 
both at home and at school ; for it hath an admirable influence on them when they are out of 
order, and therefore some call it Makepeace." 

In the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Martin Outwich (see Mr. Nichols's Illustrations of An- 
cient Manners and Expences, p. 273), we have: " 1524. Payde for byrche and bromes at Myd- 
som', ijrf." " 1525. Payde for Byrch and Bromes at Mydsom r , iijd." 

In Dekker's " Wonderful Yeare," 4to, 1603, signat. B. we read, " Olive trees (which grow no 
where but in the Garden of Peace) stood (as common as Beech does at Midsomer) at every man's 

1 Mr. Pennant's MS. informs us, that in Wales " they have the custom of sticking St. John'* 
wort over the doors on the Eve of St. John Baptist." 

* The following curious extract from Bishop Pecock's Repressour, c. 6, is given by Lewis, in 
his Life of that prelate, p. 7O : " Whanne men of the cuntree upload bringen into Londoun, on 
Mydsomer Eve, braunchis of trees from Bischopis-wode, and flouris fro the feeld, and bitakcn tho 
to citessins of Londoun, for to therwith araie her housis, that thei make therewith her houses gay, 
into remeinbraunce of Seint Julian Baptist, and of this, that it was prophecied of him that many 
schulden joie in his burthe." 

In a Royal Household Account, communicated by Craven Ord, esq. of the Exchequer, I find the 
following article : 

" 23 June, 8 Hen. VII. Item, to the making of the Bonefuyer on Middesomer Eve. x." 
Mr. Douce says he does not know whether Fraunce in the following passage from his " Coun- 
tesse of Pembroke's Ivy Church," Part ii. sig. I. 4 b. alludes to the Midsummer Eve Fires, 
" O most mighty Pales, which stil bar'st love to the country 
And poore countrey folk, hast thou forgotten Amvntas ? 
Now, when as other gods have all forsaken Amyntas ? 
Thou on whose Feast-day Bone tires were made by Amyntas, 
And quyte leapt over by the bouncing dauncer Amyntas ? 


The learned Moresin appears to have been of opinion that the custom of leap- 
ing over these Fires is a vestige of the Ordeal, where to be able to pass through 
Fires with safety was held to be an indication of innocence 1 . To strengthen 
the probability of this conjecture, we may observe that not only the young and 

Thbu, for whose Feast-dayes great cakes ordayned Amyntas, 

Supping mylk with cakes, and casting mylk to the Bonefyre ?" . 

1 " Flammam transiliendi mos videtur etiam priscis Gruecise teniporibus usurpatus fuisse, deque 
eo versus Sophoclis in Antigone quosdam intelligendos putant : Cum enim Ilex Creon Polynicis 
cadaver humare prohibuisset, Antigone autem ipsius soror illud humo contexisset, custodes, ut 
mortis pcenam a Rege, constitutara vitarent, dicebant se paratos esse ferruin candens manibus con- 
trectare & per pyram incedere. Hotom. Disput. de Feudis. cap. xliv. Hie mos Gallis, Germanis 
et post Christianismum remansit etiam pontificibus : et adulteria uxorum ferro candente probant 
Germani. JEaal. lib. iv. &c. Et Vascones accensis Ignibus in Urbium vicis vidi per medios saltare 
ad Festum Joanni sacrum in Estate ; et qui funus antiquitus prosequuti fuerant, ad proprioa 
Lares reversi, aqua aspersi, ignem supergradiebantur, hoc se piaculo ex funere expiari ar- 
bitrati &c." Papatus, p. 61. 

See also in another passage : " Majores vero natu ad Festum D. Joliannis sacrum accensia 
vespere in platea Ignibus, flammam transiliunt stramineam Mares et Freminat:, pueri, pupseque, ac 
fieri vidi in Galliis inter Cadurcos ad oppidulum Puy la Rocque." p. 72. 

In the Appendix No. II. to Pennant's Tour, Shaw in his Account of Elgin and the Shire of 
Murray, tells us "that, in the middle of June, farmers go round their corn with burning torches, 
in memoiy of the Cerealia." 

Every Englishman has heard of the " Dance round our coal fire," which receives illustration 
from the probably an.tie.nt practice of dancing round the Fires in our Inns of Court (and perhaps 
other halls in ^reat men's houses). This practice was still in 1733 observed at an entertainment at 
the Inner Temple Hall, on Lord Chancellor Talbot's taking leave of the house, when the Master 
of the Revels took the Chancellor by the hand, and he, Mr. Page, who with the Judges, Serjeants, 
and Benchers, danced round the Coal Fire, according to the old ceremony, three times, and all 
the times the antient song, with music, was sung by a man in a Bar gown." See Wynne's Eu- 
nomus, iv. 107. This dance is ridiculed in the dance in the Rehearsal. 

In the " Traite des Superstitions," &c. torn. iii. p. 455, we read: " Celui qui veut scavoir de 
quelle couleur seront les cheveux de la personne qu'il doit avoir pour femme, n'a qua tourner trois 
tours autour du feu de la Saint Jean & lors que le bois sera a demi consume, il prendra un tison, il 
le laissera cteindre, puis il le mettra le soir avant que de se coucher sous le chevet de son lit ; et de 
lendemain il trouvera autour dc ce tison des cheveux qui seront, de la couleur de ceux de sa future 
Epouse. II faut que tout ce ridicule manege se fasse a yeux clos ; autrement on n'en a pas le 
succes qu'on en espere. 

" Lorsqu'il y a vine femme veuve, ou quelque fille a marier dans une inaison, et qu'elles sont re- 
cherchees en manage, il faut bien se dormer de garde de lever les tisons du feu, parce que cela 
chasse les amoureux." 


vigorous m , but even those of grave characters used to leap over them, and there 
was an interdiction of ecclesiastical authority to deter clergymen" from this su- 
perstitious instance of agility . 

m Mr. Douce has a curious French print, entitled, " L'este k Fen de la St. Jean ;" Mariette ex. 
In the centre is the fire made of wood piled up very regularly, and having a tree stuck in the midst 
of it. Young men and women are represented dancing round it hand in hand. Herbs are stuck 
in their hats and caps, and garlands of the same surround their waists, or are slung across then- 
shoulders. A boy is represented carrying a large bough of a tree. Several spectators are looking 
on. The following lines are at the bottom : 

" Que de Feux. bruians dans les airs ! 
Qu'ils font une douce harmonic ! 
Redoublons cette melodic 
Par nos dances, par nos concerts !" 

n The sixth Council of Constantinople, A. D. 680. by its 65th canon (cited by Prynne in his 
Histriomastix, p. 585), has the following interdiction : " Those Bonefires that are kindled by cer- 
taine people on New Moones before their shops and houses, over which also they use ridiculously 
and foolishly to leape, by a certaine antient custome, we command them from henceforth to cease. 
Whoever therefore shall doe any such thing ; if he be a Clergyman, let him be deposed ; if a layman, 
let him be excommunicated. For, in the Fourth Book of the Kings, it is thus written : ' And 
Manasseh built an altar to all the hoast of heaven, in the two courts of the Lord's house, and made 
his children to passe through the Fire,' &c." Prynne observes upon this : " Bonefires therefore 
had their originall from this idolatrous custome, as this General! Councell hath defined ; therefore 
all Chribtians should avoid them." And the Synodus Francica under Pope Zachary, A. D. 742, 
cited ut supra, p. 587, inhibits " those sacrilegious Fires which they call Nedfri (or Bonefires), and 
all other observations of the Pagans whatsoever." 

" Leaping o'er a Midsummer Bonefire" is mentioned amongst other games in " The Garden of 
Delight," 12mo, 1658, p. 76. 

A clergyman of Devonshire informed me that, in that county, the custom of making Bonefires on 
Midsummer Eve, and of leaping over them, still continues. 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xxi. p. 145, parish of Mongahitter, it is said : " The 
Midsummer Even Fire, a relict of Druidism, was kindled in some parts of this county." 

Mr. Douce's MS notes say, " It appears that a watch was formerly kept in the city of London 
on Midsummer Eve, probably to prevent any disorders that might be committed on the above oc- 
casion. It was laid down in the 20th year of Henry VIII. See Hall's Chronicle at the latter end 
of the year. The Chronicles of Stow and Byddel assign the sweating sickness as a cause for dis- 
continuing the watch." Niccols says, the watches on Midsummer and St. Peter's Eve were laid 
down by licence from the king, " for that the cittie had then bin charged with the leavie of a 
muster of 15000 men." 

We read in Byddell's Chronicle, under the year 1527: "This yere was the sweatinge sicknesse, 
for the which cause there was no watche at Mydsommer." See also Graf ton's Chronicle, p. 129O, 

VOL. 1. K K 


The subsequent extract from the antient Calendar of the Romish Church, so 
often cited in this Work, shews us what doings there used to be at Rome on 
the Eve and Day of St. John the Baptist : 

" 23. The Vigil of the Nativity of John the Baptist. 
Spices are given at Vespers. 
Fires are lighted up. 

A girl with a little drum that proclaims the Garland. 
Boys are dressed in girls cloathsi. 

in aim. 1547, when the watch appears to have been kept both on St. John Baptist's Eve and on 
that of St. Peter. 

Sir John Smythe's " Instructions, Observations, and Orders Militarie," 4to. Lond. 1595, p. 129, 
say : " An Ensigne-bearer in the field, carrieng his ensigne displayed, ought to carrie the same 
upright, and never, neither in towne nor field, nor in sport, nor earnest, to fetche florishes 
about his head with his ensign-staffe, and taffata of his ensigne, as the Ensigne-bearers of London 
do upon Midsommer Night." 

f " Juntas. 
" 23. Vigilia natalis Joannis Baptistae. 

Aromata dantur Vesperis. 

Ignes Hunt. 

Puella cum parvo Tympano, quod Coronulam appellat. 

Pueri pro puellis vestiuntur. 

Cantilenae ad liberates, dirae et avaros. 

Aqus in nocte natantur : et pensiles ad vaticinium feruntur. 

Filix vulgo in precio est propter semen. 

Herbse diverai generis quaeruntur & multae fiunt. 

Carduus puellarum legitur et ab eisdem centum cruces. 
" 24. Nativitas Joannis Baptistae : ros et novae frondes in precio. 

Solstitium Vulgare." 

* Mr. Douce has a curious Dutch Mezzotinto, representing one of the Months " JUNIUS." 
" C. Dusart. inv. J. Cole ex. Amstelod." There is a young figure (I think a boy dressed in girls 
cloaths) with a garland of flowers about her head ; two rows, seemingly of beads, hang round her 
neck, and so loosely as to come round a kind of box, which she holds with both hands, perhaps to 
solicit money. She has long hair flowing down her back and over her shoulders. A woman is 
represented bawling near her, holding in her right hand a bough of some plant or tree, pointing 
out the girl to the notice of the spectators with her left. She has a Thrift-box hung before her. 
Another woman holds the girl's train with her right hand, and lays her left on her shoulder. She 
too appears to be bawling. The girl herself looks modestly down to the ground. Something like 
pieces of money hangs in loose festoons on her petticoat. 


Carols to the liberal ; Imprecations against the avaritious. 

Waters are swum in during the night, and are brought in vessels that 

hang for purposes of divination. 
Fern in great estimation with the vulgar on account of its seed r . 

' " Fern-seed is looked on as having great magical powers, and must be gathered on Midsum- 
mer Eve. A person who went to gather it reported that the Spirits whisked by his ears, and some- 
times struck his hat and other parts of his body, and, at length, when he thought he had got a 
good quantity of it, and secured it in papers and a box, when he came home he found both 
empty. See Pandaemonium." (Grose.) 

Torreblanca, in his " Daemonologia," 4to. Mogunt. 1623, p. 150, suspects those persons of 
witchcraft who gather Fern-seed on this night: " Vel si reperiantur in nocte S. Joannis colligendo 
grana herbaj Faelicis, vulgo Helecho, qua Magi ad maleficia sua utuntur." 

A respectable countryman at Hcston, in Middlesex, informed me in June 1793, that, when he 
was a young man, he was often present at the ceremony of catching the Fern-seed at midnight 
on the Eve of St. John Baptist. The attempt, he said, was often unsuccessful, for the seed was 
to fall into the plate of its own accord, and that too without shaking the plant. 

Dr. Rowe, of Launceston, informed me, Oct. 17th, 1790, of some rites with Fern-seed which 
were still observed at that place. 

" Fern is one of those plants which have their seed on the back of the leaf, so small as to escape 
the sight. Those who perceived that Fern was propagated by semination, and yet could never see 
the seed, were much at a loss for a solution of the difficulty; and, as wonder always endeavours 
to augment itself, they ascribed to Fern-seed many strange properties, some of which the i-ustick 
Virgins have not yet forgotten or exploded. (Johnson.) 

" This circumstance relative to Fern-seed is alluded to in Beaumont and Fletcher's Fair Maid of 
the Inn : 

" Had you Gyges' ring ? 

Or the herb that gives Invisibility ?" 

" Again in Ben Jonson's New Inn : 

" I had 

No medicine, Sir, to go invisible, 
No Fern-seed in my pocket." 

"Again, in Philemon Holland's Translation of Pliny, Book xxvii. ch. 9.: "Of Feme be two 
kinds, and they beare neither floure nor seed. (Stevens.) 

" The ancients, who often paid more attention to received opinions than to the evidence of their 
senses, believed that Fern bore no seed. Our ancestors imagined that this plant produced seed 
which was invisible. Hence, from an extraordinary mode of reasoning, founded on the fantastic 
doctrine of Signatures, they concluded that they who possessed the secret of wearing this seed 
about them would become invisible. This superstition Shakspeare's good sense taught him to 
ridicule. It was also supposed to seed in the course of a single night, and is called, in Browne's. 
Britannia's Pastorals, 1613, 

"The wond'rous one-night-seeding Feme." 


Herbs of different kinds are sought, with many ceremonies. 
Girls Thistle is gathered, and an hundred crosses by the same. 
" 24. The nativity of John the Baptist. Dew and new Leaves in estimation. 

The Vulgar Solstice'." 

It was the custom in France, on Midsummer Eve, for the people to carry 
about brazen vessels, which they use for culinary purposes, and to beat them 
with sticks for the purpose of making a great noise : a superstitious notion pre- 

" Absurd as these notions are, they were not wholly exploded in the time of Addison. He laughs 
at a Doctor who was arrived at the knowledge of the green and red Dragon, and had discovered 
the female Fern-seed. Tatler, No. 240." See Reed's edit, of Shakspeare, 8vo. Lond. 1803, vol. 
xi. p. 25. 

In the curious Tract, intitled, " Plaine Percevall the Peace-maker of England," temp. Eliz. 
4to. sign. C. 3, is this passage : " I thinke the mad slave hath tasted on a Ferne-stalke, that he 
walkes so invisible." 

Butler alludes to this superstitious notion. Hudibras, Part III. Cant. iii. 3. 4. : 
"That spring like Fern, that insect weed 
Equivocally without seed." 

See also Gray's Notes on Shakspear, vol. i. p. 333. 

Levinus Lemnius tells us : " They prepare Fern gathered in the Summer Solstice, pulled up in 
a tempestuous night, Rue, Trifoly, Vervain, against magical impostures." English Translat. fol. 
Lond. 1658, p. 392. 

In a most rare little book, intitled, " A Dialoge or Communication of two Persons, devysed 
or set forthe, in the Latin Tonge, by the noble and famose clarke Desiderius Erasmus, intituled, 
The Pylgremage of pure Devotyon, newly translatyd into Englishe," (no date : supposed to be 
1551. See Herbert's Ames, p. 1570. signat. C. 7. b.) is the following curious passage : "Peraventure 
they ymagyne the symylytude of a tode to be there, evyn as we suppose when we cutte the fearne- 
stalke there to be an egle, and evyn as chyldren (whiche they see nat indede) in the clowdes, thynke 
they see Dragones spyttynge fyre, and hylles flammynge with fyre, and armyd men encounterynge." 

1 The following extracts from Moresin illustrate the above observations in the antient Calendar, 
as well as Stow's account : 

"Apud nostros quoque proavos, inolevit longa annorum serie persuasio Artemisiam in Festis 
divo Joanni Baptist sacris ante domos suspensam, item alios frutices et plantas, atque etiam can- 
delas, facesque designatis quibusdam diebus celebrioribus aqua lustrali rigatas, &c. contra tem- 
pestates, fulmina, tonitrua, & adversus Diaboli potestatem, &c. quosdam incendere ipso die 
Joannis Baptistae fasciculum lustratarum herbarum contra tonitrua, fulmina," &c. Papatus, p. 28. 
" Toral, seu Toralium antique tempore dicebatur florum et herbarum suaveolentium manipu- 
lus, seu plures in restim colligati, qui suspendebantur ante Thalamorum & Cubilium fores : et 
in papatu ad S. loannis mutuato more suspendunt ad Ostia & Januas hujus modi serta et restes 
& saepius ad aras." Ibid. p. 171. 


vailed also with the common people, that if it rains about this time, the filberds 
will be spoiled that season*. 

Midsummer Eve festivities are still kept up in Spain. At Alcala, in Anda- 
lusia, says Dalrymple, in his Travels through Spain and Portugal", at twelve 
o'clock at night we were much alarmed with a violent knocking at the door. 
' Quein es ?' says the landlord ; ' Isabel de San Juan,' replied a voice : he got 
up, lighted the lamp, and opened the door, when five or six sturdy fellows, 
armed with fuzils, and as many women, came in. After eating a little bread, 
and drinking some brandy, they took their leave ; and we found that, it being 
the Eve of St. John, they were a set of merry girls with their lovers, going 
round the village to congratulate their friends on the approaching Festival. 

A gentleman who had resided long in Spain informed me, that in the vil- 
lages they light up Fires on St. John's Eve, as in England. 

The "Status Scholae Etonensis, A. D. 1560," (MS. Donat. Brit. Mus. 4843.) says, "In hac 
Vigilia moris erat, (quamdiu stetit) pueris, ornare lectos variis rerum variarum picturis, et Car- 
mina de vita rebusque gestis Joannis Baptistae & praecursoris componere : et pulchre exscripta affi- 
gere Clinopodiis lectorum, eruditis legenda." 

' " Persuasum denique est vulgo, si circa diem S. Joannis pluat, officere id Avellanis. Causa 
fortasse est ipsarum teneritudo, humoris impatiens." Hospin. deOrig. Festor. Christian, fol. 113 b. 

In " Bucelini Histories Universalis Nucleus," 12mo. Aug. Vind. 1659, there is a Calendar inti- 
tled " Calendarium Astronomicum priscum," with " Observationes rustic-re" at the end of every 
Month, among which I find the following : 

" Pluvias S. Joannis 40 dies Pluvii sequuntur, certa nucum pernicies." 
And again: " 2 Julii pluvia 4o dies similes conducit." 

Bourne cites from the Trullan Council a singular species of Divination on St. John Baptist's Eve ; 
" On the 23d of June, which is the Eve of St. John Baptist, men and women were accustomed to 
gather together in the evening by the sea-side, or in some certain houses, and there adorn a girl, 
who was her parents first-begotten child, after the manner of a bride. Thin they feasted and leaped 
after the manner of Bacchanals, and danced and shouted as they were wont to do on their holy- 
days : after this they poured into a narrow-neck'd vessel some of the sea-water, and put also into it 
certain things belonging to each of them. Then, as if the Devil gifted the girl with the faculty of 
telling future things, they would enquire with a loud voice about the good or evil fortune that 
should attend them : upon this the girl would take out of the vessel the first thing that came to 
hand, and shew it, and give it to the owner, who, upon receiving it, was so foolish as to imagine 
himself wiser, as to the good or evil fortune that should attend him." The Words of the Scho- 
liast, Can. 65. in Syn. Trul. in Bals. P. 440. Bourne, chap. xx. 

" Edit. 8vo. Dubl. 1777, p. 10. 


The boys of Eton School had antiently their Bonefires at Midsummer, on 
St John's Day w . 

Bonefires were lately, or still continue to be made, on Midsummer Eve, in 
the villages of Gloucestershire". 

They still prevail also, on the same occasion, in the Northern parts of Eng- 
land y. 

Mr. Pennant's Manuscript, which I have so often cited, informs us that 
small Bonefires are made on the Eve of St. John Baptist at Darowen, in Wales. 

Hutchinson, in his History of Northumberland, vol. ii. ad finem, p. 15, says 
it is usual to raise fires on the tops of high hills, and in the villages, and sport 
and dance around them. 

On Whiteborough (a large tumulus with a foss round it), on St. Stephen's 
down, near Launceston, in Cornwall, as I learnt at that place in October 1790, 
there was formerly a great Bonefire on Midsummer Eve: a large Summer Pole 

w " Mense Junii, in Festo Natalis D. Johannis post matutinas preces, dura consuetudo floruit, 
accedebant omnes scholastic! ad Rogum extructum in Oriental! regioue Templi, ubi reverenter a 
.Symphoniacis cantatis tribus Antiphonis, et pueris in ordine stantibus venitur ad merendam." 

" In Festo D. Petri idem mos observetur qui supra." 

" In Translatione D. Thomas (mense Julii) solebant Rogum construere, sed nee ornare lectos, 
nee carmina componere, sed ludere si placet Preceptor!." Status Scholae Etonensis, A. D. 1560. 
ut supra. 

1 So I was informed in passing through that county from Bath to Oxford, Janury 21st, 1786. 

In the Ordinary of the Company of Cooks at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, dated 1575, I find the fol- 
lowing clause : " And alsoe that the said Felloship of Cookes shall yearelie of theire owne cost 
and charge mainteigne and keep the Bone-fires, according to the auntient custome of the said 
towne on the Sand-hill ; that is to say, one Bone-fire on the Even of the Feast of the Nativitie of 
St. John Bastist, commonly called Midsomer Even, and the other on the Even of the Feast of 
St. Peter the Apostle, if it shall please the Maior and Aldermen of the said towne for the time 
being to have the same Bone- tires." 

In Dekker's "Seaven deadly Sinnes of London," 4to. 1606, signal. D. 2. speaking of "Candle- 
light, or the Nocturnall Triumph," he says : " what expectation was there of his coming ? setting 
aside the Bonfiers, there is not more triumphing on Midsomtner Night." 

In Langley's Polydore Vergil, fol. 103, we read : " Oure Midsomer Bonefyres may seme to 
have comme of the sacrifices of Ceres Goddesse of Come, that men did solemnise with fyres, 
trusting therby to have more plenty and aboundance of corne." 

i Hutchinson, in his History of Cumberland, vol. i. p. 177, speaking of the parish of Cum- 
whitton, says: "They hold the Wake on the Eve of St. John, with lighting Fires, dancing, &c. 
The old Bel-teing." 


tvas fixed in the centre, round which the fuel was heaped up. It had a large 
bush on the top of it z . Round this were parties of wrestlers contending for 
small prizes. An honest countryman informed me, who had often been present 
at these merriments, that at one of them an evil spirit had appeared in the 
shape of a black dog, since which none could wrestle, even in jest, without re- 
ceiving hurt : in consequence of which the wrestling was, in a great measure, laid 
aside. The rustics hereabout believe that giants are buried in these tumuli, 
and nothing would tempt them to be so sacrilegious as to disturb their bones. 

Hutchinson, in his History of Northumberland, mentions another custom 
used on this day ; it is, " to dress out stools with a cushion of flowers. A layer of 
day is placed on the stool, and therein is stuck, with great regularity, an ar- 
rangement of all kinds of flowers, so close as to form a beautiful cushion. 
These are exhibited at the doors of houses in the villages, and at the ends of 
streets and cross-lanes of larger towns," (this custom is very prevalent in the citv 
of Durham,) "where the attendants beg money from passengers, to enable them 
to have an evening feast and dancing*." 

Dr. Plott, in his History of Oxfordshire, p. 349 b , mentions a custom at 

1 The Boundary of each Tin-mine in Cornwall is marked by a long Pole, with a bush at the 
top of it. These on St. John's Day are crowned with flowers. 

a He adds : " This custom is evidently derived from the Ludi Compitalii of the Romans ; this 
appellation was taken from the Compita, or Cross Lanes, where they were instituted and cele- 
brated by the multitude assembled before the building of Rome. Servius Tullius revived this Fes- 
tival after it had been neglected for many years. It was the Feast of the Lares, or Household 
Gods, who presided as well over houses as streets. This mode of adorning the seat or couch of 
the Lares was beautiful, and the idea of reposing them on aromatic flowers, and beds of roses, 
was excellent." " We are not told there was any custom among the Romans of strangers or pas- 
sengers bffering gifts. Our modern usage of all these old customs terminates in seeking to gain 
money for a merry night." 

b " Habent hoc a Gentibus, antiquitus enim Dracones hoc tenipore ad libidinem propter calo- 
rem excitati, volando per aerem frequenter in puteos et fontes spermatizabant, ex quo, &c. (By 
this means the water became infected, and the air polluted : so that whoever drank the waters 
was either tormented with a grievous distemper or lost his life.) Quod attendentes Philosophi, 
ignem frequenter & passim circa jusserunt fontes fieri & puteos et quaecunque immunda & im- 
inundum redderent fumum, ibi cremari, &c. Et quia tali hoc tempore maxime fiebant, ideo hoc 
adhuc ab aliquibus observatur." Durand. lib. vii. cap. 14. & Belith. in eodem Festo. 

The Dragon is one of those shapes which fear has created to itself. They who gave it life, harft 


Burlbrd, in that county (yet within memory), of making a Dragon yearly, and 
carrying it up and down the town in great jollity, on Midsummer Eve ; to 

it seems, furnished it also with the feelings of aiiimated nature : but our modern philosophers are 
wiser than to attribute any noxious qualities in water to Dragons sperm. 

Gibbon, in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. vi. p. 392, edit. 1788, speaking of 
the times of the British Arthur, tells us that " Pilgrimage and the Holy "Wars introduced into 
Europe the specious miracles of Arabian magic j Fairies and Giants, flying Dragons, &c. were 
blended with the more simple fictions of the West." 

It appears from " The Husbandman's Practice, or Prognostication for ever," 8vo. Lond. 1664, 
p. 105, that a kind of fiery Meteors in the air were called " Burning Dragons." 

In a curious Book, intitled, " A wonderful History of all the Storms, Hurricanes, Earthquakes, 
&c." 8vo. Lond. 1704, p. 66, is the following account of " Fiery Dragons and Fiery Drakes ap- 
pearing in the air, and the cause of them. These happen when the vapours of a diy and fiery 
nature are gathered in a heap in the air, which ascending to the region of cold, are forcibly beat 
back with a violence, and by a vehement agitation kindled into a flame ; then the highest part 
which was ascending, being more subtile and thin, appeareth as a Dragon's neck smoaking ; for 
that it was lately bowed in the repulse, or made crooked, to represent the Dragon's belly ; the 
last part, by the same repulse turned upwards, maketh the tail, appearing smaller, for that it is 
both further off, and also the cloud bindeth it, and so with impetuous motion it flies terribly in 
the air, and sometimes turneth to and fro, and where it meeteth with a cold cloud it beateth it 
back, to the great terror of them that behold it. Some call it a Fire-Drake, others have fancied 
it is the Devil, and, in popish times of ignorance, various superstitious discourses have gone 
about it." 

In a rare work by Thomas Hill, intitled, "A Contemplation of Mysteries," &c. 12mo. Lond. 
t. Eliz. b. I. signat. E. 1. is a chapter " Of the flying Dragon in the Ayre, what the same is," (with 
a neat wooden print of it.) Here he tells us : " The flying Dragon, is when a fume kindled ap- 
peereth bended, and is in the middle wrythed like the belly of a Dragon : but in the fore part, for 
the narrownesse, it representeth the figure of the neck, from whence the sparkes are breathed or 
forced forth with the same breathing." He concludes his wretched attempt to explain it, with 
attributing this phenomenon to "thepollicie of Devils and Inchantments of the Wicked." As- 
serting that, "in the yere 1532, in manye countries, were Dragons crowned scene flying, by flocks 
or companies in the ayre, having swines snowtes : and sometimes were there scene foure hun- 
dred flying togither in a companie." 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. vi. p. 467, 8vo. Edinb. 1793, parish of New-Machar, 
Presbytery and Synod of Aberdeen, we read : " In the end of November and beginning of Decem- 
ber last (1792) many of the country people observed very uncommon phenomena in the air 
(which they call Dragons) of a red fiery colour, appearing in the North, and flying rapidly to- 
wards the East, from which they concluded, and their conjectures were right, a course of loud 
winds and boisterous weather would follow." In the same work, vol. xiii. p. 99, 8vo. Edinb. 1794, 


which, he says, not knowing for what reason, they added a GIANT P . 

It is curious to find Dr. Plott attributing the cause of this general custom to 
a particular event. In his Oxfordshire, fol. 203, he tells us " that, ahout the 

Parish ol Strathmartin, County of Forfar, we read : " In the North end of the Parish is a large 
stone, called Martin's Stone." " Tradition says, that, at the place where the stone is erected, a 
Dragon, which had devoured nine maidens, (who had gone out on a Sunday evening, one after 
another, to fetch spring-water to their father,) was killed by a person called Martin, and that 
hence it was called Martin's Stone." 

Borlase tells us, in his Antiquities of Cornwall, p. 137, that in most parts of Wales, and 
throughout all Scotland, and in Cornwall, we find it a common opinion of the vulgar, that 
about Midtummer-Eve (tho 1 in the time they do not all agree) it is usual for Snakes to meet in 
companies, and that, by joyning heads together and hissing, a kind of bubble is fonn'd, which 
the rest, by continual hissing, blow on till it passes quite thro' the body, and then it immediately 
hardens, and resembles a glass-ring, which whoever finds (as some old women and children are 
persuaded) shall prosper in all his undertakings. The rings thus generated are call'd Gleineu Na- 
droeth, in English, Snake-stones." 

In the printed Accounts of the Churchwardens of St. Margaret Westminster, (Illustrations of 
the Manners and Expences of Ancient Times in England, 4to. Lond. 1797, p. 3,) under the year 
1491. are the following Items: 

" Item, Received of the Churchwardens of St. Sepulcre's for the Dragon, 2s. Sd. 
Item, Paid for dressing of the Dragon and for packthread - - - - ..s. ..d." 

Ibid. p. 4, under 1502: 

"Item, to Michell Woscbyche for making of viii Dragons ----- 6?. 8d." 

c In King's Vale Royal of England, p. 208, we learn that Henry Hardware, esq. mayor of 
Chester in 1599, "for his time, altered many antient customs, as the shooting for the sheriff's 
breakfast; the going of the Giants at Midsommer; &c. and would not suffer any playes, bear-baits, 
or bull-bait." 

Puttenham, in his "Arte of English Pocsie," 4to. 1589, p. 128, speaks of " Midsommer Pagcanti 
IN LONDON, where, to make the people wonder, arc set forth great and uglie GVANTS, marching 
as if they were alive, and armed at all points, but within they are stuffed full of browne paper and 
tow, which the shrewd boyes, underpeering, do guilefully discover and turne to a greate derision." 

In Smith's Latin poem, " de Urbis Londini Incendio," 4to. Lond. 1GG7, the carrying ahout of 
pageants once a year is confirmed : 

"Guildhall." " Te jam fata vocant, eublimis, Curia, moles; 

Purpureus Prretor qua sua jura dedit. 
Qua solitus toties lautis accumbere mensis, 

Annua cum renovat Pcgmata celsa dies ; 
Qua senior populus venit, populique Senatus, 

Donee erant istis prospera fata locis." 

And in the old play called "The Dutch Courtezan," we read : "Yet all will scarce make me so 
VOL. I. I L 


year 750, a battle was fought near Burford, perhaps on the place still called 
Battle-Edge, West of the town towards Upton, between Cuthred or Cuthbert, 

high as one of the Gyants' ttilts that stalks before my Lord Maior's Pageants." See Marston'a 
Works, 8vo. Lond. 1633, siguat. B. b. 3. b. 

This circumstance may perhaps explain the origin of the enormous figures still preserved in 


[From the " New View of London," vol. ii. p. 607, it should appear that the statues of Gog and 
Magog were renewed in that edifice in 1~06. The older figures, however, are noticed by Bishop 
Hall, in his Satires, who, speaking of an angry poet, says, he 

" makes such faces, that mee seemes I see 

Some foul Megaera in the tragedie 
Threat'ning her twined snakes at Tantales ghost ; 
Or the grim visage of some frowning post, 
The crab-tree porter of the Guild Hall Gates, 
While he his frightfull Beetle eleuates." 

Book vi. Sat. 1.] 

Stow mentions the older figures as representations of a Briton and a Saxon. See Pennant'f 
London, 4to. London, 1793, p. 374. See also Malcolm's Londinium Redivivum, vol. iii. p. 525 ; 
and " The Picture of London," l<3mo. 19O4, p. 131. 

The Giants are thus noticed in the Latin Poem, " Londini tjuod reliquum," 4to. Lond. 

1667, p. 7 : 

" Haud procul, excelsis olim Praetoria pinnis 

Surgebant Pario marmore fulsit opus. 
Alta duo JEtnei servabant atria fratres, 

Praetextaque frequens splenduit aula toga. 
Hie populo Augustus reddebat jura Senatus, 

Et sua Prastori sella curulis erat. 
Sed neque Vulcanum Juris reverentia cepit, 

Tula Satellitio nee fuit Aula suo. 
Vidit, et exurgas, dixit, speciosior Aula 

Atque frequens solita Curia lite strepat." 

Bragg says, in his Observer, Dec. 25, 1706, " I was hemmed in like a wrestler in Moorfields ; 
the cits begged the colours taken at Ramilies, to put up in Guildhall. When I entered the Hall, 
I protest, Master, I never saw so much joy in the countenances of the people in my life, as in the 
cits on this occasion ; nay, the very Giants stared at the colours with all the eyes they had, and 
smiled as well as they could." Malcolm's Londinium Redivivum, vol. iii. p. 534. 

In " Grosley's Tour to London," translated by Nugent, 8vo. Lond. 1772, vol. ii. p. 88, we find 
the following passage : 

" The English have, in general, rambling taste for the several objects of the Polite Arts, which 
does not even exclude the Gothic : it still prevails, not only in ornaments of fancy, but even in 


a tributary king of the West Saxons, and Ethelbald king of Mercia, whose in- 
supportable exactions the former king not being able to endure, he came into 

some modern buildings. To this taste they are indebted for the preservation of the two Giants in 
Guildhall. These Giants, in comparison of which the Jacquemard of St. Paul's at Paris is a 
bauble, seem placed there for no other end but to frighten children : the better to answer this 
purpose, care has frequently been taken to renew the daubing on their faces and arms. There 
might be some reason for retaining those monstrous figures if they were of great antiquity, or if, like 
the stone which served as the first throne to the Kings of Scotland, and is carefully preserved at 
Westminster, the people looked upon them as the palladium of the nation ; but they have nothing to 
recommend them, and they only raise, at first view, a surprize in foreigners, who must consider 
them as a production, in which both Danish and Saxon barbarism are happily combined." 

In the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Andrew Hubbard parish, in the city of London, A. D. 
1533 to 1535, we have: 

" Receyvyd for the Jeyantt xixd." 

Receyvyd for the Jeyantt Us. viijd." 
perhaps alluding to some parochial Midsummer Pageant. 

