Overview

St Anne's Day


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

(26 July).

Sidney Oldall Addy describes the following love divination procedure for St Anne's Eve, probably as collected in Derbyshire or Yorkshire, although similar ones are reported elsewhere for Midsummer and other times.A stool is set in the middle of a room, and a bowl of water put thereon. A string or piece of rope is then hung across the room. Seven unmarried girls, who must not speak till the ceremony is over, come in, and each hangs a smock on the line. Then each of the girls in turn drops a bay-leaf into the water, and sits down immediately opposite to the smock which she has hung up. Soon afterwards a young man will enter the room, take a bay-leaf from the bowl, and sprinkle the smock of the girl whom he intends to marry. He will marry her that year.

A stool is set in the middle of a room, and a bowl of water put thereon. A string or piece of rope is then hung across the room. Seven unmarried girls, who must not speak till the ceremony is over, come in, and each hangs a smock on the line. Then each of the girls in turn drops a bay-leaf into the water, and sits down immediately opposite to the smock which she has hung up. Soon afterwards a young man will enter the room, take a bay-leaf from the bowl, and sprinkle the smock of the girl whom he intends to marry. He will marry her that year.

Ben Jonson includes a reference to divinatory dreams in his masque ‘The Satyr’, but John Aubrey (1686/1880: 54) challenges this and says he must mean St Agnes. It is certainly true that St Agnes's Eve/Day is a far more common time for love divinations, but as Thomas Killigrew (Thomaso, (1663), II. iv) includes the term ‘St Ann's Vision’ in a list of failed love charms, it seems that Jonson was correct.


Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.