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Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss

DigiTrad:
CORNISH MAY CAROL
DRAWING NEARER TO THE MERRY MONTH OF MAY
MAY DAY CAROL
MAY DAY CAROL (2)
MAY MORNING CAROL
MAY MORNING DEW
QUEEN OF THE MAY


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May Day children's books, stories (2)
Spring and May-Day Carols (3)
Lyr Req: Come Lasses and Lads (4)


Alexander 03 Apr 05 - 06:36 AM
Azizi 03 Apr 05 - 11:10 AM
DMcG 03 Apr 05 - 11:18 AM
DMcG 03 Apr 05 - 11:24 AM
Alexander 03 Apr 05 - 12:32 PM
DMcG 03 Apr 05 - 12:44 PM
Tradsinger 03 Apr 05 - 01:16 PM
Alexander 03 Apr 05 - 01:29 PM
Alexander 03 Apr 05 - 01:47 PM
Folkiedave 03 Apr 05 - 02:51 PM
Alexander 03 Apr 05 - 02:56 PM
Folkiedave 03 Apr 05 - 03:38 PM
Folkiedave 03 Apr 05 - 03:45 PM
GUEST,Little Robyn without a cookie 03 Apr 05 - 04:04 PM
Alexander 03 Apr 05 - 04:59 PM
Folkiedave 03 Apr 05 - 05:11 PM
Alexander 03 Apr 05 - 05:47 PM
DMcG 04 Apr 05 - 02:08 AM
GUEST,Little Robyn 04 Apr 05 - 03:45 AM
The Shambles 04 Apr 05 - 03:52 AM
Alexander 04 Apr 05 - 07:54 AM
Alexander 04 Apr 05 - 08:05 AM
Azizi 04 Apr 05 - 09:28 AM
Folkiedave 04 Apr 05 - 11:55 AM
Tradsinger 04 Apr 05 - 12:58 PM
Azizi 04 Apr 05 - 01:11 PM
Folkiedave 04 Apr 05 - 01:51 PM
Azizi 04 Apr 05 - 01:56 PM
Little Robyn 04 Apr 05 - 04:09 PM
Les in Chorlton 04 Apr 05 - 05:03 PM
breezy 04 Apr 05 - 05:27 PM
Alexander 04 Apr 05 - 06:14 PM
Alexander 04 Apr 05 - 06:16 PM
Alexander 04 Apr 05 - 06:23 PM
Azizi 04 Apr 05 - 07:08 PM
Alexander 04 Apr 05 - 11:48 PM
Sandra in Sydney 05 Apr 05 - 09:59 AM
breezy 05 Apr 05 - 10:19 AM
manitas_at_work 05 Apr 05 - 10:26 AM
Folkiedave 05 Apr 05 - 12:51 PM
Cats 05 Apr 05 - 03:38 PM
BB 05 Apr 05 - 04:13 PM
Alexander 05 Apr 05 - 04:38 PM
Alexander 05 Apr 05 - 04:43 PM
Folkiedave 05 Apr 05 - 07:20 PM
MuddleC 05 Apr 05 - 11:59 PM
LadyJean 06 Apr 05 - 01:43 AM
Folkiedave 06 Apr 05 - 05:13 AM
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Cats 06 Apr 05 - 02:29 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Alexander
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 06:36 AM

The thread about Padstow's politically incorrect Darkie Days appears to have run its course. Perhaps it's time to start discussing Padstow's May Day celebration where the Obby Oss (Hobby Horse) dances through the streets. This is an ancient Pagan ritual that might date back more than 3,000 years. Check out the following site for pictures and information. http://home.freeuk.net/bribbonobbyoss/


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Azizi
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 11:10 AM

Thanks for the info Alexander!

I'll check it out.


Azizi


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: DMcG
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 11:18 AM


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: DMcG
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 11:24 AM

What happened there? I'll try again ...

