Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/337

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Hampshire Folklore. 301

inside," and was adorned with gilded rams' horns. It has been lost.

Another cap, — also lost, — was like a wooden " billicock." It was painted green, and had a plate attached with the inscription, "Better times are coming." This cap had fallow-deer's horns. ^'^

There is a tribe in North Nigeria the members of which don helmets with horns attached if they are successful hunters, — and one is also reminded of Jaques' song in As You Like It.

In considering this custom of the Horning of the Colts, a few details about Weyhill Fair should be borne in mind. When it was first held not even tradition whispers, and with the immortal Topsy it must say, — Spec's I growed." But it lies on the line of the old Drove Road worn by the passing flocks of the earliest herdsmen " away along " from Exeter to London, and in the centre of what, in Roman and Saxon times, was a rich neighbourhood. A seventeenth-century document describes it as " the greatest and most beneficial faire to the Westerne Countyes of England." But, besides these comparatively modern details, the hill stands out on a ridge where once ran the southern border of Chute Forest.

It has been suggested that the horns at Charlton Fair originated with no illegal amours of King John, but from the fact that the Fair is held on St. Luke's Day, and the horned ox is his sign. In support of this theory is quoted the fact that in one of the church windows is, — or was, — an old bit of stained glass showing the Saint with his ox, a very horned beast. But though there is also the tempting reference to the ox in the Weyhill song, I take it that the origin of the horns is to be found earlier than that of the Saint's Day. It may be another graft, or confusion of ideas ; ^^ and the Saint's claim is weakened by the fact that

"R. H. Clutterbuck, Notes on the Parishes of Fyfield etc., pp. 1 12-3. " At Abbots' Bromley the same confusion between the Wake and the Fair Days has arisen. Cf. Miss Burne, Folk-Lore, vol. xxi, p. 26.