St. Briavels Fete - Whit Sunday (General)

by slowhands @, Wednesday, March 23, 2005, 06:29 (6834 days ago) @ Deborah B Asbell

I guess your ancestors gave "us" Andrew's Corner to the North of St B...

Whit Sunday
Venue St Mary's Church
Tel +44 (0) 1594 530345

Each year on Whit Sunday the small village of St Briavels, in the Wye Valley, plays host to the Bread and Cheese Dole. This age old tradition sees crowds of medieval-costumed locals converge outside the local Saint Mary's Church in eager anticipation of catching dole pieces of bread and cheese that are thrown into the air from brimming baskets.

From the moment the first morsels are thrown a thrill of excitement ignites the crowd. Hands outstretched, every man, woman and child battles for his share of the bounty. There are no rules in this battle - women hoist restricting skirts and men pull out extraordinarily large hats to ensure they receive more than their fair share.

The Dole has not gone without its fair share of trouble in the past. As far back as 1816 the Gentleman's Magazine recorded that "most of the food was used as pellets; the pastor coming in for his share as he left the pulpit...". The event even had to relocate several times last century - drinking and outbreaks of fighting invariably the cause.

The origins of this unusual tradition date back to the time of Milo, Earl of Hereford, in the 12th century, although the first records are from Rudder's account, published in 1779. Dole claimers could be anyone who payed a penny to the Earl of Hereford (then lord of the Forest of Dean) entitling them to gather wood from nearby Hucknoll's woods.

Although the tradition of being able to gather wood has disappeared, the Dole lives on. Revellers believe in the power of these edible morsels and preserve them for good luck (miners originally used them as charms to protect against accidents). Today some people choose to place them in matchboxes and rest them under their pillow to inspire dreams of the future. Perhaps this event could revolutionise the welfare state? Bread and Cheese Dole - don't even think about it.

An image of the Church

There are 6 almshouses, endowed by the late Charles Lord-denton esq.
The Reading Room and Library founded in 1854 by the late Charles Lord-Denton esq. contains a library of about 2,000 volumes and a recreation and billiard room

St. Briavels House on the east side of Pystol Lane is a moderate-sized 19th-century residence, perhaps built for Charles Lord Denton, a prominent inhabitant and benefactor to the village.

From: British History Online
Source: St. Briavels. A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume V, N. M. Herbert (Editor) (1996).

Date: 22/03/2005
© Copyright 2003-2005 University of London & History of Parliament Trust

George Inn, High Street, GL15 6TA

The George, next to St. Briavels Castle, had an annual rateable value of £12.0s.0d. in 1891 and 1903. (10 p.m. closing). The George Inn is still trading. Map reference SO 558046

1856 Mrs E. Kear

1876 Joseph Grimes Kear (listed also as an assistant overseer and collector of taxes)

1885 Joseph Kear

1891 Ann Kear. Alehouse. Free from brewery tie (owner Charles Lord Denton)

1892 Mrs Joseph Kear

1902 Joseph Grimes Kear

1903 Joseph Grimes Kear. Alehouse. Arnold Perrett & Co. (reps. of Lord Charles Denton)

1906 Joseph Grimes Kear

1919,1939 William E. Burley

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