Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/364

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


o

28 Hampshire Folklore.

the Twyford and Hursley districts on St. Clements' Day. The smiths exploded gunpowder on their anvils, and fired off guns. At Twyford they held a Clem Feast, a dinner for the smiths, and one feature of the entertainment was the reading of a curious story about a banquet given by Solomon to all the labourers of the Temple, from which the blacksmiths were excluded. They protested, and proved their claim by pointing to their work. After this they were admitted, when they had washed off their smuts.*^

At Otterbourne on St. Thomas's Day the poor mothers. Miss Yonge tells us, went round and demanded sixpences for Christmas dinner.

A farmer's wife in the neighbourhood of Crondall told me that there was always " singing on Crondall Church tower on Christmas," and I have a note of mummers play- ing in the same tower. At Freefolk and Longstock the mummers are known as the "Johnny Jacks"; and this was defined for me by the daughter of a local farmer as " when the chaps go round dressed in gaudy paper clothes and tall hats acting the fool." I regret to say I have carefully lost a note cut from a local paper with an account of carol singing on the tower of a church in, or near, Southampton, but I have notes of mummers at Netley, Hursley, Romsey, St. Mary Bourne, and in the Forest. The text of the Nursling mummers' play has been published ; the words of the Romsey mummer play are given in the Lathom Ms. now in the British Museum ; and Stevens^* gives those of the St. Mary Bourne mummers or " Christmas Boys " from the opening :

" Oh ! here come I, Old Father Christmas, welcome, or welcome not, I hope Old Father Christmas will never be forgot. Make room ! room ! I say ! That I may lead Mince Pie this way."

^ Folk- Lore, vol. xii., pp. 217, 344.

    • A parochial history of St. Mary Bourne etc., pp. 340-1.