Shrove Tuesday Fritters and Flinging at Cocks

February 13, 2018

“Shrove” is the past tense of “shrive” which the Collins Dictionary defines as “to confess one’s sins to a priest in order to obtain sacramental forgiveness”. When I searched for references to Shrove Tuesday in, and near, Abingdon I found no references to confession but did find the following…

1. Pancakes
Shrove Tuesday
Snick, snack, the pan’s hot,
We’re come a shroving
Strike while the iron’s hot -
Something’s better than nothing.
Flour’s cheap and lard’s dear
And that’s why we come a shroving here …
(Rhyme from Drayton near Abingdon quoted in May Day to Mummers)

2. Throwing Sticks at Cockerels
Shrove Tuesday
In Abingdon Museum there is the notice about Shrove Tuesday cockerel throwing – an old tradition abolished in 1805.

Samuel Pepys describes both these traditions in one short paragraph on Shrove Tuesday 1661. “Back to Mrs. Turner’s, where several friends … dined. Very merry and the best fritters that ever I eat in my life. After that looked out at window; saw the flinging at cocks.”

Pepy’s continues “I found my Valentine with my wife … Then I sat and talked with my Valentine and my wife a good while, and then saw her home.”

It is Valentine’s Day tomorrow, and Ash Wednesday.

Filed under: Events

3 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. Peter Del  |  February 14, 2018 at 12:15 am

    An interesting reference to the diarist Samuel Pepys.
    With his wife, he visited Abingdon in June 1668, when his evening meal cost five shillings and his overnight accommodation the enormous sum of thirteen shillings. He put two shillings and six pence in the poor box of the alms houses in St. Helen’s Wharf. The box and its padlock are still in situ!

  • 2. The real another Steve  |  February 14, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    Easy to see where Aunt Sally came from isn’t it.

  • 3. Hester  |  February 15, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    In Ypres they used to throw cats from the bell tower

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