Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Old Man's Day

An old village custom in the civil parish of Braughing, Hertfordshire, England.

artblog-23-old-man-rembrandt-large-smkOn 2nd October 1571, a young farmer by the name of Matthew Wall, from the hamlet of Braughing in Hertfordshire, England apparently died just before his wedding. As the funeral bell was being tolled, the coffin was carried down Fleece Lane towards the village Church of St Mary the Virgin.

Matthew's fiancée and other mourners were deeply distressed. He was only a young man. As they made their way to the funeral service, one of the pallbearers slipped on the damp autumn leaves and they dropped the coffin - waking young Matthew, from what was simply a deep sleep. Confused and wondering wherever he was, he began frantically hitting the inside of the wooden case with his fist. The mourners removed the lid and were overjoyed to find him alive and well.

Matthew had been in a coma and had been suffering from what is believed to be a form of epilepsy. A year after this strange event he married his beautiful fiancée and lived many more years. When eventually he did die in 1595, his will made financial provision for Fleece Lane to be swept each year, after which the funeral bell, and then a wedding peal, were to be rung. The money, invested in Braughing Parish Charities also paid for his grave to be pegged with brambles to prevent grazing sheep from damaging it.

The 2nd October is, to this very day, known as Old Man's Day. The tradition still continues and schoolchildren now sweep the leaves from the lane, the bells are rung, and a short service is held at Matthew Wall's graveside.


Anonymous said...

Fascinating. My greatest fear is being buried alive. Kill me any other way: firing squad, hanging, stabbing, burning at the stake, I'd take any torture over being buried alive. Just the thought of it freaks me right out.

Neil Welton said...

Imagine jumping out of this coffin and finding yourself in 2008 - Heaven or Hell?