kitchen, in the course of which I was to have received three pricks with the toasting-fork on each buttock, and to have had my nose wiped with the dish-clout, had I not saved myself by producing a shilling as the penalty of my mistake, which con- sisted, as I was afterwards given to understand, in not denominating
the stuffed owl her ladyship's canary-bird At short intervals
tents were erected for the purpose of dancing ; and all the maidens and swains of the whole country round were hoofing and clumping up and down the middle and up again, beneath their welcome canopy." The illustration accompanying this description professes to be done from an original drawing. It is reproduced in Plate IV.
In 1813, Brewer states that "the festivities termed Whitsun Ales are still in practice. The ceremony occurs every seventh year, when the inhabitants lay claim to certain portions of wood from Whichwood Forest to assist in the celebrations of the season." 1
The boundaries of Wychwood Forest proper, which at its dis- afforestation in 1S53 — and indeed in the reign of Charles I. — did not come within six miles of Woodstock, in the reign of Edward I. came right up to the river Glyme, which forms the western boundary of the old borough of Woodstock.^ In 161 7 the in- habitants of the surrounding hamlets were still subject to Forest Law, and were nominally so considered as late as 1704.^ Aubrey states that "At Woodstock in Oxfordshire they every May-eve goe into y^ Parke [now Blenheim Park] and fetch awa a number of Hawthorne trees w'^'^ they sett before their dores." * The park was within the ancient limits of the forest.
As to a May Pole being set up the day before Holy Thursday, it must be remembered that when Whitsuntide falls early, it may come very close to ]\Iay Day, and the two feasts must have often coalesced. At an earlier date, the May Pole was set up on May Day. In 16 10 the Corporation of Woodstock provided "music at the bringing home of the elm from Combe on May Day." ^
' Beatities of England a)!d IVales, vol. xii., pt. ii., p. 3S5.
^ J. Y. Akerman, "Ancient Limits of the Forest of Wychwood," Anhaeo- logia, x.xxvii., 424.
^ Rev. E. Marshall, History of Woodstock Manor and its Enviroiis, ed. 1875, pp. 178, 258.
Gentilisme and Judaisme, ed. J. Britten, p. 119.
' Ballard, Chronicles of Woodstock, p. 80.