Very old, I'll grant you, but why do you say 3000 years? Can you give any references to documents showing it was around in 1066-ish, for example?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Alexander
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 12:32 PM

Paging DMcG: Back to 1066? The Battle of Hastings?? Historians tell us that the Padstow Obby Oss definitely pre-dates Christianity. St. Petroc brought Christianity to Padstow in the Sixth Century. The festival clearly dates back to Celtic times, the celebration of Cale Me, the First of May. Donald R. Rawe wrote in his book, Prospects of Cornwall: The original Padstow hobby horse seems to have been quite small, a relative of the little Morris hobbies that attend or attended many folk customs. Morris dances and customs have their fertility associations, and Padstow's May Day and horse mask certainly have theirs; the event must go back to the Celtic summer festival of Beltaine and probably before that, to the Bronze or Neolithic Age. The greenery brought into the town, the symbolic mating with young women abducted under the skirts of the Oss, and many lines in the age-old song, all create an atmosphere of procreation and rebirth." END All of the above pre-dates 1066, I'll try to dig out documentation and get back to you.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: DMcG
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 12:44 PM

Thanks for the feedback. I'm not hung up on 1006 as a date, by the way, merely that that was a time around which lots of documentation of various kinds was produced.   What I'm looking for is evidence of the Obby Oss existing in Padstow at various dates, by which I mean documents produced at that time (I believe the jargon is primary historical sources.) I understand that St Petroc founded a monastery in the 6th century. I would be surprised if there was a pagan celebration happening every year on his front doorstep without some reference to it in the monastery records for example, so there should be something quite specific about it in the record.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Tradsinger
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 01:16 PM

Alexander says "Historians tell us that the Padstow Obby Oss definitely pre-dates Christianity." What historians and what is their rationale? Whilst the event seems old, there is no actual evidence of the Obby Oss in Padstow before about 1830. There are references to Cornish Hobby Horses going back to the early 16th Century in the old Cornish drama Bewnans Meriasek (The Life of Meriase) written in 1502, but nothing earlier so far as I know.

I am posting this not to knock the event - I have been to Padstow many times and it is a fantastic day, but merely to refute the tendency and belief that just because something looks very old, then it is very old. It is possible that the event is less than 200 years old, unless anyone can prove otherwise.

Oss oss

Gwilym


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Alexander
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 01:29 PM

Paging DMcG again. It's nice to encounter somebody who knows something about St. Petroc. You are quite correct St. Petroc did found a monastery in Padstow in the Sixth Century. Unfortunately, this first monastic settlement was burned by the Vikings in 981. All local monastic records were destroyed at that time. This Viking raid is recorded in the monastic records of the Bodmin monastery. This is a great loss, because the only people maintaining accurate historical records back then were monks.    There's a local legend that the Obby Oss was used by the women of Padstow (the men being out at sea fishing) to frighten away a Viking raider. The legend states that they danced down to the beach and the Vikings fled fearing a monster. Legends change of course, and another version has the French fleeing in terror. Frankly, I have been sorely tempted to start another legend claiming that the Padstow Obby Oss frightened away the Spanish Armada.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Alexander
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 01:47 PM

Paging Gwilym: I completely understand the point you are making. This is an interesting challenge, and I'll attempt to prove the antiquity of the Obby Oss. Frankly, I doubt that I will succeed for all the reasons stated previously. For myself, I'm confident that it's a Pre-Christian celebration, because it's clearly a fertility rite with sexual connotations, something severely suppressed by Puritanical Christians, who decried even the Helston Furry Dance as, "A sort of barbarous carnival..even the "genteel" residents allow themselves to be infected with the general madness." For myself, I state, Long Live Such Barbarous Carnivals!!!

Oss oss wee oss!!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 02:51 PM

"Systematic research into its history was carried out by E.C.Cawte and Roy Judge two of the Society's [Folklore Society that is] new breed of rigorous archival scholars. The former revealed that the oldest known record dates from 1803 when the horse consisted of a stallion's skin and the man inside splashed water over the crowds from the town's pools..............all previous descriptions of the county are barren of references to it including some like that of Richard Carew that paid particular attention to its [Cornwall's] customs".

Richard Hutton - Stations of the Sun, A History of the Ritual Year in Britain.

At the moment without further evidence I am inclined to go along this road. Much of the "relic of a pre-christian era" view is derived from books such as the "Golden Bough", fanciful but not academically rigorous. When scholars take a closer look much of this is found to be less than accurate.

Now that should get a debate going.

I'll get me coat.

Dave Eyre


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Alexander
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 02:56 PM

Folkiedave? William Shakespeare 1564 - 1616 once lamented, "For O, for O, the hobby horse is forgot." Wouldn't this suggest that hobby horses were around prior to 1616 and almost completely forgotten by then? The Cornish historian Thurston Peter claimed Pagan origins of this celebration.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 03:38 PM

Let me make it clear I am quoting. My opinion would tend to go along with it.

