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without malice, is rarely remembered. place of family residence,) the focus of In their dancing parties the attachments popular attraction to the neighbouring of the country people are generally formed. villagers, established a guild or festival
for rural sports, on Whit Monday and Ensham, Oxon.
Tuesday. Having, during the late war, Old Custom.
while with his regiment (the East Norfolk Till within the last century, an old cus- Militia) had an opportunity of observing tom prevailed in the parish of Ensham, the various celebrations of Whitsuntide, Oxfordshire, by which the townspeople in different parts of the kingdom, he was were allowed on Whit Monday to cut thus enabled to constitute Necton guild, down and carry away as much tim- a superior holiday festival. Arranged ber as could be drawn by men's under his immediate patronage, and conbands into the abbey-yard, the church- ducted by his principal tenantry, it soon wardens previously marking out such tim- became, and still continues, the most ber by giving the first chop; so much as respectable resort of Whitsuntide festithey could carry out again, notwithstand- vities in Norfolk. ing the opposition of the servants of the Previous to the festival, the following abbey to prevent it, they were to keep for printed notice is usually circulated the reparation of the church. By this service they held their right of common
"WHITSUN HOLIDAYS age at Lammas and Michaelmas; but « On the afternoons of Whit Monday about the beginning of the last century, and Whit Tuesday next, a guild for rural this practice was laid aside by mutual games, Maypole dances, &c. will be held consent.*
in the grounds of William Mason, Esq.,
“ The guild being entirely distinct There is a custom at Kidlington, in Ox- from a fair, no stalls, stands, or booths, fordshire, on Monday after Whitson Week, or other conveniences for the sale of to provide a fat live lamb; and the maids goods, will be suffered to be brought of the town, having their thumbs tied be- upon the grounds, but by those who hind them, run after it, and she that with have special leave for that purpose, in her mouth takes and holds the lamb, is writing, given on application to John declared Lady of the Lamb ; which being Carr, master beadle. dressed, with the skin hanging on, is car “ The guild will open each day at two ried on a long pole before the lady and her P. M., and canteens, (where refreshments companions to the green, attended with of all sorts may be had, and cold dinners music, and a morisco dance of men, and supplied,) will close each night by sound another of women, where the rest of the of bell at eleven. day is speat in dancing, mirth, and merry
“ N. B.-As this guild is regularly glee. The next day the lamb is part baked, policed, it is hoped that the hilarity of boiled, and roast, for the lady's feast, the festival will continue to be preserved where she sits majestically at the upper as heretofore, by the order and obliging end of the table, and her companions with conduct of all those who come to mix in her, with music and other attendants, the entertainment. which ends the solemnity.t
« * * * * Past Mayor. Necron, NORFOLK
“ GOD SAVE THE KING." For the Every-Day Book.
The field selected for the purpose is Various purse clubs, or benefit societies, annual feasts, and other merry; opposite the park of Necton-hall. Near
beautifully and picturesquely situated, makings, having from time immemorial the centre is a raised mound of earth, produced a Whitsuntide holiday amongst fenced round to protect it from the presthe inhabitants of numerous villages in
sure of the crowd, on which is erected a Norfolk, in 1817, colonel, at that time major, Mason, in order to concentrate
“ Maypole,” crowned with a streamer or these festivities, and render Necton, (bis
pennant, and encircled by numerous
garlands of flowers and evergreens, sus* Topographical, &c. Description of Oxfordshire. pended longitudinally from the top to + Blount's Jocular Tenures.
the bottom of the pole :- this is called
* * Mayor.
the Maypole-stand. At a convenient dis- mayor's booth,” and is solely appropriated tance are placed the stalls, canteens, and to his friends and the select party of the booths; the principal of which, tastefully company; care being taken to prevent decorated with evergreens, is called “the improper intrusion.
Constable of Necton in a red scarf, with his staff of office.
Master beadle of the guild, with a halberd.
