The Origins Of Popular Superstitions And Customs  ~ Magick7





Evelyn, on August 14, 1654, tells us that he "took a journey in the Northern parts," and in passing through Oakham he saw some of the celebrated shoes on the Castle gates. Mr Michael M'Donagh says: "Perhaps the most singular mediaeval tribute now exacted is the horseshoe required from every peer who passes through Oakham. Originally the shoe had to come from the actual horse ridden by a baron; but for a long time it has been usual to commute the toll by paying for a fancy shoe, and as a result the tributes in Oakham Hall vary greatly in shape and size, and are even made of different metals. They are mostly dated, the most important exception being a large shoe given by Queen Elizabeth, who probably sent it about 1556, after her visit to Lord Burghley. Among them are several from the Royal Family-Queen Victoria (when Princess Victoria) in 1835; Queen Alexandra (when Princess of Wales) in 1881; and his Majesty the King (when Prince of Wales) in 1895. In all, there are nearly 200 shoes which are of all sizes, from seven feet in length down to one only big enough for the small-hoofed race horse." This tribute has been demanded for seven centuries, and tradition ascribes its origin to the truculent Walchelin de Ferreris, to whom Henry II. gave the Barony of Oakham.