seventy-five years the custom has been observed without a break. 1
As late as 1880 at Alvechurch, and perhaps later, servant girls expected to go home on Mid-Lent Sunday, but I never heard of <:ake being eaten on the occasion.
It is said at Alvechurch that you should always sow beans on Good Friday, and this was commonly done about twenty years ago.
At Alvechurch on Easter Monday the men lifted the women, and on Tuesday the women lifted the men. This was told me by an old villager, born 181 7. The custom has been obsolete now for many years.
On the 29th May, Oak Apple Day, oak boughs were stuck over the doors and windows of most of the houses, and a big branch was set up in the church tower. (This is remembered by old people only.) Thirty years ago boys and girls wore sprigs of oak or oak apples, on May 29th. I have worn it myself many a time. Anyone failing to wear oak was pinched.
There used to be a Fair, with ox-roasting, on August loth — St. Lawrence's Day, and the day of the church dedication. This was told me by an old inhabitant, born 181 7, who remembered it in her youth.
The old date of the Hiring Fair at Alvechurch was September 22nd. This was changed to the first Wednesday in October some time since 1820. Hiring and Fair have both gone now.
On the 5th of November there were bonfires, but no Guys. This was well-known to me thirty years ago.
Boys went round in companies on St. Clement's Day, begging for apples. The custom was kept up till about 1900. The song was as follows : —
" Catteny, Clemeny, year by year, -
Some of your apples and some of your beer ;
Some for Peter, some for Paul,
Some for God who made us all.
Clemeny was a good old man,
For his sake give us some,
Some of the best, and some of the worst,
And pray God give you a good night's rest.
^ Church Evangelist, 6ih March, 1906.