Band of Music.
gorical representation of the arms of Necton.
Sword-bearer in grotesque dress, on horseback.
Standard bearer on horseback.
THE MAYOR OF THE GUILD,
Standard bearer on horseback.
Standard bearer on horseback.
Beadles of the guild.
Beadles of the guild.
Band of music.
Man bearing a standard. Members of Royal Oak Friendly Society, with purple and light blue favours in their
hats, two and two. Members of the Necton Old Club Friendly Society with light blue favours in their
hats, two and two.
Taking a circuitous route through the the approach of the procession, the field into the park, upon arriving at mayor alights, and thus addresses the the principal entrance to the hall, where patron :the colonel and his friends are waiting
46 Honourable sir,
“ The period now arriv'd,
-I make it my request,
To this the colonel replies, “ by thank-, robes and tokens of office, the mayor ing the mayor for his past services,-for elect is then invested with them. After the good order and regularity observed returning to the door, the colonel conduring the last festival, -and the pleasure gratulates the new mayor on entering it will afford him to make the new ap- his office, &c. to which his worship thus pointment.”—They then enter the ves- replies :buiule, where the mayor resigning his
“ Honourable sir,
“ With pleasure I receive
The procession then returns by the mayors who have changed places. The same route and in the same order, with rustic sports then commence;—the master the exception of the new and the past beadle, ringing a bell, proclaims the sport
and the prize, the competitors for which is permanent in the field, and about three are desired to come upon the Maypole- feet high, though I have erroneously re stand.”—The sports usually selected, are presented it as higher from lack of eye Wrestling-matches.
in drawing, to which indeed I make do Foot-races.
pretension. The dancers are the morris Jingling-matches.
dancers in grotesque dresses; the men Jumping in sacks.
with fanciful figured pript waistcoal Wheel-barrow races, blindfold.
and small clothes, decked with bows; Spinning matches.
and the women in coloured skirts, trimmed Whistling matches.
like stage dresses for Spanish girls, with Grinning ditto, through a horse-collar. French toques instead of caps. Jumping matches.
I find you have removed the publishing &c. &c. &c. &c.
office since I wrote last, but I hope you These are occasionally enlivened with do not mean to withdraw yourself from Maypole dances, by the boys and girls of the work. Should you continue « the the village, selected and dressed for the oc. soul" of the Every-Day Book “ body, casion, and also by the maskers or morris- you shall hear from me again, whenever dancers. When the shades of evening and as soon as I can. prevent the continuance of these sports, the spacious “mayor's booth” is then the object of attraction. 'Well lighted, and the floor boarded for the occasion, * To obviate the possibility of miscountry dances commence, which are generally kept up with great spirit and apprehension in consequence of the Everyharmony, till the master beadle with his Day Book being published by Messrs. bell announces the time arrived for Hunt and Clarke, I take this opportuclosing the booths and canteens," by nity of observing, that those gentlemen order of the mayor.” A few minutes, have no other concern in the work than and sometimes (by permission) a little longer, terminates the amusement, which that of being its publishers, and that it is always concluded, on both evenings, by has never ceased from my entire managethe whole company joining in the national ment from the time they undertook that anthem of “ God save the king.” That “ Necton guild" is considered as a
service for me on my own solicitation. superior establishment to a rustic fair, No one has any share or interest in it, or other merry-making, by the nume or any power of influencing its managerous, respectable, and fashionable com- ment, and it will continue to be conpanies who generally attend from all ducted and written by me, as it has been, parts of the neighbourhood. Undis. turbed by those scenes of intoxication from the first hour of its commenceand disorder, usually prevalent at village ment. I hope that this is a full and final fairs, the greatest 'harmony prevails answer to every inquiry on the subject. throughout, and the superior attention and acccommodation afforded by the
May, 1826. patron and directors of the festival, to all
W. Hone. classes of well-behaved and respectable visiters, cannot fail to render « Necton guild," a popular and attractive resort of Whitsuntide festivities.
