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This list was extracted from Brian’s book, Traditional Customs of Britain, Webb & Bower, 1985, some of the events may no longer happen and dates may change for various reasons, some will not happen on Sundays for instance so you must check before quoting (or attending!) anything in this list. Not all are open to the public and some may require tickets or prior arrangement. It is reproduced here for your convenience. We do not have pictures of all these events, those we do are linked to.



Kirkwall, Orkney Islands. The Ba’, a street football game also played on Christmas Day


Bideford, Devon. Andrew’s Dole


Oxford. Needle and Thread distribution at Queen’s College


Castlemorton, Worcestershire, 6 miles south of Malvern. Winsbury Dole

New Moon after 20th (approximately)

Chinese New Year



Wotton, Surrey, 2 miles west of Dorking. Forty Shilling Day, a bequest paid to boys who can recite certain texts. (Intermittent)

Monday of Candlemas week (2nd)

St Ives, Cornwall. Hurling the Silver Ball


Shrove Tuesday

St Paul’s Cathedral, London. Cakes and Ale Sermon

Mid Lent

Ufton Nervet, Berkshire, 2 miles south of Theale. Dame Elizabeth Marvyn Charity at Ufton Court



Lanark, South Lanarkshire. ‘Whuppity Scoorie’ is a mad race for kids around the church

During the month

Old Bolingbroke, Lincolnshire. Candle Auction for parish land held during Parish Council AGM

During the month

Stockbridge, Hampshire. Court Leet and Court Baron


Thursday nearest 25th

Morpeth, Northumberland. Boundary Riding

During April

Wirksworth, Derbyshire. Barmoot Court oversees lead mining affairs (also in October)


Maundy Thursday

Leigh, Greater Manchester. Henry Travice Charity, a more modest affair!

Good Friday

Alciston, East Sussex, 6 miles SE of Lewes. Good Friday Skipping

Good Friday

Liverpool Docks area. Burning Judas in the early morning. May not happen but worth looking for

Good Friday

Ideford, Devon, 4 miles north of Newton Abbot. Borrington Dole

Easter Sunday

Radley, Oxfordshire. Church Clipping

Easter Monday

Bourne, Lincolnshire. Running Auction in which bids are made for land while a boy runs a set distance

Easter Monday every third year

Barwick-in-Elmet, West Yorkshire, 5 miles west of Leeds. Lowering the Maypole for ritual repairs. It is raised again on Spring Bank Holiday

Wednesday after Easter

Keevil, Wiltshire, 4 miles east of Trowbridge. Tayler Charity

Thursday after Easter

Ratcliffe Culey, Leicestershire, a mile NE of Atherstone. Setting the Lanes at the Gate Inn is arranging grazing rights

Thursday after Easter

Reading, Berkshire. Maidservants’ Charity at St Mary’s Church House



Gawthorpe, West Yorkshire, east of Dewesbury. Gawthorpe May Day


Berwick upon Tweed, Northumberland. Riding the Bounds

May Day Holiday Monday

Rochester, Kent. Sweeps Festival

Second week in the month

Etwall, Derby. Well Dressing. The first of the year; began in 1970

Second Saturday in the month

Hayes Common, Kent. May Festival

Nearest Sunday to 21st

Meriden, West Midlands. Cyclists Memorial Service

Near the end of the month

Hastings, East Sussex. Blessing the Sea


Worcester. Oak Apple Day; the City Hall gates are decorated with oak branches

End of the month

Endon, Staffordshire, 4 miles SW of Leek. Well Dressing one of the few outside Derbyshire

Spring Bank Holiday every third year

Barwick-in-Elmet, West Yorkshire. Raising the Maypole

Spring Bank Holiday

Bellerby, North Yorkshire, 6 miles south of Richmond. Bellerby Feast

Spring Bank Holiday

Manchester. Whit Walks

Spring Bank Holiday

Kingsteignton, Devon. Ram Roasting Fair

Spring Bank Holiday every third year

Laugharne, Carmarthenshire. Common Walk

Wednesday after Bank Holiday

Pinner, NW London. One of the great street fairs


Ascension Day

Wicken, Northamptonshire, 2 miles SW of Stony Stratford. The Love Feast celebrates the joining of two parishes in 1587

Ascension Day

Lichfield, Staffordshire. Beating the Cathedral Bounds


First week in month

West Linton, Borders, 14 miles south of Edinburgh. Common Riding and Whipman Play

