St Andrew's Day

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(30 November).

In some areas, such as Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, and Northamptonshire, St Andrew was regarded as the patron saint of lace-makers (but see also St Catherine) and his day was thus kept as a holiday, or ‘tandering feast’, by many in that trade. Thomas Sternberg, describing customs in mid-19th-century Northamptonshire, claims that St Andrew's Day Old Style (11 December) was a major festival day ‘in many out of the way villages’ of the county: ‘… the day is one of unbridled license—a kind of carnival; village scholars bar out the master, the lace schools are deserted, and drinking and feasting prevail to a riotous extent. Towards evening the villagers walk about and masquerade, the women wearing men's dress and the men wearing female attire, visiting one another's cottages and drinking hot elderberry wine, the chief beverage of the season …’ (Sternberg, 1851: 183–5). In Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, a feature of the day was the making and eating of Tandry Wigs (a wig in this case being a cake or bun) (N&Q 5s:2 (1874), 138). A strange belief reported by Wright and Lones is that wherever lillies of the valley grow wild the parish church is usually dedicated to St Andrew.


Wright and Lones, 1940: iii. 186–91.

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