Thursday, January 4, 2018

Penny Hedges



The Penny Hedge is an old custom in Whitby, whereby on the Day of Ascension a rickety 'hedge' is built into the sand of the East side of Whitby.  It has to withstand three tides from the sea, and is called a horngarth.  The folklore rests on the story in 1159 of three nobles chasing a boar which subsequently gained the protection of a chapel and then died.  The monk in the chapel stopped the hounds going in and for this he was beaten up by the nobles and died, but not before he asked for their release from punishment from the Abbot.  This was granted and their task and the task of their future families was to build this hedge.
The whole story is told in this article from Whitby Museum and there are many interpretations as to what the hedge was for.
And whilst in the Whitby Museum have you ever met the Hand of Glory.  A grisly keepsake used by burglars to gain entrance to your house and then keep you motionless as they burgled your house.  I won't even show you a photo of the horrible thing ;)

8 comments:

  1. I saw the Penny Hedge custom on a programme a few years ago. I'd love to see the Hand of Glory...I know what you mean about body parts though. I've got lots of photos I've taken in museums, but am selective in blogland as to what I actually show. Arilx

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  2. It is very grisly to look out Aril but Whitby Museum houses a lot of interesting things including toys and dolls houses, and you can't move for Captain Cook stuff...

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  3. Captain Cook stuff does seem to proliferate throughout the North East.

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    1. The other thing at the museum of course was the past whaling industry which was so cruel.

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  4. Well, some of that folklore can be quite startling. Rougher times.

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    1. America of course took in some of the immigrants from our country (diplomacy is an art ;) and it is surprising that so little of these traditions and customs made the journey..

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  5. A fascinating legend. 'Yethers'--always a new word to learn, though I can't imagine any use for it!

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  6. Local dialect and medieval use as well, think the 'yethers' were the sticks woven through the hurdle. British people, at least a few, love the old customs.

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