If the following Scottish custom, long ago forgotten in the city of Edinburgh, is not to be re- 
ferred to the Midsummer Eve festivities, I know not in what class to rank it. Warton, in hi.* 
History of English Poetry, vol. ii. p. 310, speaking of Sir David Lyndesay, a Scottish poet, under 
James the Fifth, tells us : " Among antient peculiar customs now lost, he mentions a superstitious 
Idol annually carried about the streets of Edinburgh : 

" Of Edingburgh the great idolatrie, 

And manifest abominatioun ! 
On thare feist-day , all creature may see, 

Thay beir one ALD STOK-IMAGE throw the toun, 
With talbrone, trumpet, thalme, and clarioun, 

Quhilk has bene usit mony one yeir bigone, 
With priestis and freris, into processioun, 

Siclyke as Bal was borne through Babilon." 

" He also speaks of the people nocking to be cured of various infirmities, to the auld rude, or cross, 
of Kerrail." Warton explains " aid Stok-image" to mean an old image made of a stock of wood : 
as he does ".Talbrone" by Tabor. The above passage is from Sir David Lyndesay 's "Monarchic," 
signat. H. iii. 

On the subject of Giants, it may be curious to add that Dr. Milner, in his History of Winches- 
ter, 4to. 1798, p. 8, speaking of the gigantic statue that inclosed a number of human victims, 
among the Gauls, gives us this new intelligence concerning it : " In different places on the oppo- 
site side of the Channel, where we are assured that the rites in question prevailed ; amongst the 
rest at Dunkirk and Douay, it has been an immemorial custom, on a certain holiday in the year, 
to build up an immense figure of basket-work and canvas, to the height of forty or fifty feet, 
which, when properly painted and dressed, represented a huge Giant, which also contained a num- 
ber of living men within it, who raised the same, and caused it to move from place to place. The 


the field against Ethelbald, met, and overthrew him there, winning his banner, 
whereon was depicted a golden Dragon : in remembrance of which victory he 
supposes the custom was, in all likelihood, first instituted. 

So far from being confined to Burford, we find our Dragon flying on this oc- 
casion in Germany: thus J. B. Aubanus, p. 270: "Ignis fit, cui Orbiculi qui- 
dam lignei perforati imponuntur, qui quum inflammantur, flexilibus virgis prae- 
fixi, arte et vi in aerem supra Moganum amnem excutiuntur : Draconem igneum 
volare putant, qui prius non viderunt." 

In a most rare poem, intitled, " London's Artillery," by Richard Niccolls, 4to. 
1616, p. 97, is preserved the following description of the great doings antiently 
used in the streets of London on the Vigils of' St. Peter and ST. JOHN BAP- 
TIST: "when," says our author, "that famous marching-watch consisting of two 
thousand, beside the standing-watches, were maintained in this citie. It con- 
tinued from temp. Henfie III. to the 31st of Henry VIII. when it was laid down 
by licence from the King, and revived (for that year only) by Sir Thomas 
Gresham, Lord Mayor. 2 Edw. VI." 

"That once againe they seek and imitate 

Their ancestors, in kindling those fairs lights 

Which did illustrate these two famous nights. 

When drums and trumpets sounds, which do delight 

A chearefnl heart, waking the drowzie night, 

Did fright the wandring Moonc, who, from her spheare 

Beholding Earth beneath, lookt pale with feare, 

To see the aire appearing all on flame, 

Kindled by thy Bon-fires, and from the same 

A thousand sparkes disperst througJwut the skie, 

Which like to wand ring starres about didfiie; 

Whose holesome heate, purging the aire, consumes 

The earths s unwholesome vapors, fogges, and fumes t 

The wakeful! shepheard by his flocke in field, 

With wonder at that time farre oft' beheld 

The wanton shine of thy triumphant fiers, 

Playing upon the tops of thy tall spiers: 

popular tradition was, that this figure represented a certain Pagan Giant, who used to devour the 
inhabitants of these places, until he was killed by the Patron Saint of the same. Have not we 
here a plain trace of the horrid sacrifices of Druidism, offered up to Saturn, or Moloch, and of 
the beneficial effect of Christianity hi destroying the same " 


Thy goodly buildings, that till then did hide 
Their rich array, opened their winduwes wide, 
Where kings, great peeres, and many a noble dame, 
Whose bright, pearle-glittering robes, did mocke the flame 
Of the night's burning lights, did sit to see 
How every senator, in his degree, 
Adorned with shining gold and purple weeds 
And stately mounted on rich-trapped steeds, 
Their guard attending, through the streets did ride 
Before their foot-bands, grac'd with glittering pride 
Of rich-guilt armes, whose glory did present 
A sunshine to the eye, as if it ment, 
Amongst the cresset lights shot up on hie, 
To chase clarke night for ever from the skie : 
While in the streets the stickelers to and fro, 
To keepe decorum, still did come and go ; 
Where tables set were plentifully spread, 
And at each doore neighbor with neighbor fed, 
Where modest Mirth, attendant at the feast, 
With Plentye, gave content to every guest, 
Where true good will crowrfd cups with fruitful! wine, 
And neighbors in true love did fast combine, 
Where the Lawes picke purse, strife ''twut friend and friend, 
JSy reconcilement happily tceke end. 
A happy time, when men knew how to use 
The gifts of happy peace, yet not abuse 
Their quiet rest with rust of ease, so farre 
As to forget all discipline of warre." 

A Note says : " King Henrie the Eighth, approving this marching watch, 
as an auncient commendable custome of this cittie, lest it should decay thro' 
neglect or covetousncsse, in the first yeare of his reigne, came privately dis- 
guised in one of his guard's coates into Cheape, on Midsommer Even, and see- 
ing the same at that time performed to his content, to countenance it, and make 
it more glorious by the presence of his person, came after on St. Peter's Even, 
with Queen Katherine, attended by a noble traine, riding in royall state to 
the King's-heade in Cheape, there to behold the same; and after, anno 15. of 


his reigne, Christerne, King of Denmarke, with his Queene, being then in 
England, was conducted through the cittie to the King's-heade, in Cheape, there 
to see the same d ." 

Plays appear to have been acted publicly about this time. We read in King's 
Vale Royal, p. 88, that "Anno 1575. This year Sir John Savage, maior, 
caused the Popish Plays of Chester to be played the Sunday, Munday, Tues- 
day, and Wednesday after Mid-sommer-Day, in contempt of an Inhibition, and 
the Primat's Letters from York, and from the Earl of Huntingdon." In the 
same Work, p. 199, it is said : "Anno 1563, upon the Sunday after Midsum- 
mer Day, the History of Eneas and Queen Dido was play'd in the Roods 
Eye ; and were set out by one William Croston, gent, and one Mr. Man, on 
which triumph there was made two forts and shipping on the water, besides 
many horsemen well armed and appointed." 

In Lyte's translation of Dodocn's Her ball, fol. Lond. 1578, p. 39, we read : 
" Orpyne. The people of the countrey delight much to set it in pots and shelles 

d " In Nottingham, by an antient custom, they keep yearly a general watch ever Midsummer 
Eve at night, to which every inhabitant of any ability sets forth a man, as well voluntaries as those 
who are charged with arms, with such munition as they have; some pikes, some muskets, enliven, 
or other guns, some partisans, holberts, and such as have armour send their servants in their 
armour. The number of these are yearly almost two hundred, who at sun-setting meet on the 
Row, the most open part of the town, where the Mayor's Seijeant at Mace gives them an oath, 
the tenor whereof followeth, in these words : ' They shrill well and truly keep this town till to- 
morrow at the sun-rising ; you shall come into no house without license, or cause reasonable. 
Of all manner of casualties, of fire, of crying of children, you shall due warning make to the 
parties, as the case shall require you. You shall due search make of all manner of affrays, bloud- 
sheds, outcrys, and of all other things that be suspected,' &c. Which done, they all march in 
orderly array through the principal parts of the town, and then they are sorted into several com- 
panies, and designed to several parts of the town, where they are to keep the watch untill the sun 
dismiss them in the morning. In this business the fashion is for every watchman to wear a 
garland, made in the fashion of a crown imperial, bedeck'd with flowers of various kinds, 
some natural, some artificial, bought and kept for that purpose, as also ribbans, jewels, and, 
for the better garnishing whereof, the townsmen use the day before to ransack the gardens of 
all the gentlemen within six or seven miles about Nottingham, besides what the town itself affords 
them, their greatest ambition being to outdo one another in the bravery of their garlands." 
Deering's Nottingham, p. 133, from an old anonymous authority. He adds: "This custom is 
now quite left off." " It used to be kept in this town even so lately as the reign of King Charles I." 


on Midsummer Even, or upon timber, slattes, or trenchers, dawbed with clay, 
and so to set or hang it up in their houses, where as it remayneth greene a long 
season and groweth, if it be sometimes oversprinckled with water. It floureth 
most commonly in August." The common name for Orpyne-plants was that of 
Midsummer Men, 

In one of those useful little Tracts printed about 1 800 at the Cheap Reposi- 
tory, was one intitled, " Tawney Rachel, or the Fortune-Teller, " said to have 
been written by Miss Hannah More. Among many other superstitious prac- 
tices of poor Sally Evans, one of the heroines of the piece, we learn that "she 
would never go to bed on Midsummer Eve, without sticking up in her room the 
well-known plant called Midsummer Men, as the bending of the leaves to the 
right, or to the left, would never fail to tell her whether her lover was true or 

Spenser thus mentions Orpine : 

"Cool violets, and Orpine growing still" 

It is thus elegantly alluded to in "The Cottage Girl," a poem "written on 
Midsummer Eve, 1786':" 

" The rustic maid invokes her swain ; 
And hails, to pensive damsels dear, 
This eve, though direst of the year. 

Oft on the shrub she casts her eye, 
That spoke her true-love's secret sigh ; 
Or else, alas ! too plainly told 
Her true-love's faithless heart was cold r ." 

On the 22d of January, 1801, a small gold ring, weighing eleven penny- 
weights seventeen grains and a half, was exhibited to the Society of Antiquaries 
by John T-opham, esq. It had been found by the Rev. Dr. Bacon, of Wake- 
field, in a ploughed field near Cawood, in Yorkshire, and had for a device two 

i ~ vrti 

c In the second volume of "Poems, chiefly by Gentlemen of Devonshire and Cornwall," 8vo. 
Bath, 1792, p. 107. 

' Gerarde says of Orpyne : "This plant is very full of life. The stalks set only in clay, conti- 
nue greene a long time, and, if they be now and then watered, they also grow." p. 519, edit. fol. 
Load. 1633, by Johnson. 


Orpine plants joined by a true-love knot, with this motto above : ct Ma fiance 
velt ;" i. e. My sweetheart wills, or is desirous. The stalks of the plants were 
bent to each other, in token that the parties represented by them were to come 
together in marriage. The motto under the ring was, "Joye 1'amour feu." 
From the form of the letters it appeared to have been a ring of the fifteenth 

The Orpine plant also occurs among the following Love Divinations on Mid- 
summer Eve, preserved in the Connoisseur, No. 56 : 

" I and my two sisters tried the dumb-cake together : you must know, two 
must make it, two bake it, two break it, and the third put it under each of 
their pillows, (but you must not speak a word all the time,) and then you will 
dream of the man you are to have. This we did : and to be sure I did nothing 
all night but dream of Mr. Blossom. 

"The same night, exactly at twelve o'clock, I sowed hemp-seed in our back- 
yard, and said to myself, ' Hemp-seed I sow, Hemp-seed 1 hoe, and he that is 
my true-love come after me and mow.' Will you believe me? I looked back, 
and saw him behind me, as plain as eyes could see him. After that, I took a 
clean shift and wetted it, and turned it wrong-side out, and hung it to the fire 
upon the back of a chair ; and very likely my sweetheart would have come and 
turned it right again (for I heard his step) but I was frightened, and could not 
help speaking, which broke the charm. I likewise stuck up two Midsummer 
Men, one for myself and one for him. Now if his had died away, we should 
never have come together, but I assure you his blowed and turned to mine. 
Our maid Betty tells me, that if I go backwards, without speaking a word, into 
the garden upon Midsummer Eve, and gather a Rose, and keep it in a clean 
sheet of paper, without looking at it till Christmas Day, it will be as fresh as in 
June; and if I then stick it in my bosom, he that is to be my husband will come 
and take it out." 

The same number of the Connoisseur fixes the time for watching in the church 
porch on Midsummer Eve: "I am sure my own sister Hetty, who died just be- 
fore Christmas, stood in the church porch last Midsummer Eve, to see all that 

were to die that year in our parish; and she saw her own apparition?." 

* ~. __ ~ . , 

? This superstition was more generally practised, and, I believe, is still retained in many parts, 
pn the Eve of St. Mark. See before, p. ICC. Clelaud, however, in his " Institution of a young 


Grose says : " Any unmarried woman fasting on Midsummer Eve, and at 
midnight laying a clean cloth, with bread, cheese, and ale, and sitting down as 

Nobleman," has a chapter intitled, "A Remedie against Love," in which he thus exclaims: 
" Beware likewise of these feareful superstitions, as to watch upon ST. JOHN'S EVENING, and the 
first Tuesdaye in the month of Marche, to conjure the moon, to lie upon your backe having 
your eares stopped with laurel-leaves, and to fall asleepe, not thinking of God, and such like fol- 
lies, al forged by the infernal Cyclops and Plutoe's servants." 

Grose tells us that any person fasting on Midsummer Eve, ami sitting in the church porch, 
will, at midnight, see the spirits of the persons of that parish who will die that year, come and 
knock at the church door, in the order and succession in which they will die. One of these 
watchers, there being several in company, fell into a sound sleep, so that he could not be waked. 
Whilst in this state, his ghost, or spirit, was seen by the rest of his companions knocking at the 
church door. See Pandemonium, by R. B. 

[Aubrey, in his " Remains of Gentilisme," mentions this custome on Midsummer Eve nearly in 
the same words with Grose.] 

It is also noticed in the poem of " The Cottage Girl," already quoted : 

" Now, to relieve her growing fear, 

That feels the haunted moment near 

When ghosts in chains the church-yard walk, 

She tries to steal the time by talk. 

But hark ! the church-clock swings around, 

With a dead pause, each sullen sound, 

And tells the midnight hour is come, 

That wraps the groves in spectred gloom !" 

On the subject of gathering the Rose on Midsummer Eve, we have also the following lines 

" The Moss-rose that, at fall of dew, 
(Ere Eve its duskier curtain drew,) 
Was freshly gather'd from its stem, 
She values as the ruby gem ; 
And, guarded from the piercing air, 
With all an anxious lover's care, 
She bids it, for her shepherd's sake, 
Await the new-year's frolic wake- 
When, faded, in its alter'd hue 
She reads the rustic is untrue ! 
But, if it leaves the crimson paint, 
Her sick'ning hopes no longer faint. 
The Rose upon her bosom worn. 
She meets him at the peep of morn ; 
VOL. I. M M 


if going to eat, the street-door being left open, the person whom she is after- 
wards to marry will come into the room and drink to her by bowing; and after 
filling the glass will leave it on the table, and, making another bow, retire 1 '." 
Lupton, in his "Notable Things," B. i..59- tells us: "It is certainly and 

And, lo ! her lips with kisses prest, 
He plucks it from her panting breast." 

With these, on the sowing of hemp : 

" To issue from beneath the thatch. 
With trembling hand she lifts the latch, 
And steps, as creaks the feeble door, 
With cautious feet, the threshold o'er j 
Lest, stumbling on the horse-shoe dim, 
Dire spells unsinew ev'ry limb. 

" Lo ! shuddering at the solemn deed, 
She scatters round the magic seed, 
And thrice repeats, ' The seed I sow, 
My true-love's scythe the crop shall mow." 
Strait, as her frame fresh horrors freeze, 
Her true-love with his scythe she sees. 

" And next, she seeks the yew-tree shade, 
Where he who died for love is laid ; 
There binds, upon the verdant sod 
By many a moon-light fairy trod, 
The cow-slip and the lily-wreath 
She wove, her hawthorn hedge beneath : 
And whispering, ' Ah ! may Colin prove 
As constant as thou wast to love !' 
Kisses, with pale lip, full of dread, 
The turf that hides his clay-cold head ! 

At length, her love-sick projects tried, 
She gains her cot the lea beside ; 
And, on her pillow, sinks to rest, 
With dreams of constant Colin blest." 
The sowing of Hemp-seed, as will hereafter be shewn, was also used on ALLHALLOW-EVBN. 

k See Pandemonium. In Torreblanca's Dsemonologia, p. ISO, I find the following supersti- 
tion mentioned on the night of ST. JOHN, or of St. Paul : " Nostri sseculi puellae in nocte S. Joan- 
nis vel S. Pauli ad fenestras specttmtes, primus praetereuntium voces captant, ut cui nubant con- 
jectant." Our author is a Spaniard. 


constantly affirmed that on Midsummer Eve there is found, under the root of 
Mu<rort, a coal which saves or keeps them safe from the plague, carbuncle, 
lightning, the quartan ague, and from burning, that bear the same about them : 
and Mizaldus, the writer hereof, saith, that he doth hear that it is to be found 
the same day under the root of plantane, which I know to bj of truth, for / 
have found them the same day under the root of planta'ne, which is especially 
and chiefly to be found at noon." 

In " Natural and Artificial Conclusions," by Thomas Hill, I2mo. Lond. 1650, 
we have : " The vertue of a rare cole, that is to be found but one houre in the 
day, and one day in the yeare." "Divers authors," he adds, " affirm concern- 
ing the verity and vertue of this cole; viz. that it is onely to be found upon Mid- 
summer Eve, just at noon, under every root of plantine and of mugwort; the 
effects whereof are wonderful : for whosoever weareth or beareth the same about 
with them, shall be freed from the plague, fever, ague, and sundry other dis- 
eases. And one author especially writeth, and constantly averreth, that he never 
knew any that used to carry of this marvellous cole about them, who ever were, 
to his knowledge, sick of the plague, or (indeed) complained of any other 

"The last summer," says Aubrey, in his Miscellanies, 8vo. Lond. 1696, p. 103, 
"on the day of St. John Baptist, [l6"94,] I accidentally was walking in the 
pasture behind Montague House, it was twelve o'clock, I saw there about two 
or three and twenty young women, most of them well habited, on their knees, 
very busie, as if they had been weeding. A young man told me that they were 
looking for a coal under the root of a plantain, to put under their heads that 
night, and they should dream who would be their husbands. It was to be 
that day and hour." 

The following, however, in part an explanation of this singular search, occurs 
in "The Practice of Paul Barbette," 8vo. Lond. 16?5, p. 7: "For the falling 
sickness some ascribe much to coals pulled out (on St. John Baptist's Eve) from 
under the roots of mugwort : but those authors are deceived, for they are not 
coals, but old acid roots, consisting of much volatile salt, and are almost always 
to be found under mugwort: so that it is only a certain superstition that those 
old dead roots ought to be pulled up on the Eve of St. John Baptist, about 
twelve at night." 


Scott, in his Discovery of Witchcraft, p. 144, tells us: Against witches' 
" hang boughs (hallowed on Midsummer Day) at the stall door where the cattle 

Bishop Hall, in his Triumph of Rome, p. 58, says, that "St. John is im- 
plored for a benediction on wine upon his day." 

[A singular custom at Oxford, on the Day of St. John Baptist, still remains 
to be mentioned. The notice of it, here copied, is from the Life of Bishop 
Home, by the Rev. William Jones. (Works, vol. xii. p. 131.) 

"A Letter of July the 25th, 1755, informed me that Mr. Home, according 
to an established custom at Magdalen College in Oxford, had begun to preach 
before the University on the Day of Saint John the Baptist. For the preaching of 
this annual sermon a permanent pulpit of stone is inserted into a corner of the first 
quadrangle ; and, so long as the stone pulpit was in use, (of which I have been 
a witness.) the quadrangle was furnished round the sides with a large fence of 
green boughs, that the preaching might more nearly resemble that of John the 
Baptist in the wilderness ; and a pleasant sight it was : but for many years the 
custom has been discontinued, and the assembly have thought it safer to take 
shelter under the roof of the chapel."] 

Collinson, in his Somersetshire, vol. iii. p. 586, says : " In the parishes of Congreshury and 
Puxton, are two large pieces of common land, called East and West Dolemoors, (from the Saxon 
dal, which signifies a share or portion,) which are divided into single acres, each bearing a pecu- 
liar and different mark cut in the turf, such as a horn, four oxen and a mare, two oxen and a 
mare, a pole-axe, cross, dung-fork, oven, duck's-nest, hand-reel, and hare's-tail. On the Satur- 
day before Old-Midsummer, several proprietors of estates in the parishes of Congresbury, Puxton, 
and Week St. Lawrence, or their tenants, assemble on the commons. A number of apples are 
previously prepared, marked in the same manner with the beforementioned acres, which are 'dis- 
tributed by a young lad to each of the commoners from a bag or hat. At the close of the distri- 
bution each person repairs to his allotment, as his apple directs him, and takes possession for the 
ensuing year. An adjournment then takes place to the house of. the overseer of Dolemoors, (an 
officer annually elected from. the tenants,) where four acres, reserved for the purpose of paying 
expences, are let by inch of candle, and the remainder of the day is spent in that sociability and 
hearty mirth so congenial to the soul of a Somersetshire yeoman." 


(Twenty-ninth of June.) 

: \ ,...^ Ml-' iMJli '' 

STOW tells us that the rites of St. John Baptist's Eve were also used on the 
Eve of St. Peter and St. Paul : and Dr. Moresin informs us that in Scotland the 
people used, on this latter night, to run about on the mountains and higher 
grounds with lighted torches, like the Sicilian women of old in search of Proser- 

I have been informed that something similar to this was practised about half 
a century ago in Northumberland on this night; the inhabitants carried some 
kind of firebrands about the fields of their respective villages. They made en- 
croachments, on these occasions, upon the Bonefires of the neighbouring towns, 
of which they took away some of the ashes by force: this they called "carrying 
off the flower (probably the flour) of the wake." 

Moresin thinks this a vestige of the ancient Cerealia. 

It appears from the sermon preached at Blandford Forum, in Dorsetshire, 
January 17th, 1.570, by William Kethe, that, in the papal times in this country, 
Fires were customary, not only on the Eves of St. John the Baptist at Midsum- 
mer, and of St. Peter and St. Paul the Apostles, but also on that of St. Tho- 
mas a Becket, or, as he is there styled, "Thomas Becket the Traytor." 

The London Watch on this evening, put down in the time of Henry the 
Eighth, and renewed for one year only in that of his successor, has been already 
noticed under Midsummer Eve b . 

a " Faces ad Festum divi Petri noctu Scoti in montibus et altioribus locis discurrentes accendere 
soliti sunt, ut cum Ceres Proserpinam quaerens universum Terrarum orbem perlustrasset." Pa- 
patus, p. 56. 

In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, 8vo. Edinb; 1792, vol. iii. p. 105, the 
Minister of Loudoun in Ayrshire, under the head of Antiquities, tells us: "The custom still re- 
mains amongst the herds and young people to kindle fires in the high grounds, in honour of Bel- 
tan. IMiaii, which in Gaelic, signifies Baal, or Bels Fire, was antiently the time of this solem- 
nity. It is now kept on St. Peter's Day. 

b See also the extract in p. 254, from the Ordinary of the Company of Cooks in Newcastle-upou- 


It appears also from the "Status Scholae Etonensis," A. D. 1560, that the 
Eton boys had a great Bonfire annually on the East side of the church on St. 
Peter's Day, as well as on that of St. John Baptist. 

In an old Account of the Lordship of Gisborough in Cleveland, Yorkshire, 
and the adjoining coast, printed in the Antiquarian Repertory from an ancient 
Manuscript in the Cotton Library, speaking of the fishermen, it is stated, that 
" upon St. Peter's Daye they invite their friends and kinsfolk to a festyvall kept 
after their fashion with a free hearte, and noe shew of niggardnesse : that daye 
their boates are dressed curiously for the shewe, their inastes are painted, 
and certain rytes observed amongst them, with sprinkling their prowes 
with good liquor, sold with them at a groate the quarte, which custome or 
superstition suckt from their auncesters, even contynueth down unto this present 


(Fourth of July.) 

THE following are the Ceremonies of this Day preserved in Barnabe Googe's 
Translation of Naogeorgus : 


" Whcresoeuer Huldryche hath his place, the people there brings in 

Both carpes and pykes, and mullets fat, his fauour here to win. 

Amid the church there sitteth one, and to the aultar nie, 

That selleth fish, and so good cheep, that euery man may buie: 

Nor any thing he loseth here, bestowing thus his paine, 

For when it hath beene offred once, 'tis brought him all againe, 

That twise or thrise he selles the same, vngodlinesse such gaine 

Doth still bring in, and plentiously the kitchin doth maintaine. 

Tyne, dated 1575. Sir Henry Piers' Description of Westmeath, already quoted from Vallancey's 
Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis, makes the ceremonies used by the Irish on St. John Baptist's 
Eve common to that of St. Peter and St. Paul. 

ST. ULRIC. 271 

Whence comes this same religion newe ? what kind of God is this 
Same Huldryche here, that so desires and so delightes in fishe ?" 

The Popish Kingdome, fol. 55. 

(Fifteenth of July.) 

Blount tells us that St. Swithin, a holy Bishop of Winchester about the year 
860, was called the weeping St. Swithin, for that, about his Feast, Presepe and 
Aselli, rainy constellations, arise cosmically and commonly cause rain. 
Gay, in his Trivia, mentions : 

"How if, on Swithin' s Feast the welkin lours, 
And ev'ry pent-house streams with hasty show'rs, 
Twice twenty days shall clouds their fleeces drain, 
And wasli the pavements with incessant rain." 

The following is said to be the origin of the old adage: "If it rain on St. 
Swithin's Day, there will be rain more or less for forty-five succeeding days." 
In the year 865, St. Swithin, Bishop of Winchester, to which rank lie was raised 
by King Ethelwolfe, the Dane, dying, was canonized by the then Pope. He 
was singular for his desire to be buried in the open church-yard, and not in the 
chancel of the minster, as was usual with other bishops, which request was 
complied with ; but the monks, en his being canonized, taking it into their 
heads that it was disgraceful for the Saiut to lie in the open churchyard, re- 
solved to remove his body into the choir, which was to have been done with 
solemn procession on the 15th of July. It rained, however, so violently on 
that day, and for forty days succeeding, as had hardly ever been known, which 
made them set aside their design as heretical and blasphemous: and, instead, 
they erected a chapel over his grave, at which many miracles are said to have 
been wrought . 

' Printed, and seemingly cut out of a newspaper, in Mr. Douce's interleaved copy of the Popu- 
lar Antiquities. 


Nothing occurs in the legendary accounts of this Saint which throws any light 
upon the subject: the following lines, from Poor Robin's Almanack for lb'97, 
are perhaps worth transcribing : 

" In this month is St. Swithin's Day ; 

On which, if that it rain, they say 

Full forty days after it will, 

Or more or less, some rain distill. 

This Swithin was a Saint, I trow, 

And Winchester's Bishop also. 

Who in his time did many a feat, 

As Popish legends do repeat : 

A woman having broke her eggs 

By stumbling at another's legs, 

For which she made a woful cry, 

St. Swithin chanc'd for to come by, 

Who made them all as sound, or more 

Than ever that they were before. 

But whether this were so or no 

'Tis more than you or I do know : 

Better it is to rise betime, 

And to make hay while sun doth shine, 

Than to believe in tales and lies 

Which idle monks and friars devise." 

Churchill thus glances at the superstitious notions about rain on St. Swithin's 

" July, to whom, the Dog-star in her train, 
St. James gives oisters, and St. Swithin rain'." 

A pleasant Writer in the World, No. 10, (the late Lord Orford,) speaking on the alteration of 
the stile, says : " Were our Astronomers so ignorant as to think that the old Proverbs would serve 
for their new-fangled Calendar ? Could they imagine that St. Swithin would accommodate her 
rainy planet to the convenience of their calculations ?" 

* In Mr. Douce's interleaved copy of the Popular Antiquities is the following note : 
" I have heard these lines upon St. Swithin's Day : 

' St. Swithin's Day if thou dost rain, 
For forty days it will remain : 


(Twentieth of July,) 

GRANGER, in the Biographical History of England, vol. iii. p. 54, quotes 
the following passage from Sir John Birkenhead's Assembly Man : 

" As many Sisters flock to him as at Paris on St. Margaret's Day, when all 
come to church that are or hope to be with child that year." 

[" From the East," says Mr. Butler, " the veneration of this Saint was exceed- 
ingly propagated in England, France, and Germany, in the eleventh century, 
during the holy wars."] 

(Twenty-third of July). 

"JULY 23. The departure out of this life of St. Bridget widdow, who, 
after many peregrinations made to holy places, full of the Holy Ghost, finally 

St. Swithin's Day if thou be fair, 
For forty days 'twill rain na mair.' 

There is an old saying, that when it rains on St. Swithin's Day, it is the Saint christening the 

In the Churchwarden's Accounts of the parish of Horley, in the county of Surrey, under the 
years 1505 and 6, is the following entry, which implies a gathering on this Saint's Day or Account : 
" Itm. Saintt Swithine farthyngs the said 2' zeres, 3s. 8d." 

In Lysons's Environs of London, vol. i. p. 230, is a list of church-duties and payments relating 
to the church of Kingston upon Thames, in which the following items appear : 

"23 Hen. VII. Imprimis, at Ester for any howseholder kepying a brode gate, shall pay to the 
paroche prests wages, 3rf. Item, to the paschall -id. To St. Sicithin }d. 

" Also any howse-holder kepyng one tenement shall pay to the paroche prests wages 2d. Item, 
to the Paschall ^d. And to St Swithin \d" 

VOL. I. X N 

274 T. BRIDGET. 

reposed at Rome : whose body was after translated into Suevia. Her principal 
Festivity is celebrated upon the seaventh of October." See the Roman Marty- 
rologe according to the Reformed Calendar translated into English by G. K. 
of the Society of Jesus, 1 627. 

In the Diarium Historicum, 4to. Francof. 1590, p. Ill, we read, under 23 
Julii, "Emortualis Dies S. Brigittse Reg. Suecias, J372." 

Col. Vallancey, in his Essay on the Antiquity of the Irish Language, 8vo. 
Dubl. 1772, p. 21, speaking of Ceres, tells us: " Mr. Rollin thinks this Deity 
was the same Queen of Heaven to whom the Jewish women burnt incense, 
poured out drink offerings, and made cakes for her with their own hands." 
Jerem. ch. xvii. v. 18, and adds : "This pagan custom is still preserved in Ire- 
land on the Eve of St. Bridget ; and which was probably transposed to St. 
Bridget's Eve from the Festival of a famed Poetess of the same name in the 
time of Paganism. In an ancient Glossary now before me, she is described : 
'Brigit, a poetess, the daughter of Dagha; a Goddess of Ireland.' On St. 
Bridget's Eve every farmer's wife in Ireland makes a cake, called Bairin-breac, 
the neighbours are invited, the madder of ale and the pipe go round, and the 
evening concludes with mirth and festivity." 

Yet according to the " Flowers of the Lives of the most renowned Saincts of 
the three Kingdoms, England, Scotland, and Ireland, by Hierome Porter, 4to, 
Doway, 1632," p. 118. Brigitt's Day, (Virgin of Kildare, in Ireland,) was 
February the first. 

(Twenty-fifth of July.) 

THE following is the Blessing of new Apples upon this Day, preserved in 
the "Manuale ad Usum Sarum," 4to. Rothom. 1555, fol. 64. b. 65. 
" Benedictio Pomomm in Die Sancti Jacobi. 

"Te deprecamur ouuiipotens Deus ut benedicas hunc fructum novorum po- 
morum : ut qui esu arboris letalis et porno in primo parente justa funeris senten- 


tia mulctati sumus ; per illustrationem unici filii tui Redemptoris Dei ac Domini 
nostri Jesu Christi & Spiritus Sancti benedictionem sanctificata sint omnia atque 
benedicta : depulsisque primi facinoris intentatoris insidiis, salubriter ex hujus 
diei aniiiversaria solennitate diversis terris edenda germina sumamus per eun- 
dem Dominum in unitate ejusdem." " Delude sacerdos aspergat ea aqua be- 

Hasted in his History of Kent, vol. I. p. 537- parish of Cliff in Shamel hun- 
dred, tells us that " the rector, by old custom, distributes at his parsonage 
house on St. James's Day, annually, a mutton pye and a loaf, to as many per- 
sons as chuse to demand it, the expence of which amounts to about i.5/. per 

On St. James's Day, old stile, Oisters come in, in London : and there is a po- 
pular superstition still in force, like that relating to goose on Michaelmas day, 
that whoever eats oisters on that day will never want money for the rest of the 

commonly called 

DR. Pettingal, in the second volume of the Archasologia, p. 67- derives 
" Gule" from the Celtic or British " Wyl," or " Gwyl," signifying a festival or 
holyday, and explains " Gule of August" to mean no more than the holyday of 
St. Peter ad Vincula in August, when the people of England under popery paid 
their Peter pence. 

This is confirmed by Blount, who tells us that Lammass Day, the first of Au- 
gust, otherwise called the Gule, or Yule of August, may be a corruption of the 
British word " Gwyl Awst," signifying the Feast of August. He adds, indeed, 
" or it may come from Vinc/a (chains), that day being called in Latin Festum 
Sancti Petri ad Pincula." 


Gebelin in his Allegories Orientales tells us that as the month of August was 
the first in the Egyptian year, the first day of it was called Gule, which being La- 
tinized makes Gula. Our legendaries, surprized at seeing this word at the head 
of the month of August, did not overlook, but converted it to their own purpose. 
They made out of it the Feast of the daughter of the Tribune Quirinus, cured 
of some disorder in the throat (Gula is Latin for throat) by kissing the chains of 
St. Peter, whose feast is solemnized on this day a . 

Gebelin's etymon of the word will hereafter be considered under YULE as 
formerly used to signify Christmass. 

Antiquaries are divided also in their opinions concerning the origin of the 
word Lam, or Lamb-mass. . 

Some suppose it is called Lammass b Day, quasi Lamb-masse, because, on 
that day, the tenants who held lands of the Cathedral Church in York, which is 
dedicated to St. Peter ad Vincula, were bound by their tenure to bring a live 
lamb into the Church at high mass. 

a " Comme le mois d'Aout etoit le premier mois de 1'ann^e Egyptienne, on en appella le pre- 
mier jour Gule : ce mot Latinisfe, fit Gula. Nos legendaires surpris de voir ce nom a la tete du 
mois d'Aout, ne s'oublierent pas : ils en firent la Fete de la Fillc du Tribun Quirinus, gue'rie d'un 
mal de Gorge en baisant les Liens de Saint Pierre dont on ce'le'bre la Fete ce jour-la." 

So also Sir Henry Spelman. " Gula Augusti] Saepe obvenit in membranis antiquis (praesertim 
forensibus) pro festo S. Petri ad Vincula : quod in ipsis calendis Augusti celebratur. Occasionem 
(inter alias) Durandus suggerit lib. vii. cap. 19. Quirinum Tribunum filiam habuisse gutturosam: 
qua; osculata, iussu Alexandri Pap (a B. Petro sexti) vincula quibus Petrus sub Nerone coercitus 
fuerat, a morbo liberatur : Alexandrum (in miraculi reverentiam) et festuin istud, & Ecclesiam 

In the antient Calendar of the Romish Church which I have had occasion so frequently to cite, I 
find the subsequent remark on the first of August : 
" Chains are worshipped, &c. 
' Catenae coluntur ad Aram in Exquiliis 
Ad Vicum Cyprium juxta Titi thermas." 

k We have an old proverb, " At latter Lammass," which is synonymous with the " ad Graecas 
Calendas" of the Latins, and the vulgar saying, " When two Sundays come, together :" i. e. never. 
It was in this phrase that queen Elizabeth exerted her genius in an extempore reply to the am- 
bassador of Philip II. : 

" Ad Grsecas, bone Rex, fient mandata Kalendas." 

