Past Remains

A view of yesterday from today

Christmas Festival, Seaton, Devon

Something that's always fascinated me is the various traditional folk festivities and seasonal activities of the past, much of which is sometimes indecipherable to us in the present day. Many of them are still extant in Britain, such as Morris Dancing, and some which are specific to certain areas, such as the Tar Barrel night in Ottery St Mary. Now, this isn't one of these, but who can tell what will happen in the future. This is a festival which has recently grown out of the ubiquitous 'late night shopping day' before Christmas and may well become one of those traditional festivites of the past. A piece of living history!

And, as something which I enjoyed taking photos of, it makes an appropriate last inclusion on Past Remains just before Christmas 2011. Held on the 9th of December, the photo above was taken at 4pm as the sun was setting, showing a group of carol singers...of which there'd been several on various street corners throughout the afternoon.

Getting darker now, the event I was most looking forward to take photographs of was of the cart rides (above), provided by Cotleigh Brewery with their dray pulled by Suffolk Punch carthorses. Cotleigh Brewery is a traditional brewer of beers, originally from Devon but now situated in Somerset, and is also a supporter of the Hawk and Owl Trust, which conserves wild birds of prey and their habitats.

Above is a view of Seaton Town Hall, where a craft fair was held inside. Other events around town included a jazz band playing outside a local town pub, carol singing in the town square and an ice rink, as well as mince pies and mulled wine served from open shops. Candle lanterns were also available from a temporary stall at Windsor Gardens, tthe trees of which were decked with lights (on the right of the street above).

More photos of the horse and dray. Seaton as a town is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and was originally named Fleote...although origins of the area also go back to ancient times, encompassing prehistoric remains as well as use by the occupying Ancient Romans, and was possibly the Antonine Roman town of Moridunum...but many of it's remaining buildings are Victorian and Edwardian. Therefore, when the town was pedestrianised and new street furniture provided some twenty years or so ago, it was a modern take of the Victorian style. The dray driver with his bowler hat fits in nicely!

The top of Fore Street, below. Fore Street is a name in Devon which is synonymous with High Street, meaning the main street. The gold lion figure above a shop entrance, centre left, is fairly modern, but denotes it's original use as a pub called The Golden Lion.

And looking down Fore Street, a shot of three young ladies carrying candle lanterns. Later in the early evening there was a candle-lit procession down the street headed by the local majorettes, followed by children in fancy dress and everyone carrying candle lanterns behind them. It was too crowded for me to get many photos, and the few I managed didn't come out very well, therefore I haven't included them.

And finally, my favourite photo of the evening...another of the dray just heading off with it's passengers.

A  few more photos can be seen in the Photo Gallery album, along with these. Happy Christmas everyone. :)

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