« PreviousContinue »
succeeding year. This resembles the rite NATURALISTS' CALENDAR. used by the Roma's in Palilia."_" Bel Mean Temperature . . . 54 • 22. tein (adds Mr. M.) is also observed in
This “ custom" being entirely new to
me, and appearing so much to illustrate 1826. Oxford Term ends.
many passages in the Bible which refer
to the idolatry of the ancients, I forward OLD MAY DAY.
it to you agreeably to your printed inviScottish Beltein.
tation. To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.
I am, &c.
J. K. S. Sir, I confess I was not a little astonished a few days ago, on becoming
STRAND MAYPOLE. acquainted with a custom evidently heathenish in its origin, which exists in
To the Editor of the Every-Day Book. the united kingdom, where, it must be Sir,-In your account of the Maypole admitted, great advances have been made which stood in the Strand, you have stated in morals and religion, as well as in that the said Maypole upon its decay was science and general knowledge.
obtained of the parish by sir I. Newton, The fact I allude to is in Dr. Jamieson's and placed at Wanstead for support of his “ Dictionary of the Scottish Language." telescope; but in the preface to the ninth He mentions a festival called Beltane, edition of Derham's * Astro-Theology," or Beltein, annually held in Scotland on published 1750, he says, “ And now for old May-day. A town in Perthshire is a close I shall take this opportunity of called " Tillee Beltein;" i. e. the emi- publicly owning, with all honour and nence (or high place) of the fire of Baal. thankfulness, the generous offer made me Near this are two druidical temples of by some of my friends, eminent in their upright stones with a well, adjacent to one stations, as well as skill and abilities in of them, still held in great veneration for the laws, who would have made me a its sanctity, and on that account visited present of the Maypole in the Strand, by vast numbers
of superstitious people. (which was to be taken down,) or any In the parish of Callander (same county) other pole I thought convenient for the upon “ Beltein day," they cut a circular management of Mr. Huygens's glass ; but trench in the ground, sufficient to enclose as my incapacity of accepting the favour the whole company assembled. “They of those noble Mecænates hath been the kindle a fire and dress a repast of eggs occasion of that glass being put into bet. and milk in the consistence of a custard ; ter hands, so I assure myself their expectthey knead a cake of oatmeal, which is ations are abundantly answered by the toasted at the embers against a stone." number and goodness of the observations After the custard is eaten, they divide the that have been and will be made therecake into as many equal parts as there are with.” persons present, and one part is made As you will perceive by the expression perfectly black with charcoal.
“ which was to be taken down," it must The bits of cake are put into a bonnet have been standing at the time of publicaand are drawn blindfold, and he who tion of his book, and as sir I. Newton draws the black bit is considered as died in 1726, the “ corapilation" from “ devoted to be sacrificed to Baal, and is which you extracted your account must be obliged to leap three times through the erroneous. The name of the philosopher flame."
to whom the glass belonged, you will also Mr. Pennant in his “ Tour in Scotland, perceive to be misspelled. I should not 1769,” gives a similar account with vary- have troubled you with these trifling coring ceremonies.
rections, but as I am sure your admirable “ In Ireland,” says Mr. Macpherson, work will pass through many editions, you “ Beltein is celebrated on the twenty-first may not in the ro ones refuse to make of June at the time of the solstice. There they the alteration. make fires on the tops of the hills, and every
I am, Sir, member of the family is made to pass
Your obedient servant, through the fire, as they reckon this cere- May 17, 1826.
J.S. mony to ensure good fortune during the
I am obliged to J. S. for his endeavour fore the occasion of the glass “ being put to rectify what he deems an error; but it into better hands." These “better hands" rather corroborates than invalidates the were sir Isaac Newton's; the object fact stated in vol. i. p. 560, on the au- of the intended present of the Maypole thority of the work there referred to. to Derham was for Huygens's glass; and it
J. Š. quotes “ the ninth edition of Der- is reasonable to believe that as sir Isaac ham's Astro-Theology,' published 1750,” had the glass, so also he had the Mayand infers that the Strand Maypole “must pole to appropriate to the purpose of the have been standing at the time of publish- glass. ing his book;" and so it was; but it was Nevertheless, though I think J. S. has Do more in being when the “ ninth edi- failed in proving my authority to be errotion" of his book was published, than Der- neous, and that he himself is mistaken, I ham himself was, who died in 1735. The repeat that I am obliged by his intention; first edition of “his book” was published and I add, that I shall feel obliged to any in 1714, and Derham then wrote of it as one who will take the trouble of pointing then standing, and the citation of J. S. out any error. I aim to be accurate, and shows that it was then contemplated to can truly say that it costs me more time present Derham with the Maypole for to establish the facts I adduce, than to Huygens's glass, which from “incapa. write and arrange the materials after I city" he could not accept, and was there- have convinced myself of their authority.
