Imatges de pÓgina

friendes and kinsfolkes farre and neere are invited." He adds that there are such doings at them, "insomuch as the poore men that beare the charges of these Feastes and Wakesses are the poorer and keep the worser houses a long tyme after. And no marvaile, for many spend more at one of these Wakesses than in all the whole yere besides." Stubs has been already mentioned as a puritan, and consequently one who did not duly distinguish between the institution itself and the degenerate abuse of it.

Borlase says, the Parish Feasts instituted in commemoration of the dedication of parochial churches were highly esteemed among the primitive Christians, and originally kept on the Saint's Day to whose memory the church was dedicated. The generosity of the founder and endower thereof was at the same time celebrated, and a service composed suitable to the occasion. (This is still done in the Colleges of Oxford, to the memory of the respective Founders.) On the Eve of this day prayers were said and hymns were sung all night in the church; and from these watchings the festivals were styled Wakes: which name still continues in many parts of England, though the vigils have been long abolished.

See also Wheatly on the Common Prayer, Svo. Lond. 1728, p. 92; and Dugd. Warw. 1st edit. p. 515.

Speght, in his Glossary to Chaucer, says: "It was the manner in times past, upon festival evens called Vigiliæ, for parishioners to meet in their church-houses or church-yards, and there to have a drinking fit for the time. Here they used to end many quarrels between neighbour and neighbour. Hither came the wives in comely manner: and they which were of the better sort had their mantles carried with them, as well for show as to keep them from cold at the table. These mantles also many did use in the church at morrowmasses, and other times."

In the 28th Canon given under King Edgar, (preserved in Wheloc's edition of Bede,) I find decent behaviour enjoined at these Church Wakes. The people are commanded to pray devoutly at them, and not to betake themselves to drinking or debauchery.

28. And pe læɲab man æt Cynic

pæccan rpipe zedneoh jỷ. georne zebidoe. ænige Spenc ne æg unt panne Speoze.

This, too, opposes the opinion of Spelman, that Wakes are derived from the Saxon word Wak, signifying drunkenness.

The following is preserved in the Antiquarian Repertory, No. xxvi. from the MS. Ĉollections of Aubrey (relating to North Wilts) in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford; dated 1678:

"Before the Wake or Feast of the Dedication of the Church, they sat up all night fasting and praying." That is, upon the Eve of the Wake.

Captain Silas Taylor says, that "in the days of yore, when a Church was to be built, they watched and prayed on the Vigil of the Dedication, and took that point of the horizon where the sun arose for the east, which makes that variation, so that few (Churches) stand true except those built between the two equinoxes. I have experimented some Churches, and have found the line to point to that part of the horizon where the sun rises on the day of that Saint to whom the church is dedicated."

In the Introduction to the Survey of North Wiltshire, printed in Aubrey's Miscellanies, 8vo. 1714, p. 33, we read: "The night before the Day of Dedication of the Church, certain officers were chosen for gathering the money for charitable uses. Old John Wastfield, of Langley, was Peter Man at St. Peter's Chapel there."

The following ludicrous trait in the Description of a Country Wake is a curious one from a most rare little book entitled "A strange Metamorphosis of Man, transformed into a Wildernesse, deciphered in Characters," 12mo. Lond. 1634. He is speaking of The Goose. "They hate" (says our quaint author)" the laurell, which is the reason they have no poets amongst them; so as if there be any that seeme to have a smatch in that generous science, he arrives no higher than the style of a Ballet, wherein they have a reasonable facultie; especially at a WAKE, when they assemble themselves together at a towne-greene, for then they sing their Ballets, and lay out such throats as the country fidlers cannot be heard." I cannot omit quoting

thence, also, the well-known singularity of this domestic fowl. "She hath a great opinion of her own stature, especially if she be in company of the rest of her neighbours and fellow-gossippes, the Duckes and Hennes, at a Harvest Feast; for then if she enter into the Hall there, as high and wide as the Doore is, she will stoop for feare of breaking her head."

