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Thread: Burning Judas

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    Senior Member squiggs's Avatar
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    Default Burning Judas

    I lived in Greta Street in the Dingle (just off High Park Street) burning Judas was very common !, yet when we moved to Aigburth no one had heard of it.I was quite nice to have two occasions in a year when we would all gather around a bommy !


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    Senior Member lindylou's Avatar
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    I'd never heard of it before until it was mentioned here on the forum some time ago. (I live in Anfield).

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    Default Judas burning

    Quote Originally Posted by squiggs View Post
    I lived in Greta Street in the Dingle (just off HigPark Street) burning Judas was very common !, yet when we moved to Aigburth no one had heard of it.I was quite nice to have two occasions in a year when we would all gather around a bommy !
    I've always tried to tell people about Judas burning in Liverpool but fellow scousers thought I was slightly insane!! I lived in High Park Street (between Greta Street and Ouse Street and all my brothers used to "play Judas" as they called it. They were often chased by the police in the early hours of Good Friday morning and would run into somebody's backyard and lock the door.On one occasion the lad whos backyard was chosen was a bit slow and was left hammering on the door. Happy days.

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    Senior Member squiggs's Avatar
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    How nice to hear from someone else who remembers this event !, did you live by Monaghans the sweet/paper shop ?I probably passed your house lots of times, on my way home from St Silas, I lived next to the diary (by the entry) in Greta Street.

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    Newbie Mrs M's Avatar
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    There is a book about customs of Britain and it is mentioned - only know to be done in Dingle particularly around the Holy Land, Moses Street, David Street etc..

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    I seem to remember that Judas was burned but never saw it. It seemed to be VERY early in the morning.
    Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.

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    Senior Member lindylou's Avatar
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    There are two threads on this. They should be merged.

    http://www.yoliverpool.com/forum/sho...hp?46610-Judas

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    They should. This seems to be happening a lot lately, threads on subjects we have recently discussed.

    I would be interested in knowing the name of the book mentioned here. I have the little book called Liverpool Oddities but I would like to have the Britain one too
    Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.

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    Senior Member BlueJeans's Avatar
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    Burning Judas from Dingle? I thought this was about Ringo Starr

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    Ha ha.
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    Senior Member lindylou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueJeans View Post
    Burning Judas from Dingle? I thought this was about Ringo Starr
    ''aah ey!''

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    I think there has been way enough said about Ringo recently for it to be spreading to other threads. Leave him be. He did nothing wrong.
    Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.

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    Senior Member BlueJeans's Avatar
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    Sorry Roni, a cheap joke I couldn't resist

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueJeans View Post
    Sorry Roni, a cheap joke I couldn't resist
    OK then, no more Ringo jibes. There was a whole thread which turned into Gerry Marsden stayed in Liverpool and Ringo left!!!!! Poor Richie, living in that mansion with his pool and sunshine every day. His friends and family all in California with him. Living a lovely life. Longing for the Dingle. My heart aches for him
    Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.

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    There is a report in the Liverpool Mercury of May 15 1888 from the Liverpool Assizes in the Crown Court on May 14 1888 before Mr Justice Day which refers an unhappy outcome to this practice:-