See Lord Orford's Works, 4to. 1799, vol. r.p. 871. 


Others, according to Blount, suppose it to have been derived from the Saxon 
Hlajr Maejf e, i. e. loaf masse, or bread masse, so named as a feast of thanksgiving 
to God for the first-fruits of the corn. It seems to have been observed with bread of 
new wheat : and accordingly it is a usage in some places for tenants to be bound 
to bring in wheat of that year to their lord, on or before the first of August c . 

Vallancey in his "Collectanea de rebus Hibernicis," No. x. p. 464, cites 
Cormac, archbishop of Cashel in the tenth century, in his Irish Glossary, as 
telling us that, " in his time, four great fires were lighted up on the four great 
festivals of the Druids ; viz. in February, May, August, and November." 
Vallancey also tells us, (Ibid. p. 472.) that this day, (the Gule of August) was 
dedicated to the sacrifice of the fruits of the soil. La-ith-mas was the day of 
the oblation of grain. It is pronounced La-ee-mas, a word readily corrupted to 
Lammass. 1th is all kinds of grain, particularly wheat : and mas, fruit of all 
kinds, especially the acorn, whence mast." " Cut and Gul'm the Irish implies a 
complete circle, a belt, a wheel, an anniversary." 

( Fifteenth of August.) 

Barnabe Googe has the following lines upon this day in the English Version 
of Naogeorgus : 

" The blessed Virgin Maries feast, hath here his place and time, 
Wherein, departing from the earth, she did the heavens clime ; 
Great bundels then of hearbes to church, the people fast doe beare, 
The which against all hurtfull things the priest doth hallow theare. 
Thus kindle they and nourish still the peoples wickednesse, 
And vainly make them to believe, whatsoever they expresse : 

c " Lammass Day, in the Salisbury Manuals, is called " Benedictio novorum fructuum ;" in the 
Red Book of Derby, hkp maerje bsej ; see also Oros. Interp. 1. 6. c. 19. But in the Sax. Chron. p. 
138. A. D. 10O9. it is hlam-mserre. Mass was a word for festival : hence our way of naming the 
festivals of Christmass, Candlemass, Martinmass, &c. Instead therefore of Lammass quasi Lamb- 
massc, from the offering of the tenants at York, may we not rather suppose the p .to have been left 
out in course of time from general use, and La-mass or hla-mrre will appear." Gent. Mag. Jan. 
1799, P- 33. 


For sundrie witchcrafts by these hearbs are wrought, and divers cbarmes, 
And cast into the fire, are thought to drive away all harmes, 
And every painefull griefe from man, or beast, for to expell 
Far otherwise than nature or the worde of God doth tell." 

Popish Kingdome, fol. 55. 

Bishop Hall also tells us in the "Triumphs of Rome," p. 58. " that upon this 
day it was customary to implore Blessings upon herbs, plants, roots, and 

(Sixteenth of August.) 

Among the Extracts from the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Michael Spur- 
rier-Gate in the city of York, printed in Mr. Nichols's Illustrations of Ancient 
Manners, I find, 

" 1518. Paid for writing of St. Royke Masse Ol. 0*.9<f." 
Dr. Whitaker thinks that St. Roche or Rockes Day was celebrated as a gene- 
ral harvest home b . 

m On this passage Mr. Sam. Pegge, by whom the extracts were communicated, remarks, " St. 
Royk, St Roche (Aug. 16.) Q. why commemorated in particular ? There is Roche Abbey in the 
West Riding of the county of York, which does not take its name from the Saint, but from its si- 
tuation on a rock, and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Tanner. The writing probably means 
making a new copy of the music appropriated to the day." 

b In Sir Thomas Overbury's " Characters," 14th impression, 12mo. Lond. 163O, under that of 
the Franklin, he says : " He allowes of honest pastime, and thinkes not the bones of the dead any 
thing bruised, or the worse for it, though the country lasses dance in the church-yard after even- 
song. ROCK MONDAY, and the wake in summer, shrovings, the wakefull ketches on Christmas 
eve, the hoky, or seed cake, these he yeerely keepes, yet holds them no reliques of popery." 

I have sometimes suspected that " Rocke-Monday" is a misprint for Hock-Monday ;" but there is 
a passage in Warner's " Albions England," editt. 1597 and 1602. p. 12i. as follows : 

" Rock and Plow Monday gams sal gang with saint feasts and kirk sights :" 
And again at p. 407. edit. 1602, 

v'.u'.' ",\'.< T" -Vr"'-" ' ' :.:. i : '< !> ':.". 

" Tie duly keepe for thy delight Rock-Monday, and the wake, 
Have shrovings, Christmas Gambols, with the hokie and seed cake." 


, ..i 

(Twenty -fourth of August.) 

IN "New Essayes and Characters," by John Stephens the younger, of Lin- 
colnes Line, Gent. 8vo. Lond. 1631, p. 221. we read: 

" Like a bookseller's shoppe on Bartholomew Day at London ; the stalls of 
which are so adorn d with Bibles and Prayer-bookes, that almost nothing is 
left within, but heathen knowledge c ." 

(Fourteenth of September.) 

THIS festival, called also Holy Cross Day*, was instituted on account of the 
recovery of a large piece of the Cross, by the emperor Heraclius, after it had 

Mr. Gough, in his History of Croyland Abbey, p. 73, mentions an antient custom there of 
giving little knives to all comers on St. Bartholomew's Day. This abuse, he says, "was abolished 
by Abbot John de Wisbech, in the time of Edward the Fourth, exempting both the abbot and con- 
vent from a great and needless expence. This custom originated in allusion to the knife, where- 
with St. Bartholomew was Head. Three of these knives were quartered with three of the whips so 
much used by St. Guthlac, in one coat borne by this house. Mr. Hunter had great numbers of 
them, of different sizes, found at different times in the ruins of the abbey and in the river. We have 
engraved three from drawings in the Minute Books of the Spalding Society, in whose drawers one 
is still preserved. These are adopted as the device of a town-piece, called the Poore's Halfepeny of 
Croyland, 1670." 

Rood and Cross are synonymous. From the Anglo Saxon nob. 

[" The Rood," as Fuller observes, " when perfectly made, and with all the appurtenances 
thereof, Tiad not only the image of our Saviour extended upon it, but the figures of the Virgin 
Mary and St. John, one on each side : in allusion to John xix. 26. ' Christ on the Cross saw hit 
mother and thedisciple whom he loved standing by.' " (See Fuller's Hist. Waltham Abbey, pp. 16, 17.) 

Such was tha representation denominated the ROOD, usually placed over the screen which di- 
vided the nave from the chancel of our Churches. To our ancestors, we are told, it conveyed a 
full type of the Christian Church. The nave representing the Church militant, and the chancel 
the Church triumphant, denoting that all who would go from the one to the other, must pass un- 
der the Rood, that is carry the Cross, and sufler affl'ction. 

Churchwardens accounts, previous to the Reformation, are usually full of entries relating to the 


been taken away, on the plundering of Jerusalem by Cosroes, king of Persia, 
about the year of Christ 615 b . 

It appears to have been the custom to go a nutting upon this day, from the 
following passage in the old play of " Grim the Collier of Croydon :" 

" This day, they say, is called Holy-rood Day, 

And all the youth are now a nutting gone c ." 

It appears from a curious manuscript which I have had occasion several times 
to quote in the course of this work, that in the month of September, " on a cer- 
tain day," most probably the fourteenth, the boys of Eton school were to have a 
play-day, in order to go out and gather nuts, with a portion of which, when 

Rood-loft. On a detached scrap of paper, Mr. Brand has preserved the following extracts be- 
longing to that formerly in the Church of St. Mary at Hill, 5 Hen. VI. 

" Also for makynge of a peire endentors betwene William Serle, carpenter, and us, for the Rode 
lofte and the under clerks chambre *, ijs. viijd." 

The second leaf, he observes, of the Churchwardens' accounts contains the names (it should 
seem) of those who contributed to the erection of the Rood loft. " Also ress. of serteyn men for 
the Rod loft ; fyrst of Ric. Goslyn 10Z. ; also of Thomas Raynwall 101. ; also of Rook 26s. 7d. ;" 
and eighteen others. Summa totalis 9ol. Us. 9d." 

The carpenters on this occasion appear to have had what in modern language is called "their 
Drinks" allowed them over and above their wages. 

" Also the day after Saint Dunston, the 19 day of May, two carpenters with her Nonsiens^-." 

Jn Howes's edition of Stowe's Chronicle, 2 Edw. VI. 1547, we read : " The 17 of Nov. was begun 
to be pulled downe the Roode in Paules Church, with Mary and John, and all other images in the 
Church, and then the like was done in all the Churches in London, and so throughout England, 
and texts of Scripture were written upon the walls of those Churches against Images, &c." 

Many of our Rood-lofts, however, were not taken down till late in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.] 

b Wheatley on the Common Prayer, edit. 8vo. Lond. 1741, p. 73. 

See Reed's Old Plays, vol. II. p. 239. 

* Other entries respecting the Rood-loft occur, ibid. 

" Also payd for a rolle and 2 gojons of iron and a rope xiiijrf. 

Also payd to 3 carpenters removing the stallis of the quer xxrf. 

Also payd for 6 peny nail and 5 peny nail xjrf. 

Also for crochats, and 3 iron pynnes and a staple xiijrf. 

Also for 5 yardis and a halfe of grene JSoteram iij*. iijd. oh. 

Also for lengthy ng of 2 cheynes and 6 zerdes of gret wyer xiiijrf. 

Also payd for eleven dozen pavyng tyles iijs. iiijrf." 

t " Nunchion," (s. a colloquial word,) a piece of victuals eaten between meals. Hudibras. (Ash's Dictionary.) 
The word occurs in Cotjrave's Dictionary : " A Nuncions or Nuncheon, (or afternoones repast), Gouber, goustcr, 
rechie, ressie. To take an afternoone's Nuncheon, rcciner, ressiner." 


they returned, they were to make presents to the different masters of that semi- 
nary. It is ordered, however, that before this leave be granted them, they 
should write verses on the fruitfulness of autumn, the deadly colds, &c. of ad~ 
vancing winter d , 

i M . - 


(Twenty-ninth of September.) 

It has long been and still continues the custom at this time of the year, or 
thereabouts, to elect the governours of to\vns a and cities, the civil guardians of 

d " Status Scholae Etonensis, A. D. 1 SCO. (MS. Donat. Brit. Mus. 4843.) 

" Mcnse Septembri. 

" Hoc mepse certo quodam die, si visura fuerit preceptor!, liberrima ludendi facultas pueris con- 
ceditur : et itur collectum avellanas, quas domuni cum onusti reportaverint, veluti nobilis alicujuj 
praedee portionom praeceptori, cujus auspiciis susceptum illius diei iter ingressi sunt, impartiuntj 
turn vero comumnicant etiam cum magistris. Priusquam vero Nuces legend! potestas permittitur, 
carmina pangunt, autumni pomiferi fertilitatem et fructuosam abundantiaui pro virili describentes, 
quinetiam adventantis .Hyemis durissimi Anni temporis lethalia frigora, qua possunt lamentabili 
oratione deflent & persequuntur : sic omnium rerum vicissitudinem jam a pueris addiscentes, turn 
Nuces (ut in proverbio est) relinquunt, id est, omissis studiis ac nugis puerilibus, ad graviora ma- 
gisque seria convertuntur." 

a " Monday, October 1st, 1804. 

" This day the lord mayor and aldermen proceeded from Guildhall, and the two sheriffs with 
their respective companies from Stationers Hall, and having embarked on the Thames, his lordship 
in the city barge, and the sheriffs in the stationers barge, went in aquatic state to Palace Yard. They 
proceeded to the Court of Exchequer : where, after the usual salutations to the bench (the cursitor 
baron, Francis Maseres, Esq. presiding) the recorder presented the two sheriffs ; the several writs 
were then read , and the sheriffs and the senior undersheriff took the usual oaths. [ The ceremony, on this 
occasion, in thf Court of Exchequer, which vulgar error supposed to be an unmeaning farce, is solemn and 
impressive ; nor have the new sheriffs the least connexion either with chopping of sticks, or counting of 
hobnails. The tenants of a manor in Shropshire are directed to come forth to do their suit and service: 
on which the senior alderman below the chair steps forward, and chops a single stick, in token of its 
having been customary for the tenants of that manor to supply their lord with fuel. The owners of a 
forge in the parish of St. Clement (which formerly belonged to the city, and stood in the high road from 
the Temple to Westminster, but now no' longer exists J are then called forth to do their suit and service; 
when an officer of the court, in the presence of the senior alderman, produces six horse shoes and 61 hob- 

..>r;O ''' '< ! 'Ti.'tjf'l . V7!f ,m (y . .. 
VOL. I. O O 


the peace of men, perhaps, as Bourne supposes, because the feast of angels na- 
turally enough brings to our minds the old opinion of tutelar spirits, who have, 
or are thought to have the particular charge of certain bodies of men, or dis- 
tricts of country, as also that every man has his guardian angel, who attends him 
from the cradle to the grave, from the moment of his coming in, to his going 
out of life b . 

nails, which he counts over in form before the cursitor baron; who, on this particular occasion, is the 
immediate representative of the sovereign.'] 

" The whole of the numerous company then again embarked in their barges, and returned to 
Blackfriars-bridge, where the state carriages were in waiting. Thence they proceeded to Stationers- 
Hall, where a most elegant entertainment was given by Mr. Sheriff Domville." Mr. Nichols, in 
Gent. Mag. for October 1804, vol. Ixiv. p. 965. 

For a custom after the election of a mayor at Abingdon in Berkshire, see the Gent. Mag. for 
Dec. 17&2, vol. Hi. p. 553. 

" At Kidderminster is a singular custom. On the election of a Bailiff the inhabitants assemble 
in the principal streets to throw cabbage stalks at each other. The town-house bell gives signal 
for the affray. This is called lawless hour. This done, (for it lasts an hour), the bailiff elect and 
corporation, in their robes, preceded by drums and fifes, (for they have no waits.) visit the old and 
new bailiff, constables, &c. &c. attended by the mob. In the mean time the most respectable families 
in the neighbourhood are invited to meet and fling apples at them on their entrance. I have 
known forty pots of apples expended at one house." Gent. Mag. for 1790, vol. Ix. p. 1191. 

b " The Egyptians believed that every man had three Angels attending him : the Pythagoreans 
that every man had two : the Romans, that there was a good and evil genius. Hence it is that 
the Roman poet says, " Quisque suos patitur manes." Bourne, chap. xxix. 

This idea has been adopted by Butler : 

" Whether dame Fortune or the care 
Of Angel bad, or tutelar." 

Hudibras, P. I. c. iii. 1. 431. 

" Every man," says Sheridan in the notes to his Translation of Persius, (2d edit. 8vo. Lond. 
1739, p. 28.) " was supposed by the antients at his birth to have two Genii, as messengers between 
the gods and him. They were supposed to be private monitors, who by their insinuations disposed 
us either to good or evil actions j they were also supposed to be not only reporters of our crimes 
in this life, but registers of them against our trial in the next, whence they had the name of Manes 
given them. Their nature and employment will appear belter from the following quotations : 

' Genius est Deus cujus in tutela, ut quisque natus est vivit, sive quod ut generemur curat, 
sive quod una gignitur nobiscum, sive quod nos genitos suscipit, ac tuetur, certe a genendo Ge- 
nius appellatur. 1 Censorin. de Die natali, c. 3. 

T TS Ji(*oyv ys'ws In PIVU StSv no.} atfyuirm. Plutarch. Lib. de Orac. 


Symmachus, against the Christians, says : "The divine Being has distributed 
various guardians to cities, and that as souls are communicated to infants at their 
birth c , so particular genii are assigned to particular societies of men d ." 

Moresin tells us that Papal Rome, in imitation of this tenet of Gentilism, has 
fabricated such kinds of genii for guardians and defenders of cities and people. 
Thus she has assigned St. Andrew to Scotland, St. George to England, St. 
Dennis to France : thus, Egidius to Edinburgh, Nicholas to Aberdeen e . 

Plutarch in his book of Isis and Osiris, quotes Plato for the same opinion. 

"Aswrn Ja/jLii/y avJ^i TO 

TU |S. Menand. 

Not only men but cities and countries were said to have their particular genius." 

Park in his Travels in the interior of Africa, tells us, " The concerns of this world, the Negroe* 
believe, are committed by the Almighty to the superintendance and direction of subordinate spirits, 
over whom they suppose that certain magical ceremonies have great influence. A white fowl sus- 
pended to the branch of a particular tree, a snake's head, or a few handful.* of fruit, are offer- 
ings to deprecate the favour of these tutelary agents." 

c The following extract from a very rare book entitled " Curiosities, or the Cabinet of Nature, by 
R. B. Gent." (Ro. Basset) 12mo. Lond. 1637, p. 228, informs us of a very singular office assigned 
by antient superstition to the good Genii of Infanta. The book is by way of question and answer. 

" Q. Wherefore is it that the childe cryes when the absent nurse's brests doe pricke and ake ? 

" An. That by dayly experience is found to be so, so that by that the nurse is hastened home 
to the infant to supply the defect : and the reason is that either at that very instant that the infant 
hath finished its concoction, the breasts are replenished, and, for want of drawing, the milke 
paines the breast, as it is seen likewise in milch cattell : or rather the good Genius of the Infant 
seemeth by that means to sollicite or trouble the nurse in the infant's behalfe : which reason 
seemeth the more finne and probable, because sometimes sooner, sometimes later, the child 
cryeth, neither is the state of nurse and infant alwayes the same." 

d Bourne ut supra. See a great deal of information on this subject in Fabricii Bibliographia 
Antiquaria, p. 262. and in Ormerod's Pagano-Papismus, at the end of the Picture of a Papist, 4to. 

e " Sic papa populis et urbibus consimiles fabrical cultus et genios custodes & defensores, ut 
Scotiee Andream, Anglite Georgium, Gallite Dionysium, &c. Edinburgo Egidium, Aberdonia Nico- 
laum, &c." Moresini Papatus, p. 48. See also Burton's Anat. of Melancholy, 4to. 1621, p. 753. 

I find the subsequent patron-saints of cities ; St. Eligia and St. Norbert of Antwerp ; St. HuWo- 
rich or Ulric of Augsburgh ; St. Martin of Boulogne; St. Mary and St. Donatian of Bruges; St. 
Mary and St. Gudula of Brussels ; the three Kings of the East of Cologne, also St. Ursula and the 
eleven thousand virgins j St. George and St. John Baptist of Genoa; St. Bavo and St. Liburn of 



I find the following Patron Saints of countries in other authorities : St. Col- 
man and St. Leopold for Austria ; St. Wolfgang and St. Mary Atingana, for 
Bavaria ; St. Winceslaus for Bohemia ; St. Andrew and St. Mary for Bur- 
gundy ; St. Anscharius and St. Canute for Denmark; St. Peter for Flanders : 
to St. Dennis is added St. Michael as another patron Saint of France ; St. Mar- 
tin, St. Boniface, and St. George Cataphractus, for Germany ; St. Mary for 
Holland; St. Mary of Aquisgrana and St. Lewis for Hungary ; St. Patrick for 
Ireland ; St. Anthony for Italy ; St. Firrnin and St. Xavierus for Navarre ; St. 
Anscharius and St. Olaus for Norway ; St. Stanislaus and St. Hederiga for Po- 
land ; St. Savine for Poitou ; St. Sebastian for Portugal, also St. James and 
St. George ; St. Albert and St. Andrew for Prussia ; St. Nicholas, St. Mary, 
and St. Andrew, for Russia ; St. Mary for Sardinia ; St. Maurice for Savoy 
and Piedmont; St. Mary and St. George for Sicily; St. James (Jago) for 
Spain ; St. Anscharius, St. Eric, and St. John, for Sweden ; and St. Gall and 
the Virgin Mary for Switzerland. 

It were superfluous to enumerate the tutelar gods of heathenism f . Few are 
ignorant that Apollo and Minerva presided over Athens, Bacchus and Hercules 
over Boeotian Thebes, Juno over Carthage, Venus over Cyprus and Paphos, 
Apollo over Rhodes ; Mars was the tutelar god of Rome, as Neptune of Tsena- 
rus; Diana presided over Crete, &c. e. 

St. Peter succeeded to Mars at the revolution of the religious Creed of Rome, 
He now presides over the castle of St. Angelo , as Mars did over the antient 

Ghent ; St. Martial of Limosin * ; St. Vincent of Lisbon ; St. Mary and St. Rusnold of Mechlin ; St. 
Mai-tin and St. Boniface of Mentz ; St. Ambrose of Milan; St. Thomas Aquinas and St Jaauarius 
of Naples ; St. Sebald of Nuremberg ; St. Frideswide of Oxford ; St. Genevieve of Paris ; St. Peter 
and St. Paul of Rome ; St. Rupert of Saltzberg ; the Virgin Mary of Sienna ; St. Ursus of St. So- 
leure; St. Hulderich or Ulric of Strasbvrgli ; St. Mark of Tenice; and St. Stephen of Vienna. 

! " The Babilonisms had Bell for their patron ; the Egyptians Isis and Osiris ; the Rhodians the 
Sunne ; the Saniians Juno; the Paphians Venus; the Delphians Apollo; the Ephesians Diana j 
all the Germans in general St. George. I omit the Saints who have given their names to cities; as 
St. Quintin, St. Disian, St. Denis, St. Agnan, St.. Paul, St. Omer." Stephens's World of Won- 
ders, fol. 1607, p. 315. 

B In the Observations on Days in the antient Calendar of the Church of Rome to which I have 

* Se* The World of Wonders," P . 31 5. 


The Romanists, in imitation of the Heathens, have assigned tutelar gods to 
each member of the body h . 

so frequently referred, I find on St. Michael's Day the following: 
" Arx tonat in gratiam tutelaris Numinis." 
which I translate, 

" Cannon fired from the citadel in honour of the tutelar saint." 

It is observable in this place how closely popery has in this respect copied the heathen mytho- 
logy *. She has the supreme being for Jupiter ; she has substituted angels for genii, and the souls of 
saints for heroes, retaining all kinds of dtemom. Against these pests she has carefully provided 
her antidotes. She exorcises them out of waters, she rids the air of them by ringing her hallowed 

bells, &c. 

. ir ::,; , :;i; ,-- rc.t , ' <-f. : ; i : , 

t " Membris in homine veteres praefecere suos deos, siquidem capiti numen inesse quoddam 

fertur. Frontem sacram Genio nonnulli tradunt, sicuti Junoni brachia, pectus Neptuno, cingu- 
lum Marti, renes Veneri, pedes Mercurio, digitos Minervae consecravit Antiquitas. Romans mu- 
lieres supercilia Lucinae consecrarunt, quia inde lux ad oculos fluit ; et Homerus carmine singulos 
membris honestavit deos : namque Junonem facit Candidas ulnas habere, Auroram roseos lacer- 
tos, Minervatn oculos glaucos, Thetidem argenfebs pedes, Heben verb talos pulcherrimos. Dex- 
tram fidei sacram Numa instituit, etiam cum venia'm sermonis a diis poscimus, proximo a minimo 
digito secus aurem locum Nemeseos tangere, et 'os bbsignare solemus &c. Alex, ab Alex. lib. ii. cap. 

We find the following in Moresini Papatus, p. 133. " Porcus Pani et Sylvano commendabatur. (Alex, ab 
Alexand. lib. iii. cap. 12.) nunc autem immundissimus porcorum Greges custodire cogitur miser dntoaiut," 
In "The World of Wonders" is the following translation of an epigram : 

" Once fed'st thou, Anthony, an heard of swine, 

And now an heard of monkes thou feedest still; 

T' -I in - .'=!('<' v ; ,!' -i 

For wit and gut, alike both charges bin : 

Both loven filth alike : both like to fill 
Their greedy paunch a4ike. Nor was that kind 

More beastly, sottish, swinish, then this last. 
All else agrees : one fault I onely find, 

Thou feeuest not thy monkes with oken mast." 

The author mentions before, persons " who runne up and downe the country, crying, ' have you. any thing 
to bestow upon my lord S. Anthonie's swine'?" 

A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for Dec. 1790, vol. Ix. p. 1086, derives the expression, " An it please 
the Pigs," not from a corruption of " an it please the Pix," i.e. the host, but from a saying of the scholars of St. 
Paul's sellout, London, founded in the reign of king Stephen, whose great rivals were the scholars of the neigh- 
bouring foundation of the brotherhood of St. Anthony of Vienna, situated in the parish of Si. Bennet Finke 
Threadneedte-street, and thence nick-named " St. Anthony's Pigs." So that whenever those of St. Paul's an- 
swered each other >n the affirmative, they added this expression, scoffingly insinuating a reserve of the approba- 
tion of the competitors of St. Anthony's, who claimed a superiority over them." But of this, Quiere. 


They of the Romish religion, says Melton in his Astrologaster, p. 20. 
" for every limbe in mans body have a saint ; for St. Otilia keepes the head in- 
stead of Aries ; St. Blasius is appointed to governe the necke instead of Taurus ; 
St. Lawrence keepes the backe and shoulders instead of Gemini, Cancer, and 
Leo; St. Erasmus rules the belly with the entrayles, in the place of Libra and 
Scorpius ; in the stead of Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, and Pisces, the 
Holy Church of Rome hath elected St. Burgarde, St. Rochus, St. Quirinus, St. 
John, and many others, which governe the thighes, feet, shinnes, and knees." 

The following saints are invoked against various diseases . St. Agatha against 
sore breasts ; St. Anthony against inflammations ; St. Apollonia and St. Lucy 
against the tooth-ache ; St. Benedict against the stone and poison ; St. Blaise 
against bones sticking in the throat, fires, and inflammations'; St. Christopher k 
and St. Mark against sudden death ; St. Clara against sore eyes ; St. Genow 
against the gout ; St. Job and St. Fiage against the venereal disease ; St. John 
against the epilepsy and poison 1 ; St. Liberius against the stone and fistula; St. 

19. Jam ad hanc similitudinem caput, ita, non omnibus cognita Dea, obtinet. Oculos habel Oti- 
lia. Linguam instituit Catharina, in rhetoricis et dialecticis exercitatissima. Apollonia denies curat. 
Collo preside! Blasius spiritalis Deus. Dortmm una cum scapulis obtinet Laurentius. Knismi 
venter est totus cum intestinis. Sunt qui Burgharto cuidam et crura et pedes consecraverint, in 
participatum nonnunquam admittit Antonium, Quirinum, Joannem, & nescio quos alios divos. 
Apollinaris quidani Priapi vices subiit, pudendorum Deus effectus. Buling. cap. xxxiv. lib. de Orig. 
cult. Deor. Erron." Moresini Papatus, pp. 93, 94. 

i He had cured a boy that had got a fish-bone in his throat. (See the Golden Legend.) And was 
particularly invoked by the Papists in the Squinnancy or Quinsy. Fabric. Bibliogr. Antiq. p. 267. 
Gent. Mag. vol. xliii. p. 384. 

k A cock is offered (at least was wont to be) to St. Christopher in Touraine for a certaine sore 
which useth to be in the end of mens fingers, the white-flaw." . World of Wonders, p. 308. The 
cock was to be a white one. 

1 " Apollini et ./Esculapio ejus filio datur morbo medicinam facere, apud nos COSIIHE et Dami- 
ano : at pestis in partem cedit Rocho : oculorum lippitudo Clara. Antonius suibus medendis suf- 
ficit : & Apollo noster dentium morbis. Morbo sontico olim Hercules, nunc Joannes et Valenti- 
nits prasunt. In ai te obstetricandi Lucinam longe superat nostra Margareta, et quia hsec moritiir 
virgo, ne non satis attenta ad curam sit, quam neque didicit, neque experientia cognovit, illi in 
officio jungitur fungendo expertus Murpurgus. Aliqui addunt loco Junonis, Reginam nostri cteli 
divam Mariam. Ritffinus et Romanus phrenesi praesunt, &c." Moresini Papatus,, p. 16. See also 
the " World of Wonders," fol. 1607, p. 303. 

" Diana, the huntress, new worshippers wins, 
Who call her St. Agnes, confessing their sins; 


Maine against the scab ; St. Margaret against danger in child-benring ; also St. 
Edine; St. Martin m for the itch ; St. Marus against palsies and convulsions n ; 
St. Maure for the gout ; St. Otilia against sore eyes and head-ach, also St. Ju- 
liana ; St. Petronilla and St. Genevieve against fevers ; St. Quintan against 
coughs ; St. Romanus against devils possessing people ; St. Ruffin against mad- 
ness; St. Sebastian P and St. Roch against the plague; St. Sigismund against fe- 
vers and agues; St. Valentine against the epilepsy; St. Venisa against green- 
sickness ; St. Wallia or St. Wallery against the stone ; and St. Wolfgang against 
lameness *. 

To the god Esculapius incurables pray, 
Since the doctor is christianiz'd St. Bart'lomt; 
Tho' the goddess of Antipertussis we scoff, 
As Madonna dell' Tossa she opiates a cough." 

See the present State of the Manners, &c. of France and Italy : in poetical epistles addressed te 
Robert Jephson, Esq. 8vo. Lond. 1794, p. 64. 

n In the introduction to the old play called " A Game at Chesse," 4to. is the following line : 
" Roch, Maine, and Petronell, itch and ague curers." 

n Patrick's Devotions, p. 277. 

o " World of Wonders," p.3U. 

P See Fuller's Ch. Hist. b. vi. p. 330. 

q Barnaby Rich, in " The Irish Hubbub, or the English Hue and Crie," 4to. Lond. 1619, p. 36, 
has the following passage : " There be many miracles assigned to Saints, that (they say) are good 
for all diseases ; they can give sight to the blinde, make the deafe to heare, they can restore limbs 
that be cripled and make the lame to goe upright, they be good for horse, swine, and many other 
beasts. And women are not without their shee saints, to whom they doe implore when they would 
have children, and for a quick deliverance when they be in labour. 

" They have saints to pray to when they be grieved with a third day ague, when they be pained 
with the tooth-ach, or when they would be revenged of their angry husbands. 

" They have saints that be good amongst poultry, for chickins when they have the pip, for geese 
when they doe sit, to have a happy successe in goslings : and, to be short, there is no disease, no 
cicknesse, no greefe, either amongst men or beasts, that hath not his physician among the Saints." 

In Michael Wodde's Dialogue (cited under PALM SUNDAV) A. D. 1554, Signat. c. ii b. we read : 
" If we were sycke of the pestylence we ran to Sainte Rooke ; if of the ague to Saint Pernel, or 
Master John Shorne ; if men were in prison, thei praied to Saint Leonarde : if the Welchman 
wold have a purssc, he praied to Darvel Gatherne ; if a wife were weary of her husband, she offred 
otes at Ponies, at London, to St. Uncumber. Thus have we been deluded with their images*." 
* St. Wilgford was also invoked by women to get rid of their husbands. 


In farther imitation of heathenism, the Romanists have assigned tutelar 
gods to distinct professions and ranks of people r , (some of them not of 
the best sort,) to different trades 8 , &c, nay, they have even condescended 

Newton, in his "Tryall of a mans owne selfe, 12mo. Lond. 1602, p. 50. censures " Physitiona, 
when they beare their patient in hand, or make him to think that some certain Saints have power to 
send, and also to fake away this or that disease." 

T St. Agatha presides over nurses; St. Catharine and St. Gregory are the patrons of literati, 
or studious persons ; St. Catherine also presides over the arts in the room of Minerva; St. Chris- 
topher and St. Nicholas preside over mariners*, also St. Hermusf; St. Cecilia is the patroness 
of musicians ; St. Cosmas and St. Damian are the patrons of physicians and surgeons, also of 
philosophers. (See Patrick's Devotions, p. 264.) St. Dismas and St. Nicholas preside over thieves; 
St. Eustache and St. Hubert over hunters ; St Felicitas over young children ; St. Julian is the 
patron of pilgrims { ; St. Leonard and St. Barbara || protect captives ; St. Luke is the patron of 
painters; St. Magdalen, St. Afra, (Aphra or Aphrodite), and St. Brigit preside over common 
women ; St. Martin and St. Urban over ale-knights to guard them from falling into the kennel; 
St. Mathurin over fools ^f ; St. Sebastian over archers ; St. Thomas over divines ; St. Thomas 
Becket over blind mcn^ eunuchs, and sinners ** ; St. Valentine over lovers ; St. Winifred over 
virgins ; and St. Yves over lawyers and civilians. St. ^Ethelbert and St. .Elian were invoked 
against thieves ff. 

Here also may be noticed that St. Agatha presides over vallies ; St. Anne over riches ; St. Barbara 
over hills ; St. Florian over fire; St. Giles and St. Hyacinth are invoked by barren women; St- 
Osyth by women to guard thsir keys ; St. Silvester protects the woods ; St. Urban wine and vine- 
yards; and St. Vincent and St. Anne are the restorers of lost things. 

8 St. Andrew and St. Joseph were the patron saints of carpenters; St. Anthony of swine herds 
and grocers ; St. Arnold of millers ; St.. Blaise of wool-combers ; St. Catherine of spinners ; St. 
Clement of tanners ; St. Cloud of nailsmiths, on account of his name ; St. Dunstan of goldsmiths; 
St. Eloy of blacksmiths, farriers, and goldsmiths J J ; St. Euloge (who is probably the same with St. 

* St. Barbara, St. Andrew, and St. Clement, are also noticed as Sea-saints. Warner, in his Hist, of Hamp- 
shire, vol. i. p. 155, note, says : " St. Christopher presided over the weather, and was the Patron of Field-sports." 
He is citing an antient description of a hunter, in verse : 

" A Criitof're on his breast of silver shene; 
An horn he bare, the baudrie was of greene." 

f See Castillo's Courtier, Signat. S. v. 

J Melton in his Astrologaster. p. 19. says, "they hold that St. Hugh and St. Eustace guards hunters from 
perills and dangers, that the stagge or bucke may not hit them on the head with their homes." 

Also of whoremongers, v. Hist, des Troubad. torn. i. p. 11. 

\ Parkin's Norwich, p. 241. f See Carpentier, p. 245. 

'* See Patrick, p. 185. ff. Scott, and Pciin. H. of Wales. ,;., 

U See note in p. 290 on ST. Lov. 


to appoint these celestial guardians also to the care of animals, &c. * 

Eloy) of smiths *, though others say of jockics ; St. Florian of mercers ; St. Francis of butchers ; 
St. George of clothiers ; St. Goodman of taylors, sometimes called St. Gutman, and St. Annf ; St. 
Gore with the devil on his shoulder and a pot in his hand, of potters, also called St. Goarin j St. 
Hilary of coopers; St. John Fort-Latin of booksellers}: ; St. Josse and St. Urban of plowmen; 
St. Leodagar of drapers ; St. Leonard of locksmiths, as well as captives ; St. Louis of perriwig-ma- 
kers ; St. Martin of master shoemakers, and St. Crispin of coblers and journeymen shoe-makers ; 
St. Nicholas of parish clerks, and also of butchers ; St. Peter of fishmongers ; St. Sebastian of pin- 
makers, on account of his being stuck with arrows ; St. Seyerus of fullers ; St. Stephen of 
weavers ; St. Tibba of falconers ; St. Wilfrid of bakers, St. Hubert also ||, and St. Honor or Ho- 
nore ^f j St. William of hatmakers ; and St; Windeline of shepherds. 

t St. Anthony protects hogs ; St. Ferioll presides over geese, others say St. Gallicet, St. Callus, 
or St. Andoch ** ; St. Gallus also protects the keepers of geese ; St. Gertrude presides over mice 
and eggs ; St. Hubert protects dogs, and is invoked against the bite of mad ones ; St. Loy is for 

* " Fabrorura Deus Vulcanus fuit ferrariorum, nunc in papatu commutarunt Vulcanum cum Eulogioi Bu- 
ling. Orig. cap. 34. Sed quia Bulingcrus dedit nuper Equis Eulogium, meliits est cum Scotis sentire, qui sub 
papatu olim hisce fabris dederunt Aloisium, quern colerent, ut et reliquis qui malleo utuntur." Moresini Papa- 
tus, p. 56. 

f See Moresini Papatus, p. 155. " Sartoribus nemo deorum veterum prseest, quern legere contigit, nisi sit 
Mercurius Fur, cum ipsi sint FURACISSIMI. Bulling, cap. 34. Orig. ex Papae decreto coticedit illis, cum sint ple- 
rumque belli liomuneuli, dignum suis moribus deum Gutmannum nesciu queui. Sed birtiarum nomen cogit 
fateri civiliores esse Scotos, qui Annam matrem Virginis Marias coluerunt, quie ac dicunt Tunicam Christi texuit, 
et ideo merito illis dca est. 

