Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Tichborne Dole

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
In olden days in Hampshire, England, a certain Lady Mabella, on her deathbed from a crippling disease, asked Lord Tichborne to give her the means to bequeath a dole of money to anyone who asked for it on the day of Annunciation (March 25).

Sir Roger must have been a difficult man, or perhaps just parsimonious, for he promised her only the proceeds of as much land as she could go over while a firebrand was burning. However, a miraculous amount of strength came to her and she crawled around 23 acres, an area still to this day called the Crawls. On her deathbed the lady warned her family that they must keep the promise, and she predicted that the family name and its estates would die out if they neglected the Tichborne Dole, because a generation of seven sons would be succeeded by seven daughters, and the manor house itself would crumble.

It became tradition to bake 1,400 loaves for the Dole, and to give twopence to any applicant if 1,400 loaves did not go far enough. Only those families in Tichborne, Cheriton and Lane End have ever been entitled to this charitable disbursement. So it went for centuries, until the Tichborne estates had become a place of assembly for many paupers. By 1796, when rowdy vagrants assembled in large numbers on the common, the number of these paupers caused the Tichbornes to discontinue the Dole.

Local people remembered the final part of the Tichborne legend and Lady Mabella’s curse on any of her successors who should fail to distribute her dole ...

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