Lancashire Legends, Traditions, Pageants, Sports, &c./Part 3/Treacle Dipping


The late Mr Gregson, in his "Gimcrackiana," describes amongst the sports of the visitors at Southport, treacle-dipping, sack-running, and steering soap-tailed pigs to their styes. In a note to his verses on Southport, he observes that some of these pastimes are not to be found in Strutt, such as the elegant amusement termed "treacle-dipping," which he believes found its way to Southport from some place in the neighbourhood of Bolton. For those to whom it may not be familiar, he adds a short description:—"A large dish is placed on an exalted station, and into it is poured a quantity of treacle, till about three or four inches in depth; a few shillings or sixpences are then thrown in. Needy adventurers then essay to dive into this silver mine, and bring up the metal with their teeth, upon which their faces are wiped with feathers—thus forming altogether a delicious spectacle!" Dipping for apples, or money, in mugs full of water is not uncommon throughout Lancashire, and sometimes forms the subject of heavy wagers. The apples chosen for the sport are tolerably large, and the performers have to dip for them into the water with their hands tied behind their backs. He who catches most apples in his mouth within a given time, wins the wager. In the case of money, it must be brought up in the mouth from the bottom of the mug.