    A GOOD FRIDAY CUSTOM IN LIVERPOOL
    John Grant, aged 15 years, pleaded not guilty to unlawfully and maliciously injuring Mary Jane Burns, an unfortunate, 25 years of age, at Liverpool. Mr. Segar prosecuted, and Mr. Swift defended. The prosecutrix stated that she was 25 years of age, and was at present an in-patient at the Royal Southern Hospital. She had lived at 45, Gore-street, Toxteth Park, and on Good Friday morning about five o'clock somebody knocked at her house door. She got up and went to the window, and saw a crowd outside, with an effigy of Judas Iscariot carried on a pole. She threw two pence to the crowd, and then closed the window. A quarter of an hour afterwards the prisoner and his crowd came along with another "Judas". The prisoner was carrying the "Judas". They tried to burst open the door, so she got up and went to the window, and told the crowd that she had no more money, and they had better go away. They stayed and commenced to break the windows. After the crowd had gone the prisoner remained and threw stones, one of which hit her in the eye. She called out, "Johnny Grant, you have done this at last." She became senseless. She had lost the sight of her left eye some time before, and now through this injury the sight of her right eye was gone, and she was totally blind. - Several witnesses were called to say that the prisoner was throwing stones. - Mr. Swift took the legal point that the affair was nothing more than an accident. The boys were evidently throwing stones, but they did not mean to hit the woman, nor could they have seen her. - His Lordship: If the boy threw that stone in the direction he did, utterly reckless and careless whether he hit the prosecutrix, hi is guilty of unlawful wounding. He thought the case ought to go to the jury. - For the defence, several witnesses were called to show that on Good Friday morning there was a good deal of stone throwing near Burns's house, and that the prisoner did not interfere with the house or throw any stones. - During the hearing of the case it was stated that much ill-feeling existed among the various crowds on sectarian grounds. There were five "Judas" effigies carried about the neighbourhood, each accompanied by a great crowd, and the custom was to call at houses and get coppers. At the conclusion of the effigy demonstration the figures were ripped up and set fire to. - His Lordship, in summing up to the jury, said the question for the jury was whether the boy threw the stone. He did not suppose that any of the boys intended to injure the woman, but that intention was not necessary. It was not at all necessary that the prisoner should have thrown the stone at her; if he threw it at the window in which she was standing and it hit her, then it was sufficient to make him guilty under the indictment. - The jury found the prisoner not guilty, and he was ordered to be discharged. - As the prisoner left the dock he said. "Thank you, my lord, and gentlemen of the jury."


    I can't find any earlier examples of the custom in Liverpool, but in the previous year the same paper had described some Eastertide practices (see Liverpool Mercury, April 11, 1887; 'Eastertide') and had this to say:-

    "Many people can still remember how Judas used to be paraded in Liverpool on a Good Friday morning, and finally set on fire amid the howls of a noisy mob; but, fortunately for us, those hideous old parodies on sacred things are fast going out of date."

    Nicodemus

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    Cheers Nicodemus. Strange though that in 1887, the practice is reported as going out of date yet just one year later it is reported that there were five Judas' paraded around the neighbourhood and in fact my father-in-law born in 1945 remembers it was still going on when he was a lad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronijayne View Post
    I would be interested in knowing the name of the book mentioned here. I have the little book called Liverpool Oddities but I would like to have the Britain one too
    Hi Ronijayne. I think the best book on the subject is The English Year, "a month-by-month guide to the nation's customs and festivals from May Day to Mischief Night" by Steve Roud. It has recently been published in paperback by Penguin Books in the UK. Steve Roud quotes from an article in the Folklore Society journal Folk-Lore for 1954 by Frank Turner for a very full account of the custom as it was practiced in the 1950's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    Strange though that in 1887, the practice is reported as going out of date yet just one year later it is reported that there were five Judas' paraded around the neighbourhood and in fact my father-in-law born in 1945 remembers it was still going on when he was a lad.
    Hi Ged; I think any definitive statement about a folk practice or custom (including this one!) is liable to be proved wrong.

    It was thought that the custom was confined to the Toxteth/Dingle area, but contributors to this forum have shown on this and other related threads that it turned up elsewhere. It was also thought to have died out by the 60's, but again contributors here have shown it was going on much more recently. Folk customs are pretty tough creatures; they can carry on undetected long after being declared extinct!

    Nicodemus

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    Liverpool New Yorker! Ronijayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus View Post
    Hi Ronijayne. I think the best book on the subject is The English Year, "a month-by-month guide to the nation's customs and festivals from May Day to Mischief Night" by Steve Roud. It has recently been published in paperback by Penguin Books in the UK. Steve Roud quotes from an article in the Folklore Society journal Folk-Lore for 1954 by Frank Turner for a very full account of the custom as it was practiced in the 1950's



    Hi Ged; I think any definitive statement about a folk practice or custom (including this one!) is liable to be proved wrong.

    It was thought that the custom was confined to the Toxteth/Dingle area, but contributors to this forum have shown on this and other related threads that it turned up elsewhere. It was also thought to have died out by the 60's, but again contributors here have shown it was going on much more recently. Folk customs are pretty tough creatures; they can carry on undetected long after being declared extinct!

    Nicodemus
    Thank you Nick. I must get this , sounds fascinating
    Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.

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