Weather And Folk Lore Of Peterborough And District Part 5

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A Sedan Chair used to be seen in the streets of Peterborough until the early seventies. Certain old ladies would only go to Church or entertainments in it because it was taken into the entrance of the house or other place so that they could get in and out without being exposed to the weather. The harness worn by one of the men is seen in Peterborough Museum.

In 1905; for the first time within the recollection of the inhabitants of Peterborough, St. John's Church Bells were not rung on Wyldbore's day as the bell tower was not considered safe. The sermon was preached as usual.

At the end of the sowing season a large "Siblet" or seed cake, was made for the farm labourers who ate it, and drank success to the sowing in home brewed ale or mead.

The Curfew Bell is still rung at the Minster from May 1st, to August 31st, at 8-50 p.m., and from September 1st, to April 30th, at 7-50 p.m.

It has only been discontinued for a short time and this was during the Commonwealth, since it was first started.


To cure fits:--If a female, she collects nine pieces of silver and nine three half-pennies from bachelors. The silver money is made into a ring, to be worn by the afflicted person and the half-pence is paid to the maker of the ring for his work. If a male, he collects from females.

I knew an old silversmith who was in great request to make these rings.

He used to save broken silver spoons to make the rings but lately he found out he could buy the rings ready made so he did not trouble to make any afterwards.


It is unlucky for a bride to reverse her wedding ring on her wedding day.

If a bride can be persuaded to remove her ring and have some bride cake pa.s.sed through the ring, and the cake, so pa.s.sed, put under the pillow, the person will dream of her future spouse.



This was a favourite game at Christmas parties for forfeits. The players sit all round the room, a small ball or a handkerchief tied up is then thrown by the leader at one. After several feints so as to catch one not watching and throw the ball at that one and shouting Earth Air, or Water, and as soon as the word is said begins to count up to ten as fast as possible. The person hit by the ball has to name a bird, beast, or fish before ten has been counted or pays a forfeit. A name must not be mentioned which has been used by another person as that also entails a forfeit. It was not a game for a stammering person.


This is another forfeit game. All sit round the room and one begins I love my love with an A, because he is amiable, and everyone follows in their turn by repeating the form and qualification, beginning with the same letter as Active, Artful, &c. Anyone using the word which has been used pays a forfeit. Then it goes round with the letter B and so on through the alphabet.

The Quaker Wedding:--The leader goes round with his eyes looking on the ground and sings "Hast thou ever been to a Quaker's Wedding."?

This is repeated until he or she stops before one of the party, who then answers--Nay, friend, nay. The leader then says, "Do as I do, Twiddle thy thumbs and follow me." The selected one follows the leader singing the same words and both twiddling their thumbs. Then they are all got in line facing one way and kneel together as close as possible. When all are kneeling the leader gives a sly push to the one next to her and the whole row fall over amidst great laughter. I have played this game at Christmas time and it was sometimes fixed as a forfeit.

When playing a losing game at Cards, Dominoes, etc., the chair in which the unlucky player is sitting should be turned (by the occupant) from right to left, to change the luck. It has been thought that this turning is a form of Sun Worship.

Crane.:--This game was generally played during the Harvest Home Feast.

"A man holds in his hand a long stick, with another tied to the top of it, in the form of an L. reversed, which represents the long neck and beak of the crane. This with himself, is entirely covered with a large sheet. He mostly makes excellent sport as he puts the whole company to the rout, pecking at the young girl's and old men's heads, nor stands he upon the least ceremony in this character, but he takes the liberty to break the master's pipe, and spill his beer, as freely as those of his men." This mostly begins the night's diversions, as the prologue to the rest, while the booted boys wind up the entertainment. _Clare._ Village Minstrel.


It is still a custom if a child has anything new to wear, to handsell it. That is to give a small coin to put in the pocket. The first money received on the day is called taking Handsell, and some spit on it and turn it to get good luck. When anything is used for the first time it is handselled.


This was a kind of punishment for such boys as have carelessly neglected their duty in the harvest, or treated their labour with negligence instead of attention, as letting their cattle get pounded or overthrowing their loads, etc. A long form is placed in the kitchen upon which the boys who have worked well sit, as a terror and disgrace to the rest in a bent posture, with their hands laid on each others backs forming a hedge for the "boys," as the truant boys are called to pa.s.s over; while a strong chap stands on each side with a boot-legging strongly strapping them as they scuffle over the bridge, which is done as fast as their ingenuity can carry them. _Clare's_ Village Minstrel.

Meeting eyebrows are lucky, and those having them are said to have great luck with stock.


Cut your nails on a Monday, cut for a gift.

Cut your nails on a Tuesday, cut them for thrift.

Cut your nails on a Wednesday, cut them for news.

Cut your nails on a Thursday, cut for a new pair of shoes.

Cut your nails on a Friday, cut them for sorrow, Cut your nails on a Sat.u.r.day, see your sweetheart to-morrow.

Cut them on Sunday, cut them for evil.

Cut them all the week round, and you'll go to the devil.

Better that child had ne'er been born, Who cuts its nails on a Sunday morn.

Of a Friday's pare, No good will come near.

If you cut your nails on Monday morning before breakfast, and without thinking of a fox's tail, you will have a gift before the week is out.

When told this, I asked, Why not a fox's brush? "Oh, no!" was the reply, "you may think of the brush but not the tail."

White specks on the nails are called gifts, and the rhyme says:--

A gift on the finger is sure to linger, A gift on the thumb, is sure to come.

In this district many mothers will not allow their babie's nails to be cut before they are a year old, but they bite the edges off. If the nails are cut the children grow up thieves.

A new born babe, before being taken out of the house, should be carried up some stairs, but if it is born in a room at the top of the house, the nurse lifts it up and gets on a chair, and puts the child on the top of something high, so that it may rise in the world.

If a pair of shoes are placed on the table a quarrel is sure to ensue.

This part of the county appears to possess more than the normal number of senses. I have often heard people speak of their seven senses. Only a short time ago a woman speaking of a neighbour who was a great sleeper, and also of her child, said they would sleep away their seven senses.

And another woman who was startled said, "You're enough to frighten me out of my seven senses." I should like to know what the two extra senses are. Instinct may, perhaps, be one!


Three times a bridesmaid, will die an old maid.


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Weather And Folk Lore Of Peterborough And District Part 5 summary

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