AGNES NICHOLSON'S ACCOUNT
OF THE RUSHBEARING

An account of the Rushbearing by Agnes Nicholson who was born in 1813 and became postmistress in the village was as follows:-

"In my young days we met at the village cross on the Saturday nearest St Anne's day at six o'clock in the evening* Old Tommy Houghton the clogger came; he was a very clever jigger, best dancer hereabouts; he was a kind of clerk, village constable and general manager of all parish concerns in one. He it was who marshalled us. Everyone who chose came, young and old and those who carried burdens received a good big cake of gingerbread made by old Mickey the baker. Folk came from miles to see the procession and Wordsworth never missed it, he and the Rydal Hall party would sit in our little room to see the procession start and as for Hartley Coleridge and Owen Lloyd and Faber nothing would do but they must go along with it."

It seems as though the piece of gingerbread was the high light for Agnes and for all of us who carried on the tradition for so many years Rushbearing gingerbread was always special, better than anything our mother's could make, and I am sure it is to the present day.

In Agnes Nicholson's day it seems the procession was led by a fiddler not by a town band, I don't suppose there was such a thing then. The first written account I have of the Rushbearing is for 1831 and the Ambleside Union Band led the procession to St Anne's church and gingerbread was handed out after the service.