1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hock-tide

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HOCK-TIDE, an ancient general holiday in England, celebrated on the second Monday and Tuesday after Easter Sunday. Hock-Tuesday was an important term day, rents being then payable, for with Michaelmas it divided the rural year into its winter and summer halves. The derivation of the word is disputed: any analogy with Ger. hoch, “high,” being generally denied. No trace of the word is found in Old English, and “hock-day,” its earliest use in composition, appears first in the 12th century. The characteristic pastime of hock-tide was called binding. On Monday the women, on Tuesday the men, stopped all passers of the opposite sex and bound them with ropes till they bought their release with a small payment, or a rope was stretched across the highroads, and the passers were obliged to pay toll. The money thus collected seems to have gone towards parish expenses. Many entries are found in parish registers under “Hocktyde money.” The hock-tide celebration became obsolete in the beginning of the 18th century. At Coventry there was a play called “The Old Coventry Play of Hock Tuesday.” This, suppressed a the Reformation owing to the incidental disorder, and revived as part of the festivities on Queen Elizabeth's visit to Kenilworth in July 1575, depicted the struggle between Saxons and Danes, and has given colour to the suggestion that hock-tide was originally a commemoration of the massacre of the Danes on St Brice's Day, the 13th of November a.d. 1002, or of the rejoicings at the death of Hardicanute on the 8th of June 1042 and the expulsion of the Danes. But the dates of these anniversaries do not bear this out.