Today was the Rushbearing in Grasmere. I joined in the procession, took photos of the event and went to the Rushbearing Service. For those who have never heard of the rushbearing, here is a little background info:
The Rushbearing is a village festival which now only happens in 3 villages in England, and for over 100 years has been celebrated every year in Grasmere, usually on a day close to that of Grasmere’s patron saint, Saint Oswald. However its origins are lost in the mists of time, the first mention of it in Grasmere is in the churchwardens’ accounts of 1680: “For ale bestowed on those who brought rushes and repaired the church, one shilling.”
The Rushbearing comes from the changing of the rushes on the churches’ floors to keep the churches fragrant when the floors used to be just earth. These days the churches’ floors are stone and don’t need rushes to cover mud/ earth floors, but for the Rushbearing (and for one week after) rushes are laid down on the floor as part of the tradition.
We also have a procession, in which bearings such as rush covered crosses, are carried around the village. Six girls each year are “rushmaidens” they wear green dresses, white frilly shirts and carry a sheet with flowers sewn on it. I was a rushmaiden for 2yrs but some girls have to do it for 3yrs if there are not enough girls of the right age to carry the sheet. When you are a rushmaiden you also do the collection in the church service, following the procession, and have a special tea afterwards, which is great fun 🙂
After the Procession, and the Service (both in which the Rushbearing hymm is sung) there are sport races for the children, and packed tea or BBQ (although no BBQ this year). This is when “Grasmere Gingerbread” is given out.
It’s always been abit of a disapointment for me, the “Grasmere Gingerbread”, because it’s never the real stuff, I mean, it’s not Sarah Nelson Grasmere Gingerbread. Ahhh well.
Today I saw the people from the Gingerbread Shop watching the procession. Made me Smile. 🙂
All in all, I really enjoyed today, and I was very glad that it managed to stay dry for the best part of the day. It is one of my favourite festivals that are held in Grasmere, and feel very special to be able to say, ive always grown up with it….even if i do moan sometimes about having to go 😛
One last thing that I love about the Rushbearing is the tradtional Rushbearing hymm that we sing I find myself singing the tune all year, although this morning I couldn’t for the life of me remember it! Here is the first verse:
“Today we come from farm & fell
Wild flowers and rushes green we twine,
We sing the hymm we love so well,
And worship at Saint Oswald’s shrine.”
Just love that hymm. xD
If you ever get the chance to go to the Rushbearing- do so. It’s something you will never forget.