Land of the painlookers
Published at 13:17, Monday, 02 January 2012
THIS strange story of ‘painlookers’ and ‘sackings’ was last told 50 years ago to mark a revamp of the Queen’s Arms at Biggar.
The Evening Mail of 1961 noted: “The first tenant to obtain a licence was a John Tyson, who bought the farm just before 1854 and got the licence in 1866.
“At that time it became known as The Letters – a general term used for a house selling beer or ale – but not adopting a definite sign.
“The title Queen’s Arms was adopted about 1869.”
These are only recent events in the long history of the buildings.
Looking much further back the article noted: “Occasional references may still be heard to the Mayor and Corporation of Biggar – a humorous phrase referring to a 700-year-old custom.
“At one time officials responsible for the good conduct of the village were drawn from the tenants. They were known as Painlookers.
“The Queen’s was the town hall for them, whose head man was called the Grave.
“The annual Grave’s Meeting was held in a small room at the inn until manorial courts were abolished.
“Another curious custom peculiar to Biggar, was that of ‘sacking’.
“When a young man from outside courted a young woman of the hamlet, the men, armed with a large sack, would waylay him.
“If he failed to provide money for ale he was tied in the sack which was hung from a beam in a barn adjoining the inn.
“The custom was last observed in about 1854 when Jimmy Wilson, a Cartmel shoemaker, was ‘sacked’.
“Proceedings before the Ulverston magistrates followed and put an end to the custom.
“Far more pleasant were the sporting and social occasions at the inn.
“Typical of these was a pigeon shooting contest held in 1870 for a first prize of £10 and followed by a ball in the evening when 80 sat down for tea at midnight and dancing continued to the early hours.
“Dances were popular for years at the Queen’s, often continuing until dawn.”
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Family fun at Walney Gala
- Family fun at Walney Gala
- Walney pupils have their say on vision for £50k play park (1 comment)
- ‘Several buyers’ interested in Walney pub
- Barrow council to recover costs of beached car removal (1 comment)
- Well done to all who took part in the Energy for Life Walney Family Fun Run
- PHOTOS: Walney Energy for Life fun run attracts hundreds of runners
- Families ready to tackle 5k Walney run
- Hundreds of people are ready for fifth Walney fun run
- Safety concerns over car abandoned on Walney beach (12 comments)
- Club hoping to buy bowling green as Walney pub goes on market (4 comments)
- Teenager needed stitches after Walney assault, man arrested
- Thomas The Tank Engine’s birthday has special significance for Cumbria (1 comment)
- Man cheats death in Walney Channel rescue (1 comment)
- Volunteers pick up 328kg of litter from Walney beauty spot
- Barrow, South Lakes and Copeland voters share their views
- Walney pupils rally round to tackle grot spot
- ‘Grassland pioneers’ to be attracted by Walney dunes work
- Walney seagull enjoys Moroccan holiday (2 comments)
- Antlers found on Walney beach could be up to 20,000 years old - expert (3 comments)
- Tributes to Walney pensioner (2 comments)
- Barrow mum took £19k dream wedding cash from daughter (8 comments)
- ‘Bronze age’ stag’s head is a find for former Walney pub landlord
- Barrow police still investigating rape allegation
- Making others happy always comes first for selfless Barrow boy
- Barrow summer ice show (2 comments)