Butler in his Iludibras bag the following: 

" he had, a? well 
As the bold Trojan knight, seen HEI.L; 
Not with a counterfeited pass 
Of golden bough, but true gold lace." 

A note explains " ^neas, whom Virgil reports to use a golden bough for a piss to Hell : and taylors call that 
place Hell where they put all they steal." P. I. c. i. 1. 475. 

So in the" Defence of Conny-catching," signat. P. 4 b. " All the reversion goes into ffel. Now this Hel is 
a place that the Taylors have under their shop-boord, where all their stolne shreds is thrust." I derive this 
" HEL" from A. S., helan, to hide i as I do the word " CABBAGE," as used by the same taylors from Cablish, wind- 
fain or brush wood." See Cowel's Interpreter in verko. This was the perquisite of the keeper of the forest. 
The analogy is obvious. 

J Sauval. Antiq. de Paris, torn. ii. p. 621. { See Fuller's Worthies. Rutland, p. 347. 

|| See Moresini Papatus, p. 127- 

U Fuller Ch. Hist. p. 381. " St. Honore a Baker." World of Wonders, p. 310. It should appear from Dek- 
ker's " Wonderful! Yeare," 4to. 1C03. signat. D. 2 b. that St. Clement was also a patron saint of bakers. " He 
worships the baker's good lord and maister, charitable S. Clement," &c. Lewis Owen in the " Unmasking of all 
Popish Monkes, &c " 4to. Lond. 1628. p. 98. says that " St. Clement is for bakers, brewers, nd victuallers." 

* World of Wonders, p. 311. 

VOL. I. P T 


Barnabe Googe, in " The Popish Kingdome," fol. 98, 99, has given us" 

horses and kine*; St. Magnus is invoked against locusts and caterpillars; St. Pelagius, otherwise 
St. Pelage, or St. Peland, protects oxenf ; and St. Wendeline, sheep ; or, as one writer has it, 
St. Wolfe }. 

i.e. St. Eloy, or Eligius, before-mentioned as the guardian of farriers. Bridges, in his History of North- 
amptonshire, vol. i. p. 25S, speaking of Wedon-Pinkeney, says: "In this church was the Memorial of St. Loys 
kept, whither did many resort for the cure ef their Horsus ; where there was a house at the East end thereof, 
plucked down within few years, which was called St. Loy's House." 

A Writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, however, for 1779, vol. xlix. p. 190, would have St. Loy to be the 
diminutive of St. Lucian : 

" In the uncertainty we labour under about the miracle supposed to be commemorated on the Frekenbam 
bas-relief, (See Gent. Mag. vol. xlvii. p. 416, vol. xlviii. p. 304,) I cannot concur with my ingenious friend your 
Correspondent in the last month's Mag. p. 138, in ascribing it to St. Eligius. Mr. Bridges gives no authority for 
this opinion. He would rather lead us to suppose St. Loy to be St. Lucian, to whose monastery Wedon-Pinckney 
was a cell, though its parish church was dedicated to the blessed Virgin j and Mr. Tyrwhitt seems of this senti- 
ment. Loy is a more natural abbreviation of Lewis, or Lucian, than of Elegius j for Eloy rests only on Urry'i 
authority. Eligius served his time to one Abbo, a goldsmith, and made for King Clotaire two saddles of gold 
et with jewels, such as one might suppose Mr. Cox would make for the Nabob of Arcot. He became Bishop 
of Noyon, where he died. (Lippelii vit. Sanctor. vol. iv. p. 632. ex Baronii Anna), torn, viii.) Not a word of 
his patronizing Farriers. Till the particular miracle in question is ascertained, I think the claim lies at present 
between St. Anthony and St. Hippolytus." 

See Tyrwhitt's Chaucer, Cant. Tales, edit. 8vo. vol. iv. p. 196. In the Ordinary of the Smiths' Company in 
Brand's History of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, vol. ii. p. 318, the fraternity is ordered to meet on "St. Loy's Day." 
[St. Loy, says Mr. Brand, is certainly not St. Lucian.] 

In the World of Wonders we have the following remarks, in part only to our present, though altogether to 
our general, purpose. The opening at least serves to shew that Eloy does not rest only on Urry's authority. 

"When ST. ELOY (who is the Saint for Smiths) doth hammer his irons, is he not instead of God Vulcan? 
and do they not give the same titles to St. George, which in old times were given to Mars ? and do they not 
honor St. Nicholas after the same manner that Pagans honoured God Neptune ? and when St. Peter is made 
a porter, doth he not represent God Janus ? Nay, they would faine make the Angell Gabriel beleeve that he is 
God Mercury. And is not Pallas, the Goddesse of Arts and Sciences, represented to us byS. Katherine? And have 
they not S. Hubert, the Gad of Hunters, instead of Diana ? (which office some give to S. Eustace.) And when 
they apparell John Baptist in a lion's skin, is it not to represent Hercules unto us ? And is not Saint Katherine 
commonly painted with a wheele, as they were wont to paint Fortune ?" p. 308. 

"They will needs have St. Genneuiefue (hr especially at Paris) to bestir her stumps in hastening God to 
cause raine, when there is a great drought : as also to leave rayning when it poureth down too fast, and conti- 
nueth over long." And as for the thunder and the thunder-bolts, ' St. Barbe (their Saint for Harquebuziers) 
obtained this office, to beate backe tfce blowes of the thunderbolt." " Tbty have made St. Maturin physitian 
for Fooles, having relation to the word JUatto. St. Acairc cureth the acariastres, i. e. frantic or furious bedlams. 1 ' 
"St. Avcrtin cureth the avertineux, i. e. fantastical! lunatic persons, and all the diseases of the head : St. Eu- 
trope the dropsie : Saint Mammard is made physitian ies mummellcs, that is of the paps : Saint Phiacre of 
ihe phy, or emeroids, of those especially which grow in the fundament : Saint Main healeth the scab <les 
mains, that is, of the hands ; St. Geuou the gout ; St. Agnan, or St. Tignan, the filthy disease called la 
tigne, the scurfe." Ibid. p. 309. 

f World of Wonders, p. 3)0. J Ibid. 311. 


the following translation of Naogeorgus on this subject, under the head of 

" To every saint they also doe his office here assine, 
And fourtene doe they count of whom thou mayst have ayde divine ; 
Among the which our Ladie still doth holde the chiefest place, 
And of her gentle nature helpes, in euery kinde of case. 
Saint Barbara lookes that none without the body of Christ doe dye, 
Saint Cathern favours learned men, and gives them wisedome hye : 
And teacheth to resolue the doubles, and alwayes givetli ayde, 
Unto the scolding sophister, to make his reason stayde. 
Saint Appolin the rotten teeth doth helpe, when sore they ake, 
Otillia from the bleared eyes the cause and griefe doth take. 
Rookt healeth scabbes and maungines, with pock es, and skurfe, andskall, 
And cooleth raging carbuncles, and byles, and botches all. 
There is a saint whose name in verse cannot declared be, 
He serves against the plague, and ech infective maladie. 
Saint Valentine beside to such as doe his power dispise 
The falling sicknesse sendes, and helpes the man that to him cries. 
The raging minde of furious folkes doth Vitus pacifie, 
And doth restore them to their vvitte, being calde on speediiie. 
Erasmus heales the collicke and the griping of the guttes : 
And Laurence from the backe and from the shoulder sicknesse puttes. 
Blase drives away the qu'msey quiglit with water sanctifide, 
From every Christian creature here, and every beast beside. 
Put Leonerd of the prisoners doth the bandes asunder pull, 
And breakes the prison doores and chaines, wherwith his church is full. 
The quartane ague, and the reast, doth Pernel take away, 
And John preserves his worshippers, from prysoti every day : 
Which force to Benet eke they give, that helpe enough may bee, 
By saintes in every place. What dost thou here omitted see f 
From dreadfull vnprovided death doth Mark deliver his, 
Who of more force than death himselfe, and more of value is. 
Saint Anne gives wealth and living great to such as love hir most, 
And is a perlite finder out of things that have beene lost : 
Which vertue likewise they ascribe vnto an other man, 

Vincent ; what he is I cannot tell, nor whence he came. 


Against reproche and infamy, on Szisan doe they call, 

Romanus drireth sprites away, and wicked devills all. 

The byshop Wolf gang he&lee thegoute, S. Wendl-in kepes the shepe, 

With shephcardes, and the oxen fatte, as he was woont to keepe. 

The bristled hogges doth Antonit preserve and cherish well u , 

Who in his life tyme alwayes did in woodesand forrestes dwell. 

Saint Gartrude riddes the house of mise, and killeth all the rattes, 

The like doth bishop Huldrich with his earth, two passing cattes. 

Saint Gregorie lookes to little boyes, to teach their a. b. c. 

And makes them for to love their bookes and schollers good to be. 

Saint Nicolas keepes the mariners from daunger and diseas, 

That beaten are with boystrous waves, and tost in dredfull seas. 

Great Chrystopher that painted is with body big and tall, 

Both even the same, who doth preserve, and keepe his seruants all 

From fearefull terrours of the night, and makes them well to rest, 

By whom they also all their life, with divers ioyes are blest. 

Saint Ag<ith<e defencles thy house, from fire and fearefull flame, 

But when it burnes, in armour all doth Florian quench the same. 

Saint Urban makes the pleasant wine, and doth preserve it still, 

And spourging, vessels all with must continually doth fill. 

Judocus doth defende the corne, from myldeawes and from blast, 

And Magnus from the same cloth drive the grasshopper as fast. 

Thy office, George, is onely here, the horseman to defende, 

Great kinges and noble men, with pompe, on dice doe still attende. 

And Loye the smith doth looke to horse, and smithes of all degree, 

If they with iron meddle here or if they goldesmithes bee. 

Saint Luke, doth euermore defende the paynters facultie, 

Phisitions eke by Cosme and his fellow guided be." . 

11 In Bale's Comedye of Thre Lawes, 1538, Signal. E. viij. b. Infidelity begins his address . 
" Good Christen people, '1 am come hyther verelye 
As a true proctour of the howse of Saint Antonye." 

And boasts, among other charms : 

" Lo here is a belle to hange upon your hogge, 
And save your cattell from the bylynge of a dogge." 

He adde, 

" And here I blesse ye with a wynge of the holy ghost, 
From thornier to tave ye and/rom spretes in every coost." 


It is, perhaps, owing to this antient notion of good and evil genii" attending 
each person, that many of the vulgar pay so great attention to particular dreams, 
thinking them, it should seem, the means these invisible attendants make use of 
to inform their wards of any imminent danger. 

Michaelmas, says Bailey, is a Festival appointed by the Church to be ob- 
served in honour of St. Michael? the Arch-angel, who is supposed to be the 
chief of the Host of Heaven as Lucifer is of the infernal, and as he was sup- 
posed to be the protector of the Jewish, so is he now esteemed the guardian 
and defender of the Christian Church. 

* " Statilinus erat Deus cujusque privatus, qui semper suum hominem est dictus comitari : sic 
Papa cuique adglutinat suum Arigelum et quisque sibi patronum ex defunctis unuui eligit, cujus 
sit cliens ct cui \ota ferat." Moresini Papatus, p. 16'4. 

" Theodoretus in Expositione Epist. Paul! ad Coloss. ii. (licit, qui legeni defendebant Pseudo- 
Apostoli eos etiaui ad Angelos coleiulos inducebaiit, dicentes, legem per ipsos datam fuisse, inansit 
autem hoc vitium diu in Phrygia et Pisidia, quocirca Synodus quoquc convenit Laodiceee, qua: est 
Phrygian metropolis, et Icge prohibuit, ne prccarentur Angelos : Canon. Concil. Laodicen. est 34. 
ac ita habet : Non oportet Christianos derelicta Ecclesia abire ad Angelos et Idololatriae abomi- 
nandas congregationes facere, &c. Sed nunc ex papismo Angeli duo cuique assident, bonum liis 
conceptis precantur verbis. 

" Angele qui meus es C'ustos pietute superna, 
Me libi commissum serva, defende, guberna." Ibid. p. 10. 

In " The Tryall of a Man's own Selfe," by Thomas Newton, 12mo. Land. ] G02, p. 44, he 
enquires, under " Sinnes externall and outward" against the first commandment, "whether, for 
the avoiding of any e\ ill, or obtaining of any good, thou hast trusted to tlie helpe, protection, 
and furtherance of Angels, either goodc or badde. Hereunto is to be referred the paultring maw- 
metrie and heathenish worshipping of that domesticall God, or familiar Aungell, which was 
thought to bee appropried to everie particular person." 

In answer to a query in the Athenian Oracle, vol. i. p. 4, "Whether every man has a good and 
bad Angel attending him ?'' we rind the following to our purpose : " The ministration of Angels 
is certain, but the manner how, is the knot to be untied. 'Twas generally believed by the antient 
philosophers, tnat not only kingdoms had their tutelary Guardians, but that every person had his 
particular Genius, or good Angel, to protect and admonish him by dreams, visions, &c. We 
read that Origen, Hierome, Plato, and Empedocles in Plutarch, were also of this opinion ; and 
the Jews themselves, as appears by that instance of Peter's deliverance out of prison. They be- 
lieved it could not be Peter, but his Angel. But for the particular attendance of bad Angels, we 
believe it not, and we must deny it, till it finds better proof than conjectures." 

* A red velvet Buckler is said to be still preserved in a Castle in Normandy, which the Arch- 
angel made use of when he combated the Dragon. See Bishop Hall's Triumphs of Rome, p. 62. 


Bishop Hall, in Triumphs of Rome z , ridicules the superstition of sailors 
among the Romanists, who, in passing by St. Michael's Grecian promontory 
Malla, used to ply him with their best devotions, that he would hold still his 
wings from resting too hard upon their sails. 


" September, when by Custom (right divine) 
Geese are ordain'd to bleed at Michael's shrine." 


THERE is an old custom still in use among us, of having a roast Goose to 
dinner on Michaelmas Day. 

" Goose-intentos," as Blount tells us, is a word used in Lancashire, where 
" the husbandmen claim it as a due to have a Goose Intentos on the sixteenth 
Sunday after Pentecost : which custom took origin from the last word of the old 
church-prayer of that day : ' Tua, nos quaesumus, Domine, gratia semper 
prseveniat & sequatur ; ac bonis operibus jugiter praestet esse intentos.' The 
common people very humourously mistake it for a goose with ten toes." 

This is by no means satisfactory. Beckwith, in his neiv edition of the Jocular 
Tenures, p. 223, says upon it : " But, besides that the sixteenth Sunday after Pen- 
tecost, or after Trinity rather, being moveable, and seldom falling upon Michael- 
mas Day, which is an immoveable Feast, the service for that day could very rarely 
be used at Michaelmas, there does not appear to be the most distant allusion 
to a Goose in the words of that prayer. Probably no other reason can be given 
for this custom, but that Michaelmas Day was a great Festival, and Geese at 
that time most plentiful 1 . In Denmark, where the harvest is later, every 
_ _ - 

* Triumph of Piety, p. 50. 

* In Poor Robin's Almanack for 1695, under September, are the following quaint lines : 

" GEESE now in their prime season are, 
Which, if well roasted, are good fare : 


family has a roasted Goose for supper on St. Martin's Eve b . 

Among other services (in this country) John de la Hay was hound to render 
to William Barnaby, Lord of Lastres, in the county of Hereford, for a parcel 
of the demesne lands, one Goose fit for the Lord's dinner on the Feast of St. 
Michael the Archangel. And this, as early as the tenth year of King Edward 
the Fourth ." 

Mr. Douce says : " I have somewhere seen the following reason for eating 
Goose on Michaelmas Day, viz, that Queen Elizabeth received the news of 
the defeat of the Spanish Armada, whilst she was eating a goose on Michael- 
mass Day, and that in commemoration of that event she ever afterwards on that 
day dined on a goose." 

But this appears rather to he a strong proof that the custom prevailed even at 
court in queen Elizabeth's time. 

We have just seen that it was in use in the tenth year of king Edward the 
Fourth. The subsequent shews it to have been in practice in Queen Elizabeth's 
reign before the event of the Spanish defeat. In the Posies of George Gascoigne, 
Esq. 4to. 1575. "Flowers," p. 40, is the following passage: 

" And when the tenauntes come to paie their quarter's renr, 
They bring some fovvle at Midsummer, a dish of iish in Lent, 

Yet, however, friends, take heed 
How too much on them you feed, 
J-est, when as your tongues run loose. 
Your discourse do smell uf Goose." 

Buttes, in his " Dyets dry Dinner," 12mo. Lond. 1599, says, on I know not what authority, 
that " a Goose is the emblem of meere modestie." 

* See Molesworth's Account of Denmark, p. 1O. From Frolich's Viatorium, p. 254, I find that 
St. Mai-tin's Day is celebrated in Germany with Geese, but it is not said in what manner. See 
Sylva jucund. Serm. p. 18, and MARTINMAS infra. 

The practice of eating Goose at Michaelmas does not appear to prevail in any part of France. 
Upon St. Martin's Day they eat Turkies at Paris. They likewise eat Geese upon St. Martin's Day. 
Twelfth Day, and Shrove Tuesday, at Paris. See Mercer, Tableau de Paris, torn. i. p. 131. 
In King's Art of Cookery, p. 63, we read : 

" So stubble Geese at Michaelmas are seen 

Upon the spit ; next May produces green." 

c " Lastres. Rot. Cur. 10 Ed. IV. Johannes de la Hay cepit de Will. Barneby domino de La.->tn>. 
in com. Heref. unam parcellam terra? de terris dominicalibus, reddend. hide per annum xx d . et 
unam Aucam habilem pro prandio domiiii in Festo S. Michaelis Archangel!," &c. Blount's Tenures, 
Beckwith's edit. p. 222. 


At Christmajse a capon, at Michaelmasse A GOOSE ; 

And somewhat else at New-yeres tide, forfeare their lease flic loose d ." 

A pleasant writer in the periodical paper called "The World," No. 10, (if 
I mistake not, the late Lord Orforcl) remarking on the effects of the alteration 
of the stile, tells us: "When the reformation of the Calendar was in agitation, 
to the great disgust of many worthy persons who urged how great the harmony 
was in the old establishment between the holidays and their attributes (if I may 
call them so ? ) and what confusion would follow if MICHAELMAS DAY, for in- 
stance, was not to be celebrated when stubble-geese are in their highest perfec- 
tion; it was replied, that such a propriety was merely imaginary, and would be 
lost of itself, even without any alteration of the Calendar by authority : for if the 
errors in it were suffered to go on, they would in a certain number of years pro- 
duce such a variation, that we should be mourning for good king Charles on a 
false thirtieth of January, at a time of year when our ancestors used to be tumbling 
over head and heels in Greenwich park in honour of Whitsuntide : and at length 
be choosing king and queen for Twelfth Night, when we ought to be admiring 
the London Prentice at Bartholomew Fair." 

It is a popular saying, " If you eat goose on Michaelmass Day you will 

4 In a curious tract, intitled, " A Health to the Gentlemanly Profession of Servingmen, or the 
Sen ingman's Comfort/' 4to. Lond. 1598, signat. I. 2, is the following passage: "He knowelh 
where to have a man that will standc him in lesse charge his neighbour's Sonne, who will not 
onely maynteine himselfe with all necessaries, but also his father will gratifie his uiaistcrs kindnesat 
Christmas with a New Yeere's Gyft, at other festivall times with Pigge, Goose, Capon, or other 
such like liouseholde provision." It appears by the context that the father of the Serving-man 
does this to keep his son from going to serve abroad as a soldier. 

In Deering's Nottingham, p. 107, mention occurs of "hot roasted Geese" having formerly 
been given on Michaelmas Day there by the old mayor, in the morning, at his house, previous to 
the election of the new one. 

" Crossthwaite church, in the Vale of Keswick, in Cumberland, hath five chapels belonging 
to it. The minister's stipend isa5. per annum, and GOOSE-GRASS, or the right of commoning his 
Geese ; a H'liittle-galt, or the valuable privilege of using his knife for a week at a time at any 
table in the parish ; and lastly a hardened sark, or a shirt of coarse linen." Note in Mr. Park's 
copy of Bourne and Brand's Popular Antiquities, ad finem. 

Jtt Northumberland a species of coarse linen is called Horn. J. B. 


never want money all the year round e ." Geese are eaten by plow-men at harvest 
home f . 

Martin, in his Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, p. 213, 

In the British Apollo, fol. Lond. 1708, vol. i. No. 74, is the following : 
" Q. Supposing now Apollo's sons 

Just rose from picking of Goose Bones, 
This on you pops, pray tell me whence 
The custom'd proverb did commence, 
That who eats Goose on Michael's Day, 
Shan't money lack his debts to pay. 

"A. This notion, fram'd in days of yore, 
Is grounded on a prudent score ; 
For, doubtless, 'twas at first designed 
To make the people Seasons mind, 
That so they might apply their care 
To all those things which needful were, 
And, by a good industrious hand, 
Know when and how t' improve their land." 
In the same Work, fol. Lond. 1709, vol. ii. No. 55, we have : 

" Q. Yet my wife would persuade me, (as I am a sinner,) 
To have a fat Goose on St. Michael for dinner: 
And then all the year round, I pray you would mind it, 
I shall not want money oh ! grant I may find it. 
Now several there are that believe this is true,. 
Yet the reason of this is desired from you. 
"A. We thinke you're so far from the having of morej 

That the price of the Goose you have less than before : 
The custom came up from the tenants presenting 
Their landlords with geese, to incline their relenting 

On following payments." 

Our ancestors, when they found a difficulty in carving a Goose, Hare, or other dish, used to 
say, jestingly, that they should hit the joint if they could but think on the name of a cuckold. 
Nash's Notes on Hudibras. 

f In the margin of a MS. in the Harleian Collection, No. 1773, fol. 115 b. is written in a 
hand of the ninth or tenth century, the following, which I give as I find it : " Cave multum ne in 
his tribus diebus, sanguinem minims, aut pocionem sumas, aut de Anxere" (Ansere) "man.du.cas; 
nono k'l's Aprilis die lunis ; intrante Augusto die hinis xx ; exeunte Decembris die lunis." 
VOL. i. q.d 


speaking of the Protestant inhabitants of Skie, says : " They observe the festi- 
vals of Christmas*, Easter, Good Friday, and that of St. Michael's. Upon the 
latter they have a cavalcade in each parish, and several families bake the cake 
called St. Michael's Bannock." 

In the same work, p. 100, speaking of Kilbar Village, he observes: "They 
have likewise a general cavalcade on St. Michael's Day in Kilbar Village, and 
do then also take a turn round their church. Every family, as soon as the so- 
lemnity is ended, is accustomed to bake St. Michael's Cake, and all strangers, 
together with those of the family, must eat the bread that night." 

In Macauley's History of St. Kilda, p. 82, we read : " It was, till of late, an 
universal custom among the Islanders, on Michaelmas Day, to prepare in 
every family a Loaf or Cake of bread, enormously large, and compounded of 
different ingredients. This Cake belonged to the Arch-Angel, and had its name 
from him. Every one in each family, whether strangers or domestics, had his 
portion of this kind of shew-bread, and had, of course, some title to the friend- 
ship and protection of Michaels. 

8 " In Ireland a sheep was killed in every family that could afford one, on the same anniversary ; 
and it was ordained by Law that a part of it should he given to the poor. This, as we gather 
from Keating's Gen. History of Ireland, B. ii. p. 19, and a great deal more, was done in that 
kingdom, to perpetuate the memory of a miracle wrought there by St. Patrick through the assist- 
ance of the Archangel. In commemoration of this, Michaelmas was instituted a festal day of joy, 
plenty, and universal benevolence." Macauley's Hist, of St. Kilda. ut supra. 

The following very extraordinary septennial custom at Bishops Stortford, in Hertfordshire, and 
in the adjacent neighbourhood, on Old Michaelmas Day, I find in a London Newspaper, Oct. 18, 
1787. " On the morning of this day, called Ganging Day, a great number of young men assemble in 
the fields, when a very active fellow is nominated the Leader. This person they are bound to follow, 
who, for the sake of diversion, generally chooses the route through ponds, ditches, and places of dif- 
ficult passage. Every person they meet is bumped, Male or Female ; which it performed by two other 
persons taking them up by their arms, and swinging them against each other. The women in general 
keep at home at this period, except those of less scrupulous character, who, for the sake of par- 
taking of a gallon of ale and a plumb-cake, which every landlord or publican is obliged to furnish 
the revellers with, generally spend the best part of the night in the fields, if the weather is fair ; 
it being strictly according to ancient usage not to partake of the cheer any where else." 

M. Stevenson, in "The Twelve Moneths," 4to. Lond. 1661, p. 44, speaking of September, 
gives the following superstition : " They say, so many dayes old the Moon is on Michaelmass Day, 
so many Floods after." 


(Eleventh of October.) 

IN Fosbrooke's British Monachism, vol. ii. p. 127, mention occurs, amidst 
the annual store of provision at Barking Nunnery, of "wheat and milk for Fri- 
mite opon St. Alburg's Day." 

(Twenty-eighth of October.) 

IT appears that St. Simon's and St. Jude's Day' was accounted rainy as well 
as St. Swithin's, troin the following passage in the old play of the Roaring 
Girls. ''As well as 1 know 'twill rain upon Simon and Jude's Day." See 
Reed's Old Plays, vol. vi. p. 23. And again : " Now a continual Simen and 
Jude's rain beat all your feathers as flat down as pancakes." Ibid, p 31. 
And we learn troin Holinshed that, in 1536, when a battle was appointed to 
have been fought upon this day between the King's Troops and the Rebels in 
Yorkshire, that so great a quantity of rain fell upon the eve thereof, as to pre- 
vent ihe battle from taking place. 

4 In the Sententiae Rythtnicae of J. Buchlerus, p. 390, I find the following observations upon 
St. Simon and St. Jude's Day : 

" Festa dies Judz prohibet te incedere nude, 

Sed vult ut Corpus vestibus omne tegas. 
Festa dies Judae cum transiit atque himouis 

In Foribus nobis esse putatur Hiems. 
Simonis, Juds post Festutn vae tibi nude 
Tune inflant Genti mala gaudia veste carenti." 

In the Runic Calendar St. Simon and St. Jude's Day was marked by a ship, on account of their 
having been fishermen. Wormii Festi Danici. lib. ii. c. 9. 

" A la Saint Simon e Saint Jude on envoi au Temple les Gens un peu simple, demander des 
Nefles," (Medlars,) " aim de les attraper et faire noircir par des Valets." Sauval Antiq. de Paris, 
torn. ii. p. 617. 


vulgarly HALLE E'EN, as also, in the North, NUTC RACK NIGHT. 

IN the antient Calendar of the Church of Rome so often cited, I find the fol- 
lowing observation on the first of November : 

" The feast of Old Fools is removed to this day ." 

Hallow Even is the vigil of All Saints Day, which is on the first of November. 

It is customary on this night with young people in the North of England to 
dive for apples, or catch at them, when stuck upon one end of a kind of hanging 
beam, at the other extremity of which is fixed a lighted candle, and that with 
their mouths only, their hands being tied behind their backs b . 

Nuts and apples chiefly compose the entertainment, and from the custom of 
flinging the former into the fire, or cracking them with their teeth, it has doubt- 
less had its vulgar name of Nutcrack Night c . 

a " Festum stultorum veterum hue translatum est." It was perhaps afterwards removed to the 
first of April. 

b Something like this appears in an antient illuminated missal in Mr. Douce's Collection, in 
which a person is represented balancing himself upon a pole laid across two stools. At the end of 
the pole is a lighted candle, from which he is endeavouring to light another in his hand at the risk 
of tumbling into a tub of water placed under him. [See Strutt's Sports and Pastimes, p. 294, 
Plate xxxvi.] 

e Dr. Goldsmith, in his Vicar of Wakefield, describing the manner of some rustics, tells us, 
among other customs which they preserved, that they " religiously cracked nuts on All-hallow 

In " The Life and Character of Harvey the famous Conjurer of Dublin," Svo. printed in Dublin, 
and reprinted in London, 1728, in a Letter to the Right Hon. the Earl of * * * *, dated 
Dublin, 31 October, the author says, p. 10, " This is the last day of October, and the birth of 
this packet is partly owing to the affair of this night. I am alone ; but the servants having de- 
manded Apples, Ale, and Nutt, I took the opportunity of running back my own annals of Allhal- 
lovis Eve ; for you are are to know, my lord, that 1 have been a meer adept, a most famous artist, 
both in the college and country, on occasion of this anile, chimerical solemnity. When my Life, 
which I have almost fitted for the press, appears in publick, this Eve will produce some things cu- 
rious, admirable, and diverting." 


The catching at the apple d and candle may be called playing at something 
like the antient English game of the quintain e , which is now almost totally for- 

In the marriage ceremonies amongst the antient Romans, the bridegroom threw nuts about the 
room for the boys to scramble. The epithalamiums in the Classics prove this. It was a token 
that the party scattering them was now leaving childish diversions. " Quanquam Plinius lib. xv. 
cap. 22. causas alias adfert, quani ob rem Nuces in nuptialibus ceremoniis consueverint antiquitus 
adhiberi ; sed praestat ipsius referre verba : Nuces, inquit, juglandes, quanquam & ipsee nuptia- 
liuin Fescenninorum comites, multum pineis minores universitate, eaedemque portione amplio- 
res nucleo. Nee non et honor his Naturae peculiaris, gemino protectis operimento, pulvinati pri- 
iiium calycis, mox lignei putaminis. Quae causa eas Nuptiis fecit religiosas, tot modis fcetu mu- 
nito : quod est verisimilius," &c. See Erasmus on the Proverb, " Nuces relinquere." Adag. fol. 
Col. Allobr. 16O6. col. 1356. 

The Roman boys had some sport or other with nuts, to which Horace refers in these words 

" Postquam te talos aule Nucesque 

Ferre sinu laxo, donare et ludere vidi." 

Nuts have not been excluded from the Catalogue of Superstitions under Papal Rome. Thus on 
the 10th of August in the Romish antient Calendar, I find it observed that some religious use was 
made of them, and that they were in great estimation : 

" Nuces in pretio et religiosae." 

"The first of November," says Hutchinson, in his Northumberland, vol. ii. ad finem p. 18. 
" seems to retain the celebration of a festival to Pomona, when it is supposed the summer stores 
are opened on the approach of winter. Divinations and consulting of omens attended all these ce- 
remonies in the practice of the Heathen. Hence in the rural sacrifice of nuts, propitious omens are 
sought touching matrimony ; if the Nuts lie still and burn together, it prognosticates a happy 
marriage or a hopeful love ; if, on the contrary, they bounce and fly asunder, the sign is unpro- 
pitious. I do not doubt but the Scotch fires kindled on this day anciently burnt for this rural 

d See in Stafford's Niobe, or his Age of Teares, 12mo. Lond. 1611, p. 107, where this is called 
a Christmas Gambol. Polwhele describes it in his Old English Gentleman, p. 120. 
" Or catch th' elusive apple with a bound, 
As with its taper it flew whizzing round." 

The (Quintain seems to have been used by most nations in Europe. See a very curious account 
of it in Menage Dictionn. Etymol. de la Langue Franchise, v. QUINTAIN. See also Le Grand Fa- 
bliaux et Contes. torn. ii. p. 414. Du Cange Glossar. ad Script. Lat. medire ./Etatis. Pancirolli, Rer. 
mem. deperd. Comment. P. ii. p. 292. tit. xxi. Spelman. Gloss, v. QUINTANE. Watts's Glossary to 
Matt. Paris, t>. QUINTENA. Dugdale's Hist. Warwickshire, p. 166. Cowel's Law Dictionary. Plott's 
Hist, of Oxfordshire, pp. 200, 201, and Archeeologia, vol. i. p. 3O3. A description of the military 
Quintain which was used instead of tilting, may be seen in Pluvinel. L'Instruction Du Roy sur 
1'Exercise de monter a cheval, p. 217. 

A singular specimen of the Quintain is mentioned in the C. de Tressani " Corps d'Extraits de Ro- 
mans," torn. iii. p. 30. 


gotten, but of which there is the following description in Stow's Survey of Lon- 
don : " I have seen (says he) a quinten set up on Cornehill, by the Leaden Hall, 
where the attendants on the lords of merry disports have runne and made greate 
pastime ; for he that hit not the broad end of the quinten was of all men laughed 
to scorne ; and he that hit it full, if he rid not the faster, had a sound blow in his 
necke with a bagg full of sand hanged on the other end f ." 

Mr. Pennant tells us. in his Tour in Scotland, that the young women there 
determine the figure and size of their husbands by drawing cabbagess blind-fold 
on Allhallow Even, and, like the English, jUng nuts into thejire h . 

f In addition to morris dancing, grinning through a horse's collar, and other grotesque per- 
formances, and besides the common exhibitions at fairs, wrestling, cudgelling, &c. the quintain is 
mentioned as yet in use at the yearly sports upon Halgrave Moor, near Bodmin, in Cornwall, in 
the latter end of July. " A post is set up, in a perpendicular direction, to the top of which a 
slender piece of timber is attached upon a spindle, having a board at one end and a bag of sand at 
*he other : against the board the young men either run or ride with staves, which bringing the 
bag about with violence, generally, if the adventurer is not nimble enough to evade it, knocks him 
down by a blow upon his back. To break this board is reckoned an achievement, and has a reward 
attached to it." From a Newspaper, 1789. 

Thus fully described by Robert Burns, the very ingenious Scottish poet, in a note to his poe- 
tical description of " Hallow-e'en." See his Poems, Svo. Edinb. 1787, p. 55 & seq. 

" The first ceremony of Hallow-e'en is pulling each a stock or plant of kail. They must go out, 
hand in hand, with eyes shut, and pull the first they meet with. Its being big or little, straight 
or crooked, is prophetic of the size and shape of the grand object of all their spells the husband or 
wife. If any yird, or earth, stick to the root, that is tocher, or fortune ; and the taste of the cus- 
toc, that is the heart of the stem, is indicative of the natural temper and disposition. Lastly the 
stems, or, to give them their ordinary appellation, the runts, are placed somewhere above the 
head of the door; and the Christian names of the people whom chance brings into the house, are, 
according to the priority of placing the runts, the names in question." 

Owen, in his Welch Dictionary, voce Cyniver, mentions " A play in which the youth of both 
sexes seek for an even-leaved sprig of the ash : and the first of either sex that finds one, calls out 
Cyniver, and is answered by the first of the other that succeeds ; and these two, if the omen fails 
not, are to be joined in wedlock." 

h " Burning the nuts," Burns adds, " is a favourite charm. They name the lad and lass to each par- 
ticular nut, as they lay them in the fire; and accordingly as they burn quietly together, or start 
from beside one another, the course and issue of the courtship will be." 

