A customary game which, like Lifting and other customs, pitted males against females, was reported from Yorkshire, Northumberland, and Co. Durham in the 18th and 19th centuries. On Easter Sunday, youths tried to waylay young women and steal their shoe-buckles, or even their complete shoes. The women retaliated on Easter Monday by taking the men's hats or caps. Both sides met that evening, or the next day, and a small sum was exacted to redeem their belongings, which was then used to fund an evening of eating and drinking. As is usual with such customs. Strangers were not exempt, and anyone passing through the village on these days was likely to be stopped by the young people and a small sum demanded in lieu of shoe, spurs, or hat (Gentleman's Magazine (1790), 719; Dyer, 1876: 167-8).
Above: Drawing of a Fabergé egg (date unknown) Source: Wiki Commons
I live in the English cathedral city of Lichfield, which, despite having a population of fewer than 5,000 during the Georgian period, was home to many important artists and intellectuals including Samuel Johnson, David Garrick and Erasmus Darwin. I generally blog about the short 18th century (1715-1789), feisty Georgian ladies and Lichfield's 18th-century heritage. If you have any comments, feel free to email me at woffington [at] gmail [dot] com.
Virtually forgotten today, Margaret Woffington (also known as Peg or Peggy) would rise from humble origins to become one of Georgian London’s most famous actresses, sharing the stage with the likes of David Garrick and excelling in so-called ‘breeches roles’. Born around the year 1720 in Dublin, her childhood years were marred by the death of her father, which plunged her family into poverty. Having reputedly sold watercress barefoot in the streets of the Irish capital, she was soon talent-spotted by a tumbler known as Violante, who staged populist entertainments in booths around the city. Violante had a troupe of child actors called the Liliputians, and before long Woffington was making her debut as Polly Peachum in their version of The Beggar’s Opera. Moving to London, she gained plaudits for both her outstanding beauty and her talent – particularly in comedy – appearing at both Covent Garden and Drury Lane. Known for her quick wit and no-nonsense attitude, she had high-profile affairs with Garrick, Lord Darnley and Charles Hanbury Williams; she was also a generous benefactor, supporting her elderly mother and may even have endowed some almshouses in Teddington, where she had settled at the height of her success. She died, unmarried, in 1760, having suffered a long wasting illness, and is buried in Teddington's parish church of St Mary’s.
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