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Nh l July 7th, 1888. OYMRU FU. 213 JÜLY 7, 1888. REPLIES. RUSH-BEARING (March 10,1888).—Thecustom of Rush-bearing is fast becoming obsolete, but it isslill practised at two places in the neighbour- hood of Wrexham, North Wales~at Isycoed on the first Sunday and at Marchwiel on tlie last Sunday in July. The terms " rush-bearing" and " rush- burning " areequally employed by the " natives"— tho "bearing " commemorative of the sweet new rushes freshly carried into the church, the " burning " of the fate of the old down-trodden carpet of a year's standing. In both villages the rush-bearing is confined (ecclesiastically) to the churciiyard, where the graves are decked in a similar fashion to that in vogue at Easter- tíde almost all over tlie Principality, but with this distinction, that fche graves are first covered witli fresh-cut rushes (the "hiddy bush " of Scottish lore) upon which the customary floral tributes nre laid. It is not necessary to add that the feast has not disappeared with the fast, that beyond the sacred pale stands in view for the morrow the gingerbreads, the shooting gallery, the whirligig, and that the rustics, though probably ignorant of the existence and example of tlie patron saintof the place, do not forgot to drink to liis health. Earwig. Crowle, Lincolnshire. This custom Iias not been kept up in Hope, Flintshire, for upwariîs of sixty years: it probably died out when bull, bear, and badger-baiting was abolished in the parish. Proof that it was at one time observed was given when the Church was restored in 1884, for under the boarding of the aisles and seats a quantity of dried up ruslies was found. " Soüth Wales Antiquauy " must allude to Holt, Denbighshire, where the custom prevailed nslatelyas 1868. Holt and Farndon are two villages, only divided by the river Dee, and com- inunicating with each other by means of a bridge with ten arches, built in 1345 in the middleof which Bridge was at one time a chapel. Much interes- ting information mìght be given about these and neighbouring yillages, but they would manifestly be out of place in Notes on Rush-bearing. The Rev. G. J. Howson, in a paper read before the Archseological and Historic Society of Chester a few weeks ngo, treating of " The Welsh Border of Cheshire," and nlluding to tlie custom of Rush- bearing, says that the earliest record of its obser- vance in places along the Border was in 1541, but this quotaiion from the cliurcliwarden's accounts of St. Mary-at-Hill, London, shows that it was in force in the Metropolis at a much earlier date:— " 1439.—Paid for 2 Berden of Rysshes for the strewing of the new Pewes............"...............3d." The following transcription from the Cheshire Sheaf is interesting as showing the dates and the occasion of tlie customs' observance :— EUSHBEARING. Frotn tlie treasurer's account of Chester Cathe- dral:— 1546. For rysshes in Festo Pasce .........,..... iiijd. For ryngyng at Ester ........,............ viijd. For rysshes at Wydsontyd............... vjd. „ Mydsomer.................. viíjd. 1551. For ryshes in Festo omn' Sanctor ... vjd. 1552. For ruslie3 against All Hallowcyde... xd. For rynging on All Hallow's Night ... xvjd. 1584. ToEdwardGriffiths.for boughs,rishes, nnd other things, at what time the Earle of Leicester came hither.........xviijd 1606. A Rishe berrying set. St. Brides, Mr. Rnbt Amery. As far as I can nseertain, the custom was kept up at Holt as lately as 1868, the floors of the pews and aisles being strewed with rushes which were allowed to remain throughout the year without removal. "Senex," writing to the Cheshire Sheaf in 1878, says that in his youth he remembers that Wrexhem Church was famous for its annual rush- bearing. He also mentions that in 1878 the custom was still observed in the quiet little village of Shocklach. In a cutting from the Chester Courant, dated August 6, 1810, a correspondent writes indignantly complaining that the festivities of the annual Rush-bearing fete, should have been dis- graced by bull baiting. The reasons for and the methods of observing this time-honoured custom are varied:—1. As a dedicatory offering to the patron sainte of the various churches ; 2. To show reverence and remembrance towards departed friends, the rushes and flowers being used in most parishes to decorate the graves and tombstones in the churchyards; and (3) to make the pews and aisles, the fioors of which were generally made of earth or paving stones, more comfortable forkneelingand walking. In Cheshire and the parishes of Holt, Wrexham, Is-y-coed, &c, in Denbighshire, the annual Rush- bearing was a most gorgeous demonstration carried out somewhat in this style: A very large quantity of rushes, the ends of wliich were evenly cut, were bound on a cart, which was adorned with flags and ribbons and small bells attached to the horses' collars. On the Saturday afternoon a number of men got on to the top of the rushes, carrying garlands of flowers, tinsel paper, and ribbons. The cart was drawn by other men around the village, preceded and followed by fantastically dressed men and women dancing and siuging, one person with a blackened face ringing a bell and collecting money in a ladle from the