There is no question that Hutton is suggesting hobby horses did not exist just that there is no record of the Padstow one.

As far as Peter Thurston is concerned when was he writing, and what evidence did he quote?

Best regards,

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 03:45 PM

Sorry, Thurston Peter......apologies.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: GUEST,Little Robyn without a cookie
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 04:04 PM

According to Donald Rawe, Thurstan Peter gave an address to the Royal Institution of Cornwall at Truro in 1913. He said,
"I believe the (Padstow) Hobby Horse and the (Helston) Furry dance alike to be ancient pagan festivals of revival and of fruitfulness....."
Rawe also mentions that "a hobby Horse custom existed in 18th and 19th Century West Cornwall. The creature was known as the Penglas" which seems to be similar to the Mari Llwyd in Wales.
He also says "The earliest written reference to a hobby horse is actually in the old Cornish drama Bewnans Meriasek (The Life of Meriasek) written in 1502. This at least points to the conclusion that hobby horsing was general in Cornwall at the time."
Oss Oss
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Alexander
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 04:59 PM

Thanks for your assist Robyn. Donald Rawe was my brother's closest friend and he lived very close to our home on Dennis Road, Padstow. "Be you a Cornish maid then Robyn?" "You'm surely not an emmit like these others 'ere be you?" Padstow's Darkie Days celebration certainly took a bashing here. However, judging by the number of photographs showing "Padsta" maids as Teasers, the feminist movement appears to have won their battle. It would have been unthinkable for a young female to be a Teaser in my day. They always ran screaming in fear of the Oss. Frankly, I'm not sure what this proves. That females today are more secure in their birth control techniques? Possibly that females today aren't afraid of being trapped underneath the skirts of the Oss? Because, "They'm totally shameless!!"


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 05:11 PM

Thurstan Peter gave an address to the Royal Institution of Cornwall at Truro in 1913. He said,
"I believe the (Padstow) Hobby Horse and the (Helston) Furry dance alike to be ancient pagan festivals of revival and of fruitfulness....."

This was of course at the height of the time when such beliefs were common-place. I am not criticising such views which were of their time.

However there was no evidence then, and I suggest there is none now for such an assertion. Just because someone says it it so does not make it so. And he clearly "believed" it to be so, not that it was so.

Hobby horses in Cornwall in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries is hardly supportive of the idea that this is a Pre-Christian festival.

However I am not dogmatic about this and I am happy to agree with any primary evidence prior to the date that E.C. Cawte mentions.

Best regards,


Dave Eyre


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Alexander
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 05:47 PM

I am currently following up on two possibilities. The first is that Padstow's Obby Oss was created by Walter Elias Disney in 1929. The second is that Padstow's Obby Oss was invented by Rick Stein the famous TV seafood chef in order to promote the opening of his new restaurant in that town. Frankly, I'm leaning towards the second possibility, because Disney Studios would have sued the crap of out Padstow years ago. Padstow's Town Council will be meeting later this year to debate the possibility of re-naming Padstow - Padstein, and also re-naming the Obby Oss - the Rickie Oss.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: DMcG
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 02:08 AM

Ah, but the fact Thurstan Peters gave a talk about the 'Obby 'Oss in in 1913 proves it existed in 1913, so we can rule out both Disney (in 1929)and Rick Stein!

You said that the Puritans decried the Helston dances. I presume you mean they explicitly mentioned Helston, rather than decrying dancing in general. That raises the question of whether they mentioned Padstow. If so, proves the celebrations is that old. If not, it doesn't prove anything but does give some indication the Oss might not be as old as the English Civil War.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: GUEST,Little Robyn
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 03:45 AM

I know it's been going since time immoral!
Now, if you can put a date on that.....
Hi Alexander. I'm actually a Kiwi but my Gr,gr,gr,grandad is up in the churchyard. In fact, he carved many of the headstones there and signed his work as well. Have a look for anything with PT at the bottom right, or P Trescowthick. Or you'll find him and his family not far from the door, on the side that goes to Church Lane. He died in 1872 and I was in Padstow in 1972, for his 100th anniversary.
Are you still in Dennis Road? My friends, Alan and Enid are at Tremorva, also in Dennis Road and they usually telephone me as the Blue Oss goes past. But last year the route was changed and the Oss turned off before their house. Do you know what's going to happen this year? If the Oss goes past number 46, and if you're there at the time, you might be able to say 'Oss Oss' to me in person. We usually hear from 'Our Barry' who is a distant kinsman of mine.
Oss Oss,
Keep 'er gain',
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 03:52 AM

