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Observations on Popular Antiquities

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

Volume 2


Part of Cambridge Library Collection - Anthropology

  • Date Published: December 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108036474

£ 52.99

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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 two-volume almanac of British superstitions and customs was in fact a heavily revised and annotated version of Henry Bourne's Antiquitates vulgares (1725). Volume 2 of Brand's almanac concerns the origins and practices of British customs and ceremonies including marriage customs, death rites, belief in fairies, witchcraft, omens, and divination. The volume also provides explanations for obscure but common phrases and expressions. 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: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108036474
    • length: 746 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 38 mm
    • weight: 1.17kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    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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