Thursday, May 16, 2013

Penny Hedges

Weather here is so cold, as I suppose most of the country is..... well they did say that climate change could go one way or the other, obviously we are heading the other way!  Life is spent catching up on things to do, hanging rails for the bedroom are up, towel rails of course, one sits behind a beam and the other over a cupboard doorway, Laura (Visit England rep) has not visited though yet but the bookings are coming in and I doubt if we shall come back to the cottage this summer.
Last week we missed an old ceremony down by the quay, the Penny Hedge, the following Wiki explains it, 
it feels like a  slightly earlier 'Celtic' tale with the boar seeking shelter in the sanctity of a monks hut, but the ceremony still goes on and the wattle fence is still built, apparently according to my daughter when the tide is out you can still see the old hedge of last year, did Canute inspire this tradition I wonder?

The Penny Hedge is an ancient tradition in the English coastal town of Whitby in Yorkshire.
The legend dates back to 1159, when the Abbot of Whitby imposed a penance on three hunters, and on their descendants for all time, for murdering a hermit at Eskdaleside.
The hunters were following a wild boar near Whitby. When the boar took refuge in a hermitage at Eskdaleside, the nobles set upon the monk living there, who had closed the door on the hounds. Before he died, the monk consented to forgive them and spare their lives if they and their descendants would enact a penance.
Each year, on the eve of Ascension Day, on the shore of Whitby, they had to construct a short hedge from stakes woven together, able to withstand three tides. The instructions stipulated that a knife "of a penny price" was to be used.
The ceremony is still performed in Whitby every year on Ascension Eve, by the occupiers of the land formerly owned by the Abbot. A horn is sounded and followed by the cry "Out on ye! Out on ye! Out on ye!"
Whitby Abbey


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