I think the whole event is offensive to horses and should be banned.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Alexander
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 07:54 AM

Robyn? I have another Kiwi friend who's called Robyn on the SayWhatClub. You're a different Kiwi obviously. I was born and raised in Padstow, but I reside in Redmond, Washington State, USA now. If you're a relative of Barry Kinsmen perhaps you should know that I was a classmate of his in Padstow Primary School. Have you read his book, Good Fellowship of Padstow which clearly describes this era? I'm one of the older children (2 years) one of those who he kindly describes thus, "Although I was a gentle, and rather timid child I was never bullied by the older children who were often quite protective towards me when they played cricket with me,. Padstow was a tough community, but underneath the aggressive exterior there was a greawt deal of care and kindness." Hey? The Shambles?? Are you still a Dutchman??? (big grin)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Alexander
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 08:05 AM

Robyn? It's too early in the morning, I thought you were talking about Barry Kinsmen and you're talking about Barry who's your kinsmen. Sorry about that, I should have a cuppa tea before I write anything. I was born in Alexandra House, 30 Dennis Road, Padstow. My brother still lives in Padstow on Moyle Road. My sister owns a flat at the far end of the Quay in what was known as Brabwyns Yard when I was a child. To get to it you have to pass underneath the flats in the building that used to be an Ice Factory back then. Perhaps we should take this exchange out of this arena? You're a guest, does that mean I can't send messages to you directly here? If so, feel free to contact me as lodenek@comcast.net Anybody still doubt that I'm a Padstonian?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Azizi
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 09:28 AM

Hello Alexander!

As a real outsider, may I respectfully ask the meaning of "Obby Oss"?

Is this the origin of the phrase "Hobby horse?"

Also are the "Oss Oss" calls that various posters have ended their comments with in this thread traditionally used as with farewell statements or are they otherwise related to this Obby Oss custom?

Thank you for any information,

Ms. Azizi


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Folkiedave
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 11:55 AM

When I was lucky enough to entertain some of the Padstow Carol Singers in Sheffield in 2000 I seem to remember that it was called Padstein even then.

Dave Eyre


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Tradsinger
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 12:58 PM

Azizi asks about the phrase 'Oss 'Oss. This is shouted from time to time during the day in the Obby Oss processions. One person shouts "Oss oss" and everyone shouts back "Wee oss". Why and what does it mean? Haven't a clue, but it's what they do in Padstow on May Day.

Oss Oss

Gwilym


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Azizi
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 01:11 PM

Gwilym,

Thanks for that information. So this is a call & response tradition?! Interesting!!

I was guessing that someone would say that 'oss' mean 'hoss' {horse}and 'wee oss' mean 'little horse' or alternatively that 'wee' was 'Whee!, a call of some indeterminate meaning that signifies pleasure..

But I guess that's too simplistic...

????


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Folkiedave
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 01:51 PM

When you do something and you have forgotten why you do it it's a tradition!!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Azizi
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 01:56 PM

So nobody has ever asked WHY they say these phrases?

Nobody has a clue??

Maybe asking all these questions spoils the fun.

Excuse me. I was just curious. I mean no disrespect.


Azizi


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Little Robyn
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 04:09 PM

Azizi, you are correct - an Oss is a horse but said with a Cornish accent. And the Wee just means little. Obby is Hobby.
Saying Oss Oss to someone is a form of greeting - it can mean 'Hello' or 'Goodbye', 'How are you', 'Good luck', 'Cheers' or even 'Have a nice Mayday'! It's a very versatile phrase but it's also an 'in-crowd' password - only those people that know about Padstow will use it. In NZ we have personalized number plates available for cars and my little blue van has WEE OSS. I'm still waiting for someone to come up to me on the street and say Oss Oss! It hasn't happened yet and I've had that plate almost 10 years.
Alexander, I was talking about your Barry and I have a copy of his book. Years ago we discovered he had Henwoods in his family tree and my Henwoods were the ones who came to NZ 150 years back. We haven't actually found a link, apart from the name, but I like to think he's one of my kinsmen. I stayed in Padstow in 1972 and again in 1990 (it's a long way from NZ) and the locals always accepted me as one of their own.
I somehow lost my cookie temporarily because I'm not usually a guest - I have a page here and some photos you can visit if you're interested and I've contributed to some of the Padstow threads above over the years.
Oss Oss,
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 05:03 PM

It seems to me that some things have survived and we call them living traditions. Like songs and dances, these strange rites should be supported because they can be a bit magic.

