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and synagogue with grass, wove round their windows festoons of boughs, and wore green crowns upon their heads, because at that season when it was given on Sinai all the earth was green and blooming. Herbert says, "The church should be swept, and at great festivals strewed, and stuck with boughs, and perfumed with incense.” At Yatton land was left to produce a quantity of grass for strewing the church on Whitsunday. The custom also prevails in Sweden of decorating churches with the “wind-flower” and Pentecost lily—the daffodil.
Whitsunday is, by inference, one of the three feasts appointed for communion in the rubric of the Church of England, as it was appointed in the councils of Agde, 506, c. XVIII. ; Toulouse, 1229, c. XIII. ; and Auvergne, 533, XV. All priests were to celebrate the festival with their bishops in the cathedral. The font was hallowed with peculiar solemnity on the eve. Confessions were required to be heard as preparatory to the reception of the Holy Communion at the three great festivals of Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas by the councils of Gloucester, 1378, c. IV., and Paris or Senlis, 1429, c. X.
As early as the time of Tertullian, the eves of Easter and Whitsunday were the occasions of the solemn public baptisms of the Church from regard to the great events of the Resurrection and descent of the Holy Ghost, in memory (as Bishop Andrews, following Gratian, writes) of “the baptism of the three thousand this day baptized by the apostles, the first Christians that ever were. The Church ever after held a solemn custom of baptizing at this feast. And many all the year reserved themselves till then, those except whom necessity did cause to make more baste.” When any catechumens (candidates of the Christian faith, as St. Jeromo calls them), who had passed the examination by the catechists in the season of Lent, purposed to receive the holy seal of confirmation, the custom was for them to give in their names, that the Church might know who were desirous to be initiated the week before Easter or Pentecost, and from the time of entering their names, as St. Augustine informs us, were called “competentes.” The Council of Rouen, 1049, c. XIX., directed the newlybaptized to wear the white dress, and carry a lighted taper for eight days in the church of their baptism—the lights being significant of joy, the white robe of happiness (Eccles. ix. 8), and of “spiritual white brightness and purity of soul,” as St. Cyril says, alluding to Isaiah lxi. 10, and Rev, xix. 8.
By early English canons, 601, c. III., VIII., 785, c. II., and 740, c. X., baptism at the proper seasons, in conformity with older praetice, is enjoined, and the times, of which Whitsun eve is one, are specified by the Councils of Winchester, 1071, c. VII., London, 1237, c. III., 1268, c. I., Reading, 1279, c. III., the constitutions of Othobon
PAGEANTS AND CEREMONIALS.
for England ; Gerona, 517, c. IV., Ireland, 456, c. XIX., Rouen, 1072, c. XXIV.
Whitsunday was a time for processions and pageants. One of the grandest of these took place at Durham. " The monks had a general procession, with two crosses born before them; the one of the crosses, the staff and all, of gold, the other of silver and parcel-gilt with the cross and the staff, with St. Cuthbert's banner, that holy relic which was borne foremost in the procession, with all the rich copes
that were in the church; every monk had one, and the prior had a marvellous rich
cope on, of cloth of fine pure gold, the which he was not able to go upright with it for the weightiness thereof, but as men stay it and hold it up on every side when he had it on. He went with his crutch in his hand, which was of silver, and double gilt, with a rich mitre on his head. Also St. Bede's shrine, that holy relic, was carried in the said procession, by four monks on their shoulders; and certain other monks did carry about with them in the said procession divers other holy relics, as the picture of St. Oswald, of silver and gilt, and St. Margaret's cross of silver and double gilt. Which procession did go
forth out of the north door of the Abbey Church, and through the churchyard, and down Lidgate, by the Bow Church end, and up the South Bailey, and in at the abbey gates, where a great number of people did stand, both men, women, and children, with great reverence and devotion, which was a goodly and a godly sight to behold, and so went through the abbey garth, and a number of men following it; but no woman was suffered to go further than the abbey gates, and so through the cloister into the church.” “ There be cathedral churches," writes Sir Thomas More, " into which the country come with procession at Whytsontyde, and the women following the cross with many an unwomanly song."
