Lancashire Legends, Traditions, Pageants, Sports, &c./Part 2/Warton Rushbearing

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WARTON RUSH-BEARING.

The inhabitants of the village of Warton, by Morecambe Bay, and their visitors, repair, on the Sunday nearest the 5th of August (St Oswald's Day), to the services of the church, and make good cheer within the rules of sobriety in their houses. The next day is spent in several kinds of diversions, the chief of which is usually a rush-bearing, in this manner:—They cut hard rushes from the marsh, and having made them up in bundles, they dress them in fine linen, silk, ribbons, flowers, &c. The young women then take these gay effigies in their arms and walk in procession, with music, drums, ringing of bells, and other demonstrations of joy, to the church, where they deposit the rushes over the cancelli. This ceremony performed, they return to the village, where scenes of festivity ensue, and the remainder of the day, and sometimes part of the night, is spent in dancing in the open air round the May-pole (adorned with evergreens and flowers), if the weather be fine; if not, in the houses. This is mentioned in Lucas's "History;" but the custom has fallen into disuse, as being no longer necessary.