They are actually 'living' - they have survived and changed as living things do. The challenge is to save what is best whilst keeping the tradition alive.

In this context we can look again at black faced dances which, lets be honest, some of us, some black and some white, feel uncomfortable. Not because they suggest some racist past, but because we live in a racist present.

The Brittania Coconut Dancers are a living tradition and a piece of magic. Would they be any less living or any less magic if they coloured their faces blue, green or red? I think not.

Back to the Oss. Another amazing peice of magic. When people seek to believe they have a choice scholarship or relgion. Scolarship demands evidence, religion demands faith and people can decide to believe what the like. The study of the English tradition in its broadest sense, has been heading from a psedo-religious understanding where people said all kinds of things to a scholarly understanding wher the evidence is slight.

But, we a saved by great songs,tunes, dances and magic rites.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: breezy
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 05:27 PM

Oss oss wee oss is a rallying call

bit like.....

and wait for it

oggy oggy oggy........






in your own time

will it be in seconds?
minutes?
hours ?,

days?

even longer


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Alexander
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 06:14 PM

Robyn? I know the Padstow Henwood family very well. What a small world we live in! Barry Kinsmen was almost our school mascot. Somebody very small, gentle, mild and precious to us all. We were all very protective to him and anybody who threatened Barry (even verbally) was put in his place severely. I love his book because he recalls all of my own early experiences so clearly. For example, putting up our hands and asking, "Please Sir...Might I go to the office?" meaning the outdoor freezing cold unheated toilet. Precious memories....
Alex(ander) Ainscough


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Alexander
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 06:16 PM

The Padstow Carols are another interesting thing about my hometown. How many places have their own unique Christmas Carols? This is a wonderful tradition to maintain.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Alexander
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 06:23 PM

Azizi? I was fascinated to learn that Wee Oss means Small Oss. I always suspected that it had something to do with urination. LOL That's just the way my juvenile mind worked I suppose. I also thought that Hospital had something to with the Oss piddling. ROTFL


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Azizi
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 07:08 PM

That's funny Alexander, and like you say very typical of the connections children make to words and their everyday experiences.

As to the blackening up tradition:
No comment beyond "Been there. Done that". {meaning that I've commented at length on that other thread and I don't need to go down that road again}.


Peace,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Alexander
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 11:48 PM

Another early childhood word association was my brother's who's old enough to remember World War II. He thought Germans were Germ Men. That's because our Mom was always worried about germs infecting us, and he thought the ultimate scary thing would be germs as big as men. The thought that Britain was at war with Germ Men made complete sense to him. The germs even killed one of his playmates. He was playing in the Padstow school yard, fell down and grazed his knee, and died of tetenus which we called lock jaw back then.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 09:59 AM

Somewhere or other I have a photocopy of an Elizabethan painting showing some mummers, one of whom is wearing a horse costume. The painting shows the mummers with a Tudor palace in the background.

Now, if I could only remember the name of the palace (or where I left the photocopy) someone might know if mummers are still in the area. However this would not prove they have existed in an unbroken lines since the painter took up his brush.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: breezy
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 10:19 AM

days then


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 10:26 AM

Isn't that the famous one besides the Thames at Staines. Four dancers in a line, a hobby horse, a Maid Marion and a collector?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Folkiedave
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 12:51 PM

In answer to Alexander's question about carols probably the most famous "local" carols are those found in Sheffield and North Derbyshire. Type "Village Carols" into Google.

Other similar traditions as well as Padstow, can be found in Odcombe (Somerset), Netherton (Nr. Wakefield) Beeston (Notts) and a number of other places have one or two carols.

Interestingly they have also survived in Glenrock, Pennsylvania USA. See:
www.glenrockcarolers.org . These were taken over from the Manchester area in 1848.

