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said he was sure there would be rain before twenty-four hours had passed, as he had noticed Noah's ship the previous evening, extending across the sky from north to south, the wind being west, at right angles to it; a sure prognostication of rain. He described it as a long white cloud resting on the horizon at either end, wider in the centre, and tapering to the extremities, having the general appearance of the body of a ship bottom upwards. He mentioned that it was usually known by that appellation, especially in the neighbourhood of Lancaster, and that side of the country.

Richard Rogerson, of Leagram, who died in 1872, aged 84, considered by his neighbours as a weather prophet, used often to make use of the word haver: "We are like to have fine weather, the wind is in a good haver," or favourable quarter.

When the moon is on her back, the horns pointing upwards, it is considered here as a sign of fine weather. When the horns point downwards it is a sign of wet.

Near the coast they say that a Saturday moon brings the boat to the doors, and rough and wet weather.

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Saturday change, and Sunday full moon,

If once in seven years, it comes too soon."

The storm's far off when the ring's near the moon,
When the ring's far off, the storm's coming soon."

If the sun shines on Christmas Day, you may expect a white glove in the window.

"March wind and April sun

Makes clothes white, and old maids dun."

"If there's ice in November that will bear a duck,
There'll be nothing after but sludge and muck."

"Rain before seven, fine before eleven."

"A wet and windy May

Fills barns with corn and hay."

Rainbows in the morning denote showers during the day.

"Rainbow in the morning

Is the Shepherd's warning;
Rainbow at night

Is the Shepherd's delight."

It is said that thunder at night seldom brings rain, but thunder before noon is sure to do so.

"Bright rain makes fools fain";

i.e., gleams of light on a rainy day indicate a continuance of


It is said when the oak comes into leaf before the ash, there will be a dry autumn and fine harvest weather: but when the ash leaves precedes the oak then the contrary takes place.

"If the oak precedes the ash,
Then you'll only get a splash.
If the ash precedes the oak
Then you may expect a soak."
"When the mist goes up in sops,

It will soon fall down in drops."


Many persons believe that cattle go on their knees at midnight on Christmas Eve. This superstition is said to be very general throughout the country. It is said also by some in this neighbourhood that three-year old oxen go down on their knees at midnight on the eve of old Christmas Day.

On letting a cow dry, they milk her the last time in the morning, with the expectation that she will then calve in the daytime; a common practice in this part of the country.

It was considered a good thing by farmers here to keep a donkey with their cattle; they were thought to be luckier, and no witchcraft had any power over them. Many kept one for

no other reason.

with your horses.

It was also considered lucky to keep a goat

When weasels are seen much about in the daytime a change of weather may be expected.

All through this neighbourhood hedgehogs are believed to suck the milk from cows when lying out in the fields at night.

If a cock comes on to the threshold of a door, and crows, it is held a sure sign that someone will come to see you or the inmates that day.

"When the cock crows at door at noon

It's a sign of a stranger soon."

Should the cock enter the house and crow, it is held a sign of death.

A crowing hen is said to be very unlucky. The undergardener, F. Atkinson, when he hears one among his own poultry, invariably kills it.

"A whistling woman, and a crowing hen,

Will fetch the devil out of his den."

Hens are always set on 13 eggs, or at least with odd numbers (unlucky to do otherwise), and during the daytime, before


It is held very lucky for swallows to build about your house and buildings, and very unlucky to disturb them or take the nests.

Roger Marsden says of magpies:

"One for anger,

Two for mirth,

Three for a wedding,
Four for death."

The same Roger Marsden, and John Pinder, were once working at Moss Farm, Bashall Eaves, when they saw four magpies. Roger observed to his companion, "We shall soon hear of a death, see you them pynets." Shortly

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after, a man came and told them that Mr. Dobson, the foreman at Stonyhurst, had been thrown from his horse and killed. Roger, nudging his companion, said, “Did a not tell ye, John?" Some take off their hat on seeing a magpie, or pynet, others make a cross with the foot on the ground, to avert evil consequences.

It is said the first time you hear the cuckoo sing, you should turn your money over in your pocket, and afterwards spit upon it; you will then never be without money that year, and will be very prosperous in all your undertakings. Many in this neighbourhood believe that cuckoos change into hawks in the winter.

"The cuckoo is a pretty bird,

She sings as she flies.

She brings us glad tidings,
And tells us no lies.

She sucks little birds' eggs
To keep her voice clear,
And never sings 'cuckoo,'
But at springtime of year."
"Cuckoo comes in April,
Sings her song in May,
And the first cock of hay
Flees her away.'

"The spink and the sparrow

Are the devil's bow and arrow."

"The robin and the wren

Are God Almighty's cock and hen."

Crows are not looked upon here with more favour than at other places. When corn cultivation was general in the neighbourhood it was usual to have boys appointed to drive them from the newly sown corn, singing out:

"Crow, crow, get out of me seet,

Or I'll pull thee liver out at morn to neet."

It is thought very lucky if crickets come to your house, and very unlucky if you destroy them.

Bees are thought by many in this neighbourhood and about Lancaster, Accrington, and other places to go to the sea once in their lives.

Some people considered it advisable to inform their bees of the death of any member of the family, as without doing so they believe they would be sure to lose them. A gardener here at Leagram, on the death of my father, went to each hive, striking it gently three times with a key, announcing at the same time the death of their master (1866). Some people put the hives in mourning, by attaching a small piece of crape to each.

It is considered by some very unlucky to sell a hive of bees.


Many in the neighbourhood of Chipping believe that if you pick a pod containing nine peas and place it under your pillow, you will dream of your future husband or wife, as the case may be. A.S.D. of Blacksticks, Chipping, tried this method, and dreamed of two persons, one of whom she shortly married. Many years later she married a second time, but could not remember whether the other person she saw in her dream was her second husband or not.

It is likewise believed that if you go into your garden alone and pick twelve sage leaves at twelve o'clock on Christmas night, one at each stroke of the clock, you are sure to see the person you will marry. T. C . . . k of Chipping tried this. He plucked a leaf at each stroke up to the eleventh, when a violent wind suddenly rose, and fancying he heard a woman approaching he lost courage and rushed from the spot.

A common method to ascertain when you will be married, one often tried in this district, was to suspend a gold ring by a silk thread inside a tumbler glass, holding it as steady as possible. It would swing to and fro, and as many times as it

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