#LincsLore roundup for February and March

Here's a compilation of the #LincsLore tweets I put out occasionally, cherry-picking the quirky customs, festivals and country sayings from Lincolnshire's history. This selection pulls together the months of February and March. January's compilation of the same is here.  


Feb 10: Lent takes its name from Anglo-Saxon "lencten", meaning to lengthen. "Days lengthen, cold strengthen" is an old Lincs phrase. 

Feb 10: On Ash Wednesday (or the following day, Clerk Thursday), lock-out your schoolmaster until he grants you a half day holiday.

Feb 14: The first unmarried man you see on Valentine's Day will be the one you marry.

Feb 29: Women may propose to men; by leaping on their back. Men accept the proposal by leaping on the woman's back in return.

Feb 29: If a man refuses your proposal he must buy you a silk dress.


March. Saxons called the month Lenctenmonath, as the days were lengthening. The Christian term "Lent" comes from this root.

March 1: Gainsborough. The river Trent is a greedy river, taking seven lives a year. Sacrifice a lamb to the river to spare a life.

March 1: "If the fruit trees blossom in March you won't get a crop, and if it blossoms twice a death will occur in the family".

March 2: St Chad's Day. Patron saint of medicinal springs. "Sow your beans on St Chad's day" is considered sound advice.

Mothering Sunday. A day's holiday for apprentices, who would return home.

Mothering Sunday. Also: Apprentice Sunday, Refreshment Sunday, Laetare Sunday, Simnel Sunday. "Mother's Day" = C20 US invention.

Mothering Sunday. A fragment of folk memories of worship of Cybele, mother of the Gods.

March 6: Refreshment Sunday. A day's relaxation from Lenten abstinence. Wild flowers given as gifts. Simnel cake.

March 6: Mid-lent fairs start today: Stamford's dates back to at least 1224. Tradition is that the mayor has the first dodgem ride.

March 17: St Patricks Day was celebrated in expat Irish communities across Lincs (Lincoln, Caistor, Woodhall, Louth).

Palm Sunday. In Lincs, pussy-willow was used for palm. Beat a child with pussy-willow (or "withy"), & you'll stunt their growth.

Palm Sunday: Caistor Gad-Whip: a ceremony involving cracking a whip throughout the morning's service, and 30 pieces of silver.

Caistor Gad-Whip links to a child murder, being an act of penance written into land tenancy; seen as "desecration"  by mid C19.

Spring equinox. Throw a piece of silver into the Eagre tidal bore at Gainsborough to prevent you from being drowned that year.

I was away from home over the Easter weekend and so didn't have the reference work used to source the bulk of these sayings. That book, by the way, is A Lincolnshire Calendar by Maureen Sutton and is a fine repository of Yellowbelly arcana.