( Originally Published 1884 )
Being Maunday Thursday, Dr. Gilbert sub-almoner, wash'd the feet, and distributed alms to 49 (the king's years) poor people of both sexes. See the Ceremony, Gent. Mag., vol. i., p. 172.
In addition to what has been mentioned by your correspondents concerning Maunday Thursday, you will please to inform them that it is a general practice of people of all ranks in the Roman Catholic countries to dress in their very best cloaths on that day. The churches are unusually adorned, and everybody performs what is called the Stations; which is, to visit several churches, saying a short prayer in each, and giving alms to the numerous beggars who attend upon the occasion.
Your correspondent Cantianus, in the last month's Magazine, p. 190, wishes to be informed " why Maunday Thursday is in Collier's Ecclesiastical History called Shier Thursday." If Mr. Row, whom he addresses, or some other learned antiquary, has not already answered this query, with the others there proposed, the following passages will probably be acceptable ; the first of which ascertains the day, and the other gives the reason of the appellation. They point out also the true orthography of the word ; to which point our early writers were not very attentive. They are transcribed from the Festival (fol. xxx., p. 2, and fol. xxxi.), printed by Wynkyn de Worde, 1511 ; in which are many very curious legends of popish superstition. The chapter whence these extracts are made contains answers to " diverse questyons, which be nedeful for every Preest to knowe."
" Yf a man aske why Shere Thursdaye is called so, ye may saye that in holy churche it is called (Cena Domini) our Lordes Souper Daye ; for that day he souped with his Discyples openly, and after souper he gave them his flesshe and his blode to eat and drynke." " It is also in Englysshe called Sher Thursdaye, for in old fader's dayes the people wolde that daye shere theyr heedes, and clyppe theyr berdes, and poll theyr heedes, and so make them honest ayenst Eester Day."