We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Monday, May 25, 2015

The old gray mare

It was just about time to drag out the old horses for their usual beating (no pain being inflicted, you see, for they already were long dead) when I realized ...

If one were to return to the ancient tradition of Thursdays being aliturgical, then we alone have the closest thing to the Octave of Pentecost: Whitsunday, Whit Monday, Whit Tuesday, Ember Wednesday, Ember Friday, Ember Saturday, Trinity Sunday (with the old, appropriate, and meaningful lessons of the Sunday within the octave). Not too shabby.

Interestingly, the Monday and Tuesday after Easter and Pentecost -- just like the two days after Christmas -- are holy days. Did Cranmer retain these as vestiges of the octaves? As usual, there are no answers to be found. In all events, Cranmer retained the Sarum lections (which here are in sync with Rome) and so we have what they do not.

However, here are, for your delictation, some charming customs that, of course, could not survive the iron utilitarianism of the nineteenth century:

Charities dating from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I were distributed every Whit Monday to ‘the pious poor professing the Gospel’ and to ‘sixe of ye mostly godly and impotent poore people of Draitone Beauchampe, being no newe comers to ye towne, nor dwelling in newe erected cottages’. It is not known when this tradition was discontinued. There was formerly a custom in this parish called ‘Stephening’. All the parishioners used to go to the Rectory on St. Stephen’s Day and there eat as much bread and cheese and drink as much ale as they chose, at the expense of the Rector. To the parishioners’ regret this pleasing custom was discontinued in 1827 as the Charity Commissioners were unable to find the origin of the usage or any legal obligation on the part of the Rector why he should continue it. The church possesses three pewter plates and a pewter flagon with lid, of the 17th century, presumably used in connection with the charities.

More cheese and ale, dearest Rector!

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