(8) The words of Hospinian on this head are as follows: "Accessit etiam Mercatus, ut circa Templa, necnon in Templis et cœmeteriis forum rerum venalium videas."

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xvi. p. 460, (8vo. Edinb. 1795,) Parishes of Sandwick and Stromness, co. of Orkney, we read: "Parish of Sandwick: — - The people do no work on the 3d day of March, in commemoration of the day on which the Church of Sandwick was consecrated; and as the Church was dedicated to St. Peter, they also abstain from working for themselves on St. Peter's Day (29th of June); but they will work to another person who employs them."

In the same work, vol. xviii. p. 652, Parish of Culross, Appendix. St. Serf, we are told: "St. Serf was considered as the tutelar Saint of this place, in honour of whom there was an annual procession on his day: viz. 1st July, early in the morning of which all the inhabitants, men and women, young and old, assembled and carried green branches through the town, decking the public places with flowers, and spent the rest of the day in festivity. (The Church was dedicated not only to the Virgin Mary, but also to St. Serf.) The procession is still continued, though the day is changed from the Saint's Day to the present king's birth-day."

() Hopping is derived from the AngloSaxon Doppan, to leap, or dance, which Skinner deduces from the Dutch Huppe, coxendix (whence also our Hip.) "hæc enim Saltitatio, quâ corpus in altum tollitur ope robustissimorum illorum musculorum, qui ossibus femoris et coxendicis movendis dicati sunt, præcipue peragitur." Skinner, in v. Hop. Dancings in the North of England, and I believe in other parts, are called Hops. The word in its original meaning is preserved in Grass-hopper.

The word "Hoppe" occurs in Chaucer, in the beginning of the Coke's Tale :"And til that he had all the sight ysein And danced wel, he wold not come agein; And gadred him a meinie of his sort To hoppe and sing and maken swiche disport."

Ed. Tyrwh. 4to. vol. i. p. 173. So in Northbrooke's rare Treatise against Dauncing, &c. p. 118: "Also their daunces were spiritual, religious, and godly, not after our hoppings and leapings, and interminglings men with women, &c. (dauncing every one for his part,) but soberly, gravely," &c. Also, p. 132, "What good doth all that dauncing of young women holding upon men's armes, that they may hop the higher?"

In a most curious and rare Tract, entitled "A Joco-serious Discourse in two Dialogues, between a Northumberland Gentleman and his Tenant, a Scotchman, both old Cavaliers," &c. 4to. Lond. 1686, p. 32, we read :"To Horse-race, Fair, or Hoppin go,

There play our casts among the whipsters,
Throw for the hammer, lowp (a) for slippers,
And see the maids dance for the ring,
Or any other pleasant thing;
F*** for the Pigg, lye for the Whetstone,
Or chuse what side to lay our betts on.'


We find Notes explaining the word "Hoppin" by "Annual Feasts in country towns where no market is kept," and "lying for the Whetstone, I'm told, has been practised, but *for the Pigg is beyond the memory of any I met with; tho' it is a common phrase in the North to any that's gifted that way; and probably there has been such a mad practice formerly." The ancient grossièreté of our manners would almost exceed belief. In the stage directions to old Moralities we often find " Here Satan' letteth a ****" Lying for the Whetstone will be explained in another part of the present volume.

(10) Hospinian cites Thomas Naogeorgus, in his fourth Book of the Regnum Papisticum, as drawing a most loathsome picture of the excesses and obscenities used in his time at the Feast of Dedications.

"Adscribam ex Thoma Naogeorgo libro 4.

(") Leap.

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The pedler doth his packe untrusse, the host his pots doth fill,

And on the table breade and drinke doth set for all that will:

Nor eyther of them their heape deceyves, for of the others all,

To them th' advauntage of this feaste, and gaine, doth chiefly fall.

The service done, they eyther to the taverne fast doe flie,

Or to their neighbour's house, whereas they feede unreasonablie :

For sixe or seven courses they vnto the table bring,

And for their suppers may compare with any heathen king.

