minstrel: Caroling

William and Scianna Augustine Peregrine.Ent at worldnet.att.net
Thu Dec 25 07:45:05 PST 1997

>From the book "Faiths and Folklore of the British Isles", by W. Carew

	"In 1521 was printed a set of Christmas Carols. These...were festal
chansons for enlivening the merriments of the Christmas celebrity; and
not such religious songs as are current at this day with the common
people, under the same title, and which were substituted by those
enemies of innocence and youthful mirth, the Puritans. The boar's head
soused was anciently the first dish on Christmas Day, and was carried up
to the principal table in the hall with great state and solemnity. For
this indispensible ceremony there was a carol."
	The book continues, "William Cornish received at Christmas, 1502, the
sum of 13s. 4d. 'for setting of a carralle upon Christmas Day, in
reward.' In the 'Paradyce of Daynty Devises,' 1578, are hymns by Jasper
Heywood and Francis Kinwelmersh for Christmas Day, Whitsunday, and
Easter Day....In the Churchwardens' accounts of St-Mary-at-Hill, London,
1537, is the tantalizing entry: 'To Sr. Mark for carols for Christmas
and for 5 square books, iijs.iiijd.'....
	"In a satyrical tract, which was printed in 1642, the author, among
other proposals made for the consideration of the Parliament, suggested
that 'instead of carols, which farmers sonnes and servants sing on
Christ's Birth-day before they may eate or drink, you take order, that
by some of your best City-Poets (who will write certainly to their
capacity) there will be some songs made of the great deeds that his
Excelencie did at Worchester and Edgehill.'"

	On the book: the nucleus of the text first appeared in 1725 as
"Antiquitates Vulgares", by the Rev. Henry Bourne. It was expanded by
John Brand, Secretary to the London Society of Antiquities, in 1777.
Brand continued to collect material for a more comprehensive
encyclopedia of bygone traditions, but died before he could see it
complete. A two volume set was published posthumously in 1813. Hazlett,
an ethnologist and researcher, considerably expanded, revised, and
corrected the work for publication in 1870; these quotations are taken
from his 1905 revision, reprinted in 1965 by Benjamin Blom, Inc., NYC.

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