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St Thomas's Day

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(21 December).

In many areas this was the date for thomasing (or gooding), a ritualized begging for food in readiness for Christmas, and Wright and Lones list a number of doles formerly distributed on this day. There are a few scattered reports of other customs and beliefs: in several parts of the country, including Buckinghamshire, Yorkshire, and Warwickshire, it was the custom up to the 19th century to ‘ring Christmas in’ by a peal of church bells on St Thomas's Day. In Kent, one should sow broad beans on this day, and Denham Tracts (1895: ii. 92) goes further:The day of St Thomas, blessed divine,Is good for brewing, baking, and killing fat swine.Wright and Lones, 1940: iii. 200–9.

Wright and Lones, 1940: iii. 200–9.

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