October 18th, 2006


Happy Birthday, kesh

For your present, here's today's Forgotten English!

A church beadle ... with his long wand of office [for] tapping (nawping, we lads called it) the heads of either sleepers or unruly youngsters.
--John Wilkinson's Leeds Dialect Glossary and Lore, 1924

Dog-Whipping Day
At one time, any dogs found on the streets of York on October 18 were subject to being whipped. This practice commemorates an eighteenth-century incident in which a dog had consumed consecrated wafers in York Minster Cathedral. Many English churches of that time employed wardens who not only supervised the canines that accompanied their owners to church but also were at times assigned to keep parishoners awake during services. But these minor officials' duties were not confined to the church. As Frederick Hackwood's Inns, Ales, and Drinking Customs of Old England (1909) explained: "The practice in the later centuries was for the churchwardens and the beadle ... to sally forth on Sunday morning at the commencement of the reading of the second lesson, and to visit all the public-houses in the neighbourhood of the church. Anyone found tippling during church service was instantly apprehended and placed in the stocks, which not unfrequently stood near the churchyard gates."

What a stupid planet.

Sorry you didn't get a better word, kesh! The calendar's been letting us down lately.

-The Gneech
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