Dec 30th - Jan 6th, Relick Sunday
( Originally Published 1884 )
The learned editor of the "Antiquitates Vulgares' (Newcastle, 8vo, 1777) having omitted to say anything upon Relick Sunday, permit an occasional correspondent to lay a few observations upon the subject,together with some additions to his account of Easter, etc., before your numerous readers.
Amongst the Harl. MSS., 2447, is a curious collection of antient Postills, or Homilies, written in the reigns of King Edward IV. and King Henry VII. at fol. 186 b. of which I find one, " In festo Reliquarum," beginning---
" Worshipfull frendis, on Sunday next coming shall be the holy fest of all relyks (called Relike Sonday), that be left her' in erth to the grete magnificence honor and worship of god and p'fite to man bothe bodily and gustily, for in as much as we be in sufficient to worship and reu'ence singularly all reu'ent Reliks of all seynts left here in erth, for it passith man's power. Wherefore holy Chirch in especiall the Chirch of Yngelonde bathe ordeynd this holy Fest to be worshipped the next Sonday aft' the translac'on of seint Thom's of Cantirbery ye'rly to be allowed and had in reu'ence."
In an antient Account of Church Expences belonging to the Parish of St. Martin Outwich, is this entry:
Payde for wyne on relykys Sonda...Id."
Mr. Brand (App. p. 310) treats upon the Pasche Eggs, but seems to have forgotten the " Paschall" or hallowed taper used at this season of commemorating our Lord's death. Amongst the beforementioned homilies is one (fol. 92 b.) : "In vigilia Pashe," wherein this curious custom at the Easter season is pleasingly obviated :
" Worshipfull Frendes, on Estern' Even' the pascal" is brought forth to be halowyd. It signifyeth oure Sou'eyne Saviour' Criste J'h'u ; for as the pascall ys Candyll and Taper in the Chirche, so is Criste principali and chefe aboue all Seynts in Hevyne. The pascall also signifieth the piller of Fyre that yede beforne the Childrene of Israeli when thei went oute of Egipt to the londe of p'myssion and bihest that now is called Jer'l'm and as thei yede thorough oute of the rede sce, dry fote, hole and sounde.-- (Fol. 93.) Also the pascall is light wt the new hallowed Fyre, and then all other Tapers and Candills in the chirch be light with the same hallowed Fyre ; for all holynes and light of gace and gode werks, com'yth of cists doctryne. Also v pepyns of hallowed encense be sette in the pascall in crosse wise signifieth, as Bede seyth, the v p'cious wounds that criste suffred on his p'cious body."
And, in the curious MS. Account of Parishes Expences afore-quoted, is another entry, which may probably tend to the illustration of this singular paragraph :
" Anno 1525.
Payd to Thomas Vauce waxchandeler for making and renewyng of the berne lyght and for makyng of the paskall wt the tenabur candell and crosse candell xxs. and for waste of the same pascall a pownd and halfe qrt viijd."
And here, the peculiarity of the following specimens of Monkish logic, which appears towards the close of this homily, will doubtless apologise for the digression
" Also at the fonte hallowyng the preste breethyth on the Water ; For the Holi goste in making of the worlde was borne on the water; wherefore, Allmyghte god for Adam is syn cursed the erthe and spared the water (Maledicta tr'a in op'e tuo. Genes. po). Therefore it is lefull to a man, for to ete in lent that com'yth of the wat'."
Should the above meet with your approbation, it may tempt me to continue the subject in some future numbers of your pleasing Miscellany.