Monday, 11 December 2017

St Andrew' Day, Old style 11th Dec

A very interesting custom takes place in Northamptonshire on this date; at midnight
 a very noisy Tin Can Band makes its way around the villages of this area. 
It harks back to the old custom of 'Riding the Stang' or the 'Skimmington Ride'.
This was always used as a way for the locals to register disapproval of wife beaters. 
adulterers and other like offenders. Either the guilty person would be caught or 
a straw dummy used in their place and be paraded through the streets astride 
a 'stang' or pole.
 Behind this the Tin Can Band would march, beating pans and kettles, blowing horns
 and singing insulting songs. 
Once the offenders home was reached a speech was delivered recounting their crimes 
and sometimes the straw effigy was burnt for good measure.
The ceremony was often repeated three nights in a row, the result being the offender 
usually left the village.

"There is a man in our town,
Who often beats his wife,
So if he does it any more,
We'll pull his nose right out before,
Holler boys, holler boys,
Make the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys,
God save the King"