If you go Down to #FamilyTreeLive on 26 & 27 April ………. Part 3: Sir William Tyrell

Tyrell 2 resizeSir William Tyrell lives at Pentargon Hall with his wife, the Lady Kateryn. He is the local landowner magistrate, having taken on the role from his father-in-law, the late Sir Edward Cardew. Whilst many of his cases are run of the mill village disputes, occasionally a case comes along with more wide-reaching significance…

In the 21st Century, Sir William is a character from the acclaimed play WITCH, written by Tracey Norman and performed by Circle of Spears Productions. He is portrayed by Tracey’s husband, folklore author and researcher Mark Norman. Mark is the creator and host of The Folklore Podcast and writes books, articles and a newspaper column on folklore and its interaction with our family and social history.

 

 

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Mistress Agnes goes Spinning – Distaff Day

Spinning WheelWhat? I hear you exclaim. Hath the good mistress taken up some form of extreme gymnastic activity? Those who do know Mistress Agnes well, will realise that strenuous pursuits are not normally associated with this dear lady. No, despite the attempts of the rascally Puritans to put a damper on Yuletide proceedings, Mistress Agnes did receive a most thrilling gift. This wonderous spinning wheel now graces her cottage and the good lady is awaiting instruction in the use of the same. Really she should have been hard at work last Sunday, which is designated Distaff Day, the day when all good spinsters resume their duties after Twelfth Night. ’Tis also known as Rock Day, as those with the less glamorous drop spindles were said to be spinning on the rock.

Folklore states that young masters might set fire to the flax and tow of the maidens, who would then retaliate by throwing a pail of water. The good masters, by custom, returned to work on Plough Monday, after the blessing of the plough the previous day. This year Plough Monday was on 8 January, so the goodfellows only had one extra day of leisure.

A little ditty from Robert Herrick

Partly work and partly play
Ye must, on St. Distaff’s day;
From the plough soon free your team,
Then come home and fodder them;
If the maids a spinning go,
Burn the flax and fire the tow.
Bring in pails of water then,
Let the maids bewash the men.
Give St. Distaff all the right,
Then bid Christmas sport good night,
And next morrow every one
To his own vocation