Tichborne Dole


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Tichborne Dole

March 25
The custom of handing out a dole, or allotment of flour, to the village poor in Alresford, Hampshire, England, dates back to the 12th or 13th century. Lady Mabella Tichborne, who was on her deathbed at the time, begged her husband to grant her enough land to provide an annual bounty of bread to the poor, who were suffering from a recent failure of the wheat crop. Her husband, in a less charitable frame of mind, snatched a blazing log from the fire and said that his wife could have as much land as she was able to crawl across before the flames died out. Although she had been bedridden for years, Lady Mabella had her servants carry her to the fields bordering the Tichborne estate and miraculously managed to crawl across 23 acres. With her dying breath, she proclaimed that if her heirs should ever fail to honor the bequest, the family name would die out.
On March 25, or Lady Day, each year, villagers in need of assistance gather at the porch of Tichborne House to claim their portion of the gift: a gallon of flour for adults, half as much for children. The fields across which Lady Mabella dragged herself are still known as "The Crawls."
CONTACTS:
Hampshire County Council Information Centre
Mottisfont Ct.
High St.
Winchester, Hampshire SO23 8ZB United Kingdom
44-19-6287-0500; fax: 44-19-6286-4621
www.hants.gov.uk
St. Gregory's Church
The Presbytery
Martin St.
Bishops Waltham, Hampshire SO32 1DN United Kingdom
44-14-8989-5889
www.saint-gregorys.org.uk
SOURCES:
AnnivHol-2000, p. 51
FolkCal-1930, p. 28
OxYear-1999, p. 134
YrbookEngFest-1954, p. 41
(c)
References in periodicals archive ?
Other sources, such as figures in the growing genre of portraits of country houses, or those in commemorative paintings, of which Gillis van Tilborch's The Tichborne Dole is an obvious example, again seem curiously under-utilised.