Thursday, April 5, 2012

An Easter Custom: Lifting

Thursday, April 5, 2012
Loretta reports:

An interesting Easter custom, courtesy William Hone, The Every-Day Book, or, The Guide to the Year, Vol. 1., (originally published in 1825)
Mr. Ellis inserts, in his edition of Mr. Brand's "Popular Antiquities," a letter from Mr. Thomas Loggan of Basinghall-street, from whence the following extract is made : Mr. Loggan says, " I was sitting alone last Easter Tuesday, at breakfast, at the Talbot in Shrewsbury, when I was surprised by the entrance of all the female servants of the house handing in an arm-chair, lined with white, and decorated with ribbons and favours of different colours.  I asked them what they wanted, their answer was, they came to heave me; it was the custom of the place on that morning, and they hoped I would take a seat in their chair.  It was impossible not to comply with a request very modestly made, and to a set of nymphs in their best apparel, and several of them under twenty.  I wished to see all the ceremony, and seated myself accordingly.  The group then lifted me from the ground, turned the chair about, and I had the felicity of a salute from each.  I told them, I supposed their was a fee due upon the occasion, and was answered in the affirmative; and, having satisfied the damsels in this respect, they withdrew to heave others.  At this time, I had never heard of such a custom; but on inquiry, I found that on Easter Monday, between nine and twelve, the men heave the women in the same manner as on the Tuesday, between the same hours, the women heave the men.”
The late Mr. Lyson read to the Society of Antiquaries an extract from a roll in his custody, as keeper of the records in the tower of London, which contains a payment to certain ladies and maids of honour for taking king Edward I. in his bed at Easter; from whence it has been presumed that he was lifted on the authority of that custom, which is said to have prevailed among all ranks throughout the kingdom. The usage is a vulgar commemoration of the resurrection which the festival of Easter celebrates.


textilehistorIE said...

How strange! Sounds kind of like birthday bumps!

Isabella Bradford/Susan Holloway Scott said...

Wow, this one's new to me! I'm guessing the "felicity of a salute from each" means they kissed him - which must be why he was so jolly about paying his fee afterwards. The chair-hoisting also reminds me of a Jewish wedding reception....

Murr Brewster said...

I can only imagine it was a lot more fun than what they did three days earlier.

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