It is a custom in Ireland, when the young women would know if their lovers are faithful, to put 
three nuts upon the bars of the grates, naming the nuts after the lovers. If a nut cracks or jumps, 
the lever will prove unfaithful ; if it begins to blaze or burn, he has a regard for the person making 
the trial. If the nuts named after the girl and her lover, burn together, they will be married. 


This last custom is beautifully described by Gay in his " Spell." 
" Two hazel nuts I threw into the flame, 
And to each nut 1 gave a sweet-heart's name : 
This with the loudest bounce me sore amaz'd, 
That in aflame of brightest colour blaz'd ; 
As blas'd the nut, so may thy passion grow, 
For t' was thy Nut that did so brightly glow 5 !' 

4 Gay describes some other rustic methods of divination on this head with equal success : thus 
with peascods : 

" As peascods once I pluck'd, I chanc'd to see 
One that was closely fill'd with three times three ; 
Which, when I crop'd, 1 safely home convey 'd, 
And o'er the door the spell in secret laidj 
The latch mov'd up, when who should first come in, 
But, in his proper person, Lubberkin !" 

Grose tells us that "a scadding of peas" is a custom in the North of boiling the common grey 
peas in the shell, and eating them with butter and salt, first shelling them. A bean, shell and 
all, is put into one of the pea pods ; whoever gets this bean is to be first married." 
Gay mentions another species of love divination by the insect called the Lady Fly : 
" This Lady Fly I take from off the grass, 
Whose spotted back might scarlet red surpass. 
Fly, Lady Bird, North, South, or East, or West, 
Fly where the man is found that I love best." 
And thus also another with apple-parings : 

" I pare this pippin round and round again, 
My shepherd's name to flourish on the plain, 
I fling th'unbroken paring o'er my head 
Upon the grass a perfect L is read." 

Girls made trial also of the fidelity of their swains by sticking an apple-kernel on each cheek. 
(The Connoisseur, No. 56, represents them as being stuck upon the forehead.) That which fell 
first indicated that the love of him whose name it bore was unsound. Thus Gay : 
" This pippin shall another tryal make, 
See from the core two kernels brown I take ; 
This on my cheek for Lubberkin is worn, 
And Booby Clod on t'other side is borne ; 
But Booby Clod soon drops upon the ground, 
A certain token that his Love's unsound ; 
While Lubberkin sticks firmly to the last ; 
Oh ! were his lips to mine but join'd so fast !" 

Something of this kind occurs in Beroaldus's Commentary on the Life of Claudius Caesar, cap. 8. 

" Hac tempestate pueri ossiculis cerasorum, quae digitis exprimunt, incessere homines ludibrij 

causa consuevemnt, Scribit Porphyrio Horatianus interpres solere Amantes duobus primit digit* 


Nor can I omit the following lines, by Charles Graydon, Esq. " On Nuts 
burning, Allhallows Eve," in a Collection of Poems printed in octavo at Dub- 
lin in 1801, p. 127. 

" These glowing nuts are emblems true 

Of what in human life we view ; 

The ill-match'd couple fret and fume, 

And thus, in strife themselves consume; 

Or, from each other wildly start, 

And with a noise for ever part. 

But see the happy happy pair, 

Of genuine love and truth sincere; 

With mutual fondness, while they burn, 

Still to each other kindly turn : 

And as the vital sparks decay, 

Together gently sink away : 

Till life's fierce ordeal being past, 

Their mingled ashes rest at last." 

"The passion of prying into Futurity," says Mr. Burns, in the notes to his 
poem already mentioned, " makes a striking part of the history of human na- 

compressare POMORUM SEMINA, eaque mittere in cameram, veluti augurium, ut si cameram conti- 
gerint, sperare possint ad effectum perduci, quod animo conceperunt." Ad, C. Sueton. Tranq. xii. 
Caesares Comment, fol. Par. 161O. col. 560. a. 

Snails too were used in love divinations : they were set to crawl on the hearth, and were thought 
too to mark in the ahes the initials of the lover's name. 

On the subject of love divinations there is a most curious passage in Theocritus, Idyllium 3d, 
where the shepherd says : 

OWE TO rn\t$n\ot 
A.\\ ai/Tu; T<*Xo> 

" Intellexi nuper, cum quaererem, an me amares, 

Telepliilum allisum non edidit Sonum ; 

Sed frustra in tenero cubito exaruit." 

" Nam (ut SchoHastes ibi annotavit) amatores papaveris folium, brachio, hutnero, manusve carpo 
impositum, percutiebant, et &i Sonum ederet, redamari se se credebant, et de futuris nuptiis bene" 
ominabantur; sin minus, odio se haberiinde colligebant. Interdum coloris, ex percussione cut em 
tingentis, experimentum capiebant. Etenim si rubicundum duntaxat inde colorem cutis traheret, 
quern roseunx appellabant, ab amatis redamari eos indicium faciebat ; si verd cutem inflammari at- 
que exulcerari contingeret, contemni se odioque esse existimabant." Lydii Ritus Sponsaliorumv 
p. 20, in " Faces Augustae sive Poemata, &c. a Caspare Barteo, &c." 4to. Dordraci 1643. 


ture, in its rude state, in all ages and nations ; and it may be some entertain- 
ment to a philosophic mind to see the remains of it among the more unen- 
lightened in our own." 

This ingenious author gives therefore the principal charms and spells of this 
night, so big with prophecy to the peasantry in the West of Scotland. 

One of these by young women, is, by pulling stalks of corn '. Another by the 
blue clue k . A third by eating the apple at the glass 1 . 

This most accurate observer and minute describer of these rustic rites, who 
well atones for Mr. Shaw's omissions on this head in the foretaste of his History 
of the Province of Moray in an Appendix to Mr. Pennant's Tour, with which he 
favoured the public m , goes on to enumerate several other very observable and 
perfectly new customs of divination on this even of Allhallows. 

The first is " Sowing Hemp seed V which is by n.o means common to Scot- 

* " They go to the barn yard, and pull, each, at three several times, a stalk of Oats. If the third 
stalk wants the top-pickle, that is, the grain at the top of the stalk, the party in question will 
come to the marriage bed any thing but a maid." 

k Blue Clue. " Whoever would, with success, try this spell, must strictly observe these direc- 
tions : Steal out, all alone, to the kiln, and, darkling, throw into the pot a clew of blue yarn ; 
wind it in a new clew off the old one ; and, towards the latter end, something will hold the thread ; 
demand, ' wha hauds ?' i. e. who holds ? and answer will be returned from the kiln-pot, by naming 
the Christian and surname of your future spouse." 

1 " Take a candle and go alone to a looking glass ; eat an apple before it, and some traditions say, 
you should comb your hair all the time ; the face of your conjugal companion to be, will be seen in 
the glass, as if peeping over your shoulder." 

m He barely says that " on Hallow Even, they have several superstitious customs." Surely this 
is neither relieving nor gratifying, but is, indeed, tantalizing curiosity. 

" " Steal out unperceived, and sow a handful of hemp seed, harrowing it with any thing you can 
conveniently draw after you. Repeat, now and then, ' Hemp seed I saw thee, hemp seed I saw 
thee ; and him (or her) that is to be my true love, come aftef me and pou thee.' Look over your 
left shoulder and you will see the appearance of the person invoked, in the attitude of pulling 
hemp. Some traditions say, ' Come after me and shaw thee,' that is, show thyself j in which pase 
it simply appears. Others omit the harrowing, and say, 'Come after me and harrow thee'." 

The subsequent passage from Gay's Pastorals greatly resembles the Scottish rite, though at adif-: 
ferent time of the year : 

" At eve last Midsummer no sleep I sought, 
But to the field a bag of hemp seed brought ; 
I scatter'd round the seed on ev'ry side, 
And three times, in a trembling accent, ciy'd 

VOt. 1. R R 


land. The second is entirely new : 

" To winn three vvechts o'naething ." 

The wecht is the instrument used in winnowing corn. 

Another is " to fathom the stack three times P." Another, " to dip yoar left 
shirt sleeve in a burn where three Lairds land's meet 1." And the last is a singu- 
lar species of Divination " with three luggies, or dishes'." 

The Rev. Mr. Shaw, in his History of the Province of Moray, p. 241, seems to 
consider the festivity of this night as a kind of harvest home rejoicing : " A Solem- 
nity was kept," says he, " on the eve of the first of November as a thanksgiving 

This hemp seed with my virgin hand I sow, 
Who shall my true love be, the crop shall mow." 

* " This charm must likewise be performed unperceived aud alone. You go to the barn and 
open both doors, taking them oft the hinges, if possible : for there is danger that the being, about 
to appear, may shut the doors and do you some mischief. Then take that instrument used in win- 
nowing the corn, which, in our country dialect, we call a wecht, and go through all the attitudes 
of letting down corn against the wind. Repeat it three times ; and, the third time, an apparition 
will pass through the barn, in at the windy door, and out at the other, having both the figure in 
question, and the appearance or retinue marking the employment or station in life." 

* " Take an opportunity of going unnoticed to a bear stack (barley stack) , and fathom it three - 
times round. The last fathom of the last time, you will catch in your arms the appearance of your 
future conjugal yokefellow." 

* "You go out, one or more, for this is a social spell, to a South-running spring or rivulet, 
where ' three Lairds' lands meet," and dip your left shirt sleeve. Go to bed in sight of a fire, and 
hang your wet sleeve before it to dry. Lie awake ; and some time near midnight, an apparition, 
having the exact figure of the grand object in question, will come and turn the sleeve, as if to dry 
the other side of it." 

' " Take three dishes ; put clean water in one, foul water in another, and leave the third empty : 
blindfold a person, and lead him to the hearth where the dishes are ranged : he (or she) dips the 
left hand ; if by chance in the clean water, the future husband or wife will come to the bar of ma- 
trimony a maid ; if in the foul, a widow ; if in the empty dish, it foretells with equal certainty no 
marriage at all. It is repeated three times : and every time the arrangement of the dishes is 

Sir Frederick Morton Eden, Bart, in his " State of the Poor," 4to. 1797, vol. I. p. 500. in a 
note, tells us : " Robert Burns, the Ayrshire ploughman, mentions Souiens as part of the rural 
feast which concludes the merriment of his countrymen on Hallow-e'en. Sowens, with butter in- 
tead of milk, is not only the Hallow-e'en supper, but the Christmas and New-year's-day's break- 
-fast, in many parts of Scotland." 


for the safe in-gathering of the produce of the fields. This I am told, but have 
not seen it, is observed in Buchan and other countries, by having Hallow Eve 
jire kindled on some rising ground 8 ." 

The fires which were lighted up in Ireland on the four great festivals of the Druids have been 
already noticed under the GULE OF AUGUST. The Irish, General Vallancey tells us, have dropped 
the Fire of November and substituted candles. The Welch, he adds, still retain the Fire of No- 
vember, but can give no reason for the illumination. Collectanea de rebus Hibernicis, vol. iii. p; 
464. note. 

In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, 8vo. Edinb. 1793, vol. v. p. 84. The 
minister of Logierait, in Perthshire, describing the superstitious opinions and practices in the pa- 
rish, says : "On the evening of the 31st of October, O. S. among many others, one remarkable 
ceremony is observed. Heath, broom, and dressings of flax, are tied upon a pole. This faggot is 
then kindled. One takes it upon his shoulders, and running, bears it round the village. A crowd 
attend. When the first faggot is burnt out, a second is bound to the pole, and kindled in the same 
manner as before. Numbers of these blazing faggots are often carried about together, and whea 
the night happens to be dark, they form a splendid illumination. This is Halloween, and is a night 
of great festivity." 

The minister of Callander in Perthshire, ibid. vol. xi. p. 621. mentioning peculiar customs, says : 
" On All Saints Even they set up bonfires in every village. When the bonfire is consumed, the 
ashes are carefully collected into the form of a circle. There is a stone put in, near the circum- 
ference, for every [>erson of the several families interested in the bonfire ; and whatever stone is 
moved out of its place, or injured before next morning, the person represented by that stone is de- 
voted, or fey ; and is supposed not to live twelve months from that day. The people received the 
consecrated fire from the Druid priests next morning, the virtues of which were supposed to con- 
tinue for a year." 

In the same work, 8vo. Edinb. 1795, vol xv. p. 517. The minister of Kirkmichael, in Perth- 
shire, speaking of antiquities and curiosities, says, " the practice of lighting bonfires on the first 
night of winter, accompanied with various ceremonies, still prevails in this and the neighbouring 
highland parishes. The custom too, of making a fire in the fields, baking a consecrated cake, &c. 
on the first of May, is not quite worn out." 

Ibid. vol. xxi. p. 145. b. palish of Monguhitter, co. of Aberdeen, we are told that formerly " the 
Midsummer Even Fire, a relict of Druidism, was kindled in some parts of this county ; the Hallow- 
Even Fire, another relict of Druidisin, was kindled in Buchan. Various magic ceremonies were 
then celebrated to counteract the influence of witches and demons, and to prognosticate to the 
young their success or disappointment in the matrimonial lottery. These being devoutly finished, 
the hallow fire was kindled, and guarded by the male part of the family. Societies were formed, 
either by pique or humour, to scatter certain fines, and the attack and defence here often con- 
ducted with art and fury." " But now" " the hallow fire, when kindled, is attended by children 
only : and the country girl, renouncing the rites of magic, endeavours to enchant her swain by 
tb,<x charms of dress and of industry'. 


Different places adopt different ceremonies: Martin tells us that the inhabitants 
of St. Kilcla, on the festival of All Saints, baked " a large cake, in form of a triangle, 

In North Wales (Mr. Pennant's MS. informs me) there is a custom upon All Saints Eve of mak- 
ing a great fire called CoelCoeth, when every family about an hour in the night makes a grat bon- 
fire in the most conspicuous place near the house, and when the fire is almost extinguished, every 
one throws a white stone into the ashes, having first marked it, then having said their prayers 
turning round the fire, they go to bed. In the morning, as soon as they are up, they come to 
search out the stones, and if any one of them is found wanting they have a notion that the person 
who threw it in will die before he sees another All Saints Eve. 

They have a custom also of distributing Soul Cakes on All Souls Day, at the receiving of which 
poor people pray to God to bless the next crop of wheat. 

There is a general observation added : " N. B. 1735. Most of the harmless old customs in this 
MS. are now disused." 

In Owen's account of the bards, however, preserved in Sir R. Hoare's Itinerary of Archbishop 
Baldwin through Wales, vol. ii. p. 315, we read : " The autumnal fire is still kindled in North 
Wales, being on the eve of the first day of November, and is attended by many ceremonies ; such 
as running through the fire and smoke, each casting a stone into the fire, and all running off at 
the conclusion to escape from the black short-tailed sow ; then supping upon parsnips, nuts, and 
apples ; catching at an apple suspended by a string with the mouth alone, and the same by an 
apple in a tub of water: each throwing a nut into the fire ; and those that burn bright, betoken 
prosperity to the owners through the following year, but those that burn black and crackle, denote 
misfortune. On the following morning the stones are searched for in the fire, and if any be missing, 
they betide ill to those who threw them in." 

Mr. Owen has prefaced these curious particulars by the following observations : " Amongst the 
first aberrations, may be traced that of the knowledge of the great Huon, or the Supreme Being, 
which was obscured by the hieroglyphics or emblems of his different attributes, so that the gro- 
velling minds of the multitude often sought not beyond those representations, for the objects of 
worship and adoration. This opened an inlet for numerous errors more minute ; and many super- 
stitions became attached to their periodical solemnities, and more particularly to their rejoicing 
fires, on the appearance of vegetation in spring, and on the completion of harvest in autumn." 
See also Owen's Welsh Dictionary voce COELCEKTH. 

A writer in the Gent. Mag. for 1783, vol. liii. p. 578. thinks " the custom prevailing among the 
Roman Catholics of lighting fires upon the lulls on AH Saints night, the Eve of All Souls, scarcely 
needs explaining : fire being, even among the Pagans, an emblem of immortality, and well calcu- 
lated to typify the ascent of the soul to Heaven." 

In the same work, for November 1784, vol. liv. p. 836, it is stated, that "at the village of Fin- 
dern, in Derbyshire, the boys and girls go every year in the evening of the 2d of November (All 
Souk Day) to the adjoining common, and light up a number of small fires amongst the furze grow- 
ing there, and call them by the name of Tindles. Upon enquiring into the origin of this custom 
amongst the inhabitants of the place, they supposed it to be a relique of popery, and that the pro- 


furrowed round, and which was to be all eaten that night l ." The same, or a cus- 
tom nearly similar, seems to have prevailed in different parts of England u . 

fussed design of it, when first instituted, was, to light souls out of purgatory. But, as the com- 
mons have been inclosed there very lately, that has most probably put an end to the custom, for 
want of the wonted materials." 

A third writer also in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1788, vol. Iviii. p. 602. speaks of a custom 
observed in some parts of the kingdom among the Papists, of illuminating some of their grounds 
upon the Eve of All Souls, by bearing round them straw, or other fit materials, kindled into a 
blaze. The ceremony is called a Tinlcy, and the vulgar opinion is, that it represents an emblema- 
tical lighting of souls out of purgatory. Accounts of the origin of the feast of All Souls may be 
seen in tlie Golden Legend and other Legends, and in Dupre's Conformity of Antient and Modern 
Cerem^iiies, p. 92. 

1 Bescr. of the Western Islands of Scotland, p. 237. 

u In the Festyvall, fol. 1511, fol. 149 b. is the following passage : " We rede in olde tyme good 
people wolde on All halowcn daye bake brade and dele it for all crysten soules." 

I find the following, which is much to my purpose, in " Festa Anglo-Romana," p. 109. All 
Souls Day, Nov. 2d. " The custom of Soul Mass Calces, which are a kind of Oat Calces, that some 
of the richer sorts of persons in Lancashire and Herefordshire (among the Papists there) use still 
to give the poor on this day : and they, in retribution of their charity, hold themselves obliged to 
say tliis old couplet : 

' God have your Saul, 
Beens and all 1 ." 

At Rippon, in Yorkshire, on the Eve of All Saints, the good women make a cake for every one in 
the family : so this is generally called Cake Night. See Gent. Mag. for Aug. 1790, vol. Ix. p. 719. 
My servant, B. Jelkes, who is from Warwickshire, informs me that there is a custom in that 
county to have Seed Cake at A'dliallows, at the end of wheat seed time. As also that at the end of 
barley and bean seed time there is a custom thereto give the ploughmen f raise, a species of thick 

[Bishop Kennett mentions this (MS. Lansd. Brit. Mus. [Svo. Cat. No. 1097, p. 8,) as an old 
English custom. It is also noticed by Tusser, in his " Fiue Hundred Pointes of Good Husbandrie," 
4to. Lond. 1580, fol. 75 b. 

" Wife, some time this weeke, if the wether hold cleere, 
An end of wheat-sowing we make for this yeare. 
Remember you, therefore, though I do it not, 
The SEED-CAKE, the Pasties, and Furmentie-pot."'] 

" It is worth remarking:," says Toilet, in a note in Johnson's and Steevens's Shakespeare, Two 
Gent, of Verona, act. ii. sc. 2. "that on All Saints Day, the poor people in Staffordshire, and per- 
haps in other country places, go from parish to parish a Souling, as they call it, i. e. begging and 
puling (or singing small as Bailey's Dictionary explains puling) for Soul Calces, or any good thing 
to make them merry. This custom is mentioned by Peck, and seems a remnant of popish supersti- 


The same writer, speaking of the Isle of Lewis, (p. 28,) says : "the inhabitants 
of this island had an antient custom to sacrifice to a sea god, call'd Shony, at 
Hallow-tide, in the manner following : the inhabitants round the island came to 
the Church of St. Mulvay, having each man his provision along with him : every 
family furnish'd a peck of malt, and this was brewed into ale : one of their num- 
ber was pick'd out to wade into the sea up to the middle, and carrying a 
cup of Ale in his hand, standing still in that posture, cry'd out with a loud 
voice, saying, ' Shony, I give you this cup of ale, hoping that you'll be so kind 
as to send us plenty of sea-ware, for enriching our ground the ensuing year :' and 
so threw the cup of ale into the sea. This was performed in the night time. At 
his return to land, they all went to church, where there was a candle burning 
upon the altar : and then standing silent for a little time, one of them gave a 
signal, at which the candle was put out, and immediately all of them went to 
the fields, where they fell a drinking their ale, and spent the remainder of the 
night in dancing and singing, &c. v He adds, " the ministers in Lewis told me 
they spent several years before they could persuade the vulgar natives to aban- 
don this ridiculous piece of superstition"." 

It is stated in Kethe's Sermon preached at Blandford Forum in Dorsetshire, 

tion to pray for departed souls, particularly those of friends. The Souler's Song in Staffordshire is 
different from that which Mr. Peck mentions, and is by no means worthy of publication." 

If it was not an indecent one, which it is hardly possible to imagine it was, I cannot help ob- 
serving that Mr. Toilet might as well have not mentioned the custom at all, as have kept back the 

[Aubrey, in the "Remains of Gentilisme," MS. Lansd. Brit. Mus. 226, says that, in his time, 
in Shropshire, &c. there was set upon the board a high heap of Soul-cakes, lying one upon an- 
other, like the picture of the Shew-bread in the old Bibles. They were about the bigness of two- 
penny cakes, and every visitant that day took one. He adds, " There is an old rhyme, or saying, 
'A Soule-cake, a Soule-cake, have mercy on all Christen Soules for a Soule-cake."^ 

* Brand, in his Description of Orkney, p. 62. speaking of the superstitions of the inhabitants 
says, " When the beasts, as oxen, sheep, horses, &c. are sick, they sprinkle them with a water 
made up by them, which they call Fore-spoken Water; wherewith likewise they sprinkle their 
Boats, when they succeed and prosper not in their fishing. And especially on Hallow Even they 
use to sein or sign their boats, and put a cross of tar upon them, which my informer hath often 
seen. Their houses also some use then to sein." 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xii. p. 459, the minister of Kirkmichael, in Banf- 
shire, tells us, " the appearance of the three first days of winter is observed in verses thus trans- 
lated from the Gaelic : ' Dark, lurid, and stormy, the first three days of winter ; whoever would 
despair of the cattle, I would not till summer." 

, ,-=' 


January 17th, 1570, p. 19, that "there was a custom, in the papal times, to 
ring hells at Allhallow-tide for all Christian souls." [In the draught of a let- 
ter which King Henry the Eighth was to send to Cranmer "against superstitious 
practices," (Burnet's Hist. Ref. fol. Lond. l683, P. ii. Records and Instr. b. i. 
p. 237,) " the Vigil and ringing of bells all the night long upon Allhallow Day at 
night," are directed to he abolished : and the said Vigil to have no watching 
or ringing?.] In the appendix also to Strype's Annals of the Reformation, 
vol. i. the following injunction, made early in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, oc- 
curs : " that the superfluous ringing of bels, and the superstitious ringing of 
bells at Alhallowntide, and at Al Souls Day, with the two nights next before 
and after, be prohibited 2 ." 

There is a great display of learning in Vallancey's Collectanea de Rebus Hi- 
bernicis, vol. iii. on Allhallow Eve. " On the Oidhche Shamhna (Ee Owna) or 
Vigil of Saman," he says, " the peasants in Ireland assemble with sticks and clubs, 
(the emblems of laceration ) going from house to house, collecting money, bread- 
cake, butter, cheese, eggs, &c. &c. for the feast, repeating verses in honour of the 
solemnity, demanding preparations for the festival in the name of St. ColumbKill, 
desiring them to lay aside t he Jotted calf, and to bring forth the black sheep. 
The good women are employed in making the griddle cake and candles; these 
last are sent from house to house in the vicinity, and are lighted up on the (Saman) 

i See also Strype's Mem. of Cranmer, p. 442. 

z In Mr. Nichols's Churchwardens' Accounts, p. 154, parish of Heylridge, near Maiden, Essex, 
under A. D. 1517, are the following items : 

" Inprimis, payed for frank} ncense agense Hollowuiosse, Ol. Cs. Id. 

" Item, payed to Andrew Elyott, of Maldon, for newe m^ndynge of the third Ml knappell agenste 
Hallouiinasse, Ol. Is. Sd. 

" Item; payed to John Gidney, of Maldon, for a new bell-rope ayenste Hal low manse, Ol. Os. 8d." 

In articles to be enquired of within the archdeaconry of Yorke by the Churchwardens and sworn 
men, A. D. 163. . (any year till 1C40) 4to. Lond. b. 1. 1 find the following : ' Whether there beany 
within your parish or chappelry that use to ring bells superstitiously upon any abrogated holiday, 
or the eves thereof." 

In a poem entitled, " Honoria, or the Day of All Souls," Lond. 1782, the scene of which issup- 
posed to be in the great Church of St. Ambrose at Milan the second of November, on which day 
the most solemn office is perfornied for the repose of the dead, are these lines : 
" Ye hallowed bells whose voices thro' the air 
The awful summons of ^afflictions bear." 

The description of " All Soulne Day," in Barnube Googe's Translation of Naogeorgus's Popish 
Kingdome, is grossly exaggerated. 


next day, before which they pray, or are supposed to pray, for the departed 
soul of the donor. Every house abounds in the best viands they can afford a : 
apples and nuts are devoured in abundance ; the nut-shells are burnt, and from 
the ashes many strange things are foretold : cabbages arc torn up by the root : 
hemp seed is sown by the maidens, and they believe that if they look back, they 
will see the apparition of the man intended for their future spouse : they hang 
a smock before the fire, on the close of the feast, and sit up all night, concealed 
in a corner of the room, convinced that his apparition will come down the chim- 
ney and turn the smock: they throw a ball of yarn out of the window, and wind 
it on the reel within, convinced that if they repeat the Pater Noster backwards, 
and look at the ball of yarn without, they will then also see his sith or appari- 
tion : they dip for apples in a tub of water, and endeavour to bring one up in 
the mouth : they suspend a cord with a cross stick, with apples at one point, 
and candles lighted at the other, and endeavour to catch the apple, while it is 
in a circular motion, in the mouth. These, and many other superstitious cere- 
monies, the remains of Druidism, are observed on this holiday, which will never 
be eradicated while the name of Saman is permitted to remain 6 ." 

The feast of Allhallows is said to drive the Finns almost out of their wits. Sec 
an account of some singular ceremonies practised by them at this time in Tooke's 
Russia, vol. i. p. 48. 

a A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. liv. for May, 1734, p. 343, says, he has often 
met with lambs-wool in Ireland, where it is a constant ingredient at a merry making on Holy Eve, 
or the evening before All Saints Day ; and it is made there by bruising roasted apples and mixing 
them with ale, or sometimes with milk. Formerly, when the superior ranks were not too refined 
for these periodical meetings of jollity, white wine was frequently substituted for ale. To lambs- 
wool, apples and nuts are added as a necessary part of the entertainment, and the young folks 
amuse themselves with burning nuts in pairs on the bar of the grate, or among the warm embers, 
to which they give their name and that of their lovers, or those of their friends who are supposed 
to have such attachments, and from the manner of their burning and duration of the flame, 
&c. draw such inferences respecting the constancy or strength of their passions, as usually pro- 
mote mirth and good humour." 

The following is Vallancey's etymology of lambs wool, in the work above quoted, vol.iii. p. 444. 
" The first day of November was dedicated to the angel presiding over fruits, seeds, &c. and was 
therefore named La Mas Ubhal, that is, the day of the apple fruit, and being pronounced Lamasool, 
the English have corrupted the name to LAMBS-WOOL." 
b Collect, de rebus Hibern. vol. iii. p. 459. 


*~ - 


The Anniversary 

of the 


IT is still customary in London and its vicinity for the boys to dress up an 
image of the infamous conspirator Guy Fawkes, holding in one hand a dark Ian- 
thorn, and in the other a bundle of matches, and to carry it about the streets 
begging money in these words, " Pray remember Guy Fawkes !" In the evening 
there are bon-fires, and these frightful figures are burnt in the midst of them. 

In Poor Robin's Almanack for the year 1 677 are the following observations on 
the fifth of November : 

" Now boys with 

Squibs and crackers play, 

And bonfires blaze 

Turns night to day a ." 



(Eleventh of November.) 

FORMERLY a custom prevailed every where amongst us, though generally 
confined at present to country villages, of killing cows, oxen, swine, &c. at this 

a [Mr. Brand was mistaken in supposing the celebration of the fifth of November to have been 
confined to London and its neighbourhood. The observance of it was general. 

When the Prince of Orange came in sight of Torbay, in 1688, we are told by Burnet, it was 
the particular wish of his partizans that he should defer his landing till the day the English were 
celebrating their former deliverance from popish tyranny. 

Bishop Sanderson, in one of his Sermons, ad Populum, 1. i. Serrn. 5, p. 242, says: "God 
grant that we nor ours ever live to see November the fifth forgotten, or the solemnity of it silenced."] 

VOL. I. S S 


season, which were cured for the winter, when fresh provisions were seldom or 
never to be had a . 

Two or more of the poorer sort of rustic families still join to purchase a cow, 
&c. for slaughter at this time, called always in Northumberland a mart b ; the 

* In Tusser's Five Hundred Points of Husbandly, under June, " The Farmer's Daily Diet," are 
the following lines : 

" When Easter comes, who knows not than 
That veale and bacon is the man ? 
And Martilmasi Beefe doth beare good tacke, 
When countrey folke do dainties lacke." 

With this note in Tusser Redivivus, 8vo. Lond. 1744, p. 78. " Martlemas beef is beef dried iA 
the chimney, as Bacon, and is so called, because it was usual to kill the beef for this provision 
about the Feast of St. Martin, Nov. 11." 

Hall, in his Satires, B. iv. sat. 4, mentions 

" dried flitches of some smoked beeve, 
Hang'd on a writhen wythe since Martin's Eve." 

" A piece of beef hung up since Martlemass" is also mentioned in the Pinner of Wakefield, 1 599, 
cited by Steevens in his last edition of Shakspeare, vol. ix. p. 65. 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, 8vo. Edinb. 1793, vol. vi. p. 517, parish of Forfar, co. 
of Forfar, we read : About fifty or sixty years ago, " between Hallowmass and Christmass, when 
the people laid in their winter provisions, about twenty-four beeves were killed in a week ; the best 
not exceeding sixteen or twenty stone. A man who had bought a shillings worth of beef, or an 
ounce of tea would have concealed it from his neighbours like murder." 

In the same work, vol. ix. p. 326', parish of Tongland, county of Kirkcudbright, we have some 
extracts from a Statistical Account, " drawn up about sixty or seventy years ago," i. e. from 1793, 
in which it is stated that " at Martilmass," the inhabitants " killed an old ewe or two, as their 
winter provision, and used the sheep that died of the braxy in the latter end of autumn." 

Ibid. vol. xiv. p. 482, parish of Wigton, county of Wigton. " Almost no beef, and very little 
mutton, was formerly used by the common people ; generally no more than a sheep or two, which 
were killed about Martinmass, and salted up for the provision of the family during the year." 

Ibid. vol. xvi. p. 460. parishes of Sandwick and Stromness, county of Orkney, under the head 
" Superstitious Observances," we read : " hi a part of the parish of Sandwick, every family that 
has a herd of swine, kills a sow o the 17 th day of December, and thence it is called Sow-day. There 
is no tradition as to the origin of this practice." 

b Mart, according to Skinner, is a fair. He thinks it a contraction of market. These cattle are 
usually bought at a kind of Cow Fair, or mart at this time. Had it not been the general name 
for a fair, one might have been tempted to suppose it a contraction of Martin, the name of the 
Saint whose day is commemorated. 

This word occurs in " the Lawes and Constitutions of Burghs made be king David the 1st at the 


entrails of which, after having been filled with a kind of pudding meat, consist- 
ing of blood, suet, groats c , &c. are formed into little sausage links, boiled and 
sent about as presents. They are called black-puddings from their colour. 

The author of the Convivial Antiquities tells us, that in Germany there was 
in his time a kind of entertainment called the " Feast of Sausages, or Gut-pud- 
dings d ," which was wont to be celebrated with great joy and festivity. 

The Feast of Saint Martin is a day of debauch among Christians on the Con- 
tinent : the new wines are then begun to be tasted, and the Saint's day is cele- 
brated with carousing. J. Boemus Aubanus tells us that in Franconia there was 
a great deal of eating and drinking at this season; no one was so poor or nig- 
gardly that on the Feast of St. Martin had not his dish of the entrails either of 
oxen, swine, or calves. They drank too, as he also informs us, very liberally 
of wine on the occasion e . 

New Castellupon the Water of Tyne," in the Regiam Majestatem, p. 243, printed after the edit, of 
1609, 4to. Edinb. 1774. 

"Chap. 70. of Buchers and selling of flesh. 

2. " The fleshours sail serve the burgessis all the time of theslauchter of Mairts ; that is, fra 
Michaelmes to Zule, in preparing of their flesh and in laying in of their lardner.'" 

c Groats. Oats hulled, but unground. Gloss, of Lancashire words. The etymology is from the 
Anglo Saxon Eput For. 

The common people, in the North of England, have a saying that " blood without groats is no- 
thing," meaning that " family without fortune is of no consequence." There is some philosophy 
in this vulgarism, the pun in which is absolutely unintelligible except to those who are acquainted 
with the composition of a black pudding. 

The Angel, a species of coin formerly current in England, afforded matter for many a miserable 
punning conceit. 

Butler mentions the black-pudding in his Hudibrass, P. III. c. ii. 1. 321. speaking of the reli- 
gious scruples of some of the fanatics of his time : 

" Some for abolishing black pudding 
And eating nothing with the blood in." 

* " Hujusmodi porrd Conviviis in Ovium tonsura apud Hebreos antiquitus celebrari solitis videii- 
tur similia esse ilia quse apud nos, cum in urbe, tuna in pagis post pecorum quorundam. ut Ovium, 
Bourn, ac pra;sertim Suum mactationem summa cum ketitia agitari solent. ' Farciminum Convivia' 
vulgo appellantur," p. 62. 

e " Nemo per totam regioncm tanta paupertate preinitur, nemo tanta tenacitate tenetur qui in 
Festo Sancti Martini non altili aliquo, vel saltern, suillo, vitulinove viscere assato vescatur, q' 
vino non remissius inclulgeat," p. 272. See also Dupre's Conformity, p. 97. 


The learned Moresin refers the great doings on this occasion, which, he says, 
were common to almost all Europe in his time, to an antient Athenian Festival, 
observed in honour of Bacchus, upon the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth days 
of the month Anthesterion, corresponding with our November f . J. Boemus 
Aubanus, before cited, seems to confirm this conjecture, though there is no 
mention of the slaughter of any animal in the description of the rites of the 
Grecian Festival. The eleventh month had a name from the ceremony of 
" tapping their barrels on it;" when it was customary to make merry. See 
Potter's Grecian Antiquities. 

It is very observable that the fatted goose , so common in England at 

In the antient Calendar of the Church of Rome so often quoted in this work, I find the subse- 
quent observations on the llth of November. " Martinalia, geniale Festum. Vini delibantur et 
defecantur. Vinalia, veterum festum hue translatum. Bacchus in Martini figura," i. e. wines are 
tasted and drawn from the lees. The Vinalia, a feast of the ancients, removed to this day. Bac- 
chus in the figure of Martin." 

