Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/54

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Presidential Address.

was annually held in what is now the recreation ground near the churchyard, on the Monday after the 16th November. (The 6th November is St. Leonard's Day; the 16th probably represents Old Style.) It was killed by the rinderpest epidemic of 1866, but before that the then rector, (the father of the present), had put a stop to the penning of the sheep in the churchyard, much to the discontent of the farmers, who considered they were being deprived of a right.

It is very common to find that Feasts or Wakes are dated by "Old Style," eleven days later than the present, or "Gregorian," calendar. Great popular resentment was displayed when the new calendar was introduced in 1753. The people fancied they had been somehow robbed of a rightful possession, and "Give us back our eleven days" became an election cry. But it is very curious to find a reminiscence of the discontent at the present day, "lingering on," writes my nephew, the Rev. R. V. H. Burne, curate of Slough, under date April 7th, 1909, "in the brain of a genuine old countryman who can remember sickles, and the parson's tithe-sheaf, and shoeing cattle with leather to drive them to the London market. I was talking to him the other day, and he seemed to have a grievance against "the new calendar." "Oliver Cromwell or someone" took away eleven days, and the seasons never altered to suit, and so you find that you never get April weather until April 11th, because April 1-11 really belongs to March. Old Michaelmas. Day, too, used to be October 11th. They have altered it now to September 29th. He remembered taking a house on Old Michaelmas Day for twelve calendar months, and they wanted him to go out on New Michaelmas Day. But he wouldn't go! They used to begin spring sowing at the same time as the parson began his Lent sermons. Yes, Lent varied a good deal, but if you started when the parson did you weren't far wrong. (His niece explained that they thought it brought a kind of blessing on the crops.)"

The spring wheat, in Shropshire, used to be known as the "Lent tillin'," (G. F. Jackson, Shropshire Wordbook).

This is a divergence from Wakes, but perhaps not an uninteresting example of "survival."