Cornish Miners'Choirs also survive on the West Coast of the USA where carols are certainly in their repertoire. A simple internet search will find those for you.

Best regards,

Dave Eyre


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Cats
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 03:38 PM

Alexander and Folkiedave... I live in Rillaton and have come down to sing the carols for over 25 years. I was one of those who went to Sheffield in 2000 and had the privilege of singing them there. Christmas isn't christmas until I have sung the carols. I'll see you on the corner opposite the Golden Lion at 10.35 on May 2nd... perhaps we can have a pint or two.
Oss Oss


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: BB
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 04:13 PM

Someone overheard on Mayday in Padstow: 'What are they saying?' 'Oss, oss, we're off!'

In Combe Martin in North Devon where the Hobby Horse ceremony 'The Hunting of the Earl of Rone' was revived some thirty years ago, an attempt has been made not to call the Hobby Horse an 'oss, without success! People will insist on using the term, and there's nothing can be done about it!

As to pagan origins, Folkiedave's right, there is no evidence, and pagan origins of most folk customs are generally not believed by most of today's scholarly folklorists. And when it comes down to it, the participants generally don't give a damn about origins, although they may quote the pagan bit to keep outsiders happy when they enquire, because that's what is expected; what matters is how they feel about it NOW, the fact that they're having a bloody good time, and that it should continue from the past into the future.

Oss oss - not long now!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Alexander
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 04:38 PM

Thanks Folkiedave for the information on other carol sources. I'm off to look them up. Barbara? I'm going to adopt the same attitude, who cares how old the Oss is, I love it anyway. By the way the Cornish no longer call outsiders emmits, they call them piles. I asked one old Padstow man why, and he replied, "Cos they 'ang around in bunches, turn bright bloody red (sunburn) and they'm a pain in the arse!!" Trust the Cornish to bite the tourist hand that feeds them, huh? LOL General comment: What do others know about the Night Singing early on May Day in Padstow? This is the most touching Padstow tradition in my opinion. Cats: I'll be with you at the Golden Lion in spirit. Tell the Lorraine and Alex Rickard to pull you a pint or two or three and put them on my account. This thread is making me sooo homesick!!! Oss Oss!! WEE OSS!!!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Alexander
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 04:43 PM

Cats: If my credit's no longer any good with Lorraine and Alex Rickard at the Golden Lion, try asking if my brother Jim Ainscough is around and if so, tell him to buy the drinks. That will piss the old bastard off!! LOL


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Folkiedave
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 07:20 PM

I'm going to adopt the same attitude, who cares how old the Oss is, I love it anyway.

Hear!! hear!!.

Dave Eyre


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: MuddleC
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 11:59 PM

oi - oi- oi !



-oggy




(wait for moon to revolve around earth again ......)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: LadyJean
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 01:43 AM

There's a hobby horse in Salisbury too. I remember him and the Salisbury giant in their folklore museum. Or was he a victorian invention?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 05:13 AM

Not a 19th century invention at all.

Thre is some information about St. Christopher and Hob Nob, here:

http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/getfaq.php?id=273

and since a misunderstanding seems to have grown up let me stop it now. I am not denying the existence of hobby horses prior to the 19th Century, nor do I believe all folklore is a Victorian invention.

I do believe that each custom needs to be properly researched and investigated and merely re-iterating what other people have declared to be true is not evidence. I am happy to share my own knowledge - such as it is.

Let me quote another example. The Ancient Fire Ceremony that takes place at Allendale in Northumberland and the eve of New Year had a number of pre-christian connotations. It was even described (and some still describe it) as a remnant of a Baal Fire Ceremony - itself a contradiction in terms.

Shame when folkorist Venetia Newall pointed out that its origins were actually recorded at the time in the Hexham Courant of 1858 thus dating its beginning rather more accurately.

Best regards,

Dave Eyre


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: BB
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 02:24 PM

Night-singing?   Magical - the sound of unaccompanied voices rising up at midnight! Great if you're outside the Golden Lion, but wonderful too if you're above it in the town, and hear it drifting up. Makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up just thinking about it!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Padstow's Obby Oss
From: Cats
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 02:29 PM

Night singing has always been the very best bit for me and always makes me cry without fail. It's the waiting in total silence and the single voice calling Unite Unite...


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