Folk-Lore of Hertfordshire
By Paula Mumford
A selection of ancient beliefs, charms, customs and proverbs and sayings from around Hertfordshire, extracted from “The Folk-Lore of Hertfordshire” W.B. Gerish.
Bell-rope breaking: If rung after wedding, ill-omen for the couple.
Hare forecasting fire: Hare venturing into town or village said to forecast fire.
Ridge-Tiles (Hitchin): In shape of horses, on gable ends, believed to protect buildings from evil spirits.
King’s-Evil Cure (Offley): Youth cured by religious obervances.
Hot-Cross buns: Believed to be connected with the worship of of goddess Diana, at Royston.
Swearing on the Horns: Jocular custom at inns in Hoddesdon and Ware, to secure fanciful privileges
PROVERBS and SAYINGS
Hertfordshire Hedgehogs: Natives so-called because they are reputed to be bad neighbours.
Side pocket for a toad: Alluding to the uselessness of anything.
This publication and many more charting the history of Hertfordshire can be found in the Local Studies Library at Hertfordshire Archives