Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Sunday 15 January 2023

Customs in the calendar

I have posted in recent weeks about Christmas  customs and, more recently, about the Haxey Hood and other Lincolnshire folk customs and entertainments in Lincolnshire - the Haxey Hood, Plough Jaggers and Hobby Horses.

have now come upon a BBC News report about a revived tradition at Whittlesey in Cambridgeshire, that of the Straw Bear. This is at least mid-nineteenth century in origin, but looks as if it could be much older, unless that is false antiquarianism on my part. Stopped by the police in 1909 it was revived in 1980. The illustrated article can be seen at Straw bear returns to town after Covid hiatus

A BBC News article from 2018 introduces several of these folk celebrations including the Haxey Hood and the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance in Staffordshire in September, both of which I have posted about beforehand as linked to above and in The Abbots Bromley Horn DanceThe article also covers the very well known Helston Hobby Horse ( Obby Oss ) as well as the Barwick in Elmet maypole in my home area and in addition others which I did not know. At the end of the article there are additional links to previous posts about autumn and Christmastide events. The illustrated post and its links can be viewed at Queer as folklore: A year of English customs

So if you live near any of these locations make a note in your diary for this coming year and go along and get in contact with our rural past.

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