Honley Feast (1863)

The 1863 Honley Feast took place between Sunday 20 September and Wednesday 23 September.

As in the previous two years, a racetrack was laid out on a field next to the George and Dragon Inn and the following notice appeared in Bell's Life in London (16/Aug/1863):

St. George's Race Ground, Honley, Huddersfield.
J. Haigh of the George and Dragon will give £12 to be run for in a half mile handicap. 1s to enter and 10s to accept ; the accepting money to go to the prize money, and the 1s to enter to defray expenses ; eight to run or no race ; to run on Saturday and Monday of the Feast at Honley ; all entries to be made to J. Haigh, of the George and Dragon Inn, or or before Sept 1 ; distance 440 yards; ; any one entering falsely will be disqualified ; limited to 50 years.

In the run up the feast, the Chronicle reported that the town had been "inundated with hawkers calling out, 'Cabbages as big as year yead at tuppince a piece, an' bunyons at tuppince a quairt.'" It was also noted that many households were busy brewing their own ale and that the local butchers had already slaughtered 26 cows to help supply the copious amounts of beef required for the feast.[1]

The first day of the feast began with torrential rains, which greatly benefited the local inns as visitors sought shelter. The weather remained unsettled over the subsequent days and the Chronicle lamented that "Honley feast may be said to have been a failure so far as regards out-door proceedings."[2] It was not recorded if the planned races were abandoned.

Despite the disappointing feast, it was reported that "a company of strolling players" had remained in Honley for three weeks and were still bringing in enough customers each evening to make it worthwhile staying longer.[3]

Notes and References

  1. "Honley: Signs of the Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (19/Sep/1863).
  2. "The Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (26/Sep/1863).
  3. "Honley: Relics of the Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (17/Oct/1863).