First Thursday in month

Neston, Cheshire. Ladies Walking Day; a Friendly Society walk

Second week in month

Southwold, Suffolk. Trinity Fair

Friday after second Monday

Hawick, Borders. Common Riding is one of the biggest but no women allowed

Middle of the month

Exeter, Devon. Lammas Fair

Third full week in month

Selkirk, Borders. Common Riding here is oldest and biggest in the region, with up to 600 riders

Third week in month

Peebles, Borders. Beltane Festival and Common Riding

Third week in month

Melrose, Borders. Melrose Summer Festival and Common Riding

Week including 24th

Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway. ‘Guid Nychburris’ is similar to Border Common Ridings

Last Thursday in month

Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Cakes and Ale given to pensioners through a bequest of one Jankyn Smith


Barrowden, Leicestershire, 6 miles SW of Stamford. Rushstrewing

Last Saturday in month

Bakewell, Derbyshire. Well Dressing

Last week in month

Ashburton, Devon. Ale Tasting, no longer serious

Last week of the month

Galashiels, Borders. Braw Lads Gathering

Last week of the month

Newcastle upon Tyne. Fair on the Town Moor is the biggest in the North of England


First full week of the month

Duns, Borders. Reivers Week and Common Riding

First Saturday in month

Great Musgrave, Cumbria, 1½ miles west of Brough. Rushbearing

Second Saturday in month

Jedburgh, Borders. Gallant’s Festival and Common Riding lasts two weeks with climax on this day

Middle of the month

Kelso, Borders. Common Riding

Saturday of third week in month

Durham. Miners’ Gala is a vast gathering but less than it once was

Third week in month

Innerleithen, Borders. Cleikum Ceremony and St Ronan’s Border Games


First Saturday in month

Lauder, Borders. Common Riding

First full week in month

Coldstream, Borders. Common Riding with an impressive ride-out to Flodden Field. The last major Common Riding of the year

Saturday nearest 5th

Grasmere, Cumbria. Rushbearing

Wednesday nearest the 21st

Priddy, Somerset. Priddy Sheep Fair

Third week in month

Irvine, North Ayreshire. Marymass Fair and Races

Third Friday in month

Newport, Pembrokeshire, 7 miles east of Fishguard. Beating the Bounds

Third Thursday after first Monday in month

Grasmere, Cumbria. Grasmere Sports


Gulval, Cornwall, just north of Penzance. Blessing the Mead

Last Monday and Tuesday in month

Ballycastle, Co Antrim. Auld Lammas Fair

Saturday before August Bank Holiday

Wormhill, Derbyshire. Well Dressing

August Bank Holiday

Notting Hill, London. Carnival



Colchester, Essex. Opening of the Oyster Season

Monday and Tuesday of the first full week in the month

Oxford. St Giles’ Fair, in the centre of the city

Saturday nearest 18th

Lichfield, Staffordshire. Dr Johnson Commemoration


Last three days of the first week

Nottingham. Goose Fair, the biggest fair in Britain


Twyford, Hampshire, 3 miles south of Winchester. Bellringers’ Feast

Second Wednesday in month

Tavistock, Devon, ‘Goosey’ Fair

Late in the month

Royal Courts of Justice, London. ‘Quit Rents’ paid with ceremony to the Queen’s Remembrancer

30th or within a few days

Area south and west of Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Caking, a very strange pub custom in which men disguise themselves and others guess who they are

During October

Wirksworth, Derbys. Barmoot Court oversees lead mining affairs (also in April)


Second Sunday in month

Everywhere. Remembrance Sunday


Christmas Eve to Epiphany

Mallwyd, Gwynedd, and other places. Plygain, Welsh carol singing

Christmas Day

Kirkwall, Orkney. The Ba’


Melrose, Borders. The Mason’s Walk

New Year’s Eve

Biggar, South Lanarkshire. New Year Bonfire

New Year’s Eve

Comrie, Tayside. Flambeaux Procession of huge flaming torches


Every Saturday

Woodbridge, Suffolk. John Sayer Charity

Every night between Michaelmas and Shrove Tuesday

Bainbridge, North Yorkshire. The Hornblower sounds his curfew at 10p.m.

Every night

Tower of London. Ceremony of the Keys, a most impressive event which can be seen by anyone who applies to the Chief Yeoman Warder for a ticket

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