The hollow murmur of the ocean tide ;
The cottage curs at early pilgrim bark ;
Deep mourns the turtle in sequestered bower;
unjoynted : One Dorothy Tubbe was
stricken so, as she thought her legs and 1826. WHITSUNDAY,
knees were struck off from her body: This is the annual commemoration of One Anthony Peeke was fearfully struck the feast of Pentecost. In the catholic in all the lower parts of his body, and times of England it was usual to drama- thought that he had been shot thorow, tise the descent of the Holy Ghost in the and was lift up from kneeling, and set churches; and hence we have Barnaby upon the form by which hee kneeled : Googe's rhymes :
One Susan Collins was struck in the On Whitsunday whyte pigeons tame
lower parts of her body, so as it seemed
to her, to be struck off from the upper in strings from heauen flie, And one that framed is of wood
part, and was scalded on the wrist of the still hangeth in the skie.
right hand : A great fire, far redder then Thou seest how they with idols play, any lightning, came into the Church, and and teach the people too ;
struck one Nicholas Shelton on both sides None otherwise then little gyrles of his head, as though he had been struck with pvppets vse to do.
with two flat stones, and did shake his
Naogeorgus. body, as though it would shake it in pieces, These celebrations are noticed in vol. in whereby he lost his sight and his senses :
One Roger Nile was struck on the backbone, on the right side, and on the anckle
on the inside of his left leg, so as for a Whitsunday Accident.
while, he was not able to stand; after the ST. ANTHONY'S CHURCH, CORNWALL.
fire, there was heard in the Church, as it
were, the hissing of a great shot; and In an old tract printed against church after that a noise, as though divers Canceremonies during the troubles of Eng- nons had been shot off at once, to make land," there is an account of “ fearfull judgements that God hath shewed upon did not descend from above, but was
one single and terrible report; the noise churches,” one whereof is alleged by heard, and seemed to begin close at the the puritan author to have been mani. Northside of the Communion Table : fested on this day. His account is After this fire and noise, then followed a curious, and the fact being historical, is loathsome smell of Gunpowder and Brimhere related in his own words, viz.
stone, and a great smoak. The Church
had no harm, save that seven or eight On VVhitsunday last, 1640, in the holes and rents were made in the wall of parish of Anthony in Cornwall
, when the Steeple, some on the inside, and some people were kneeling at the Communion, on the outside; impressions on the stones great claps of thunder were heard, as
in divers places, as if they were made by though divers Cannons had been shot off force of shot, discharged out of a great at once, and extraordinary, and most fear. Ordnance, só as in divers places, light full flashes of Lightnings, and a terrible and might be seen through the walls. In this unspeakable strange sound, to the great storm was no body kill'd, save one Dog amazement of the people; and when the in the Belfree, and another at the feet of Minister was turning towards the Com- one kneeling to receive the Cup; As soon munion Table, to give the Cup, after he as this fearfull storm was over, they that had given the Bread, he saw (to his think- were weak, not able to stand, were ing) à flaming fire about his body, and (through the mercy of God) restored to withall, heard a terrible and unspeakable their strength; and they that were fransound, and had no hurt, save that the tick, to their senses; and he that was outside of one of his legs was scalded: blind, was restored to his sight; and came presently after, divers balls of fire came all to the Lords Table, and received the into the Church and struck one Ferdi- VVine, and went all in the afternoon to nando Reepe on the sole of his left foot, give God thanks. with such a violence, as he thought his foot had been split in pieces, and was for a while deprived of his senses : One John
NATURALISTS' CALENDAR. Hodge was stricken in the knees and thighs, and lower parts of his body, so as
Mean Temperature ...53 • 47. he thought every part of his body to be
wich fair, and the sports in the park, is
described in vol. i. p. 687, &c. 1826. Whit MONDAY.
It is a universal festival in the humble This second season of annual holidays ranks of life throughout the kingdom. in England, with the humours of Green
Hark, how merrily, from distant tower,
H. K. White.
if, as was sometimes the case, she proved To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.
to be the lightest of foot, considerable Sir,—The approaching
merriment was afforded to the bystanders Whitsuntide
in witnessing the chase through its differbrirgs to my remembrance a custom which I believe to be now quite obsolete. tions, which ended in the lady's capture,
ent windings, dodgings, and circumlocuI remember when I was a boy that it with a kiss for the gentleman's trouble. was usual in Devonshire, at Easter and Whitsuntide, for young people of both walks of life may date their origin from
I believe many matches in the humble sexes to form a ring at fairs and revels, this custom ; and however the opulent and play at what was termed “ drop hand. and refined may be disposed to object to kerchief.” After the ring was formed, a promiscuous assemblage of the sexes, which used to be done with little difficulty, I am doubtful whether they can point a young man would go round it once or
out any plan which shall rival in innotwice, examining all the time with curious
cence and gaiety those of our forefathers, eye each well formed blooming maiden; the favoured fair was selected by the hand many of which are gone, and as pseudokerchief being thrown over her shoulders, of the day, I fear that they never can
delicacy and refinement are now the order and at the same time saluted with a kiss.
