Lammas-tide in Southwark and Cricklade

Lammas is Anglo Saxon meaning loaf mass. On Lammas Day 1 August the first wheat from the harvest is made into a loaf for the bread to be consecrated with the wine at Mass.

This was the forerunner of Harvest Festival now held after the harvest.

Riverside Southwark Cathedral observes Lammastide on Friday 7 August with blessing of bread made in Borough Market. The procession to the cathedral starts from Bread Ahead in Borough Market at 12.15pm. Mass is at 12.45pm.

But Lammas also refers to the many Lammas meadows where on the 1 August hay is cut or cattle are allowed back to graze after a six month gap.

Lammas land is found along the River Lea which runs into the River Thames.

There are also Lammas meadows beside the Thames. In Staines it is a recreation ground where the barons gathered 800 years ago before meeting King John on Runnymede and agreeing Magna Carta.

Further upstream is Cricklade in Wiltshire where Lammas Day will be observed on Wednesday 12 August. This is because the town keeps the Old Calendar which was abandoned in 1752 with the famous loss of eleven days.

Cricklade’s Thames-side Lammas meadow is North Meadow. It is one of the finest examples of lowland hay meadow in Europe and noted for the scarce snake’s head fritillary. The gate will be pushed open for cattle and horses to return on Wednesday and stay until 13 February, Old Candlemas Day.

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