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British Life & Culture

Special Events & Celebrations

by Mandy Barrow

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Bread and Cheese Throwing

Photographs kindly donated by and copyright of Laura Newsam.

St Briavels, Gloucestershire on Whit Sunday Evening

On Whit Sunday evening at St Briavel's Church in the Forest of Dean, two people standing on the high church wall throw bread and cheese from baskets to members of the congregation leaving after evensong. Local legend claims that the 'scramble' in some way commemorates the rights bestowed on the villagers by King John, allowing them to graze their animals and collect wood on a thousand acres of land known as the Hunnalls. According to tradition these rights were won by the Countess of Hereford, who followed the example of Lady Godiva by riding naked through the village.

The custom of bread and cheese throwing was first recorded in 1779, when every householder had to pay a penny towards the cost of the bread and cheese. At that time the ceremony took place inside the church and the bread and cheese was thrown to the congregation from the pulpit.

Photographs kindly donated by and copyright of Laura Newsam.

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Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant. 
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.