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Monday, March 26, 2007
Flour Power
For some reason, nothing in my history books for today struck my fancy, so I'm dropping back a day to talk about an interesting event.

The Tichborne Dole
Never heard of it, you say. Well, I hadn't either, but the story is extremely interesting. It seems that one Lady Mabella was married to Sir Roger de Tichborne, a career soldier who wasn't very enthusiastic when it came to charity. She, on the other hand, was well known for her piety and charity.

The story goes that on her deathbed in 1150 from a wasting disease, she asked her husband to promise that the family would look after the poor in perpetuity. Not wanting to make such a promise, her husband countered that he would agree to annually give the value of as much land as she could walk around while holding a lighted torch. In the various accounts I read, one said as much land as she could crawl around while a lighted torch burned. Regardless, it is documented that she rose from her deathbed and managed to circumnavigate 23 acres before collapsing from exhaustion. The area she was able to get around is now called The Crawls.

Once back in her bed, she is said to have declared the promise set and sealed it with a curse. The "dole" was to take place on "Lady's Day" - March 25 of each year.

Today's Question: The Tichborne Dole gave out loaves of bread for nearly 600 years after Lady Mabella's death until the rampant abuse by "vagrants and vagabonds" caused it to be discontinued. Partially, I suspect, to prevent this abuse reoccurring, when it was re-established the dole was confined to residents of Tichborne, Cheriton, and Lane End only and consists of flour. What year was it discontinued?

Further reading
http://www.bbc.co.uk/legacies/myths_legends/england/southampton/article_1.shtml
http://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/TichborneDole.htm

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3 Comments:
Blogger robynl said...
in 1796 the dole was temporarily discontinued

This was very interesting to read about.

Blogger Laura Hamby said...
Leaving you a CyberSmile of Goodwill. :)

Interesting post.

Blogger Denise Patrick said...
Glad you found it interesting. I'm thinking I might have to use it as background in a book someday.

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