Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/54

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44 The European Sky -God.

two following days a fair used to be held at St. Neot's in Huntingdonshire by charter of Henry I: in 1820 A.D. this fair, called Lammas, was still kept up on August i, though it was then dropping into desuetude.^ The date of St. Neot's festival is, however, given by Chambers ^ as October 28, Now July 31 is the eve of the Celtic feast Lugnassad ; and October 28 is the eve of the seven-day feast of Samain. Is it merely fortuitous that St. Neot is thus connected with two out of the three chief events in the Celtic year.? Yet another festival of St. Neot was celebrated at St. Neot's in Huntingdon- shire ; for the same charter of Henry I recognised an annual fair on the festival of St. Neot, its eve, and the succeeding day, i.e. on December 6-8. Later this fair was held on December 6, which was said to be the eve of the arrival of the saint's body from Cornwall, and was called St. Nicholas' fair — a name that it still bears, though with the alteration of the calendar it has come to be held on December ij? St. Nicholas was commonly known as St. Nicholas of Bari^ which may account for the tradition that St. Neot's disciple was named Bmnus: as a patron of fishermen^ St. Nicholas of Bari would be appropriately connected with St. Neot. Further, the 'boy-bishop' of St. Nicholas' day^ may stand in some relation to the belief that St. Neot was very diminutive in stature, too short in fact to reach the lock on the door of Glastonbury Abbey, which must needs by a special miracle descend for his benefit.'^

1 Gorham ib. p. 143.

2R. Chambers The Book of Days London 1864 ii. 506. 3 Gorham ib. p. 143.

  • D. H. Kerler Die Patronate der Heiligen Uhn 1905 p. 458 Index.

^ Id. ib. p. 114 f.

^ T. F. Thiselton Dyer British Popular Customs Present and Past London 1900 p. 432 ff. ^Gorham ib. p. 31 f.