The table taken up, they rise, and all the youth apace,

The minstrell with them called go to some convenient place:

Where, when with bagpipe hoarce he hath begon his musicke fine,

And vnto such as are preparde to daunce hath given signe,

Comes thither streight both boys and gyrles, and men that aged bee,

And maryed folkes of middle age, there also comes to see,

Old wrinckled hagges, and youthfull dames, that minde to daunce aloft,

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He farre in noyse exceedes them all, and eke in drinking drie

The cuppes, a prince he is, and holdes their heades that speewing lie."

In "Hinde's Life of John Bruen, of BruenStapleford, in the county of Chester, Esquire," 8vo. Lond. 1641, at p. 89, the author, speaking of popish and profane Wakes at Tarum, says: "Popery and Profannes, two sisters in evil, had consented and conspired in this parish, as in many other places, together to advance their Idols against the Arke of God, and to celebrate their solemne Feastes of their Popish Saints, as being the Dii Tutelares, the speciall Patrons and Protectors of their Church and Parish, by their WAKES and VIGILS, kept in commemoration and honour of them, in all riot and excesse of eating and drinking, dalliance and dancing, sporting and gaming, and other abominable impieties and idolatries."

"In the Northern Counties," says Hutchinson, in his "History of Northumberland," vol. ii. p. 26, "these holy Feasts are not yet abolished; and in the county of Durham many are yet celebrated. They were originally Feasts of dedication in commemoration of the consecration of the Church, in imitation of Solomon's great Convocation at the consecrating the Temple of Jerusalem. The religious tenour is totally forgotten, and the Sabbath is made a day of every dissipation and vice which it is possible to conceive could crowd upon a villager's manners and rural life. The manner of holding these festivals in former times was under tents and booths erected in the Churchyard, where all kinds of diversions were introduced. Interludes were there performed, being a species of theatrical performance, consisting of a rehearsal of some passages in holy Writ personated by actors. This kind of exhibition is spoken of by travellers who have visited Jerusalem, where the religious even presume to exhibit the Crucifixion and Ascension with all their tremendous circumstances. On these Celebrations in this country, great Feasts were displayed, and vast abundance of meat and drink."

Of Cheshire, Dr. Gower, in his "Sketch of the Materials for a History of that County," tells us: "I cannot avoid reminding you

upon the present occasion, that Frumenty makes the principal entertainment of all our Country Wakes: our common people call it Firmitry.' It is an agreeable composition of boiled wheat, milk, spice, and sugar." p.



King, in his "Vale Royal of England," p. 20, speaking of the Inhabitants of Chester, says, Touching their house-keeping, it is bountiful and comparable with any other Shire in the Realm: and that is to be seen at their Weddings and Burials, but chiefly at their Wakes, which they yearly hold (although it be of late years well laid down)."

Macaulay, in his "History and Antiquities of Claybrook, in Leicestershire," 8vo. Lond. 1791, p. 93, observes that there is a Wake the Sunday next after St. Peter, to whom the Church is dedicated: adding, at p. 128, "the people of this neighbourhood are much attached to the celebration of Wakes; and on the annual return of those Festivals, the cousins assemble from all quarters, fill the Church on Sunday, and celebrate Monday with feasting, with musick, and with dancing. The spirit of old English hospitality is conspicuous among the Farmers on those occasions; but with the lower sort of people, especially in manufacturing villages, the return of the Wake never fails to produce a week, at least, of idleness, intoxication, and riot; these and other abuses, by which these Festivals are so grossly perverted from the original end of their institution, render it highly desirable to all the friends of order, of decency, and of religion, that they were totally suppressed." See also "Nichols's Leicestershire," vol. iv. p. 131.

(1) In Sir Aston Cokain's Poems, 8vo. Lond. 1658, p. 210, is the following:

"To Justice Would-be.

"That you are vext their Wakes your neighbours keep They guess it is, because you want your sleep:

I therefore wish that you your sleep would take, That they (without offence) might keep their Wake."

(12) The following quotation from Du Cange, v. JUNCUs,, explains this appellation:

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