Open main menu

Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/528

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Folk-lore in Wills.

to the celebrated cakes at Biddenden, in this same county, on Easter Sunday. I have only found one reference to fairs, viz., in the will of John Wadman of Milton next Gravesend, dated 2nd March 1549 [Book XI, fo. 51b]. He leaves to Johan his daughter

"furty pounds to be payed vnto the said Johan, xxli. at the feast of Saynt Edward called Gravisende Faire nexte comyng and at mydsomer than nexte following other xxli."

Gravesend Fair is (according to Whitaker) now held on 24th October, whereas the Feast of the Translation of Saint Edward is 13th October.

Edward Nevyll, in 1514 [Book Vll, fo. 29a] had left a banner with Our Lady on one side and St. Edward on the other, to the church of Gravesend, but I cannot find any other connection of that Saint with the town. The parish church was, in mediƦval times, dedicated to St. Mary, and there was a chapel in the town dedicated to St. George, which is now the parish church.

We now come to the will of Roger Leche of Eltham, dated 14th June 1517 [Book vii, 87b], which contains perhaps the most interesting of any of these bequests:

"Also I will Rauff Letham shall kepe or cause to be kept yerly the Wedynsday in the crosse weke at the crose before his dur, when the procession cumyth in brede and ale vjd.; and vpon Saint Thomas nyght after the fest of Seint John Baptyst at the bonefyre in bred and ale vjd."

Eltham Church is dedicated to St. John Baptist, and 24th June was doubtless observed with full honours by the good folk of that parish, who would not have forgotten the "bonefyre"; but there was apparently another lighted on "Seint Thomas nyght", i.e., 7th July. Do any other instances of this occur?

Besides the ordinary Church seasons I have not found many references to days by local names. Robert Dan of Brenchley, in 1511, says: "Item lego pro torche at hok