St. Peter’s Eve and Rushbearing
St. Peter’s day, has been a day of foundations since the Middle Ages, when the rushes that covered the stone floors of homes and churches were replaced. The actual strewing days developed into ceremonial occasions, centering on the rushbearing procession to the local church.
In northern England, Lancashire, Cheshire, and adjacent Yorkshire, rushbearings were the high points of the year, reaching a pinnacle of splendor in the early 19th century. The focal point of the festivities was on the rushcart, with its towering ing load of green rushes skillfully piled in a pyramid shape. It was secured with flower-woven rush rope, topped by oak boughs, and often hung with glittering silverware and other adornments that showed off the wealth of the community and reflected away ill luck. The great festivals and ceremonies that surrounded rushbearing went into a sharp decline in the late Victorian period. Even in the most remote villages, rushbearing is but a memory of times gone by.