Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

An illustrated appreciation, of the most interesting districts in Sussex.

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baronet) called upon him on a tour, he was desired to leave his cane in the vestibule, lest he should either dirt the floor with it, or soil the carpet."
One does not think naturally of old Sussex customs in con­nection with this town, so thoroughly urban as it now is and so largely populated by visitors, but I find in the Sussex Archaeological Collections the following interesting account, by a Hastings alderman, of an old harvest ceremony in the neighbourhood :—" At the head of the table one of the men occupied the position of chairman ; in front of him stood a pail —clean as wooden staves and iron hoops could be made by human labour. At his right sat four or five men who led the singing, grave as judges were they ; indeed, the appearance of the whole assembly was one of the greatest solemnity, except for a moment or two when some unlucky wight failed to ' turn the cup over,' and was compelled to undergo the penalty in that case made and provided. This done, all went on as solemnly as before.
" The ceremony, if I may call it so, was this : The leader, or chairman, standing behind the pail with a tall horn cup in his hand, filled it with beer from the pail. The man next to him on the left stood up, and holding a hat with both hands by the brim, crown upwards, received the cup from the chairman, on the crown of the hat, not touching it with either hand. He then lifted the cup to his lips by raising the hat, and slowly drank off the contents. As soon as he began to drink, the chorus struck up this chant:
I've bin to Plymouth and I've bin to Dover. I have bin rambling, boys, all the wurld over—
Over and over and over and over, Drink up yur liquor and turn yur cup over ;
Over and over and over and over, The liquor's drink'd up and the cup is turned over.
"The man drinking was expected to time his draught so as to empty his cup at the end of the fourth line of the chant;
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