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Clifton Feast Day 1821

Clifton Feast Day
The seating plan for the feast - to see a larger image please click on the image above

This description of Clifton Feast Day is based on that in the parish archive [P7/28/12].

Rev. Daniel Olivier's carriage proceeded at a leisurely pace round the village of Clifton one summer afternoon in 1821, but this was no sedate visiting tour. A band of lively musicians preceded the carriage, and the streets were full as all 483 villagers made their way to Barbers Close. From Mr Billins' house, twenty waiters emerged and took their positions at a row of tables set out for a meal, and Mr Neal and Mr Peck checked their ovens to see that the meat was cooked.

The villagers wove between ropes and flags and festoons of flowers to their allotted places, while at one end of the close a band played on a wagon decorated with more flags. At four o'clock the Public Dinner in Honour of the Coronation of King George the Fourth commenced! There was bread, meat, potatoes and plums, and after Grace at the end of the meal the casks of ale were tapped. Ten constables appointed specially for the occasion kept order in case anyone exceeded the allowance - men over fifteen one quart, between ten and fifteen one pint, five and ten half a pint. Women had to make do with one pint if they were over fifteen and half a pint if between five and fifteen. There was dancing in the space between the middle tables, and those who wanted tea made their way to the front of Mr Olivier's marquee.

Later, when everyone had gone home, the organisers took the leftover food to the school and next morning divided it between forty Clifton families, including four boys who assisted with the dinner. All in all, the thirty two subscribers who'd paid towards the dinner had provided a grand treat for the village and the whole thing had cost just over £28, with the greatest expense the butcher's bill. The largest contributor was the Revd D.Olivier, but others had played their part: the meal was cooked in eight different houses, the waiters, musicians and constables were fed separately, the flowers, tables, tickets, flags and ale had been arranged, people volunteered as helpers and supervisors, and many humble families received an
addition to their next-day's meal.