In the centre of the vaulting of the nave of Norwich Cathedral there is a circular opening of considerable size, through which, it appears from the sacrist rolls, a man on Whitsunday, habited as an angel, was let down with a thimble to cense the rood. Lambard mentions another custom at St. Paul's: “I myself being a child, once saw in St. Paul's Church, at a feast of Whitsuntide, where the coming down of the Holy Ghost was set forth by a white pigeon that was let to fly out of a hole that is yet to be seen in the midst of the roof of the great aisle, and by a long censer, which, descending out of the same place, almost to the very ground, was swinging up and down at such a length that it reached at one sweep almost to the overt gate of the church, and with the other to the choir-stairs of the same, breathing out over the whole church and company a most pleasant perfume of such sweet things as burned therein.” Bishop Pilkington also mentions, “In the midst alley their long censer, reaching from the roof to the ground, as though the Holy Ghost came in their censings down in likeness of a dove." Similar openings occur in the vault of Exeter Cathedral and other large churches.
In Spain engines thundered, and wafers or cakes, preceded by water, oak leaves, burning torches and gilded slips of paper lighted, were thrown down in the churches; small birds, with cakes attached to them, and white doves and pigeons were also let loose ; and a long censer was swung up and down. At Dublin in 1508 there was in St. Patrick's a pageant of the angel, the dragon, and a still more profane portraiture even than in Spain. Barnaby Googe says
“On Whitsunday wbite pigeons, tame, in strings from heaven fly,
And one that framéd is of wood still hangeth in the sky."
In some churches a silver dove was let slowly down during part of the service as an emblem of the descent of the Holy Spirit. In 1662 the following ceremonial was observed in the great church of Dunkirk :-"As they went up again in the midst of the body of the church, the priests and the whole procession stood still singing very loud Veni Creator Spiritus,' and then was acted the memorial of the day. In the top of the arched roof of the cathedral, which is very high, there is a cupola or great round hole, as round and broad as a millstone. In this hole was first made a flash of fire lightning, as if the heaven opened there ; then descended from thence a living milk-white dove-it was let down by a pulley with a small string, with its wings and tail expanded and spread by two very small white sticks at the back of them, to which the feathers were tied with white thread, and could scarce be perceived; but I standing very near, did discern it; and this done, the dove looking prettily about, as a dove will, descending by degrees; when it came near over the priests' head, it stayed hanging and hovering over them a good while, they still singing 'Veni.' Then it was drawn up by degrees into the cupola, out of sight, and after this, out of the same great hole in the roof were thrown down, as it were, many cloven tongues of fire, which came down flaming over the priests' heads; but they, instead of receiving them, opened to the right and left, and let them fall to the floor, saving their shaven
I perceived these were papers besmeared with some srl. phurous matter, to make them blaze better; and, at the coming down of these tongues there was a shout set up in the church that the town rang again. Lastly, there was thrown down a shower of holy water, which fell in drops upon the people to sprinkle and hallow them. So ended," adds Mr. John Greenhalgh, “the procession of all the foolish fopperies of the forenoon.”
Arise Evans, in 1611, went up a hill on Whitsunday morning at a place called Gole Ronneo, to see the sun arise; and saw the sun at its
PAYMENT OF WHITSUN-FARTHINGS.
rising skip, play, dance, and turn about like a wheel; the object of his journey was to have an answer to prayer; for, adds he,“
some say that whatsoever one did ask of God on that morning, at the instant when the sun arose and played, God would grant it him." The honest Welshman doubtless saw the sun rise in a thick shroud of the mountain mists, and in the struggle to throw them off, have the appearance of a swimming rolling motion, communicated to it by the vapours. At St. Briavel's, in Gloucestershire, several baskets full of bread and cheese cut into “inches,” were emptied, after the service was concluded, by the Churchwardens from the galleries; and the congregation then scrambled for their contents. From similar excesses committed on this day the Irish proverb takes its origin—“Oh, that's a Whitsuntide fellow, he can't eat his breakfast without breaking his plate.” In Cornwall, the young people go into the country in large numbers to partake of milk and cream.
