Monday, November 05, 2012


An Old Ceremony

Rev. M.C.F. Morris, Yorkshire Reminiscences (with Others) (London: Oxford University Press, 1922), pp. 164-165:
Being a native of Northumberland Kingsley took much interest in the old speech and customs of that county. He used to allude from time to time to an old ceremony common in his boyhood, called a Braule. This, he thought, originated in the Scottish Court among other French importations. This old dance was interesting from the effect it had on musical form. On his last visit to Northumberland he tried to revive his memory of this old custom, and to recover the old tune and patter. The ceremony was supposed to cure flatulence: the 'patient' was surrounded, and each of the group laid hold of a lock of his hair with the right hand; and then, with the time marked with a stamp, the whole circle danced round repeating a patter in verses, the opening words being, 'A braule, a braule, ae Craigie's horn.' When the first stanza was complete, the direct motion stopped, and each turned round, and laid hold of the hair with the left hand, and then the rotation became retrograde for the next stanza, and then again direct for the third, at the end of which each of the circle pulled at his lock of hair as if he intended to keep it. The 'patient', of course, had to revolve as the spokes, and it was a matter of interest to him that the spokes kept time. Mr. Kingsley told me he did his best to recover the chant, but in vain. Had he succeeded, the find would have been a highly interesting one to musicians.
Kingsley is Rev. William Kingsley (1815-1916), rector of South Kilvington, near Thirsk.

Hat tip: A friend.


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