BOOK CAMBRIDGESHIRE HOTELS

Join in

Send page to a friend

3338 views since 11th March 2011

Related links:

Events | Lore & Legend | Rather Interesting | Cultural Britain

Featured Destination

February 2018: Land of the Prince Bishops

County Durham is not perhaps well-known as a tourist destination, that very fact surely making it worth visiting, but it does enjoy a wealth of ...More
More Uk destinations

Midsummer Cushion Ceremony, Cambridgeshire

To the south of the church of St Botolph in Helpston, a village now in Cambridgeshire though formerly part of Northants , sits John Clare’s grave. The peasant poet is these days regarded as one of the outstanding voices of the 19th century, though in his day his success was limited, not helped by his losing struggle with mental illness.
Clare loved the nature he saw in the English countryside, the beauty of the flowers and the woods. It is fitting that a very localised folk custom survives in Helpston because of him. The poet admired the miniature gardens created in midsummer in his district, flowers and other decorations worked into a small square of turf, the resultant displays known as ‘midsummer cushions’, placed prominently on window ledges or in front of houses as a celebration of nature.
The children of Helpston now keep this custom alive by creating the tiny portable gardens at the primary school named for the poet in the village, and on his birthday, July 13, or at least during the weekend nearest it, placing the cushions around his grave. By this very act they give the lie to two of his most famous lines, written about Helpston:
‘Unknown to grandeur and unknown to fame
No minstrel boasting to advance thy name’

More British Folk Customs?

If you like this, Share it

Brit Quote:
my words are my own, and my actions are my ministers - Charles II
More Quotes

On this day:
Battle of Bramham Moor - 1408, Treaty of Westminster signed - 1674, First Man Utd Match at Old Trafford - 1910, 1st episode of Eastenders - 1985, Cocker's Contempt for Jackson at Brits - 1996
More dates from British history

click here to view all the British counties

County Pages