In Mr. Nichols's Illustrations of Ancient Manners and Expences, 4to. 1797, among the 
Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Martin Outwich, London, pp. 272, 273, are the following ar- 
ticles : 

A. D. 1517. " Payd on Seynt Marten's Day for bred and drynke for the syngers, vd." 

A. D. 1524. " It' in for mendyng of the hovell on Sent Marten, vjd." 

" It'm for rose garlands, brede, wyne, and ale, on ij Sent Marten's Days, xvd. ob." 

A. D. 1525. " Payd for brede, ale, and wyne, and garlonds, on Seynt Martyns Day, ye trans- 
lacyon, xvjd." 

Dr. Stukeley, Iter VI. p. 131 of his Itinerary, speaking of Martinsal-hill, observes : " I take the 
name of this hill to come from the merriments among the Northern people, call'd Martinalia, or 
drinking healths to the memory of St. Martin, practis'd by our Saxon and Danish ancestors. I 
doubt not but upon St. Martin's Day, or Martinmass, all the young people in the neighbourhood 
assembled here, as they do now upon the adjacent St. Ann's-hill, upon St. Ann's Day." A note 
adds, " St. Martin's Day, in the Norway clogs, is marked with a goose ; for on that day they always 
feasted with a roasted goose : they say, St. Martin, being elected to a bishoprick, hid himself, 
(noluit episcopari) but was discovered by that animal. We have transferred the ceremony to Mi- 

f riiSoiyja mense Novembri celebrabantur apud Athenienses. Plutarch, in 8. Syrnpos. 10. sicuti 
nostris temporibus in omni fere Europa undecima Novembris, qute D. Martino dicata est. Mercur. 
Tariar. lect. lib. i: cap. 15. Papatus. p. 127. 

g The learned Moresin tells us: " Anser Isidi sacer erat. Alex, ab Alex. lib. Hi. cap. 12. In 
papatu autem ea cura est cuidam Gallo oinnis commendata. Billing, cap. 34. lib. de Orig. erron. 
cuk, deoram." p. 12, 


MICHAELMAS, is, by the above foreign authors and others, marked as one of the 
delicacies in common use at every table on the Continent at Martinmas h . 

I find the following epigram in a Collection, in quarto, intitled, " In Mensium Opera et Donaria 
Decii Ausonii Magni. 

Carbaseo surgens post hunc indutus amictu 

Mensis, ab antiquis sacra deamque colit. 
A quo vix avidiis sistro compescitur Anser 

Devotusque satis ubera fert humeris." 
Also, in another Collection, " de iisdem : 

Henrici Ranzovii Eq. et Proreg. Holsat. 

Ligna vehit, mactatque boves, et lajtus ad igneni 

Ebria Martini festa November agit. 
Ad pastum in Sylvam porcos compellit, et ipse 
Pinguibus interea vescitur Anteribus." 

Miscellanea Menologica, 4to, Francof. excud. N. Bassseus, 1590 

h " In Profesto autem Martini mos est apud Christianas Ansere et Musto liberaliter per smgulek 
fere cedes fruendi. Unde et Martinianus Anser ille appellatur : et Mustum creditur mox sequent 
die in Vinum verti. 

De hoc ritu ita canit Thomas Naogeorgus, lib. iv. Papistic! Regni. 
" Altera Martinus dein Bacchanalia praebet, 
Quern colit Anseribus populus, multoque Ly<eo, 
Tot nocte dieque. Aperit nam dolia quisque 
Onmia, degustatque haustu spumosa frequenti 
Musta, sacer quae post Martinus vina vocari 
Efficit. Ergo canuut ilium, laudantque bibendo 
Fortiter ansatis pateris, anoplisque culullis. 
jQuin etiam ludi prosunt hsec festa magistris. 
Circunaeunt etenim sumpto grege quisque canoro, 
Non ita Martini laudes festumque canentes, 
Anserem ut assatum ridendo carmine jactant. 
Cujus nonnunquam partem nvmmosve vicissim 
Accipiunt, celebrantque hoc festum musice et ipsi." 
Moris etiam est plurimis in locis ut ad diem Martini census * debitaque solvantur." 

Hospinian de Orig. Festor. Christianor. fol. 146. 

* Thus I read in the Glossary to Kennet's Parochial Antiquities, in voce: " SALT-SILVER. One penny paid at 
the Feast of Saint Martin by the servile tenants to their lord, as a commutation for the service of carrying 
their lord's SALT from market to his larder." 

Mr. Deuce's MS Notes say, that on St. Martin's night boys expose vessels of water, which they suppose will 
be converted into wine. The parents deceive them by substituting wine. Dresier de festis diebus. Weinnaeht 
is explained in Duben. Catal, Prodig. p. 22. And see Hospinian. Orig. Festor. fol. 159 b. 


(The Seventeenth of November.) 

FROM a variety of notices scattered in different publications, the anniver- 
sary of queen Elizabeth's Accession appears to have been constantly observed 
even within the last century; and in many of the Almanacks was noted, certainly 
as late as 1684, and probably considerably later. 

In " A Protestant Memorial for the Seventeenth of November, being the In- 
auguration Day of Queen Elizabeth," 8vo, Lond. 1713, is the following passage: 

" In a grateful remembrance of God'e mercy, in raising up, continuing, and 
prospering this most illustrious benefactor of England, the good Protestants of 
this nation (those especially of LONDON and WESTMINSTER) have annually 
taken notice (and not without some degree of decent and orderly solemnity) of 
the } fill of November, being the day on which her majesty queen Elizabeth 
began her happy reign. 

" And. at present," (the author adds) " such decent and orderly observation 
of it seems to me not only warranted by former motives, but also enforc'd by a 
new and extraordinary argument. 

" For this present Pope, call'd Clement XI. has this very year canoniz'd the 
foreinentioned enemy of England, Pope Pius the Fifth, putting him into the 

The following is Barnabe Googe's translation of Naogeorgus : 

" To belly cheare yet once againe doth Martin more encline, 

Whom all the people worshijipeth with rested geese and wine : 

Both all the day long and the night now ech man open makes 

His vessels all, ami of the must oft times the last he takes, 

Which holy Martyn afterwarde alloweth to be wine ; 

Therefore they him unto the skies extoll with prayse devine, 

And drinking deepe in tankardes large, and bowles of compasse wide: 

Yea, by these fees the sehoolermisters have profite great beside : 

For with his scholars every one about do singing go, 

Not praysing Martyn much, but at the Goose rejoyceing tho, 

Whereof they oftentimes have parti and money there withall ; 

For which they celebrate this Feast, with song and masicke all." 

The Popish Kingdome, fol 55. 


number of heavenly Saints, and falling down and worshipping that image of a 
deity, which he himself has set up. 

" Now the good Protestants of England, who well consider that this present 
Pope has, so tar as in him lies, exalted that Pope who was so bold and so inve- 
terate an adversary of queen Elizabeth and all her subjects ; as, also, that he is 
an avow'd patron of the Pretender; will think it behoves them to exert their 
zeal now, and at all times, (tho* always in a fit and legal manner,) against the 
evil spirit of Popery, which was cast out at the Reformation, but has ever since 
wancler'd about, seeking for a readmittance, which I verily hope the good provi- 
dence of God, at least for his truth's sake, will never permit. 

" I say we have now a new motive to this zeal, the preservation of our most 
gracious queen Anne being to be added to the vindication of the most gracious 
queen Elizabeth." 

The figures of the Pope and the Devil were usually burnt on this occasion. 
In the Gentleman's Magazine for November 1760, vol. xxx. p. 514, is an 
account of the remarkable cavalcade on the evening of this day in the year 
1679, at the time the Exclusion Bill was in agitation, copied from Lord Somers's 
Collection, vol. xx. The Pope, it should seem, was carried on this occasion 
in a pageant representing a chair of state covered with scarlet, richly embroi- 
dered and fringed ; and at his back, not an effigy, but a person representing the 
Devil, acting as his holiness's privy-counsellor; and " frequently caressing, hug- 
ging, and whispering him, and oftentimes instructing him aloud." The procession 
was set forth at Moorgate, and passed first to Aldgate, thence through Leaden- 
hall-street, by the Royal Exchange and Cheapside, to Temple Bar. 

The statue of the queen on the inner or eastern side of Temple Bar having 
been conspicuously ornamented, the figure of the Pope was brought before it, 
when, after a song, partly alluding to the protection afforded by Elizabeth to 
Protestants', and partly to the existing circumstances of the times, a vast bonfire 
having been prepared " over against the Inner Temple Gate, his holiness, 
after some compliments and reluctances, was decently toppled from all his gran- 
deur into the impartial flames ; the crafty devil leaving his infallibilityship in 
the lurch, and laughing as heartily at his deserved ignominious end as subtle 
Jesuits do at the ruin of bigotted lay Catholics, whom themselves have 
drawn in," 


[In Queen Anne's time, a fresh advantage was taken of this Anniversary ; and 
the figure of the Pretender, in addition to those of the Pope and the Devil, was 
burnt by the populace a . 

This custom was probably continued even after the defeat of the second 
Pretender; and no doubt gave rise to the following Epigram printed in the 

Works of Mr. Bishop. 

Qu<ere Peregrinum. 

Three Strangers blaze amidst a bonfire's revel ; 
The Pope, and the Pretender, and the Devil. 
Three Strangers hate our faith, and faith's defender, 
The Devil, and the Pope, and the Pretender. 
Three Strangers will be strangers long we hope ; 
The Devil, and the Pretender, and the Pope. 
Thus, in three rhymes, three Strangers dance the hay : 
And he that chooses to dance after 'em, may. 

In a volume of Miscellanies, without a title, in the British Museum, but evi- 
dently of the time of George the first, I find, p. 65, " Merry Observations 
upon every Month, and every remarkable Day throughout the whole year." 
Under November, p. 99, it is said: "The 19th b of this month will prove 
another protestant Holiday, dedicated to the pious memory of that antipapis- 
tical Princess and virgin Preserver of the reformed Churches, Queen Eliza- 
beth. This night will be a great promoter of the tallow-chandler's welfare ; for 
marvellous illuminations will be set forth in every window, as emblems of her 
shining virtues ; and will be stuck in clay, to put the world in mind that grace, 
wisdom, beauty, and virginity, were unable to preserve the best of women from 

With the Society of the Temple, the 17th of November is considered as the 
grand day of the year. It is yet kept as a holiday at the Exchequer, and at 
Westminster and Merchant-Taylors Schools c .] 

See the Supplement to Swift's Works, Svo, Lend. 1779, vol. i. pp. 173, 176, 180. 
* This is a mistake. The 19th of November was the day of Saint Elizabeth. 
c At Christ's Hospital also the Anniversary of Queen Elizabeth is a prime holiday. The Gover- 
nors attend an annual sermon at Christ Church, and afterwards dine together in their Hall. 


(Twenty-third of November.) 

DR. PLOTT, in his History of Staffordshire, p. 430, describing a Clog- 
Almanack, says, " a pot is marked against the 23d of November, for the Feast 
of St. Clement, from the ancient custom of going about that night to beg drink 
to make merry with." 

In a Proclamation, July 22, 1540, in an antient Chronicle respecting London, 
in my library, 8vo (wanting title and end) it is' ordered, " neither that children 
should be decked, ne go about upon S. Nicholas, S. Katherine, S. Clement, the 
Holy Innocents, and such like dayes *." 

[Mr. Brady, in the Clavis Calendaria, 8vo, Lond. 1812, vol. ii. p. 279, ob- 
serves that OLD MARTIN-MASS continues to be noticed in our Almanacks on 
the twenty-third of November, because it was one of the antient quarterly pe- 
riods of the year, at which even to this time a few rents become payable.] 

(Twenty-jifth of November.) 

SAINT CATHARINE has been already noticed from Googe's translation 
of Naogeorgus as the favourer of learned men. The same writer adds, in another 
folio of his work, 

What should I tell what sophisters on Cathrin's Day devise ? 

Or else the superstitious joyes that maisters exercise." fol. 55 b. 

Camden, in his Antient and Modern Manners of the Irish, says: "The very 
women and girls keep a Fast every Wednesday and Saturday throughout the 
yeare, and some of them also on St. Catharine's Day; nor will they omit it 
though it happen on their birth-day, or if they are ever so much out of order. 

See p. 329. 
VOL. I. T T 


The reason given by some for this is, that the girls may get good husbands, and 
the women better by the death or desertion of their present ones, or at least by 
an alteration in their manners a ." 

La Motte, in his Essay upon Poetry and Painting, 12mo, Lond. 1730, p. 126, 
says : " St. Catherine is esteemed in the Church of Rome as the Saint and Pa- 
troness of the spinsters ; and her holiday is observed, not in Popish countries 
only, but even in many places in this nation : young women meeting on the 25th 
of November, and making merry together, which they call Cathernhig b ." 


(Thirtieth of November.) 

LUTHER, in his Colloquia, part i. p. 253, says, that, on the evening of 
the Feast of St. Andrew, the young maidens in his country strip themselves 
naked ; and, in order to learn what sort of husbands they shall have, they re- 
cite the following prayer : " Deus, Deus meus, O Sancte Andrea effice ut 
bonum pium acquiram virum; hodie mihi ostende qualis sit cui me in uxorem 
ducere debet." 

Cough's Camden, fol. Lond. 1789, vol. iii. p. 658. 

b In an original MS. of the Churchwardens' Accounts of Horley, in the county of Surrey (bought 
of Mr. Waight, bookseller, in Holborn, Sept. 2, 1801, for 14s.) I find : 

" Mem. that reste in the hands of the wyffe of John Kelyoke and John Atye, 4 merkes, the 
ycre of ower Lorde God 1521, of Sent Kateryn mony." 

" Mem. that rests in the hands of the wyff of John Atthy and the wyff of Rye Mansell, 3 pounds 
2s. 9d. the yere of our Lorde God 1522, of Sent Kaleryn mony." 

" Summa totalis S'cte Katerine V. Luminis, remanet in manibus uxoris Johannis Peers et uxoris 
Wyl'i Celarer, an'o d'ni 1526, tres Hbras et undecim solidos." 

" Summa totalis S'cte Katerine Luminis, remanet in manibus uxoris Wyi'i Cowper, & uxoris 
Thome Leakeford, an'o d'ni 1527, quatuor marcas." 

" Summa totalis Ktterine Luminis, remanet in manibus uxoris Thome Leakeforth, ef uxoris 
Henrici Huett, an'o d'ni 1528, quatuor marcas. Item remanet in manibus uxoris Joh'is Bray, dt 
eodem Ltimine, anno supradicto 17*." 


Googe, in the translation of Naogeorgus's Regnum Papisticum, fol. 55 b. 
probably alludes to some such observances : 

" To Andrew all the Jovers and the lustie wooers come, 
Beleeving, through his ayde, and ccrtaine ceremonies done, 
(While as to him they presentes bring, and conjure all the night,) 
To have good lucke, and to obtaine their chiefe and svveete delight ." 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xviii. p. 559, Dudingston parish, 
county of Edinburgh, distant from Edinburgh a little more than a mile, we read, 
that many of the opulent citizens resort thither in the summer months to solace 
themselves over one of the antient homely dishes of Scotland, for which the 
place has been long celebrated. The use of singed sheeps heads boiled or baked, 
so frequent in this village, is supposed to have arisen from the practice of slaugh- 
tering the sheep fed on the neighbouring hill for the market, removing the carcases 
to town, and leaving the head, &c. to be consumed in the place. 

Singed sheeps heads are borne in the procession before the Scots in London 
on St. Andiew's Day. 

Hasted, in his History of Kent, vol. ii. p. 757, speaking of the parish of 
Easling, says, that, " On St. Andrew's Day, Nov. 30, there is yearly a diversion 
called squirril-hunting in this and the neighbouring parishes, when the labourers 
and lower kind of people, assembling together, form a lawless rabble, and being 
accoutred with guns, poles, clubs, and other such weapons, spend the greatest 
part of the day in parading through the woods and grounds, with loud shoutings ; 
and, under the pretence of demolishing the squirrils, some few of which they 
kill, they destroy numbers of hares, pheasants, partridges, and in short whatever 
comes in their way, breaking down the hedges, and doing- much other mischief, 
and in the evening betaking themselves to the alehouses, finish their career 
there, as is usual with such sort of gentry." 

e " Andraese amatores vulg6 turbaeque procorum 
Doiia ferunt, creduntque illius numine dextro, 
Praestigiisque alib tacita sub nocte peractis 
Spem rectam fore, seque frui re posse cupita." 

vid. Orig. Fest. Cliristianorum, fo1. 152 b. 


.V|jji*!H#Jl Of it 

(Sixth of December.) 

ST. NICHOLAS was born at Patara, a city of Lycia, and, for his piety, 
from a layman was made Bishop of Myra. He died on the 8th of the ides of 
December, A. D. 343. 

Some have thought that it was on account of his very early abstinence a that 
he was chosen patron of school boys ; but a much better reason (according to 

a This reason is indeed assigned in the English Festival, f. 55. " It is sayed of his fader, hyght 
Epiphanius, and his moder Joanna, &c. and when he was born, &c. they made him Christin, and 
called him Nycholas, that was a mannes name ; but he kepeth the name of the child, for he chose 
to kepe vertues, meknes, and simplenes ; he fasted Wednesday and Friday ; these dayes he would 
souke but ones of the day, and therwyth held him plesed. Thus he lyved all his lyf in yertues with 
this childes name, and therefore children doe him worship before all other Saints, &c." 

Liber Festivalis in die S. Nicholai. 

I have a curious old MS legendary metrical account of Saints, which I guess to be of the age 
of Henry VI. Speaking of St. Nicholas, there is the following couplet : 

" Ye furst day yat was ybore : he gan to be good and clene, 
" For he ne wolde Wednesday ne Friday never more souke but ene." 

So, the Golden Legend : " He wolde not take the brest ne the pappe, but ones on the Wednesday, 
and ones on the Frydaye." 

It appears that Gregory the Great was also the patron of scholars, and that on his day boys 
were called, and in many places, in Hospinian's time, still continued to be called, to the school 
with certain songs, substituting one in the place of St. Gregory to act as bishop on the occasion 
with his companions of the sacred order. Presents were added, to induce the boys to love their 
schools. This custom is stated to have descended from the heathens to the Christians. Among the 
antient Romans, the Quinquatria, on the 20th of March, were the holidays both of masters and 
scholars, on which occasion the scholars presented their masters with the Mincrvalia, and the 
masters distributed among the boys ears of corn. 

" Gregorius cognomento magnus, ex monacho Pontifex Romanus LXVI. efficitur. Habitus est 
patronus scholasticorurn. Indeque factum est, ut in hoc ipsius festo die, certia Cantilenis, ad scho- 
lam vocati sint olim et adhuc vocentur pueri pluribus in locis, subornato episcopo, sub S. Gregorii 
persona, cum adjunctis satellitibus sacri ordinis. Addi quoque sclent dona quibus invitentur ad 
scholarum amorem pueri. Manavit hie Mos ad Christianos ab Ethnicw. In Quinquatriis enim, 
Roman! solenniter celebrarunt 20 Martii, praeceptores et discipuli feriati sunt. Et discipuli 


the reasons given in the dark ages) is afforded to us by a writer in the Gentle- 
man's Magazine b for April 1777, vol. xlvii. p. 158, who mentions having in his 
possession an Italian Life of St. Nicholas, 3d. edit. 4to, Naples, 1645, from 
which he translates the following story, which fully explains the occasion of boys 
addressing themselves to St. Nicholas's patronage. 

" The fame of St. Nicholas's virtues was so great, that an Asiatic gentleman, 
on sending his two sons to Athens for education, ordered them to call on the 
Bishop for his benediction ; but they, getting to Mira late in the day, thought 
proper to defer their visit till the morrow, and took up their lodgings at an inn, 
where the landlord, to secure their baggage and effects to himself, murdered 
them in their sleep, and then cut them into pieces, salting them, and putting 
them into a pickling tub, with some pork which was there already, meaning to 
sell the whole as such. The Bishop, however, having had a vision of this im- 
pious transaction, immediately resorted to the inn, and calling the host to him, 
reproached him for his horrid villainy. The man, perceiving that he was disco- 
vered, confessed his crime, and entreated the Bishop to intercede on his behalf 
to the Almighty for his pardon ; who, being moved with compassion at his con- 
trite behaviour, confession, and thorough repentance, besought Almighty God 
not only to pardon the murtherer, but also, for the glory of his name, to restore 
life to the poor innocents who had been so inhumanly put to death. The Saint 
had hardly finished his prayer, when the mangled and detached pieces of the two 
youths were by divine power reunited, and, perceiving themselves alive, threw 
themselves at the feet of the holy man to kiss and embrace them. But the Bi- 
shop, not suffering their humiliation, raised them up, exhorting them to return 
thanks to God alone for this mark of his mercy, and gave them good advice for 
the future conduct of their lives ; and then, giving them his blessing, he sent 
them with great joy to prosecute their studies at Athens." And adds: "This, 
I suppose, sufficiently explains the naked children and tub," the well known 
emblems of St. Nicholas 6 . 

quidem Minervalia sive JiJx.Tf persolverunt praeceptoribus ; praeceptores vero discipulis spicaa 
distribuerunt, unde illud est Horatii : 

" Crustula blanda dant praeceptores pueris." 

vid. Hospin. de Orig. Festor, Christianorum, f. 50 b. 
b The Rev. W. Cole, of Milton, near Cambridge. 
[It is remarkable that this same story is told in a metrical Life of St. Nicholas by Maitre Wace, 


Hospinian tells us that in many places it was the custom for parents, on the 
vigil of St. Nicholas, to convey, secretly, presents of various kinds, to their 

a priest of Jersey, and chaplain to King Henry the Second, the only manuscript known of which 
is preserved in the library of Mr. Douce : 

" Treis clers aloent a escole, 
Nen frai mie longe parole; 
Lor ostes par nuit les oscieit 
. Les cors musca, la .... prenoit 
Saint Nicolas par Deu le sout, 
Sempris fut la si cum Deu plut, 
Les clers al oste demanda, 
Nes peut muscier einz lui mustra. 
Seint Nicolas par sa priere 
Les ames mist el cors ariere. 
For ceo qe as clers fit tiel honor 
Font li clerc feste a icel jor." 

This story, however, is not to be found in the " Golden Legend." See Mr. Douce's Illustr. of 
Shakspeare, vol. I. p. 40.] 

From the circumstance of scholars being anliently denominated clerks, the fraternity of Parish 
Clerks adopted St. Nicholas as their patron. Jn Shakspeare's first part of Hen IV. act ii. sc. 1. 
Robbers are called St. Nicholas's Clerks. They were also called St. Nicholas's Knights. St. Ni- 
cholas being the patron saint of scholars, and Nicholas, or Old Nick, a cant name for the devil, ihis 
equivocal patronage may possibly be solved ; or, perhaps, it may be much better accounted for by 
the story of St. Nicholas and some thieves, whom he compelled to restore some stolen goods, and 
brought '' to the way of trouth :" for which the curious reader is referred to the " Golden Legend." 
In " Plaine Percevall, the Peace-Maker of England," 4to, b. I. (no date, but on the subject of 
Martin Mai-prelate), we read, p. 1 : " He was a tender-harted fellow, though his luck were but 
hard, which hasting to take up a quarrell by the highway side, between a brace of St. Nicholas , 
clargiemen, was so curteously unbraced on both parties, that he tendered his purse for their truce." 
There is no end of St. Nicholas's patronship. He was also the mariners' saint. (See p. 288.) 
In the " Vita? Sanctorum," by Lippcloo and Gras, 4 vols. 12mo. Colon. 1603, we read, in his 
Life, that St. Nicholas preserved from a storm the ship in which he sailed to the Holy Land ; and 
also, certain mariners, who in a storm invoked his aid; to whom, though at a distance and still 
living, he appeared in person and saved them. See Gent. Mag. Oct. 1790, vol. Ix. p. 1076. 

Hospinian says, the invocation of St. Nicholas by sailors took its rise from the legendary ac- 
counts of Vincentius and Mantuanus : 

" Solet etiam Sanctus Nicolaus a periclitantibus in mari aut quavis alia aqu&, invocai'i. Huic 
Idolomaniee fabula originem dedit, quae extat apud Vincentium, libro xiv. capite 7O, et Mantuanum, 
lib. xii. Fastorum, ubi sic canit : 

" Cum Turbine Nautae 
Deprensi Cilices magno clamore vocarent 


little sons and daughters, who were taught to believe that they owed them to 
the kindness of St. Nicholas and his train, who, going up and down among the 
towns and villages, came in at the windows, though they were shut, and distri- 
buted them. This custom, he says, originated from the legendary account of 
that Saint's having given portions to three daughters of a poor citizen, whose 
necessities had driven him to an intention of prostituting them, and this he ef- 
fected by throwing a purse filled with money, privately, at night, in at the 
father's bed-chamber window, to enable him to portion them out honestly d . 

Nicolai vivemis opem, descendere quidatu 
Coelituum visus sancti sub imagine patris : 
Cjui freta depulso fecit placidissima vento." 

Hospinian. de Orig. Festor. Christ, fol. 153. 

Armstrong, in his History of the Island of Minorca, Svo. Lond. !?5e>, 2d edit. p. 72, speaking 
of Ciudadella, says : " Near the entrance of the harbour stands a chapel dedicated to St. Nicholas, 
to which the sailors resort that have suffered shipwreck, to return thanks for their preservation, 
and to hang up votive pictures, (representing the danger they have escaped,) in gratitude to the 
Saint for the protection he vouchsafed them, and in accomplishment of the vows they made in the 
height of the storm. This custom, which is in use at present throughout the Roman-Catholick 
world, is taken from the old Romans, who had it, among a great number of other superstitions, 
from the Greeks; for we are told that Bion the philosopher was shewn several of these votive pic- 
tures hung up in a temple of Neptune near the sea-side. Horace alludes to them thus : 

Me tabula sacer 

Votivfl paries indicat uvida 
Suspendisse potenti 

Vestimenta maris Deo. Lib. i. Od. 5. 

St. Nicholas is the present patron of those who lead a sea-faring life (as Neptune was of old), 
and his churches generally stand within sight of the sea, and are plentifully stocked with pious 

d "Mos est plurimis in locis, ut in Vigilia Sancti Nicolai Parentes pueris ac puellis clam mu- 
nuscula varii generis dent, illis opinantibus, S. Nicolaum cum suis famulis hinc inde per Oppida 
ac Vicos discurrere, per clausas fenestras ingredi, et dona ipsis distribuere. Originem duxit hie 
Mos ex fabellaj quse S. Nicolao affingitur, qubd dotem dederit tribus filiabus egeni cujusdam civis, 
ipsas ob egestatem prostituere volentis, hoc modo : conjecit Crumenam pecunia refertam clam, 
noctu, per fenestram in Cubiculum patrfs earum, unde honeste eas elocare potuit." 

Hospinian. de Orig. Festor. Christian, fol. 153. 
So Naogeorgus : 

" Nicholas. 

" Saint Nicholas money usde to give to maydens secretlie, 
Who, that he still may use his wonted liberalise, 


J. Boemus Aubanus e , describing some singular customs used in his time in 
Franconia, tells us, that scholars on St. Nicholas's Day used to elect three out 
of their numbers, one of whom was to play the Bishop, the other two the parts 
of Deacons. The Bishop was escorted by the rest of the boys, in solemn pro- 
cession, to church, where, with his mitre on, he presided during the time of 
divine worship : this ended, he and his Deacons went about singing from door 
to door, and collected money, not begging it as alms, but demanding it as the 

The mothers all their children on the Eeve do cause to fast, 
And, when they every one at night in senselesse sleepe are cast, 
Both Apples, Nuttes, and Peares they bring, and other things beside, 
As caps, and shooes, and petticotes, which secretly they hide, 
And in the morning found, they say, that this St. Nicholas brought : 
Thus tender niindes to worship Saints and wicked things are taught." 

There is a festival or ceremony observed in Italy (called Zopata, from a Spanish word signifying 
a shoe) in the courts of certain princes on St. Nicholas' Day, wherein persons hide presents in the 
shoes and slippers of those they do honour to, in such manner as may surprize them on the mor- 
row when they come to dress. This, it is repeated, is done in imitation of the practice of St. Ni- 
cholas, who used in the night time to throw purses in at the windows of poor maids, to be 
marriage portions for them. 

[" St. Nicholas," says Mr. Brady, in the Clavis Calendaria, vol. ii. p. 297, " was likewise vene- 
rated as the protector of virgins ; and there are, or were until lately, numerous fantastical cus- 
toms observed in Italy and various parts of France, in reference to that peculiar tutelary pa- 
tronage. In several convents it was customary, on the Eve of St. Nicholas, for the Boarders to 
place each a silk stocking at the door of the apartment of the abbess, with a piece of paper in- 
closed, recommending themselves to GREAT ST. NICHOLAS OF HER CHAMBLR : and the next day 
they were called together to witness the Saint's attention, who never failed to fill the stockings 
with sweet-meats, and other trifles of that kind, with which these credulous virgins made a ge- 
neral feast."] 

e In die vero Sancti Nicolai Adolescentes, qui disciplinarum gratia Scholas frequentant, inter 
ge tres eligunt : unum, qui Episcopum; duos qui Diaconos agant: is ipsa die in sacrem sedem 
solrnniter a scholastico coetu introductus, d:\inis officiis infulatus prsesidet : quibus finitis, cum 
elei'is domes' icatim cantando nummos colligit, eleemosynam esse negant, sed Episcopi subsi- 
dium Vigiliam Diei Pueri a parentibus jejunare eo modo invitantur, quod persuasum habeant, 
ea Muv.iiscula, quse noctis ipsis in Calceos sub mensam ad hoc locatos imponuntur, se alargissimo 
premie Nieolao percipere : unde tanto desideriu plerique jejunant, ut quia eorum sanitati timea- 
tur, ad Ciburu compellendi tdnt." p. 272. 

The ceremony of fasting was probably adopted from the Saint's example already quoted from 
the Goluen Legend. 


Bishop's subsidy. On the Eve of this Day the boys were prevailed upon to 
fast, in order to persuade themselves that the little presents, which were put 
that night for them into shoes (placed under the table for that purpose), were 
made them by St. Nicholas : and many of them kept the fast so rigorously on 
this account, that their friends, in order to prevent them from injuring their 
healths, were under the necessity of forcing them to take some sustenance. 

I know not precisely at what period the custom of electing Boy Bishops on 
St. Nicholas's Day commenced in England, but there is little doubt that, after 
it had been established on the Continent, it would soon be imported hither f . 

In the year 1299, we find Edward the first, on his way to Scotland, permit- 
ted one of these Boy-Bishops to say vespers before him in his chapel at Heton, 
near Newcastle-upon Tyne, and made a considerable present to the said Bishop 
and certain other boys that came and sang with him on the occasion, on the 
seventh of December, the day after St. Nicholas's Days. 

f Mr. Warton thought he found traces of the religious mockery of the Boy Bishop as early as 
867 or 87O. His words are : " At the Constantinopolitan Synod, anno 867, at which were pre- 
sent three hundred and seventy-three Bishops, it was found to be a solemn custom in the courts 
of princes, on certain stated days, to dress some layman in the episcopal apparel, who should 
exactly personate a Bishop, both in his tonsure and ornaments. This scandal to the clergy was 
anathematised. But ecclesiastical synods and censures have often proved too weak to suppress 
popular spectacles, which take deep root in the public manners, and are only concealed for a 
while, to spring up afresh with new vigour." Hist. Engl. Poet. vol. iii. p. 3S5. 

In Bishop Hall's Triumphs of Rome, (Tiiumph of Pleasure,) is the following curious passage 
on this subject : " What merry work it was here in the days of our holy fathers, (and I know not 
whether, in some places, it may not be so still,) that upon St. Nicholas, St. Katherine, St. Cle- 
ment, and Holy Innocent's Day, children were wont to be arrayed in chimers, rochets, surplices, 
to counterfeit Bishops and Priests, and to be led, with songs and dances, from house to house, 
blessing the people, who stood girning in the way to expect that ridiculous benediction. Yea, that 
boys in that holy sport were wont to sing masses, and to climb into the pulpit to preach (no doubt 
learnedly andjsdifyingly) to the simple auditory. And this was so really done, that in the cathe- 
dral church of Salisbury (unless it be lately defaced) there is a perfect monument of one of these 
Boy Bishops (who dyed in the time of his young pontificality), accoutred in his episcopal robes, 
still to be seen. A fashion that lasted until the latter times of King Henry the Eighth, who, in 
the 33d year of his reign, Anno Domini 1541, by his solemn Proclamation, printed by Thomas 
Bertlet, the king's printer, cum privilegio, straitly forbad the practice." 

* " Septimo die Decembris, cuidam Episcopo Puerorurn dicenti Vesperis de Sancto Nicholao 
coram Rege in Capella sua apud Heton juxta Novum Castrum super Tynam, et quibusdam pueris 
venientibus et cantantibus cum Episcopo predicto, de elemosina ipsius Regis per manus domiiti 

VOL. I. U U 


Mr. Warton, in his History of English Poetry, seems to restrain the custom 
of electing Boy Bishops on this day to collegiate churches, but later discoveries 
adduce evidence of its having prevailed, it should seem, in almost every parish. 

Though the election was on St. Nicholas's Day, yet the office and authority 
appear to have lasted from that time till Innocent's Day, i. e. from the 6th to 
the 28th of December. In Cathedrals this Boy Bishop seems to have been 
elected from among the children of the choir. After his election, being com- 
pletely apparelled in the episcopal vestments 11 , with a mitre and crozier, he bore 

Henrici Eleniosinar' participantis denarios inter pueros predictos, 40*." Wardrobe Account of the 
28 Ed. I. A. D. 1299, published by the Society of Antiquaries of London, p. 25. 

In the Statutes of Salisbury Cathedral, sub anno 1319, Tit. 45, de Statu Choristarum MS. it is 
ordered that the Boy Bishop shall not make a feast. 

The Boy Bishop, as it should seem in the following extract from the Register of the capitulary 
Acts of York Cathedral, was to be handsome and elegantly shaped." 

" Dec. 2, 1367. Joannes de Quixly confirmatur Episcopus Puerorum, et Capitulum orclinavit 
quod electio episcopi puerorum in Ecclesia Eboracensi de cetero fieret de eo qui diutius & magis 
in dicta Ecclesia laboraverit, et magis idoneus repertus fuerit, dum tamen competenter sit corpore 
formosus, et quod aliter facta electio non valebit." Warton, Hist. Engl. Poet. vol. iii. p. 302. 

h There is printed in the Notes to the Northumberland Household Book, p. 441, from an old 
MS. communicated by Thomas Astle, esq. an Inventory of the splendid Robes and Ornaments 
belonging to one of these (Boy called also) Beam Bishops. 

" Contenta de Ornamentis Ep'i puer. (e Rotulo in pergam.) 

" Imprimis, i. myter, well garnished with perle and precious stones, with nowches of silver 
and gilt before and behind. 

" Item, iiii. rynges of silver and gilt with four ridde precious stones in them. 
' Item, i. pontifical with silver and gilt, with a blue stone in hytt. 

"Item, i. owche, broken, silver and gilt, with iiii. precious stones, and a perle in the mydds. 
" Item, a croose, with a staff of coper and gilt, with the ymage of St. Nicolas in the mydds. 
" Item, i. vestment, redde, with lyons, with silver, with brydds of gold in the orferes of the same. 
"Item, i. albe to the same, with starres in the paro. 

" Item, i. white cope, stayned with tristells and orferes, redde sylke, with does of gold, and 
whytt napkins about the necks. 

" It. iiii. copes, blew sylk with red orferes, trayled, with whitt braunchis and flowrea. 
"It. i. steyned cloth of the ymage of St. Nicholas. 
" It. i. tabard of skarlet, and a hodde thereto lyned with whitt sylk. 
" It. a hode of skarlett, lyned with blue sylk." 

