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Observations on Popular Antiquities

Observations on Popular Antiquities
Chiefly Illustrating the Origin of our Vulgar Customs, Ceremonies and Superstitions
2 Volume Set


Part of Cambridge Library Collection - Spiritualism and Esoteric Knowledge

  • Date Published: December 2011
  • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • format: Multiple copy pack
  • isbn: 9781108036481

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About the Authors
  • John Brand (1744–1806), secretary of the Society of Antiquaries, first published his widely popular Observations on Popular Antiquities in 1777. This fascinating almanac of British superstitions and customs was in fact a heavily revised and annotated version of Henry Bourne's Antiquitates vulgares (1725). Beginning with New Year's Eve, Volume 1 describes the origins and practices of British calendar festivals including religious holidays, saints' days, and seasonal celebrations. Volume 2 concerns the origins and practices of British customs and ceremonies, including marriage and funeral customs. Following the success of the book's initial reception, Brand continued to research English folklore with the intention of publishing fuller information. This two-volume version, published posthumously in 1813, was edited and expanded by Sir Henry Ellis, Keeper of Manuscripts at the British Museum, and further revisions also appeared in 1841 and 1870. Brand's book is regarded as the foundation for folklore studies in England.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2011
    • format: Multiple copy pack
    • isbn: 9781108036481
    • length: 1260 pages
    • dimensions: 246 x 170 x 64 mm
    • weight: 2.06kg
    • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • Table of Contents

    Volume 1: Editor's advertisement
    New Year's Eve
    New Year's Day
    Twelfth Night
    St. Agnes's Day or Eve, Jan. 21st
    St. Vincent's Day, Jan. 22d
    St. Paul's Day, Jan. 25th
    Candlemas Day, Feb. 2d
    St. Blaze's Day, Feb. 3d
    Valentine's Day, Feb. 14th
    Collop or Shrove Monday
    Shrove-tide, or Shrove Tuesday
    St. David's Day, March 1st
    St. Patrick's Day, March 17th
    Mid-Lent Sunday
    Palm Sunday
    All Fool's Day, April 1st
    Shere Thursday, also Maundy Thursday
    Good Friday
    Easter Eve
    Easter Day
    Easter eggs
    Easter holidays
    Lifting on Easter holidays
    Hoke Day
    St. George's Day, April 23d
    St. Mark's Day or Eve
    Parochial perambulations in Rogation Week. Ascension Day or Holy Thursday
    May Day customs
    May Poles
    Morris dancers
    St. Urban's Day, May 25th
    Royal Oak Day, May 29th
    Trinity, or Trinity Sunday, Even.
    Eve of Thursday after Trinity Sunday
    St. Barnabas Day, June 11th
    St. Vitus's Day, June 15th
    Corpus Christi Day, and Plays, June 14th
    Summer Solstice. Midsummer Eve. The Vigil of St. John the Baptist's Day
    St. Peter's Day, June 29th
    St. Ulric, July 4th
    St. Swithin's Day, July 15th
    St. Margaret's Day, July 20th
    St. Bridget, July 23d
    St. James's Day, July 25th
    Gule of August, commonly called Lammass Day
    Assumption of the Virgin Mary, August 15th
    St. Roch's Day, August 16th
    St. Bartholomew's Day, August 24th
    Holy-Rood-Day, Septemb. 14th
    Michaelmas, Septemb. 29th
    St. Ethelburgh's Day, October 11th
    St. Simon and St. Jude's Day, October 28th
    Allhallow Even.
    The Fifth of November
    Martinmas, Novemb. 11th
    Queen Elizabeth's accession, Novemb. 17th
    St. Clement's Day, Novemb. 23d
    St. Catharine's Day, Novemb. 24th
    St. Andrew's Day, Novemb. 30th
    St. Nicholas's Day, Decemb. 6th
    On the montem at Eton
    Customs a little before, at, or about Christmas
    Of the Yule clog, or block, burnt on Christmas Eve
    Of the word Yule, formerly used to signify Christmas
    Sports, games, etc. at Christmas
    St. Stephen's Day, Decemb. 26th
    St. John the Evangelist, Decemb. 27th
    Childermas or Holy Innocents' Day
    Country wakes, called also feasts of dedication, revellings, rush-bearings, and in the north of England hoppings
    Harvest home, alias Mell Supper, Kern or Churn supper, or Feast of Ingathering
    The feast of sheep shearing
    Saturday afternoon
    The borrowed days
    Days lucky or unlucky
    Cock crowing, time of the morning so called
    Strewing churches with flowers on days of humiliation and thanksgiving
    Bull-running in the town of Stamford
    Additions to Vol. 1. Volume 2: Customs and Ceremonies: Child-bearing, churching, and christening customs
    Marriage customs and ceremonies
    Customs at deaths
    Of bowing towards the altar or communion table on entering the church
    Drinking customs
    Barbers' signs
    Tobacco in ale houses
    Custom and superstitions concerning wells and fountains
    Notices concerning sports and games
    Popular notices concerning cards
    Sports of sailors
    Of the meaning of the old saw, 'Five score or men, money, and pins, six score of all other things'
    Fairy mythology
    Popular notions concerning the apparition of the devil
    Sorcery or witchcraft
    Ghosts or apparitions
    Obsolete vulgar punishments
    Vulgar errors
    Neck verse
    Bishop in the pan
    Dining with Duke Humphrey
    Miller's thumb
    Turning cat in pan
    Putting the miller's eye out
    To bear the bell
    To pluck a crow with any one
    Of certain other obscure phrases and common expressions
    Of the phenomenon vulgarly called Will, or Kitty with a wisp, or Jack with a lanthorn.

  • Author

    John Brand


    Henry Ellis

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