Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

having been used to represent the bishops of the seven churches.*

Mel. "In Yorkshire at the carrying in of the last corn— or harvest-home-the labourers and tenants by way of triumph cry "mel, mel; and 'tis a proverbial question, "when will you get your mel ?" i. e. when doe you end your harvest at which time all the workmen are treated with a supper by the farmer, where the chief fare is a roast goose called an inning goose. The word, mel, may be supposed from mæl, an end or term; or feast or banquet."+

Love-Feasts."At Danby in the North Riding of Yorkshire, it is the custom for the parishioners after receiving the sacrament to goe from church directly to the ale-house, and there drink together as a testimony of good charity and friendship, a remainder of the old Love-Feasts."

Broom. "Throwing a broom in the way of a witch, if shee does not pass over it, is thought a certain sign of her being a witch. This is now practised in Germany, and specially in Anhault."S

Thunder." Iron laid on barrels in time of thunder to preserve the drink from souring. This is a

practice in Kent, and still obtains in Germany."

common

Bride-cake.—“At a wedding-dinner the small cakes used to be laid on top of another, and the bride and bridegroom to kiss over them; and then one to be broke over the bride's head, the bridegroom waiting all dinner. This no doubt is a remnant of the old Roman marriage-customthe confarreotio-instituted by Romulus, the cake being made of a grain called far, a species of wheat."¶

*KENNETT MS. Coll.-Bibl: Lansdown. (Brit. Mus.) p. 10-1039. Plut. 79. vol. 105.

Kennett, MS. Idem, fol. 11.

§ Idem, f. 12.

Idem, f. 11.

|| Idem, f. 12.

Idem, f. 12.

Divination by Ashes." It was a long continued custom for maids and men after supper in a winter's evening to make smooth the ashes on the earth, when one certain person with the end of a stick made breaks or gutters in the ashes, and then privately designed that each streak should signify some one unmarried person, and by this way they were to choose husbands and wives. The same way of choosing Valentines by making like furrows in the ashes, and imposing such and such names on them, is now practised in Kent and many other parts.'

Magpies." They have a tradition among the vulgar in the north, that all magpies are witches. Their chattering upon a tree near a house is thought to foretell a stranger's coming, like the thief in a candle."†

St. Osith, corruptly called St. Sythe.-" In some parts of the West-I suppose where churches are dedicated to this saint the women or servants, when they went to bed, raked up their fire and made a × in the ashes, and then prayed to God and St. Sythe to deliver them from fire and from water."‡

Clock-striking.—“Before the civil wars it was a custom for many serious people, every time they heard the clock strike, to say to this effect, 'Lord, grant my last hour may be my best hour.' "§

Well-worship. "A custom is now yearly observed at Droitwich in Worcestershire, where on the day of St. Richard, the tutelar patron of the Salt-well, they keep holy-daie, dress the well fine with flowers and boughs, and divert themselves with eating, and drinking, and dancing. A tradition there that the custom was discontinued by the zeal of the presbyterians for one year during the late civil wars, soon after stopt or dried up,

* Idem, fol. 12
Idem, fol. 13.

upon which the spring whereupon they renewed

Idem, fol. 13. § Idem, fol. 14.

the annual custom-notwithstanding some threats of parliament and soldiers-and the salt water again returned."*

St. Antonie, or Tantonie Pigs.-Between 1473 and 1476, King Edward united to the free chapel at Windsor the House, or Hospital, of St. Antony in London, which at one time had been a Jewish synagogue. In doing this he also added many valuable rights and privileges, amongst which was the privilege of sending one St. Antony's pig yearly into every village throughout England. The animal, which was vulgarly called a Tantonie Pig, had a bell about his neck, and the peasants, in the hope of obtaining St. Antony's blessing upon their own swine, did not fail to fatten these holy porkers to the best of their abilities. The consequence was that the deans and canons made more than six hundred a year by them, though in the after times of the Protestants it would seem the clergy drove their pigs to a bad market, for they could not make a penny by their herds-" so much more lucrative," says Frith angrily, "is superstition than the orthodox faith." Hence however comes the common saying of "he will follow me like a Tantonie pig,"t

[ocr errors][merged small]

