1) A ceremony in parts of the north, formerly widespread but surviving now in one or two localities only, notably in Sowerby Bridge. Typically, rushes and other greenery were borne to the church and spread over the floor, and the evidence suggests that it was an opportunity for singing, dancing and general merry-making. It was evidently a custom with a long tradition.
1510 of old custome it hath beyne used that evere yere at the festes of Whitsonday and Sanct Petir day the kirk was wount to be strewed with ryshes ... and now it is not so, St Michael le Belfrey, York. In 1583, the churchwardens of Bolton Percy were commanded ... to certify ... of there ... strawing the church with rushes, and in 1595 Hugh Gryme of Fewston was accused of offensive behaviour aboute caryinge in of rishes into the Chapell. Local diaries and accounts provide evidence of the custom into the early nineteenth century: 1690 On Hebden Reshbearing day 8s 0d
1781 5 Aug. Luddenden Rush-bearing was last Wednesday
1815 4 Aug. Being what is Called Illingworth Rush bearing we had 5 of Joshua Stancliff Children on a visit, Ovenden.