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I sow thee; hemp-seed, I sow thee; and him (or her) that is to be my true love, come after 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, in which case it simply appears. Others omit the harrowing, and say, 66 come after me and harrow thee."
7. To win three wechts o'naething.-This charm inust likewise be performed unperceived and alone. You go to the barn, and open both doors, taking them off 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 winnowing the corn, which in our country dialect is called 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.
8. Take an opportunity of going unnoticed to a bearstack, 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 yoke-fellow.
9. 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 sometime 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.
10. Take three dishes; put clean water in one, foul water in another, 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 matrimony 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 altered."
CUSTOM OF THE FLITCH OF
THIS custom has passed into a proverb and become the subject both of play and ballad, but its real nature does not seem to be well understood by those, who are most in the habit of alluding to it. In general it is supposed to attach itself exclusively to Dunmow. This however is no more than a popular error. We know from authentic records that it prevailed also at Tutbury in Staffordshire, and I can not help suspecting that a more extended and accurate research would prove that it existed in many other localities, and was itself but the shadow of some older custom. Sir William Dugdale* indeed fancies that he has found the source of it so far as Tutbury is concerned, and he thus quaintly describes it from an ancient parchment roll in English of the time of King Henry VIII, which however was not the original, having been translated from a roll in French, belonging to the age of King Edward III. The person, of whom he is speaking, is Sir Philip de Somerville, who held several manors of the Earl of Leicester, then Lord of the manor of Tutbury "by two small fees; that is to say,
* Dugdale's BARONAGE OF ENGLAND, vol. ii, p. 106, folio, London,
when other tenants pay for reliefe,* one whole knight's fee, one hundred shillings, he, the said Sir Philip, shall pay but fifty shillings; and when escuaget is assessed throghe owtt the lande, or to ayde for to make th'eldest
This word is thus explained by Blount, a feudatory or beneficiary estate in lands was at first granted only for life, and after the death of the vassall it returned to the chief lord, for which reason it was called feudum caducum, viz., fallen to the Lord by the death of the tenant; afterwards, these feudatory estates being turned into an inheritance by the connivance and assent of the chief Lord, when the possessor of such an estate died, it was called hæreditas caduca, i.e. it was fallen to the chief Lord, to whom the heir having paid a certain sum of money he did then relevare hæreditatem caducam out of his hands; and the money thus paid was called a relief. This must be understood after the Conquest, for in the time of the Saxons there were no reliefs, but heriots paid to the Lord at the death of his tenant, which in those days were horses, arms, &c., and such tributes could not be exacted of the English immediately after the Conquest, for they were deprived of both by the Normans; and instead thereof in many places the payment of certain sums of money was substituted, which they called a relief, and which continues to this day." LAW DICTIONARY, sub voce, fol. Lond. 1717.
"ESCUAGE (Scutagium, from the Fr. Escu, i.e. a Buckler or Shield) signifies a kind of knight's service, called service of the shield; the tenant holding by it was bound to follow his Lord into the Scotish or Welsh wars at his own charge, which is taken away and discharged by act of parliament, 12 Car. II, cap. 24. He, who held a whole knight's fee, was bound to serve with horse and arms for forty days; and he, who held half a knight's fee, was to serve twenty days. Escuage also is sometimes taken for that duty or payment, which they, who held lands under this tenure, were bound to make to the Lord, when they neither went themselves to the wars, nor provided one in their place. Escuage is sometimes called a reasonable aid, which was demanded by the Lord of his tenants who held lands in Knights-service, viz., • concesserunt Domino Regi ad maritandam filiam suam de omnibus qui tenent de Domino Rege in capite de singulis scutis 20 solidos solvendos' (Matt. Paris, anno 1242). It was an uncertain duty 'till it was known how much money the parliament would raise; but Escuage certain is called Socage." Blount's LAW DICTIONARY, sub
sonne of the Lord, knyght; or for to marrye the eldest daughter of the Lord, the said Sir Philip shall pay bott the motye* of it that other shall pay.
Neverthelesse, the said Sir Philip shall fynde, meyntienge,† and susteigne, one bacon flyke,‡ hanging in his hall at Whichenoure,§ redy arrayede all times of the yere, bott in Lent; to be given to everyche mane, or womane married, after the day and the yere of their mariage be passed; and to be gyven to everyche mane of religion, archbishop, bishop, prior, or other religious; and to everyche preest, after the yere and day of their profession finished, or of their dignity reseyved in forme followyng; whensoever that ony suche byfore named wylle come for to enquire for the baconne, in their own persone, or by any other for them, they shall come to the baillyfe, or to the porter, of the Lordship of Whichnoure, and shall say to them in the manere as ensewethe;
'Bayliffe, or porter, I doo you to knowe; that I am come for myself (or, if he be come for any other, shewing for whome) to demaunde one Bacon flyke, hanging in the halle of the Lord of Whichenoure after forme thereunto belongyng.'
After which relacioun, the baillyffe or porter shall * i.e. Moiety.
§ Whichnour, Whichnor, Wichnor, or Wichnoure, as it is variously spelled, is a small village, of Staffordshire, situated in the north division of the hundred of Offlow and deanry of Tamworth, on the antient Rikenhild street, about half way between Burton and Lichfield. It is so called from its situation on a fine eminence on the north side of the river, Trent, wic in the Saxon signifying a village or dwelling place, and orra, or orre, a bank. See Shaw's Hist. of Staffordshire, vol. i, p. 118.
In the folio of 1675 it is printed, I presume by a blunder of the compositor" (if he be come for any other shewing for whom demaunde one Bacon," &c., vol. ii, p. 107.