+ The passage as quoted by Abp. Kennett in his MS. (Bibl. Lansdown, 1039, Plut. 79 f., vol. c.v.,) is exceedingly curious-"Inter annos 1473 et 1476, Edwardus rex domum sive hospitulam S. Antonii, London, (ubi olim synagoga Judæorum) liberæ capellæ de Windesor adjunxit una cum possessionibus ejusdem minutis ac privilegioru emolumentis (dum tempus tulit) amplissimis. Ex privilegio unico (inter alia plurima eademque Papalia) hoc est intromittendi porcellum S. Antonianum, vulgariter vocatu a Tantonie Pigg, in unamquamque villam per totum regnum Angliæ, cum tintinnabulo per collum dependente, cui villani pabulum abundè administraverunt, eumque in porcum crescentem quotannis saginaverunt quandiu porcos proprios benedictionem S. Antonii inde obtinere opinati sunt. Decani et canonici sexcentas libras annuas et, amplius

}

Blessing of Bacon.-" Anno 1395-33.-John Bukingham, Bp. of Lincolns, takes notice of a custom at Nettleham, near Lincoln, for the people to oblige the rector of the church, at Easter, immediately after high Mass, to bring a piece of bacon to the church, and during the time of service solemnly to bless it; and that being done it was carried from house to house through the parish velut quoddam sacramentale-as something sacred. This Bishop calls it a part of idolatry and a superstitious practice, and as such condemns and forbids it of excommunication. (Memoranda Bukingham Epi. MS.) The custom. is still observed in many, especially the western parts of England, to bring out the gammon of bacon on Easter Day to entertain their friends."*

Barbers' Sunday-Custom.--" It was an old custom for the barbers to come and shave the parishioners in the churchyard on Sundays and high festivals before matins, which liberty was restrained by a particular inhibition of Richard Flemmyng, Bp. of Lincoln, 1422."+

Burning of the Hill.-(Mendip Hills; Somersetshire.) "The Groviers,-for so the miners are called, as the pits they sink are called groves-living at some distance, leave their tools, and the ore they have got, sometimes open upon the hill, or at most only shut up in a slight hut. Whoever among them steals any thing, and is found guilty, is thus punished; he is shut up in a hut, and then dry fern, furz, and such other combustible matter, is put round it, and fire set to it. When it is on fire, the criminal, who has his hands and feet at liberty, may

per procuratores suos percipiebant, unde ne denarium quidem hodie capiunt. Tantò magis est lucritiva superstitio quam religio orthodoxa. Unde proverbiù nunc temporis agitatum, he will follow me like a Tantonie pig'-FRITH; CATAL. DECAN. ET CANON, de Windesor."

[blocks in formation]

6

IDEM, folio 16.

with them (if he can) break down his hut, and making himself a passage out of it, get free and be gone; but he must never come to work, nor have to do any more on the hill. This they call, burning of tHE HILL.”*

Riding of Women." Here also died Anne, wife of King Richard II., sister to Wenceslaus, the emperor, and daughter of the emperor Charles IV.; she first taught the English women that way of riding on horseback, which is now in use, whereas formerly their custom was-though a very unbecoming one-to ride astride like the men."†

Roses on Graves." Here also (Ockley, in Surry, so called from the oaks)—is a certain custom, observed time out of mind, of planting rose-trees upon the graves, especially by the young men and maids, who have lost their lovers, so that this church-yard is now full of them. It is the more reasonable, because we may observe it to have been anciently used both among the Greeks and Romans, who were so very religious in it, that we find it often annexed as a codicil to their wills-(as appears by an old inscription at Ravenna, and another at Milan. Hence that of Propertius implying the usage of burying amidst roses. And old Anacreon speaking of it says that 'it does protect the dead." "§

Debts in the Isle of Man." They had here an old custom concerning debts which is now abolished. When the debtor died and was buried, and there remained no

*Camden's Britannia, by Gibson, vol. 1, p. 185, fol., London.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

§ Camden's Britannia, vol. 1, p. 236. The passage alluded to by Camden is Anacreon's second Ode to the Rose.

“ Τοδὲ καὶ νοσᾶσιν ἀρκεῖ

Τοδὲ καὶ νεκροῖς ἀμύνει.”

« ПредишнаНапред »