The Council of Tours, 566, c. XVII., required monks to fast during all Whitsuntide. The Council of Gerona, c. II., required the use of a litany season in the week after Whitsunday—the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday being observed as fasts and days of humiliation and supplication for a blessing upon the work of ordination, which was usually on the next Saturday, imitating therein the apostolic practice (Acts xiii. 3, “When they had fasted and prayed and laid hands on them"). This custom of fasting is alluded to by St. Athanasius—“In the week following Holy Pentecost, the people having ended their fasts, went to prayer.” By the Councils of Ingelheim, 948, c. VI., and Mayfield, 1362, the first three days, and by that of Toulouse, 1229, c. XXVI., Monday and Tuesday, in this week were to be observed as festivals—the Wednesday in early times was also regarded as a feast. By our present rubric the proper preface is directed to be used throughout the week, although Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, are Ember days, preparatory to Trinity Sunday.
We now turn to the mention of some of the later customs observed on this day. At the first foundation of our cathedrals, the diocese was called the parochia, as if the few parish churches existing in these times were to be considered as only so many chapels of ease.
Hence it came to pass that for many ages after the country congregations made annual processions to the cathedral, as to their mother church, that the parochial clergy fetched their chrism from thence, and that their parishioners made a yearly payment to the cathedral for its support and maintenance. This went under the name of PENTECOSTAL, as at Exeter, or WHITSUN-FARTHINGS, because usually paid at that season of the year; and in the case of Lichfield, exceptionally, Chad pennies -the minster being dedicated to St. Chad.
Church ales, another Whitsun practice, is mentioned in Archbishop Bancroft's visitation articles. “51. Item, Whether have you or your predecessors, churchwardens there, suffered since the last pardon, any plays, feasts, banquets, church ales, drinkings, or any other profane usage, to be kept in your church, chapel, or churchyard, or bells to be rung superstitiously upon holidays or days abrogated by law?" These Whitsun ales were an ingenious device of the Churchwardens to raise alms for the necessitous when poor-rates did not exist. They brewed in Cornwall, Berks, and some southern counties, a large quantity of ale (whence the name of the merry-making) from malt which they bought and begged, and then sold it in the church or cemetery to the holiday makers, who kept a kind of parochial picnic, each bringing his own provisions. A tree was often planted at the church door and adorned with a flag, under which the village girls asked alms ; and in the yard, an arbour, called Robin Hood's Bower, was sometimes erected. Aubrey thus describes the scene: “ In every parish was a churchhouse, to which belonged spits, crocks, and other utensils for dressing provisions; there the housekeepers met. The young people were there too, and had dancing, bowling, shooting at butts, etc.; the ancients sitting gravely by and looking on.” Hocking, raflling, the pigeon holes, the pageant of Kingham (the three kings of Cologne), bull and bear baiting, and horse racing, were also common on the occasion. The annual fair on the Cotswold Hills is called the Whitsuntide ale. The people of Burford hunted a deer in Whitchurch forest on Whitsunday; and at Wenlock a mock bailiff, recorder, justices, and town-clerk, attended by a large retinue of men and boys on horseback, equipped with wooden swords, went a long circuit during the week, being regaled on their way at the various gentlemen's houses in the franchise.
In Cumberland the objectionable practice of hiring servants in the Whirun fair for the coming year still prevails, in spite of the jast reprobation of Bishop Villiers. Kirke White alludes to the Whitsun morris dance, so called from the players blackening their faces to pass for Moors, and which was probably an importation directly from Spain, after one of the English campaigns of the time of Edward IV., or intermediately through France or the Low Countries. It had the disadvantage of introducing gouty complaints, owing to the repeated striking of the heel, to which bells were attached, upon the floor or ground. When archery was discontinued, the Robin Hood May games and the Easter morris were transferred to Whitsuntide, probably as a supplement of the Whitsun ales, and several of the characters of the older pageant were preserved-Robin Hood carrying a standard, Littlo John, Maid Marian, with a crown of flowers on her head, the fool, the squire, the piper with sword and feather, Friar Tuck (until the close of the reign of Elizabeth), and the hobby-horseman, holding a ladlo to