Sunday, 29 September 2019

Michaelmas

  The 29th is the Feast of St Michael and All Angels or Michaelmas, a Quarter Day when farm rents were due, annual employment terms ended, local courts were held and children would finally go back to school after helping with the  harvests. In some places it was called Pack Rag Day because the poorest farm labourers would be packing their few possessions to move to a new job.
  Two weather sayings for today
As many days old as the moon is at Michaelmas Day, so many floods shall we have after.
St Michael's rain doesn't stay long in the sky
 A roast "stubble" goose - fattened from the barley gleanings on the fields after harvest, used to be the traditional meal on this day and it was thought that eating goose on Michaelmas Day would bring financial prosperity in the year to come. The Michaelmas goose tradition was once more important  than eggs at Easter.

 Whoever eats goose on Michaelmas day, Shall never lack money for his debts to pay


And when the tenants come to pay their quarter's rent,
They bring some fowl at midsummer, a dish of fish in Lent,
At Christmas a capon, at Michaelmas a goose, 
                              And somewhat else at New-year's tide, for fear their lease fly loose 



 Goose Fairs used to be held on this day and geese were walked to the famous fairs. There is a record dating from the C16, of over twenty thousand geese being walked to Nottingham goose fair from Lincolnshire and Norfolk. Their feet were prepared for the long walk by being coated by with a mixture of tar and sand.

Origins of Nottingham’s Goose Fair | Nottingham Hidden ...
Picture from the Nottingham Hidden History website


The history of the Goose Fair in Nottingham  is HERE.

Back Tomorrow
Sue

22 comments:

  1. A recent QI repeat mentioned the Goose fair and walking the birds to London in their little 'shoes'! A fascinating little nugget of history!
    xx

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  2. A couple of neighbours keep geese - occasionally Mr Fox will try to run off with one, but it's a big ask, weightwise, with a goose buffeting the fox with his wings. . .

    A very Thomas Hardy sort of time, is Michaelmas. I think of the Hiring Fairs, with the folk stood there with the badge of their trade - a shepherd would have his crook or a twist of wool, a cowman a wisp of straw, a milkmaid a dairy pail or a milking stool, and a housemaid a broom.

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    1. We only kept geese for one summer/autumn - horrible creatures - very vicious

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  3. Andy was going to be called Michael being born on Michaelmas day. I don't know why his parents changed their minds.
    Hugs-x-

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    1. I hope he has a good birthday and happy retirement

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  4. That is so interesting Sue, I really hope it is right and "St Michael's rain doesn't stay long in the sky" as it looks really grim here! Have a lovely day xx

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    1. Bit grey here today in Suffolk, rain on and off but not too much

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  5. Have you ever been to Nottingham's Goose Fair? It's very noisy. I suppose it was also noisy when it had had geese but for different reasons.

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    1. No haven't been, would have liked to have gone all those years ago to see the geese

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    2. We've driven by the Goose Fair site today - the big clay goose is on the traffic island as usual, a sign that the fair's arrived . We don't go nowadays as it's very expensive and very crowded.

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  6. It is so interesting to hear about this!

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  7. Apparently there are only three historically established Goose Fairs. The largest is Nottingham, which you mentioned Sue, then the stannary town of Tavistock in Devon and a small one in the Devon village of Colyford (although I've never heard of that one!) I went to the Tavistock Goosey Fair years ago. I'd love to go again:)

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    1. I hadn't heard of the other two - wonder why 2 in Devon?

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  8. I moved to Nottingham city in late September 1970, knowing very little about its traditions. As I came up to Forest Fields, Goose Fair lay out below me. I didn’t realise it was temporary and was disappointed a month later to find it was no longer there!

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  9. My brother was born today but he isn't called Michael either! Interesting about the Goose fairs and about the 'stubble' goose meal.

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  10. Oh may, I can just see the chaos of geese being walked down the roads of merry old England.

    Thank you for sharing this bit of history with all of us.

    God bless.

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  11. I enjoyed this post. That's alot of geese wandering around....worse than sheep, I'd imagine! Thanks for sharing bits and bobs of British history!! Take care and praying all is well with you and family! x

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  12. Interesting, especially that last bit about covering their feet with tar and sand. I would not want that job.

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  13. Shut up and kiss me. Hey, i am looking for an online sexual partner ;) Click on my boobs if you are interested (. )( .)

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