CHAPTER I. JANUARY. "Come then, come then, and let us bringUnto our pretty Twelfth-Tide King,Each one his several offering."Herrick's Star Song. Dedication Festivals—New Year's Day—"Wassail"—Twelfth Night—"King of the Bean"—St. Distaff's Day—Plough Monday—Winter Games—Skating—Sword-dancing.   N the old life of rural England few things are more interesting than the ancient sports... more...

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION This book is intended not to raise fears but to record facts. We wish to describe with pen and pencil those features of England which are gradually disappearing, and to preserve the memory of them. It may be said that we have begun our quest too late; that so much has already vanished that it is hardly worth while to record what is left. Although much has gone, there is still, however, much remaining that is good, that... more...

CHAPTER I OLD-TIME CHOIRS AND PARSONS A remarkable feature in the conduct of our modern ecclesiastical services is the disappearance and painless extinction of the old parish clerk who figured so prominently in the old-fashioned ritual dear to the hearts of our forefathers. The Oxford Movement has much to answer for! People who have scarcely passed the rubicon of middle life can recall the curious scene which greeted their eyes each Sunday... more...

I.—Celtic London When we see the words "Celtic London" at the head of a chapter we naturally feel inclined to ask, "Was there such a place? Was there any Celtic London?" Although it is almost impossible to answer such a question by either "yes" or "no," it may be worth while to examine it briefly before passing on to the domains of authentic history. In the first place, there must have been some gathering of huts or houses, some... more...

To record the woes of authors and to discourse de libris fatalibus seems deliberately to court the displeasure of that fickle mistress who presides over the destinies of writers and their works. Fortune awaits the aspiring scribe with many wiles, and oft treats him sorely. If she enrich any, it is but to make them subject of her sport. If she raise others, it is but to pleasure herself with their ruins. What she adorned but yesterday is to-day... more...

Eleven years ago my little book on the antiquities of English villages was published. Its object was to interest our rustic neighbours in their surroundings, to record the social life of the people at various times—their feasts and fairs, sports and pastimes, faiths and superstitions—and to describe the scenes which once took place in the fields and lanes they know so well. A friendly reviewer remarked that the wonder was that a book... more...