WHITSUN ALES. I have attempted a sketch of the May It is pleasant to read the notices of pole stand, &c. from my own knowledge, these ancient revels in our topographical for I have usually rambled to Necton histories. One of them gives the following one or two evenings of each year, since account of a Cornish merriment. the “ guild” was established, and hence “For the church-ale, two young men of I have given you the particulars from the parish are yerely chosen by their last actual observation, though I am indebted foregoers to be wardens, who, dividing to a friend, who is a diligent and accurate the task, make collection among the parecorder of customs for the speeches, &c. rishioners, of whatsoever provision it I must further observe, that the mound of pleaseth them voluntarily to bestow. This earth I have endeavoured to represent ihey employ in brewing, baking, and
other acates, against Whitsuntide, upon with their several badges or ensigns of which holidays the neighbours meet at office. They have likewise a train-bearer, the church house, and there merily feed or page, and a fool or jester, drest in a on their owne victuals, each contributing party-coloured jacket, whose ribaldry and some petty portion to the stock, which, gesticulation, contribute not a litule to by many smalls, groweth to a meetly the entertainment of some part of the greatness ; for there is entertayned a kind company. The lord's music, consisting of emulation between these wardens, who, of a pipe and tabor, is employed to conby his graciousness in gathering, and duct the dance. Some people think this good husbandry in expending, can best custom is a commemoration of the anadvance the churche's profit. Besides, cient Drink-lean, a day of festivity, forthe neighbour parishes at those times merly observed by the tenants, and vaslovingly visit one another, and frankly sals of the lord of the fee, within his spend their money together. The after- manor ; the memory of which, on account noons are consumed in such exercises as of the jollity of those meetings, the peoolde and yonge folk (having leysure) doe ple have thus preserved ever since. The accustomably weare out the time withall. glossaries inform us, that this Drink-lean When the feast is ended, the wardens was a contribution of tenants, towards a yeeld in their accounts to the parishion- potation or ale, provided to entertain the ers; and such money as exceedeth the lord or his steward." disbursement is layd up in store, to defray any extraordinary charges arising in the parish, or imposed on them for the
Al Islington good of the countrey or the prince's ser
A fair they hold, vice; neither of which commonly gripe
Where cakes and ale so much, but that somewhat stil remayn
Are to be sold. eth to cover the purse's bottom."*
At Highgate, and Another says, “ There were no rates
At Holloway for the poor in my grandfather's days ;
The like is kept but for Kingston St. Michael (no smalí
Here every day. parish) the church-ale of Whitsuntide did
At Totnam Court the business. In every parish is (or was)
And Kentish Town, a church-house to which belonged spits,
And all those places crocks, &c. utensils for dressing provision.
Up and down.
1676. 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.
Peppard Revel. the ancients sitting gravely by, and look
The “ Reading Mercury” of May 24, ing on. All things were civil
, and with« 1819, contains the following advertiseout scandal.”
ment: Mr. Douce tells us, that “ At present the Whitsun ales are conducted in the Monday, May 31, 1819; and for the
Peppard Revel will be held on Whit following manner. Two persons are cho
and old gamesen, previously to the meeting, to be sters, there will be a good hat to be lord and lady of the ale, who dress as played for at cudgels ; for the first seven suitably as they can, to the characters couple that play, the man that breaks they assume. A large empty barn, or
most heads to have the prize; and one some such building, is provided for the shilling and sixpence will be given to lord's hall, and fitted up with seats to each man that breaks a head, and one accommodate the company. Here they assemble to dance and regale in the best shilling to the man that has his head
broke." manner their circumstances and the place will afford; and each young fellow treats his girl with a riband or favour.
The lord and lady honour the hall with their NATURALISTS' CALENDAR. presence, attended by the steward, sword
Mean Temperature 54. 35. bearer, purse-bearer, and mace-bearer
• Carew's Cornwall. † Aubrey's Wiltshire.