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civic customs

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Those which are performed as part of the ceremonies of local government. The history of local government in England is highly complex and littered with responses to special local circumstances, many of which became the stuff of folklore as the reasons faded but the form continued. The Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 was the first attempt to introduce a uniform system of local authority and swept away many of the remnants of previous practice, but a few customs still remained. Examples which still continue range from the spectacular Lord Mayor's Show in London, to the homely ‘weighing the mayor’ ceremony at High Wycombe, and the scrambling for coins at Rye (Sussex) and Durham, and the Hungerford Hocktide ceremonies in Berkshire.

Kightly, 1986: 77–9; ‘Curious Corporation Customs’, New Penny Magazine 55 (1899), 125–8.

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