Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday in Shropshire

From The Folklore of Shropshire by Roy Palmer (2004):
Until the 1860s, when the well was drained, it was the custom on Good Friday to dip one's hand in the water, deemed good for weak eyes, of St Margaret's Well at Wellington. Much more recently, comfortably into the 20th century, the congregation of Lords Hill Baptist Church met at Snailbeach in the afternoon and perambulated the area, pausing to sing hymns to the accompaniment of a brass band. 
Until the 1930s, most places of work closed on Good Friday. People traditionally spent time in their gardens, and this was considered a good time for planting potatoes. Formerly, bread baked on this day ... was believed to have curative properties. Many Shrewsbury families trekked to Haughmond Hill, following the canal towpath to Uffington. Children played and picknicked on the hill until the Second World War ended the custom.

1 comment:

iain said...

I have been planting my potatoes on Good Friday for a long time. It is tradition that dates back many years, but undoubtedly the 1871 Bank Holiday legislation, associated with Liberal MP Sir John Lubbock, contributed to folk doing it on Good Friday. I am pretty sure that is the explanation in the classic book The Allotment co-authored by Colin Ward. Easter is still set by the lunar calendar and some gardeners do use that calendar to plan the planting.