Grasmere rushbearing


Grasmere rushbearing
   A *rushbearing custom which has survived in symbolic form in Grasmere, Cumbria, even though the church was paved in 1840. Token rushes are carried on a special linen sheet, held by six girls (the Rush Maidens), dressed in green, while others are made into elaborate shapes (called rush-bearings), some as large as four or five feet tall, and carried in procession to the church. Traditional shapes for the rushbearings include harps, crosses, maypoles, and St Oswald's crown and hand. The latter is the patron saint of the parish church, and he was so good to the poor in his lifetime that St Aidan blessed his hand and prayed that it might never perish. The custom formerly took place in July, but was moved in 1885 to bring it in line with St Oswald's Day (5 August). After the procession round the village, and a church service, the rushes and rushbearings are placed on shelves in the church, and there they stay for a few days until collected by their owners. Children are given pieces of gingerbread stamped with St Oswald's name. The earliest mention of a rush custom at Grasmere is a payment of 1 s. in 1680, 'For ale bestowed on those who brought rushes and repaired the church'. Hole, 1975: 86-7; Shuel, 1985: 86-7; E. F. Rawnsley, The
   Rushbearing in Grasmere and Ambleside (1953); Gertrude M. Simpson, The Rushbearing in Grasmere and Ambleside (1931).

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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  • Grasmere — Infobox lake lake name = Grasmere image lake = Cumbria 2007 015.jpg caption lake = View from Loughrigg Terrace image bathymetry = caption bathymetry = location = Lake District, Cumbria coords = coord|54|27|N|3|01|W|region:GB… …   Wikipedia

  • rushbearing —    A prime example of a custom which originally had a logical practical purpose but which was turned into an elaborate occasion by tradition and which continues in isolated places long after the original raison d etre is gone. When churches had… …   A Dictionary of English folklore

  • Ambleside rushbearing —    Not quite so well known as neighbouring *Grasmere, Ambleside, Cumbria, keeps its own version of the rushbearing custom. On the Saturday nearest St Anne s Day (26 July), villagers process to the St Mary s church with men carrying pointed rush… …   A Dictionary of English folklore