Lancashire Legends, Traditions, Pageants, Sports, &c./Part 3/Ignagning and Ignagus


Some years ago a morris or sword-dance known by this name was common in the Fylde. Some fifty years ago there were seven actors in it. A "merryman" first entered the house for permission to act. This being granted, there advanced a "Toss-pot" in rags, the Grand Turk and his son, St George, a Doctor, and a Bessy. St George and the Turk fight; the latter falls; but the Doctor, after boasting of his qualifications and travels, brings him again to life, saying—

"I've a bottle in my pocket called alicumpane:
Rise, brave Turk, and fight the battle again."

The whole concludes with a song. A horse-head was carried [the "hobby "], and this was formerly a sport of Whitsuntide; but now its successor, named "Jolly Lads," is performed at Easter. I believe it to be a remnant of the Danish sword-dance; but what is the derivation of ignagning? I have been told it was in honour of the sun—a kind of agnalia; whilst others say that it derives its cognomen from Ignis Agnæ.—Notes and Queries, v. 315.