Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/335

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


Hampshire Folklo^^e. 299

We may compare this with the Castleton Garland Day, and the part played therein by the ringers referred to by Miss Burne in the address I have already quoted, and in this connection also, to quote again from Brand, we get Borlase's account of decking houses with boughs in Corn- wall, and planting trees or stumps in front of the houses ; while, just a mile or so over the Sussex border, — roughly speaking, twenty miles from Upton Grey, — we find the members of Harting Old Club carrying hazel wands to church on Whit-Monday, and cutting boughs from the beeches to plant them in the road as they file pastJ

Is it too much straining of probability to suggest that the difference in dates is due to the extreme antiquity of a common origin, one so remote that its reasons are lost, or but loom faintly through the dim mists of the Bygone, while the residuary customs have been grafted on to younger, it may be even alien, stock? Certainly there need be no difficulty about explaining on these grounds the connec- tion of the Shick-shack customs to that day on which " unspeakable mercies," as the Special Church Service put it, *' were wonderfully completed," a completion in which the oak had a very material share.

On the Summerhaugh, where the stocks stood at St. Mary Bourne, — an open space by the bridge, — the sweeps on May Day clattered shovels and brushes and danced round the " walking bower," in which " was a female of their order," says Dr. Stevens. And the boys used to blow their " May-horns " of willow bark twisted spirally. (The "whoop" at the end of the Hannington rhyme may possibly be a survival of these willow horns.) ^

A. Beckett, The Spirit of the Downs, p. 6i.

8[M. G. recollects May-horns blown by boys on "Garland Day" (May 1st) yearly at Andover about 1870. They were real horns, like those sold in toyshops, but much longer. The children went round to the houses of the neighbouring gentry. The girls carried flowers made up in different designs (crosses, anchors, etc.), in bunches on sticks, or in baskets. C. S. Burne.]