return again. The young man then took his place in the
R. S. ring, and the young woman proceeded round it as he had done before, until she dropped the handkerchief behind one of The editor saw Drop-handkerchief" the young men. As soon as this was done in Greenwich-park at Whitsuntide, 1825, she would bound away with the swiftness and mentioned it as “ Kiss in the ring” of a roe, followed by the young man, and in vol. i. p. 692.
Würt MONDAY AT LICHFIELD.
WHITSUNTIDE HIRINGS. To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.
To the Editor of the Every-Day Book. Sir,- In the pleasant little city of Lichfield (celebrated for the neatness of its
May 3, 1826.
Sir, If you think the annexed worth a streets, and the beauty of its splendid cathedral) the annual fair for the exhibi- place in your invaluable and entertaining tion of shows, &c. is held on Whit Mon work, you will extremely oblige me by
I am, Sir, &c. day, and it is the custom on that day for
HENRY WM. DEWHURST. a procession, accompanied with musicians, flags, &c. to be formed, composed of
63, Upper Thornhaugh-street,
Bedford-square. part of the corporation, with its inferior officers, &c. who are joined by several of
Cumberland Hirings. the best mechanics of the place, each of The“ hirings" for farmers' servants half whom carries a representation in minia- yearly at Whitsuntide and Martinmass, ture of his separate workshop and mode though not altogether peculiar to the of trade, the figures being so formed as to county of Cumberland, are however, I be put in motion by machinery, and conceive, entitled to notice. Those who worked by a single wheel. These repre- come to be hired stand in a body in the sentations are about two feet square, market-place, and to distinguish themselves and are fixed at the top of a pole about hold a bit of straw or green sprig in their two yards high, decorated with flowers, mouths. When the market is over the &c. The procession walks from the girls begin to file off and gently pace the guildhall to a high hill in the vicinity of streets, with a view of gaining admirers, the city, called Greenhill, (but which is whilst the young men with similar designs now nearly surrounded by houses,) where follow them; and having eyed the a temporary booth has been erected, with lasses,” each picks up a sweetheart, cona small space of ground enclosed at the ducts her to a dancing-room, and treats front with boards. This booth is also her with punch, wine, and cake. Here decorated with flowers, and hence the they spend their afternoon, and part of fair has derived the appellation of “ The their half-year's wages, in drinking and Greenhill Bower." On arriving at this dancing, unless, as it frequently happens, booth, the gates of the enclosed park are a girl becomes the subject of contention, opened and the procession enters. The when the harmony of the meeting is interdifferent little machines are placed around rupted, and the candidates for her love the enclosure, and then put in motion by settle the dispute by blows. When the the separate operatives," in the pre- diversions of the day are concluded, the sence of the higher portion of the corpo- servants generally return to their homes ration, who award which of the machines for a few holidays before they enter on presents the greatest ingenuity, and prizes their new servitude. At fairs, as well as are distributed accordingly. This takes hirings, it is customary for all the young place about the middle of the day. The people in the neighbourhood to assemble machines remain, and are put in motion and dance at the inns and alehouses. In and exhibited by their owners until the their dances, which are jigs and reels, exevening. The booth itself is filled with ertion and agility are more regarded than refreshments; and men being stationed ease and grace. But little order is observat the gates to prevent the entrance of ed in these rustic assemblies : disputes the disorderlies, every well-dressed person frequently arise, and are generally terminis admitted at once, and some cakes, &c. ated by blows. During these combats the are given gratuitously away; the corpora- weaker portion of the company, with the tion I believe being at this expense. The minstrels, get on the benches, or cluster various shows are ranged in different in corners, whilst the rest support the parts of the hill, and as none make their combatants; even the lasses will often appearance there but such as have already assist in the battle in support of their relagraced “ Bartholomew,” it will be end- tions or lovers, and in the last cases they less for me to say another word on this are desperate. When the affray is over part of the subject, as by reference to your the bruised pugilists retire to wash, and notices of September 3, 1825, will the tattered nymphs to re-adjust their garmore fully and at large appear, and where ments. Fresh company arrives, the fiddles your reader will find, although enough, strike up, the dancing proceeds as before, yet “not to spare." I am, &c. J. O. W. and the skirmish which had commenced