What do a curse, a crawl and bags of flour have in common? Find out in our latest Curiosity of the Week!
The Tichborne Dole is an old charitable tradition that is still carried out annually. The tradition consists of the flour being handed out to local residents in the Tichborne area of Hampshire.
This charitable custom is said to have begun in the 12th century when, upon her deathbed, Lady Tichborne decided that a donation of flour should be made to the poor. However, her husband was not happy with this decision. Rather cruelly, he stated that only produce from land she could encircle whilst carrying a burning torch, could be donated. Amazingly, Lady Tichborne managed to successfully crawl around 23 acres of land before the torch burned out. Today, this land is known as ‘the crawls’.
Before her death, Lady Tichborne was said to have placed a curse upon the Tichborne Dole, declaring that should the family stop the annual custom, their family name would be lost and the house would fall into ruin.
Today, residents from the parishes of Tichborne and Cheriton may claim one gallon of flour per adult and half a gallon per child. This year’s Tichborne Dole is due to be handed out on 25th March.
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