In Hearne's Liber Niger Scaccarii, 8vo. 1728, vol. ii. pp. 674, 686, we find that Archbishop 
Rotheram bequeathed " a myter for the Barnebishop, of cloth of gold, with two knopps of silver 
gilt and enamyled." 

m raOD VUff ..[ <a l.ilull'.H'M ::,i t xi 


the title and state of a Bishop, and exacted ceremonial obedience from his fellows, 
who were dressed like priests. Strange as it may appear, they took possession 
of the Church, and, except mass, performed all the ceremonies and offices'. 

In Lysona's Environs of London, vol. i. p. 310, among his curious extracts from the Church- 
wardens' Accounts at Lambeth, is the following : 

" 1523. For the Bishop's dynner and hys company on St. Nycolas Day, ijs. viijd." 

The Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Mary Hill, London, 1O Hen. VI. mention " two childrens 
copes, also a myter of cloth of gold set with stones." Under 1549, also, Lucas and Stephen Ch. 
Ward, is : " For 12 oz. silver, being clasps of books and the Bishop's mitre, at \i. viijd. per oz. vjl. 
xvis, jd." These last were sold. In the "Inventory of Church Goods" belonging to the same 
parish, at the same time, we have: "Item, a mitre for a Bishop at St. Nicholas-tyde, garnished 
with silver, and amelyd, and perle, and counterfeit stone." 

In Mr. Nichols's Illustrations of Ancient Manners, 4to. 1797, P- HO, among some extracts 
from the same Church Accounts A. D. 1554, is the following entry: 

"Paid for makyng the Bishop's myter, with staff and lace that went to it, iiis. 
Paid for a boke for St. Nicholas, viijd." 

This was at the restoration of the ceremony under Queen Mary. See p. 335. 

1 The Boy Bishop at Salisbury is actually said to have had the power of disposing of such pre- 
bends there as happened to fall vacant during the days of his episcopacy. If he died during his 
office, the funeral honours of a Bishop, with a monument, were granted him. See Note f . p. 329. 

In the " Processionale ad usum insignis et preclare Ecclesie Sarum," 4to. Rothomagi. A. D. 1566, 
is printed the service of the Boy Bishop set to musick. By this we learn that, on the Eve of In- 
nocents Day, the Boy Bishop was to go in solemn procession with his fellows, " ad altare Sanctue 
Trinitatis et omnium Sanctorum," (as the Processional,) or, " ad Altare Innoccntium sive 
Sanctae Trinitatis," (as the Pie,) " in capis et cereis ardentibus in manibus," in their copes, and 
burning tapers in their hands. The Bishop beginning, and the other boys following: "Centum 
quadraginta quatuor," &c. Then the verse " Hi emti sunt ex omnibus," &c. and this was sung 
by three of the boys. Then all the boys sang the " Prosa sedentem in superno majcstatis arce," &c. 
The Chorister Bishop, in the mean time, fumed the altar, first, and then the image of the Holy 
Trinity. Then the Bishop said modesta voce, the verse " Lajtamini," and the response was, " Et 
gloriamini," &c. Then the prayer which we yet retain : " Deus cujus hodierna die preconium Inno- 
centes Martyres non loquendo, sed moriendo, confess! sunt, omnia in nobis Vitiorum mala morti- 
fica, ut fidem tuam quam lingua nostra loquitur, etiam- moribus vita fateatur: qui cum patre," &c. 
In their return from the altar, Praecentor puerorum incipiat, &c. the chanter-chorister began " De 
Sancta Maria," &c. The response was " Felix namque," &c. et " sic processio," &c. The Procession 
was made into the quire, by the West door, in such order that the Dean and Canons went foremost : 
the Chaplains next : the Bishop, with his little Prebendaries, in the last and highest place. The 
Bishop took his seat, and the rest of the children disposed themselves upon each side of the 
quire, upon the uppermost ascent, the Canons resident bearing the incense and the book: and 
the petit Canons the tapers, according to the Kubrick. And from this hour to the full end of the 


Having had occasion to trace the ceremony of the Boy Bishop at Canterbury, 
Eton, St. Paul's London, Colchester, Winchester, Salisbury, Westminster, 
Lambeth, York, Beverley, Rotherhani, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne, there can 
be little doubt that the discoveries of future Antiquaries will prove it to have 
been almost universal^ Gregory, in his Account of the Episcopus Puerorum, 
thought he had made a great discovery, and confined it to Salisbury. 

next day's procession, " Nullus Clericorum solet gradum superiorem ascendere cujuscunque condi- 
tionis fuerit." Then the Bishop on his seat said the verse, " Speciosus forma, &c. diffusa est gra- 
tia in labiis tuis," &c. Then the prayer, " Deus qui salutis aeternae," &c. "Pax vobis," &c. Then 
after the " Benedicamus Domino," the Bishop of the children, sitting in his seat, gave the 
Benediction to the people in this manner: "Princeps Ecclesiae Pastor ovilis cunctam plebem 
tuam benedicere digneris," &c. Then, turning towards the people, he sung, or said, " Cum mansue- 
tudine & charitate humiliate vos ad benedictionem :" the Chorus answering, " Deo gratias." 
Then the Cross-bearer delivered up the crozier to the Bishop again, et tune Episcopus puerorum 
primo signando se infronte sic dicat, " Adjutorium nostrum," &c. The Chorus answering, "Qui 
fecit Ccelum & Terram." Then, after some other like ceremonies performed, the Boy Bishop began 
the Completorium, or Complyn ; and that done, he turned towards the quire, and said, " Ad- 
jutorium/' &c. and then, last of all, he said, " Benedicat Vos omnipotens Deus, Pater, & Filius > 
& Spiritus Sanctus." 

In die sanctorum Innocentium ad secundas Fespcras accipiat Cruciferarius baculum Episcopi puero- 
rum et cantent Antiphon. " Princeps Ecclesiee," &c. sicut ad primas Vesperau. Similiter Episco- 
pus Puerorum benedicat populum supradicto modo, et sic compleatur servitium hujus diei. (Rubric. 
Processional.) And all this was done with solemnity of celebration, and under pain of anathema to 
any that should interrupt or press upon these children. See Gregory's Posthumous Works, 4to. 
Lond. 1649. p. 114. 

k It appears that in Germany, A. D. 1274, at the Council at Saltzbourg, the "ludi noxii quos 
vulgaiis Eloquentia Episcopates Puerorum appellat" were prohibited, as having produced great 
enormities. See Du Fresne. t>. EPISCOPUS PUEKORUM. 

In Spain, Mr. Bowie informs us, antiently, in cathedral churches, in memory of the election 
of St. Nicholas Bishop of Myra, a chorister being placed with solemnity in the midst of the choir, 
upon a scaffold, there descended from the vaulting of the cieling a cloud, which stopping, mid- 
way, opened. Two angels within it carried the mitre, and descended just so low as to place it on 
his head, ascending immediately in the same order in which they came down. This came to be 
an occasion of some irregularities ; for, till the day of the Innocents, he had a certain jurisdiction, 
and his prebendaries took secular offices, such as alguasils, catchpoles, dog-whippers, and 
sweepers. " This, thank God," says the author Covarruvias, under the article Obsipillis, " has 
been totally done away." He is, however, contradicted in the great Dictionary, where it is 
asserted that it is still kept up, particularly at Corunna, and other cities, and in some Universities and 
Colleges. The word is latinised " Puer episcopali habitu ornatus." See Archseologia. vol. Lx. p. 43.. 


Of the several sports, or entertainments, that mixed in the solemnization of 
this most singular Festival, few particulars seem to have been transmitted 1 . Mr. 
Warton thinks we can trace in them some rude vestiges of dramatic exhibitions. 
We have evidence that the Boy Bishop and his companions walked about in pro- 

" Pape Colas. Enfant qui dans les clerniers siecles, paraissait, un moment, au dessua de sa 
condition. I/e jour de Saint Nicolas on faisoit choix dans certaines Eglises d'un petit tondu a voix 
glassissante : on lui mettait une Mitre sur la tfete, on le revetait d'habits pontificaux : ainsi chargi 
de Reliques, il alJait par tout donnant des benedictions & disant des Oremus pour avoir des bis- 
cuits & des petits gateaux." Fond du Sac. torn. i. p. 13. 

See also Sauval. Antiq. de Paris, torn. ii. pp. (522, 623. Ducange in voce. Dom Marlot. Histoire 
de la Metrop. de Rheims. torn. ii. p 7C9. Brillon Dictionn. des Arrets artic. Noyon. ed 1727- 
Voyages Liturgiques de France. 8vo. Par. 1*18, p. 33 : and, among English authorities. Dugd. 
Mon. torn. iii. 169, 17O, 279. Dugd. Hut. St. Paul's, p. 205, 2O6. Anstis's Onl. Gart. vol. ii. 
p. 309. Drake's Eboracum. p. 481. Blomef Hist, of Norf. fol. vol. ii. p. 516. Gough'n Brit. 
Top. vol ii. p. 362 There was a Boy Bishop at Exeter Cathedral. See Bishop Lyttelton's Account 
of that Building, pp. 10, 11. 

The following is an extract from the St. James's Chronicle, from Nov. 16th to 18th, 1797: 

" From Zug, in Switzerland, it is observed that the annual Procession of the FSte of the Bishop 
and his scholars, on the Fair Day, Dec. 6', is suppressed by authority. The Bishop, it seems, was 
only a scholar, habited as such. Going through the streets, he was preceded by a Chaplain carry- 
ing hi? crozier, and followed by a fool in the usual costume, the latter also earning a staff with 
a bladder filled with pease. Other scholars, dressed like Canons, with a military guard, made up 
the procession. After going to church, it was the Bishop's custom to go and demand money 
from all the booths and stands in the fair. The French, and other traders, it is said, had com- 
plained of this absurd exaction, and the Bishop, it is added, means to appeal to the Pope." 

1 Mr. Steevens found a curious passage on this subject in Puttenham's Art of Poesie, 4to. Loud. 
1589. "Methinks this fellow speaks like Bishop Nicholas: for on St. Nicholas's night, com- 
monly, the scholars of the country make them a Bishop, who, like a foolish boy, goeth about 
blessing and preaching with such childish terms as make the people laugh at his foolish counter- 
feit speeches/' See Reed's edit, of Shaksp. 8vo. Lond. 1S03, vol. iv. p. 253. Two Gentlemen of 
Verona. Act iii. sc. 1. 

Prynne, HUtrio-Mastix, p. 601, cites the following Interdict of the Council of Basil, Anno 1431 : 

" This sacred Synode, detesting that foule abuse frequent in certaine churches, in which, on 
certaine festivals of the yeare, certain persons with a miter, stafie, and pontificall robes, blesse 
men after the manner of Bishops : others being clothed like kings and dukes, which is called the 
Feast of Fooles, of Innocents, or of Children in certaine countries : others practising vizarded 
and theatrical sports : others making trainee and dances of men and women, move men to spec- 
tacles and cachinnations : hath appointed and commanded as well Ordinaries as Deanes and Rectors 
of churches, under paine of suspension of all their ecclesiastical! revenues for three moneths space, 
that they suffer not these and such like playes and pastimes to be any more exercised in the church. 


cession, and find even a Statute to restrain one of them within the limits of his 
own parish. That the arts of secular entertainment were exercised upon this 
occasion, appears from a curious entry, which states, that one of these Boy 
Bishops received a present of thirteen shillings and six pence for singing before 
King Edward the Third, in his chamber, on the day of the Holy Innocents". 

The show of the Boy Bishop, rather on account of its levity and absurdity, 
than of its superstition, was abrogated by a Proclamation, July 22, 1542. 

which ought to be the house of prayer, nor yet in the church-yard, and that they neglect not to 
punish the offenders by ecclesiasticall censures and other remedies of law." 

m In the Statutes of the collegiate church of St. Mary Ottery, founded by Bishop Grandison in 
1337, there is this passage: " Item statuimus, quod nullus Canonicus, Vicarius, vel Secundarius, 
pueros choristas in festo sanctorum Innocentium extra parochiam de Oteiy trahant, aut eis licen- 
tiam vagandi concedant." Cap. 50. MS. Regist. Priorat. S. Swithin. Winton. quat. 9. See Wai-ion's 
Hist. Engl. Poet. vol. i. p. 249. note. 

" In the Wardrobe Rolls of King Edward the Third, an. 12, we have this entry, which shows 
that our mock-bishop and his chapter sometimes exceeded their adopted clerical commission, and 
exercised the arts of secular entertainment : " Episcopo puerorum Ecclesiae de Andeworp cantanfi 
coram domino Rege in camera sua in festo Sanctorum Innocentium, de dono ipsius Regis xiijs. vid." 
Warton's Hist. Eng. Poet. vol. i. p. 249. Note. 

The conclusion of King Henry the Eighth's Proclamation is much to our purpose: 
"And whereas heretofore dyvers and many superstitions and chyldysh observauncis have be used, 
and yet to this day are observed and kept, in many and sundry paries of this Realm, as upon 
SAINT NICHOLAS, the Holie Innocents, and such like, children be strangelie decked and appa- 
rayled to counterfeit Priests, Bishops, and Women, and to be ledde with songes and dances from 
house to house, blessing the people, and gathering of money; and boyes do singe masse and 
preache in the pulpitt, with such other unnttinge and inconvenient usages, rather to the derysyon 
than anie true glorie of God, or honour of his Sayntes. The Kynge's Majestic wylleth and com- 
maundeth that henceforth all such superstitious observations be left and clerely extinguished 
throwout all this Realme and Dominions," &c. 

In explanation of that part of the above which mentions women, it appears that Divine Service was 
not only performed by boys on the above occasion, but by little girls also, for there is an injunction 
given to the Benedictine Nunnery of Godstowe, in Oxfordshire, by Archbishop Peckham, in the 
year 1278, that on INNOCENTS DAY the public prayers should not any more be said in the church of 
that monastery PER PARVULAS, i. e. little Girls. See Warton's Hist, of English Poetry, vol. iii. p. 325. 
According to a small "Cronicle of Yeres" respecting London, &c. (in iny own possession, but 
wanting both the beginning and the end,) it should seem that there had been a previous Procla- 
mation, dated July 22d, 1540, in part, at least, to the same effect. 

In " Yet a Course at the Romyshe Foxe. A dysclosynge or openynge of the Manne of Synne, 
contayned in the late Declaration of the Pope's old Faythe, made by Edmonde Boner, Bysshopp 
of London, &c. by Johan Harryson, [i.e. Bale,] Zurik printed A. D. 1542," 8vo. Signat. D. 4, 
the author enumerates some "auncyent rytes and lawdable ceremonyes of holy Churche/' then, 


With the Catholick Liturgy, all the pageantries of popery were restored to 
their antient splendour by Queen Mary. Among these, the procession of the 
Boy Bishop was too popular a mummery to be overlooked?. Warton informs 
us that one of the Child Bishops' songs, as it was sung before the Queen's Ma- 
jesty* in her privy chamber, at her manour of St. James in the Fields, on St. 
Nicholas' Day, and Innocents Day, 1555, by the Child Bishop of St. Paul's, 
with his company, was printed that year in London, containing a fulsome 
panegyric on the Queen's devotions, comparing her to Judith, Esther, the 
Queen of Sheba, and the Virgin Mary. 

The pageantry of the Boy Bishop would naturally be put down again when 
Queen Elizabeth came to the crown : and yet it seems to have been exhibited 
in the country villages toward the latter end of her reigni. 

The practice of electing a Boy Bishop appears to have subsisted in common 
grammar-schools'. St. Nicholas, says Mr. Warton, was the patron of scholars, 

it should seem, laid aside, with the following censure on the Bishop : " than ought my Lorde also- 
to suffre the same selfe ponnyshment, for not goynge abought with Saynt Nycolas clarkes," &c. 

P In Strype's Ecclesiastical Memorials, vol. iii. p. 2O2, ch. xxv. we read that, Nov. 13, 1554. an 
edict was issued by the Bishop of London to all the Clergy of his Diocese, to have a Boy Bishop 
in procession. 

In the same volume, however, p. 205, we read: Anno 1554, December 5, "the which wa s 
St. Nicholas Eve, at even-song time came a commandment that St. Nicholas should not go abroad nor 
about. But, notwithstanding, it seems, so much were the citizens taken with ihe mock of St. Nicolas, 
that is, a Boy Bishop, that there went about these St. Nicolases in divers parishes, as in St. Andrew's 
Holborn and St. Nicolas Olaves in Bread-street. The reason the procession of St. Nicolas was 
forbid, was, because the Cardinal had this St. Nicolas Day sent for all the Convocation, Bishops, 
and inferior Clergy, to come to him to Lambeth, there to be absolved from all their perjuries, 
schisms, and heresies." In the following page, Strype gives some account of the origin of this 
ceremony, in which there is nothing that has not been already noticed. 

He says, ibid. vol. iii. p. 310, ch. xxxix. that in 1556, on St. Nicholas' Even, "St. Nicholas, 
that is a boy habited like a Bishop in pontificalibus, went abroad in most parts of London, singing 
after the old fashion, and was received with many ignorant but well-disposed people into their 
houses, and had as much good cheer as ever was wont to be had before, at least in many places." 
See also Strype, vol. iii. p. 387- anno 1557. 

9 See the passage before cited in a Note, p. 333, from Puttenham's Art of English Poesie, 4to. 
Lond. 1589, 

r " Hoc anno 1464. In Festo Sancti Nicolai non erat Episcopus puerorum in Scola Grammati- 
cali in Civitate Cantuariae, ex defectu Magistrorum, viz. J. Sidney et T. Hikson, &c." Lib. Johan- 
nis Stone, monachi Eccles. Cant. sc. de Obitibus et aliis memorabilibus sui Coenobii ab anno 1415, 
ad annum 1467, MS. C.C.C.C. Q. 8. 


and hence, at Eton College, St. Nicholas has a double feast; i. e. one on 
account of the college, the other of the school 8 . He adds, " I take this oppor- 
tunity of observing that the anniversary custom at ETON of going AD MON- 
TEM, originated from the antient and popular practice of theatrical proces- 
sions in collegiate bodies" But, with great deference to his opinion, I shall 
endeavour to shew that it is only a corruption of the ceremony of the Boy Bi- 
shop and his companions, who being, by Henry the Eighth's edict, prevented 
from mimicking any longer their religious superiors, gave a new face to their 
festivity, and began their present play at soldiers. The following shews how 
early our youth began to imitate the martial manners of their elders in these 
sports, for it appears from the Close Rolls of Edward I. memb. 2. that a pre- 
cept was issued to the Sheriff of Oxford in 1305, from the King, "to prohibit 
tournaments being intermixed with the sports of the scholars on St. Nicholas's 
Day 4 ." 

It appears by Mr. Hasted's History of Kent, vol. iii. p. 174, that the Master of Wye School, 
founded by Archbishop Kempe in 1447, was to teach all the scholars, both rich and poor, the 
art of Grammar gratis, unless a present was voluntarily made, and except " consuetam Gallorum 
et denariorum Sancti Nicolai gratuitam oblationem," the usual ottering of Cocks and Pence at the 
Feast of St. Nicholas. See also Gent. Mag. for May 1777, vol. xlvii. p. 208, and for Dec. 1790, 
vol. Is. p. 1O76. 

In the Statutes of St. Paul's School, A. D. 1518, (See Knight's Life of Colet, p. 362,) the fol- 
lowing clause occurs : " All these children shall every Childermas Daye come to Pauli'a Churche, 
and hear the Childe Bishop sermon : and after be at the hygh masse, and each of them offer a 
Id. to the Childe Bishop, and with them the Maisters and Surveyors of the Scole." 

Strype, in his Ecclesiastical Memorials, already quoted, speaking of the Boy Bishop among 
scholars, says : " I shall only remark, that there might this at least be said in favour of this old cus- 
tom, that it gave a spirit to the children, and the hopes that they might one time or other attain 
to the real mitre, made them mind their books." 

The following most curious passage from the " Status Seholse Etonensis, A. D. 1560," shews 
that in the papal times the Eton Scholars (to avoid interfering, as it should seem, with the Boy 
Bishop of the College there on St. Nicholas Day,) elected their Boy Bishop on ST. HUGH'S Day, in the 
month of November. St. Hugh was a real Boy Bishop at Lincoln." His day was on November 17th. 

" Meuse Novembri. 

" In die S'ti Hugonis Pontificis solebat yEtona; fieri electio Episcopi Nihilensis : sed Consuetude; 
obsolevit. Olim Episcopus ille puerorum habebatur nobilis. In cujus electione et literata et lau- 
datissima exercitatio ad ingeniorum vires et mot us excitandos ^itonse Celebris erat." 

Warton's Hist. Engl. Poet. vol. ii. p. 375. 

' Ibid. vol. ii. p. 59O. 

,v. c ! ' . .-'; : -.M.-I 



' ' But weak the harp now tun'd to praisfr, 

When fed the raptur'cl sight, 
When greedy thousands eager gaze, 

Devour'd with delight : 

" When triumph hails aloud the joy. 

Which on those hours await : 
When Montem crowns the Eton Boy, 

Long fuin'd triennial File." 

Poems by Henry Rowe, 8vo. Lond. 1796, vol. i. p. 11. 

I HAVE just shewn that the ceremony of the Boy Bishop was called down by 
a Proclamation under the reign of Henry the Eighth, and that, with its parent 
Popery, it revived under that of Queen Mary; as also, that on the accession of 
Queen Elizabeth it would most probably be again put down. Indeed, such a 

a " The Montem is said by some to have been an old monkish institution, observed yearly, for 
the purpose of raising money by the sale of Salt, absolutions, or any 6ther articles, to produce a 
fund that might enable the College to purchase lands : and the Mount, now called Salt-hill, with 
other land contiguous, is said to belong to the college : which idea, upon the authority of tho 
late provost, Dr. Roberts, I can assert, has no foundation in truth*. 

" The custom of having a procession of the scholars can be clearly proved as far back as the 
reign of Queen Elizabeth, who, when she visited this College, desired to see an account of all the 
antfent ceremonies observed there from its foundation to that period, in the number of which it 
appears that an annual procession of the scholars was one, and that at such times verses were re- 
peated, and sums of money were gathered from the public for a dinner, &c. to which fund was 
added the small pittances extorted from the boys who were recently admitted, by those of a longed 
standing." Ireland's Tour of the Thames, vol. ii. p. 39. 

I have heard it asserted, bnt find no foundation of the fact, that in the papal times there wag 
an exclusive grant to Eton College, from the Pope, to sell consecrated salt for making holy water. 

* The Hill called MONTEM stands on the waste, J. B. 

i. xx 


mockery of episcopal dignity was incompatible with the principles of a Pro- 
testant establishment. 

The loss of a holiday, however, has always been considered, even with " chil- 
dren of a larger growth," as a matter of some serious moment : much more, 
with the Tyros of a school, that of an anniversary that promised to a young 
juiiul, in the cessation from study, and the enjoyment of mirth and pleasure, 
every negative as well as every positive good. Invention then would be racked 
to find out some means of retaining, under one shape, the festivities that had 
been annually forbidden under another. By substituting, for a religious, a 
military appearance, the Etonians happily hit upon a method of eluding every 
possibility of giving offence. 

The Lilliputian See having been thus dissolved, and the puny Bishop " un- 
frocked," the crozier b was extended into an ensign, and, under the title of captain c , 

b " Dicite lo, Socii, bis lo jam dicite, Libris 

Altera sepositis Pallas ad arma vocat. 
Tuque Aurora, diem spectacula lajta ferentem. 

Quain primum croceis roscida profer equis. 
/l^olus insanos concludat Carcere ventos 

Aut saltern invisas dissipet aura nives." 
<'Relligione sacer patrum sine fraude doloque 

Aureus, ut spero, Mons erit ille mihi." 
" En ! Socii innocuae ludwtt sub imagine Pugnte, 

Induiturque novo plurimus Ense puer. 
filiolos, quanquam Musis Phaboque dicatos, 

Fulgentes armis Mortis Etona videl." Musae Etonenses, p. 115. 

c In one of the " Public Advertisers," in 1778, is given an account of the MONTEM, which was 
then biennial. This is the oldest printed account of the ceremony I have been able to find.. It is 
dated Eton, and signed ETONENSIS. 

" On Tuesday, being Whit Tuesday, the gentlemen of Eton School went, as usual, in military 
procession to Salt-hill. This custom of walking to the Hill returns every second year, and gene- 
rally collects together a great deal of company of all ranks." " The King and Queen, in their 
phaeton, met the procession on Arbor-hill, in Slough road." " When they halted, the flag was 
nourished by the ensign. The boys went, according to custom, round the mill, &c. The parson 
and clerk were then called, and there these temporary ecclesiasticks went through the usual Latin 
service, which was not interrupted, though delayed for some time by the laughter that was excited 
by the antiquated appearance of the clerk, who had dressed himself according to the ton of 1745, 
and acted his part with as minute a consistency as he had dressed the character." " The procession 
began at half-past twelve from Eton." " The collection was an extraordinaiy good one, as. their 
Mzyestks gave, each of them, fifty guineas." 


llie chieftain of the same sprightly band conducted his followers to a scene of 
action in the open air, where no consecrated walls were in danger of being pro- 
faned, and where the gay striplings could at least exhibit their wonted pleasan- 
tries with more propriety of character. The exacting of money from the spec- 
tators and passengers, for the use of the principal, remained exactly the same 
as in the days of Popery; but, it seems, no evidence has been transmitted 
whether the deacons then, as the salt-bearers do at present, made an offer of a 
little salt in return when they demanded the annual subsidy. I have been so 
fortunate, however, as to discover, in some degree, a similar use of salt, that is, 
an emblematical one, among the- scholars of a foreign University, at the well- 
known celebrity of " Deposition," in a publication dated at Strasburgh, so late 
as A. D. I666 d . The consideration of every other emblem used on the above 

"The principal persons, who were distinguished by their posts above the rest of the procession, 
were : Mr. Hays, the captain ; Mr. Barrow, the parson ; Mr. Reeves, the clerk ; Mr. Simeon, 
the marshal!; Mr. Goodall, the ensign; Mr. Sumpter, the lieutenant ; and Mr. Brown, the cap- 
tain of the Oppidants : the two salt-bearers were Mr. Ascongh and Mr. Biggin. By six o'clock 
the boys had put off the finery of the day, and appeared at Absence in their common dress." 

d To these indignities used before Initiation I am desirous of referring the following custom at 
Alnwick, in Northumberland, thus described in Tom Thumb's Travels, p. 96 : "I was at Aln- 
wick on a court-day, when the whimsical ceremony was performed of making free two young men 
of the town. They jumped, with great solemnity, into a miry bog, which took one of them up 
to his arm-pits, and would have let me in far enough over head and ears, which made me glad I 
had no right to the freedom of Alnwick. It seems King John imposed this upon the townsmen 
in their charter, as a punishment for not mending the road ; his Majesty having fallen into this 
very hole, and stuck there in state till he was relieved." 

" The manner of making freemen of Alnwick Common is not less singular than ridiculous. The 
persons that are to be made free, or, as the phrase is, that are to leap the well, assemble in the 
market-place very early in the morning, on the 25th of April, being St. Mark's Day. They ara 
on horse-back, with every man his sword by his side, dressed in white with white night-caps, 
and attended by the four Chamberlains and the Castle Bailiffe, who are also mounted and armed 
in the same manner. From the market-place they proceed in great order, with inusick playing 
before them, to a large dirty pool, called the Freemen's tt'ell, on the confines of the Com- 
mon. Here they draw up in a body, at some distance from the water, and then, all at once, 
rush into it, like a herd of swine, and scramble through the mud as fast as they can. As the 
water is generally breast high, and very foul, they come out in a condition not much better than 
the heroes of the DTNCIAD after diving in Fleet Ditch; but dry cloathes being ready for them on 
the other side, they put them on with all possible expedition, and then, taking a dram, remount 
their liorses, and ride full gallop round the whole confines of the district, of which, by this atchieve- 
nient, they are become free. And, after having completed this circuit, they again enter the towo 


occasion, and explained in that work, being foreign to my purpose, I shall con- 
fine myself to that of the salt 6 alone, which one of the heads of the college ex- 
plains thus to the young academicians : 

sword in hand, and are generally met by women dressed up with ribbons, bells, and garlands of 
gum-flowers, who welcome them with dancing and singing, and are called timber-waits (perhaps 
a corruption of timbrel- waits, players on Timbrels, Halts being an old word for those who play 
on musical instruments in 'the streets). The heroes then proceed in a body till they come to the 
house of one of thehr company, where they leave him, having first drank another dram ; the re- 
maining number proceed to the house of the second, with the same ceremony, and so of the rest, 
till the last is left to go home by himself. The houses of the new freemen are on this day distin- 
guished by a great holly-bush, which is planted in the street before them, as a signal for their 
friends to assemble and make merry with them at their return. This strange ceremony is said to 
have been instituted by King John, in memory of his having once bogged his horse in this pool, 
called Freemen's Well." Gent. Mag. for Feb. 1756', vol. xxvi. p. 73. 

In the 'Life of Mr. Anthony a Wood, p. 4G, are some curious particulars relating to indignities 
shewn at that time, 1647, to freshmen at Oxford on Shrove Tuesday. A brass pot full of cavvdle 
was made by the cook at the freshmen's charge, and set before the fire in the College-hall. " Af- 
terwards every freshman, according to seniority, was to pluck off his gowne and band, and, if 
possible, to make himself look like a Scoundrell. This done, they were conducted each after the 
other to the high table, and there made to stand on a forme placed thereon, from whence they 
were to speak their speech with an audible voice to the company : which, if well done, the person, 
that spoke it was to have a cup of cawdle, and no salted drinke ; if indifferently, some cawdle 
and some salted drinke ; but if dull, nothing was given to him but salted drink, or salt put in 
College-beere, with Tucks * to boot. Afterwards, when they were to be admitted into the frater- 
nity, the senior cook was to administer to them an oath over an old shoe, part of which runs 
thus : ' Item, tu jurabis, quod Penniless Bench non visitabis,' &c. after which spoken with gra- 
vity, the Freshman kist the shoe, put on his gowne and band, and took his place among the se- 
niors." The Editor observes, p. 50 : " The custom described above was not, it is probable, pecu- 
liar to Merton College. Perhaps it was once general, as striking traces of it may be found in 
many societies in Oxford, and in some a very near resemblance of it has been kept up till within, 
these few years." 

To these indignities also at initiation (or rather to a compromise to prevent them) I am desirous 
to refer the custom of exacting Garnish-money at the first admission of debtors into prison, con- 
cerning which 1 find the following in the Gent. Mag. for May 1752, vol. xxii. p. 239 : " The She- 
riffs of London have ordered that no debtor, in going into any of the Gaols of London and Mid- 
dlesex, shall, for the future, pay any Garnish, it having been found for many years a great 

' There are twenty plates illustrating the several strange ceremonies of the " Depositio." The 

* Tuck, i. . set the nail of their thumb to their chin, just under the lip, and by the help of their other fin- 
gers under the chin, they would give him a mark, which sometimes would produce blood. 


" With regard to the ceremony of Salt," says he, " the sentiments and opi- 
nions both of Divines and Philosophers concur in making Salt the emblem of 
wisdom or learning; and that, not only on account of what it is composed of, 

last represents the giving of the Salt, which a person is holding on a plate in his'left hand, and 
with his right ham! about to put a pinch of it upon the tongue of each Beanus or Freshman. A 
glass, holding wine (I suppose), is standing near him. Underneath is the following couplet, which 
is much to our purpose ; for even the use of Wine also is not altogether unknown at present in 
our Monteui procession at Eton : 

" Sid Sophite gustate, bibatis vinaque leeta, 

Augeat immensus vos in utrisque Deus !" 

It is said to have been formerly one of the pleasantries of the Salt-bearers to fill any boorish 
looking countryman's mouth with it, if, after he has given them a trifle, he asks for any thing in 
return, to the no small entertainment of the spectators. 

Mr. Cambridge, an old Etonian, informed me, August 9th, 1794, that, in his time, the Salt- 
bearers and Scouts carried, each of them, Salt in a handkerchief, and made every person take a 
pinch of it out before they gave their contributions. 

The following lines from " The Favourite, a Simile," in " The Tunbridge Miscellany, for the 
year 1712," 8vo, p. 29, allude to this practice : 

" When boys at Eton, once a year, 
In military pomp appear ; 
He who just trembled at the rod, 
Treads it a Heroe, talks a God, 
And in an instant can create 
A dozen officers of state. 
His little legion all assail, 
Arrest without release or bail : 
Each passing traveller must halt, 
Must pay the tax, and eat the Salt. 
You don't love Salt, you say ; and storm 
Look o' these staves, sir and conform." 

I should conjecture that Salt Hill was the central place where antiently all the festivities used on 
this occasion were annually displayed, and here only, it should seem, the Salt was originally distri- 
buted, from which circumstance it has undoubtedly had its name. From hence, no doubt, the 
antient boy Bishop made some ridiculous oration, similar perhaps to the following, which was the 
undoubted exordium to a sermon given in the beginning of the reign of queen Elizabeth to the 
scholars of Oxford in St. Mary's, by Richard Taverner, of Wood Eaton, high sheriff for the county 
of Oxford ; and that too. with his gold chain about his neck, and his sword at his side : " Arriving- 
at the Mount of St. Maries, in the stony stage, where I now stand, 1 have brought you some fine 
bisketts baked in the oven of charity, and carefully conserved for the chickens of the Church, the 
sparrows of the Spirit, and the sweet swallows of Salvation." See Sir John Cheek's Preface to 


but also with respect to the several uses to which it is applied. As to its compo- 1 
nent parts, as it consists of the purest matter, so ought Wisdom to be pure, 
sound, immaculate, and incorruptible: and similar to the effects which salt pro- 
duces upon bodies, ought to be those of Wisdom and Learning upon the mind c ." 

In another part of the oration, he tells them, " This rite of Salt is a pledge 
or earnest which you give that you will most strenuously apply yourselves to 
the study of good arts, and as earnestly devote yourselves to the several duties 
of your vocation f ." 

How obvious is it then to make the same application of the use of Salt in the 
present ceremony at Eton. 

May we not therefore, without any forced construction, understand the Salt- 
bearers, when, on demanding of the several spectators or passengers their re- 
spective contributions, they laconically cry, " Salt," " Salt," as addressing 

his book called " The true Subject to the Rebel," 4to, Oxon. 1641. See Liber Niger, edit. 1~2S, 
Tol. ii. p. 5/2. 

The following extract from Dugdale's Origines Juridicialcs I do not think foreign to our pur- 
pose. Speaking of the " Orders and Exercises of the Inner Temple ;" Title : " Gentlemen of the 
Clerks Commons ;" he says, p. 158, " When the Clerks Commons exercise in the vacation begin- 
nc'th, the abbot, or antientest of them, comes up to the Barr-table at the end of dinner, and 
acquainted! them that the Gentlemen of the Clerks Commons have a Case to put their Master- 
ships ; and after, during the whole exercise of that vacation, upon Monday, Wednesday, and Fri- 
day, there are Clerks Common Cases to be argued. The gentleman that is to bring it in, as soon 
as the tables in the hall be covered, and salt-cellars set upon the Clerks Commons Table, and that 
the horn hath blown to dinner, he that is to put the Case layeth a Case fair written in paper upon the 
Salt, giving thereby notice of the Case to be argued after dinner : which Case, so laid upon the Salt, 
if any one gentleman of the house do take up and read, he, by order of the house, is to be sus- 
pended Commons, and to be amerc'd." 

e " Sal consentient! omnium cum Theologorurn turn Philosophorum judicio atque testimonio 
Sapientiam she Doctrinam adumlrat. Idquc non tantum propter constitutionem sivc materiain : 
scd etiam effectu & utilitatibus in quibus conveniunt maximis. Nam sicut Sal ex rebus purissimis 
constat : ita et hsec debet esse pura, sana, immaculata, et sine corruptione. Effectibus vero Sal 
Doctrinae et Sapientise symbolum esse depraehenditur." Dyas Orationum de Ritu Depositions, 
4to. Argentorati, 1666. pp. 21, 22. 

f " Agite ergo, quid in hoc ritu Sale fcederis tanquam arrlia interveniente spoponderitis, quotidie 
cum gravi cura perpendite, bonis artibus strenue incumbite, & vestree vocationis officia pie curate," 
&c. Ibid. p. 21. 

