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The Stations of the SunA History of the Ritual Year in Britain$
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Ronald Hutton

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205708

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205708.001.0001

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The Midsummer Fires

The Midsummer Fires

Chapter:
(p.311) 30 The Midsummer Fires
Source:
The Stations of the Sun
Author(s):

Ronald Hutton

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205708.003.0030

This chapter is concerned with communal customs and those of midsummer fires. In England, the earliest references to this merry-making are from the thirteenth century, effectively the time at which the sort of records likely to reveal it first occur. One is an agreement between the lord and tenants of the manor of East Monckton, Wiltshire, in the reign of Henry III, by which the former promised to provide a ram for a feast by the latter if they carried fire around his cornfields on Midsummer Eve. The other is in the Liber Memorandum of the church at Barnwell in the Nene valley in Rutland, for the year 1295; it stated that the parish youth would gather at a well that evening for songs and games. The first record in Ireland is from New Ross.

Keywords:   customs, midsummer, fires, England, merry-making, lord, tenants, East Monckton, Liber Memorandum, Ireland

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