In Vaughan's Golden Grove, 8vo, Lond. 1608, signal. Q. it i said : " In Prester John's country, 
Salt goes for money." 


them to the following purport : " Ladies and Gentlemen, Your subsidy money 
for the Caplain of the Eton scholars s\ By this Salt, which we give as an earnest, 
we pledge ourselves to become proficients in the learning we are sent hither to 
acquire, the well-known emblem ofivhich we now present you with in return h ." 

S Warton, in his History of English Potry, vol. iii. p. 303, has preserved tiie form of the acquit- 
tance given by a Boy-Bishop to the receiver of his subsidy, then amounting to the considerable sum 
of sB3 15s. Id. 06. " Dominus Johannes Gisson, Magister Choristarum ccclesiae Eboracensis, 
liberavit Roberto de Holme, choristae, qui tune ultimo fuerat Episcopus puerorum, iij libras, xv s. 
irf. ob. de perquisitis ipsius Episcopi per ipsum Johannem reccptis:" and the said Robert takes an 
oath that he will never molest the said John for the above sum. 

The sum collected at the Mont em on Whit-Tuesday 1790 was full s.500. This sum goes to 
the captain, who is the senior of the Collegers at the time of the ceremony. The motto for 
that year was, " Pro More et Monte." Their majesties presented each a purse of fifty guineas.. 
The fancy dresses of the Salt-bearers and their deputies, who are called scouts, are usually of dif- 
ferent coloured silks, and very expensive. Formerly, the dresses used in this procession were ob- 
tained from the Theatres. 

h The following most curious passage from a MS. which I have frequently had occasion ta 
quote in the course of the present work (the " Status Scholce Etonensis, A. D. 15GO"), and which 
1 had not seen when I wrote my sentiments on the origin of the Salt-bearing at Salt Hill, confirms 
my derivation of the custom beyond the possibility of a doubt : 

" Mense Januario. 

" Circiter Festum Conversions Dim Pauli ad horam nonam, quodam die pro arbitrio Moderators, 
ex consueto modo, quo eunt collectum Avellanas mense Septembri, itur a Ptteris ad Montem. 
MQNS puerili religione jEtonensium sacer locus est. Hunc ob pulchritudinem agri, amoenitatem 
graminis, umbraculorum temperationena, canorum avium concentum, &c. Apollini et Musis ve- 
nerabilem sedem faciunt, carminibus celebrant, Tempe vocant, Helicon! preferunt. Hie Novitii 
seu Recentes, qui annum nondum viriliter et nervose in Acie JEtonensi ad verbera steterunt, SALE primo 
condluntur, tarn versiculis qui habeant SALEM et leporem, quoad fieri potest, egregie depinguntur : 
deinde in reecntes Epigrammata faciunt omni suavitate sermonis et facetiis, alter altcram superare 
contendentes. Quicquid in buccam venit libere licet effutire, modo latine fiat, modo habcat urba- 
nitatem, modo careat obscosna verborum scurrilitate ; postremb et lacrimis salsis humectant ora 
gcnasque et turn demum veteranorum ritibus initiantnr. Sequuntur orationes et parvi triumph! et 
serio hetantur cuno ob prateritos labores, turn ob cooptationem in tarn lepidorum Commilitonum 
Societatem. His peractis ad horam 5 tan > domum revertuntur & post cocnam ludunt ad 8 v am usque." 

I have no doubt that, from the above teazing and tormenting the junior scholars, has originated the 
present custom of having " FAGS" at Eton School, i. e. little boys, who are the slaves of the 
greater ones. 

I must remark here that St. Nicholas Day continues to be a Gaudy-day in Eton College ; and 
though the present Montern is generally kept on Whit Tuesday, yet it is certain that even within 
the memory of persons now alive, it was formerly kept in the winter time, a little before the Christ- 
mas holidays, as a person of high rank., who had been a scholar there, told me ; or, as others have- 


The text is so metaphorically concise, that it cannot otherwise be explained 
but by a diffuse paraphrase, or what in the language of scholars is called " a li- 
beral translation." 

informed me, in the month of February. Dr. Davies, one of the late Provosts, remembered when 
they used to cut a passage through the snow from Eton to the hill called Salt Hill, upon which, 
after the procession had arrived there, the chaplain with his clerk used to read prayers; upon the 
conclusion of which it was customary for the chaplain to kick his clerk down the hill. It is said 
that the first time her Majesty was present at this ceremony, she thought this sort of sport so 
very irreligious, and expressed her royal dissatisfaction at it so much, that the kicking part of 
the service has ever since been very properly laid aside. 

There is nothing new under the sun, says the Adage. It might seem a peculiar act of royal 
condescension in our present sovereign, with the queen, and other branches of the royal family, to 
honour with their presence the puerile festivities of the Montem procession at Eton, yet I have 
shewn before that king Edward the First, even when on a military expedition into Scotland, 
thought not the then reputed innocent pleasantries of the Boy Bishop beneath the regal notice, for 
we find that, at Newcastle upon Tyne, he performed vespers before the king ; and other boys with 
him came and sang in the royal presence, and received a reward of forty shillings, which in those 
days was a very considerable sum. 

It is observable that in the Latin Verses in the " Musoe Etonenses," pp. 62 and 1 13, to both of 
which " :-KO MORE ET MONTE" is the motto, the season is described to be winter: 
" Jam satis terris nivis et nigrantum 
Imbrium misit pater," &c. 
The '' Musae Etonenses" were published in 1755. 

In Huggett's Manuscript Collections for the History of Windsor and Eton Colleges, preserved in 
the British Museum* (one volume of which has been already quoted for the " Status Scholse Eto- 
nensis"), is the following account of " Ad Montem :" 

" The present manner is widely different from the simplicity of its first institution. Now, the 
Sales Epigrammatum are changed into the Sal purum; and it is a play-day, without exercise. Here 
is a procession of the school quite in the military way. The scholars of the superior classes dress 
in the proper regimentals of captain, lieutenant, &c. which they borrow or hire from London on 
the occasion. The procession is likewise in the military order, with drums, trumpets, &c. They 
then march three times round the school-yard, and from thence to Salt Hill, on which one of the 
scholars, diess'd in black and with a band, as chaplain, reads certain prayers : after which a dinner 
(dressed in the College kitchen) is provided by the captain for his guests at the inn there ; the rest 
getting a dinner for themselves at the other houses for entertainment. But long before the pro- 
cession begins, two of the scholars called Salt-bearers, dressed in white, with a handkerchief of 
Salt in their hands, and attended each with some sturdy young fellow hired for the occasion, go 

* The Rev. Roger Huggctt, M. A. vicar of the king's free chapel of St. George Windsor, the compiler of 
these MSS. in nine folio volumes, was born Oct. 8, 1710; and died rector of -Hartley Wasp;iill, in the count? 
of Southampton, July 27, 1769. 


The antient Calendar of the Church of Rome in my library, which I have 
had such frequent occasion to quote, has the following observations on 

round the College and through the town, and from thence up into the high road, and offering 
Salt to all, but scarce leaving it to their choice whether they will give or not : for money they will 
have, if possible, and that even from servants. 

" The fifth and sixth forms dine with the captain. The noblemen usually do, and many other 
scholars whose friends are willing to be at the expence. The price of the dinner to each is 
10s. 6d, and 2s. 6d. more for Salt-money. Every scholar gives a shilling for Salt ; the noblemen 
more. At this time also they gather the recent money, which is ... from every scholar that has 
been entered within the year. Dinner being over, they march back in the order as before into the 
school yard, and with the third round the ceremony is concluded. The motto on the ensigns co- 
Jours is, " Pro More et Monte." Every scholar, who is no officer, inarches with a long pole, socii, 
or two and two. At the same time and place the head-master of the school makes a dinner at 
his own expence for his acquaintance, assistants, &c. Of late years the captain has cleared, after 
all expences are paid, upwards of ^.100. The Montem day used to be fixed for the first Tuesday 
in Hilary Term, which begins January 23d. In the year 1759, the day was altered to Tuesday in 
the Whitsun week (which was then June 5th) ; the Whitsun holidays having a few years before 
been altered from five weeks holiday at election. This procession to Montem is ever)' third year, 
and sometimes oftener." 

In the same volume of Huggett's Collections, another Eton custom is noticed, of 


" It was an antient custom for the butcher of the College to give on the election Saturday a 
Ram to be hunted by the scholars ; but, by reason (as I have heard) of the Ram's crossing the 
Thames, and running through Windsor market-place with the scholars after it, where some mis- 
chief was done, as also by long courses in that hot season, the health of some of the scholars being 
thereby thought endangered, about thirty years ago the Ram was ham-strung, and, after the 
speech, was with large clubs knocked on the head in the stable-yard. But this carrying a shew 
of barbarity in it, the custom was entirely left off in the election of 1747; but the Ram, as usual, 
is served up in pasties at the high table. (Anno 1760.) 

" Browne Willis would derive this custom from what is (or was) used in the reanor of East 
Wrotham, Norfolk (the rectory and, I believe, the manor of which belongs to this College), where 
the lord of the manor after the Harvest gave half an acre of barley and a ram to the tenants 
thereof. The which ram, if they caught it, was their own ; if not, it was for the lord again. 

In the Gent. Mag. for Aug. 1731, vol. i. p. 351, is the following: " Monday, Aug. 2, was the 
election at Eton College, when the scholars, according to custom, hunted a ram, by which the 
Provost and Fellows hold a manor." 

In the Gentleman's Magazine for June 1793, vol. Ixiii. p. 571, is the following account of the 
Montem procession for that year : 

" On Whit-Tuesday, according to triennial custom, the procession of the young gentlemen 
educated at Eton-School to Salt Hill took place. About eleven, the gentlemen assembled in the 

VOL. I. Y Y 


St. Nicholas's Day : 

"Nicholas Bishop. 
School Holidays. 

The Kings go to church, with presents and great shew. 
The antient custom of Poets in Schools related to the Boys. 
The Kings Feasts in Schools'." 

Vestiges of these antient popish superstitions are still retained in several 
schools about this time of the year : and, as I have heard, particularly in the 
Grammar-school in the city of Durham, where the scholars barr out k the mas- 

school-yard, and were soon after properly arranged in the procession, according to their rank in 
the school. Their Majesties, with the Prince of Wales, Princesses Royal, Augusta, Elizabeth, 
and Amelia, the Duchess of York, and Prince William of Gloucester, arrived at the College about 
twelve, and took their station in the stable yard. The young gentlemen marched twice round 
the school yard, and then went, in true military parade, with music playing, drums beating, and 
colours flying, into the stable yard, where they passed the royal family, the ensign having first 
flourished the flag, by way of salute to their Majesties. The procession then moved on, through 
the playing fields, to Salt Hill, where they were again received by the royal family ; when, after 
again marching by, and saluting them, the young gentlemen paraded to dinner. To the honour 
of Eton, the number of gentlemen who marched in the procession amounted to 500. The col- 
lection for the benefit of the captain far exceeded all former ones ; the sum spoken of amounts to 
near s^.1000." " The motto on the flag, and on the Tickets distributed on the occasion, was, 
Mos PRO LEGE. Their Majesties, the Prince of Wales, Princesses, and Duchess of York, made 
their donations to the Salt-bearers. In the evening the gentlemen returned, in proper military 
uniform, to Eton ; and afterwards the Salt-bearers and Scouts appeared on the terrace in their 
dresses, and were particularly noticed by their Majesties." 

Something like the MONTEM Festivities appears to have been kept up in Westminster School 
after the Reformation, as we may gather from the following passage in the Funeral Sermon of 
Biahop Duppa, preached at the Abbey Church of Westminster, April 24th, 1662, p. 34. " Here 
ft. e. in Westminster School) he had the greatest dignity which the School could afford put upon 
him, to be the Ptedonomus at Christmas, Lord of his fellow scholars : which title was a pledge and 
presage that, from a Lord in jeast, he should, in his riper age, become one in earnest." 
1 " 6. Nicolao Episcopo. 

Scholarum feriae. 

Reges ad sedem muneribus et pompa accedunt. 

Poetarum mos olim in schola ad pueros relatus. 

Regales in Scholis Epulae." 
k In the Metamorphoses of the Town, p. 35, we read: 

" Not school-boys at a barring-out 
Rais'd ever such incessant rout." 


ter, and forcibly obtain from him what they call Orders. I learn too that 
there is a similar custom at the school of Houghton le Spring, in the county of 

Harwood, in his History of Litchfield, p. 499, tells us, from Dr. Johnson's Life of Addison 
that, "in 1683, when Addison had entered his twelfth year, his father, now become Dean of 
Litchfield, committed him to the care of Mr. Shaw, master of the grammar-school in this city. 
While he was under the tuition of Shaw, his enterprize and courage have been recorded in lead- 
ing and conducting successfully a plan for barring-out his master ; a disorderly privilege, which, 
in his time, prevailed in the principal seminaries of education, where the boys, exulting at the 
approach of their periodical liberty, and unwilling to wait its regular commencement, took pos- 
session of the school some days before the time of regular recess, of which they barred the doors : 
and, not contented with the exclusive occupation of the fortress, usually bade their master defi- 
ance from the windows. The whole operation of this practice was, at Litchfield, planned and 
conducted by Addison." 

A Writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1791j vol. Ixi. p. 1170, mentioning some local cus- 
toms of Westmoreland and Cumberland, says : 

" Another, equally as absurd, though not attended with such serious consequences, deserves to be 
noticed. In September or October, the master is locked out of the school by the scholars, who, 
previous to his admittance, give an account of the different holidays for the ensuing year, which 
he promises to observe, and signs his name to the Orders, as they are called, with two bondsmen. 
The return of these signed Orders is the signal of capitulation ; the doors are immediately opened ; 
beef, beer, and wine, deck the festive board ; and the day is spent in mirth." 

I find the following among the Statutes of the Grammar-school founded at Kilkenny, in Ire- 
land, March IS, 1684, in Vallancey's Collectanea de rebus Hibernicis, vol. ii. p. 51<2: " In the 
number of stubborn and refractory lads, who .shall refuse to submit to the Orders and Correction 
of the said School, who are to be forthwith dismissed, and not re-admitted without due sub- 
mission to exemplary punishment, and on the second offence to be discharged and expelled for 
ever," are reckoned " such as shall offer to shut out the master or usher, but the master shall give 
them leave to break up eight days before Christmas, and three days before Easter and Whitsuntide." 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xiii. p. 211, 8vo. Edinb. 1794, is an account of the 
Grammar-school at the city of St. Andrews, in the county of Fife. "The scholai's, in general, 
pay at least 5s. a quarter, and a Candlemas gratuity, according to their rank and fortune, from 
5s. even as far as Jive guineas, when there is a keen competition for the Candlemas crown. The 
KING, i.e. he who pays most, reigns for six weeks, during which period he is not only intitled 
to demand an afternoon's play for the scholars once a week, but he has also the royal privilege of 
remitting all punishments. The number of scholars is from 50 to CO." 

A Breaking-up, in a Poem, intitled, "Christmas," 8vo. Bristol, 1795, 1. 71 , is thus described: 
"A School there was, within a well known town, 
(Bridgwater call'd,) in which the boys were wont, 
At brealcing-up for Christmas' lov'd recess, 
To meet the master, on the happy morn, 


At early hour* : the custom, too, prevail'd, 
That he who first the seminary reach'd 

Should, instantly, perambulate the streets 

With sounding horn, to rouse his fellows up ; 

And, as a compensation for his care, 

His flourish'd copies, and his chapter-task, 

Before the rest, he from the master had. 

For many days, ere Breaking-up commenced, 

Much was the clamour, 'mongst the beardless crowd, 

Who first would dare his well-warm'd bed forego, 

And, round the town, with horn of ox equipp'd, 

His schoolmates call. Great emulation glow'd 

In all their breasts ; but, when the morning came, 

Straightway was heard, resounding through the streets, 

The pleasing blast, (more welcome far, to them, 

Than is, to sportsmen, the delightful cry 

Of hounds on chase,) which soon together brought 

A tribe of boys, who, thund'ring at the doors 

Of those, their fellows, sunk in Somnus' arms, 

Great hubbub made, and much the town alarm'd. 

At length the gladsome, congregated throng, 

Toward the school their willing progress bent, 

With loud huzzas, and, crowded round the desk, 

Where sat the master busy at his books, 

In reg'lar order, each received his own. 

The youngsters then, enfranchis'd from the school, 

Their fav'rite sports pursued." 

At St. Mary's College, Winton, the DULCE DOMUM is sung on the evening preceding the Whit- 
son Holidays : the masters, scholars, and choristers, attended by a band of musick, walk in pro- 
cession round the courts of the College, singing it. It is, no doubt, of very remote antiquity, 
and its origin must be traced, not to any ridiculous tradition, but to the tenderest feelings of 

human nature. 

" Concinamus, O Sodales 

Eja ! quid silemus ? 
Nobile canticum ! 
Dulce melos, domum ! 
Dulce domum resonemus ! 

Chorus. Domurn, domum, dulce domum ! 
Domum, domum, dulce domum I 
Dulce, dulce, dulce domum ! 
Dulce domum resonemus. 

* Usually at four o'clock. 


" Appropinquat ecce ! felix 

Hora gaudiorum, 
Post grave tedium 
Advcnit omnium 
Meta petita laborum. 

Domum, domum, &c. 
"Musa ! libros mitte, fessa; 

Mitte pensa dura, 
Mitte negotium, 
Jam datur otinm, 
Me mea mittito cura ! 

Domum, domum, &c, 
" Ridet annus, prata rident, 

Nosque rideamus, 
Jam rcpetit domum 
Daulias advena : 
Nosque domum repetamus, 

Domum, domum, &c. 
'?Heus! Rogere, fercaballos; 

Eja, mine eamus, 
Limen amabile, 
Matris et oscula, 
Suaviter et repetamus. 

Domum, domum, &c. 
" Concinamus ad Penates, 

Vox et audiatur ; 
Phosphore ! quid jubar, 
Segnius emicans, 
Gaudia nostra moratur. 

Domum, domum," &e. 

A spirited translation of this song occurs in the Gent. Mag. for March 1796, vol. Ixvi. p. 20S. 
[See also Gent. Mag. for Dee. 1811, vol. Ixxxi. p. 503.] 

Few school-tioys are ignorant that the first Monday after the holidays, when they are to return, 
to school again, and produce, or repeat, the several tasks that had been set them, is called 

On the subject of School-sports may be added, that a silver arrow used formerly to he annually 
shot for by the scholars of the Free-school at Harrow. 

" Thursday, Aug. 5, according to an ancient custom, a silver arrow, value 31. was shot for at 
the Butts on Harrow-on-the-Hill, by six youths of that free-school, in Archery habits, and won 
by a son of Capt. Brown, commander of an East Indiaman. This diversion was the gift of John 
Lyon, esq. founder of the said School." Gent. Mag. for Aug 1731, vol. i. p. 351. 




" Age, libertate Decembri f 

Quando ita majores volueruat, utere." HOR. 



I FIND some faint traces of a custom of going a goading (as it is called) on 
St. Thomas's Day, which seems to have been done by women only, who, in 
return for the alms they received, appear to have presented their benefactors 
with sprigs of ever-greens, probably to deck their houses with at the ensuing 
Festival*. Perhaps this is only another name for the Northern custom to be 
presently noticed, of going about and crying Hagmena b . 


J. Boemus Aubanus tells us that in Franconia, on the three Thursday nights 
preceding the Nativity of our Lord, it is customary for the youth of both sexes 
to go from house to house, knocking at the doors, singing their Christmas Car- 

* See Gent. Mag. for April 1794, vol. Ixiv. p. 292. The writer is speaking of the preceding 
mild winter : " The women who went a goodlng (as they call it in these parts) on St. Thomas's 
Pay, might, in return for alms, have presented their benefactors with sprigs of palm and bunches 
of primroses." A Southern Faunist's Observation in his Chronicle of the Seasons. [The Editor 
has been informed that this practice is still kept up in Kent, in the neighbourhood of Maidstone.] 

b My servant B. Jelkes, who is from Warwickshire, informs me that there is a custom in that 
county for the Poor, on St. Thomas's Day, to go with a bag to beg corn of the farmers, which 
they call going a corning. 


rols, and wishing a happy New Year. They get, in return, at the houses they 
stop at, pears, apples, nuts, and even money*. 

c " In trium quintarum feriarum noctibus, quae proxime Domini nostri Natalem praecedunt, 
utriusque Sexus pueri domesticatim eunt januas pulsantes, cautantesque ; futurum Salvatoris 
exortum annunciant at salubrem Annum : undo ab his qui in sedibus sunt, pyra, poma, nuces 
et nummos ctiam percipiunt." p. 264. 

This custom is also described by Naogeorgus in the Regnum Papisticum : 
" Hebdomadas tris ante diem qua natus lesus 
Creditur, atque die Jovis, et pueri atque puellae 
Discumint, pulsantque palam ostia cuncta domatim, 
Adventum Domini clamantes, forsitan haud dum 
Nati, ac optantes felicem habitantibus annum. 
Inde nuces capiunt, pira, nummos, poma, placentas: 
Quisque lubens tribuit. Tres illse namque putantur 
Noctes infaustae, Satanae nocumenta timentur, 
Sagarumque Artes, odiumque immune, papistis." 

See Hospin. de Orig. Christ. Festor. fol. 151 b. 
Thus translated by Barnabe Googe : 

" Three weekes before the day whereon was borne the Lorde of Grace, 
And on the Thursdaye boyes and girls do runne in every place, 
And bounce and beate at every doore, with blowes and lustie snaps, 
And crie, the Advent of the Lord not borne as yet perhaps. 
And wishing to the neighbours all, that in the houses dwell, 
A happie yeare, and every thing to spring and prosper well : 
Here have they peares, and plumbs, and pence, ech man gives willinglee, 
For these three nightes are alwayes thought vnfortunate to bee : 
Wherein they are afrayde of sprites and cankred witches spight, 
And dreadfull devils blacke and grim, that then have chiefest might." 

Popish Kingdome, fol. 44 b. 

In "Whimzies; or, a new Cast of Characters," l^mo. Lond. 1631, the anonymous author, in his 
description of "a good and hospitable Housekeeper, has left the following picture of Christmas fes- 
tivities. " Suppose Christmas now approaching, the ever-green Ivie trimming and adorning the 
portals and partcloses of so frequented a building ; the usuall carolls, to observe antiquitie, cheere- 
fully sounding ; and that which is the complement of his inferior comforts, his neighbours, whom 
he tenders as members of his owne family, joyne with him in this consort of mirth and melody." 
p. 80, In the second Part, p. 27, he calls a piper " an ill wind that begins to blow upon Christ- 
masse Eve, and so continues, very lowd and blustring, all the twelve dayes : or aw airy meteor, 
composed of flatuous matter, that then appeares, and vanjsheth, to the great peace of the whole 
family, the thirteenth day." 


Little troops of boys and girls still go about in this very manner at Newcastle- 
upon-Tyne, and other places in the North of England, some few nights before, 
on the night of the Eve of Christmas Day, and on that of the day itself. The 
Hagmena is still preserved among them, and they always conclude their beg- 
ging song with wishing a merry Christmass and a happy New Year. 

The very observable word " Hagitena," used on this occasion, is by some 
supposed of an antiquity prior to the introduction of the Christian Faith 11 . 

Poor Robin, in his Almanack for 1GJ6, speaking of the Winter Quarter, tells us: "And lastly, 
who but would praise it because of Christmas, when good cheer doth so abound, as if all the 
world were made of minc'd-pies, plumb-puddings, and furmity." 

d Selden, in his Notes on the Polyolbion 9. song, tells us : " that on the Druidian custom (of 
going out to cut the Misletoe) some have grounded that unto this day used in France ; where the 
younger country-fellows, about New Yeare's-tide, in every village give the wish of good fortune at 
the inhabitants dores, with this acclamation, ' Au guy I' an neuf,' i. e. to the Misletoe this New 
Year ; which, as I remember, in llablais is read all one word, for the same purpose." He cites 
here " Jo. Goropius Gallic. 5. et aliis." 

I find the following in Menage's Dictionary, (torn. i. p. 12.) " Aguilanleu, par corruption, 
pour An gui 1'an neuf: ad Viscum, Annus novus. Paul Merule dans sa Cosmographie, part. 2. 
liv. 3. chap. xi. 'Sunt qui illud Au Gui I' an neuf, quod hactenus quot annis pridie Kalendas Ja- 
nuar. vulgo publice cantari in Gallia swlet ab Druidis manasse autumant : ex hoc forte Ovidii, 

Ad Viscum Druidae, Druidae cantare solebant : 

Solitos enim aiunt Druidas per suos adolescentes viscum suum cunctis mittere, eo quasi munere, 
bonum, faustum, felicem, & fortunatum omnibus Annum precari.' Voyez Goropius Becanus in 
Gallicis, Vigenaire sur Cesar, Vinet sur Ausone, Gosselin au chapitre 14. de son Histoire des 
anciens Gaulois, Andre" Favyn dans son Theatre d'Honneur, p. 38. et sur tout Jan Picard dans sa 
Celtopedie. II es>t a remarquer, que les Vers cy-dessus alldgue par Merule sous le nom d'Ovide, 
ii'est point d'Ovide. En Touraine on dit Aguilanneu. Les Espagnols disent Aguinuldo pour les 
presants qu'on fait a la Feste de Noel. En basse Normandie, les pauvres, le dernier jour de Tan, 
en demandant 1'aumosne, disent Hoguinanno." 

See also Cotgrave's Dictionary in verbo "Au-guy-l'an neuf." The Celtic name for the oak was 
gue or guy. 

" When the end of the year approached, the old Druids marched with great solemnity to gather 
the misleloe of the oak, in order to present it to Jupiter, inviting all the world to assist at this 
ceremony with these words : ' The new Year is at hand, gather the Misletoe.' In Aquitania 
quotannis prid. kal. Jan. pueri atque adolescentes vicosque villasque obeunt carmine stipem peten- 
tes sibique atque aliis pro voto in exordio novi anni acclamantes Allguy, L'an neiif. Keysler, 305, 
so that the footsteps of this custom still remain in some parts of France." Borlase's Antiq. of 
Cornwall, p. 91, 92. 


Others deduce it from three French words run together', and signifying, " the 
man is born." Others again derive it from two Greek words, signifying the 
Holy Month f . 

On the Norman Hoquinanno, Mr. Douce observes : " This comes nearer to our word, which 
was probably imported with the Normans. It was also by the French called Haguiltennes and Hagvi- 
mento, and I have likewise found it corrupted into Haguirtnleux. See on this subject Carpentier, 
Supplem. ad Du Cange, torn. iv. Dictionn. de Menage, Boril, and Trevoux ; the Diction, des 
Mreurs & Usages des Francois ; and Bellingen L'Etymol. des Proverbes Francois. 

For the following lines which the common people repeat upon this occasion, on New Year's 
Day, in some parts of France, I am indebted to Mr. Olivier : 

Aguilaneuf de ce"ans 
On le voit a sa fenetre, 
Avcc son petit bonnet blanc, 
1 1 dit qu'il sera le Maitre, 
Mettera le Pot au feu j 
Donnez nous ma bonne Dame 
Donnez nous Aguilaneuf." 
e I found the following in the hand-writing of the learned Mr. Robert Harrison, of Durham : 

" Scots Christmass Carrol by the Guisearts *. 
Homme est ne \ .- Hoghmenay 

TroisRoislk J corru P tedto lTrolerav, or Trololey. 
Hinc trole, a ditty. Trololey, Shakspeare. What led to this I do not at present recollect*." 

f We read in the Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence displayed, that " it is ordinary among some 
plebeians in the South of Scotland, to go about from door to door upon New Year's Eve, crying 
Hagmena, a corrupted word from the Greek a.ym. piv, i. e. holy month. 

John Dixon, holding forth against this custom once, in a sermon at Kelso, says : ' Sirs, do 
you know what Hagmane signifies ? It is, the Devil be in the House ! that's the meaning of its 
Hebrew original'." p. 1O2. 

Mr. Douce's Notes say : " I am further informed, that the words used upon this occasion are, 
' Hagmena, Hagmena, give us cakes and cheese, and let us go away.' Cheese and oaten-cakes, 
which are called Paris, are distributed on this occasion among the cryers." See also Gent. Mag. 
1790, vol. Ix. p. 499. 

A Writer in the Gent. Mag. for July 1790, vol. be. p. 616, tells us: "In Scotland, till very 
lately (if not in the present time), there was a custom of distributing sweet cakes, and a particular 
kind of sugared bread, for several days before and after the New Year ; and on the last night of 
the old year (peculiarly called Hagmenai), the visitors and company made a point of not separat- 
ing tDl after the clock struck twelve, when they rose, and, mutually kissing each other, wished 
each other a happy New Year. Children and others, for several nights, went about from house 
to house as Guisarts, that is, disguised, or in masquerade dresses, singing, 
* Guisers, Wizards. 

f [This alludes to the Scotch cry, " Hogmenay, Trololoy, Give us your white bread, and none of your gray."] 
VOL. I. Z Z 


.Vj.TH/' Vif-lf 

MUMMING is a sport of this Festive Season which consists in changing 
cloaths between Men and Women, who, when dressed in each other's habits, 
go from one neighbour's house to another, partaking of Christmas cheer, and 
making merry with them in disguise 1 . 

'Rise up, good wife, and be no' swier* 
To deal your bread as long's your here, 
The time will come when you'll be dead, 
And neither want nor meal nor bread.' 

" Some of those masquerades had a fiddle, and, when admitted into a house, entertained the 
company with a dramatic dialogue, partly extempore." 

[An ingenious Essay on Hagmena, appeared in the Caledonian Mercury for January 2d, 1792, 
with the signature PHILOLOGUS, the more important parts of which have been extracted in Dr. 
Jamieson's Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, . HOGMANAY. SINGIN-E'EN, Dr. 
Jamieson informs us, is the appellation given in the county of Fife to the last night of the year. 
The designation, he adds, seems to have originated from the Carols sung on this evening.] 

A superstitious notion prevails in the western parts of Devonshire, that at twelve o'clock at night 
on Christmas Eve, the Oxen in their stalls are always found on their knees, as in an attitude of 
devotion ; and that (which is still more singular) since the alteration of the stile they continue to 
do this only on the Eve of old Christmas Day. An honest countryman, living on the edge of St. 
Stephen's Down, near Launceston, Cornwall, informed me, October 28th, 1790, that he once, 
with some others, made a trial of the truth of the above, and watching several oxen in their stalls 
at the above time, at twelve o'clock at night, they observed the two oldest oxen only fall upon 
their knees, and, as he expressed it in the idiom of the country, make " a cruel moan like Chris- 
tian creatures." I could not but with great difficulty keep my countenance : he saw, and seemed 
angry that I gave so little credit to his tale, and, walking off in a pettish humour, seemed to 
"marvel at my unbelief." There is an old print of the Nativity, in which the oxen in the stable, 
near the Virgin and Child, are represented upon their knees, as in a suppliant posture. This 
graphic representation has probably given rise to the above superstitious notion on this head." 

' Mummer signifies a masker ; one disguised under a vizard : from the Danish Mumme, or 
Dutch Momme. Lipsius tells us, in his 44th Epistle, Book iii. that Momar, which is used by the 
Sicilians for a fool, signifies in French, and in our language, a person with a mask on. See Junij 
Etymolog. in verbo. 

* Lazy. 


It is supposed to have been originally instituted in imitation of the Sigillaria, 
or Festival Days added to the antient Saturnalia, and was condemned by the 
Synod of Trullus, where it was decreed that the days called the Calends should 
be entirely stripped of their Ceremonies, and that the faithful should no longer ob- 
serve them, that the public dancings of women should cease, as being the oc- 
casion of much harm and ruin, and as being invented and observed in honour 
of the Gods of the Heathens, and therefore quite averse to the Christian life. 
They therefore decreed that no man should be clothed with a woman's garment, 
nor any woman with a man's b . 

The Author of the Convivial Antiquities , speaking of Mumming in Germany, 

See a curious Note upon Mumming in Walker's Historical Memoirs of the Irish Bards, p. 152. 

The following occurs in Hospinian, De Orig. Festor. Christian. 

" Ab hoc denique Circumcisionis Festo, usque ad Quadragesimae Jejunium personse induuntur 
et Vesliutn inutationes fiunt, vicinique ad vicinos hac ratione commeant, turpi insaniendi bac- 
chandique studio. jQuam vestium mutationem nos Germani hodie nostra lingua Mummerey voca- 
mus, a Latina voce mulare. lis etiam, qui ita larvati vicinos suos salutant occilla & oscilla secum 
deferunt, et ita pecuniam extorquent." fol. 32. 

" Cum quotannis cernerem circa tempus Natalitium Vigilia imprimis Festi sacratissimi, more 
recepto, homines quosdam Christianos partim facie larvali fcedos, nigris lemuribus non absimiles ; 
partimjuvenili forma, ceu lares compitalcs & viales, conspicuos; partim veneranda canitie graves, 
hunc sanctum Christum, illos sanctos Christi ministros, alios divos Apostolos, alios denique ad 
seterna supplicia damnatos Diabolos, mendaci pi* se fcrente : indomita saepe lascivia, comitante 
nequissimorum puerorum, servorum, ancillarum colluvie, ubivis viarum oberrantes ; mox splen- 
dida pompa et veneratione novos tragoedos in sedes admissos : adductos in puerorum terrorera 
propius, a quibus tantum non exanimatis, osculis, precibus, cultuque plane religiosa excipieban- 
tur." Drechsler de Larvis Natalitiis. p. 19. 

"The disguisyng and mummyng that is used in Christemas tyme in the Northe partes came out 
of the Feastes of Pallas, that were done with visars and painted visages, named Quinquatria of 
the Rornaynes." Langley's Polydor Vergil, fol. 103. 

b See Bourne, chap. xvi. 

c " Ut olim in Saturnalibus frequentes, luxuriosaeque coenationes inter Amicos fiebant, munera 
ultro citroque naissitabantur, vestium inutationes fiebant, ita hodie etiam apud hos Christianos 
eadem fieri videmus a Natalibus Dominicis usque ad Festum Epiphaniae, quod in Januario cele- 
bratur : hoc enim tempore omni et crebro convivamur et Strenas, hoc est, ut nos vocamus, Novi 
Anni Donaria missitamus. Eodem tempore mutationes Vestium, ut apud Roma'nos quondam 
usurpantur, vicinique ad vicinos invitati hac ratione commeant, quod nos Germani Mummerey 
vocamus." Antiquitat. Convivial, p. 126. 

The following occurs in Hospinian, De Origine Festorum Christianor. fol. 32 b. " Eadem de re 


says, that in the antient Saturnalia there were frequent and luxurious feastings 
amongst friends : presents were mutually sent, and chan