Yule in York

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It was the custom in medieval York for a Yuletide peace (called the “Youle-Girth”) to be proclaimed in which certain restrictions were cast aside for the Christmas season.

The sheriffs of the city would ride through the streets and make this proclamation:
O yes We command of our liege lords behalf the King of England (that God save and keepe), that the peace of the King be well keeped and maynteyned within the citty amid suburbs, by night and by day, &c. Also, that no common woman walke in the streets without a gray hood on her head, and a white wand in her hand, &c. Also the Sheriffes of the citty on St. Thomas Day the Apostle [December 21], before Youle, att tenne of the bell, shall come to All-hallow kirke on the pavement, and ther they shall heare a masse of St. Thomas in the high wheare (quire), and offer at the masse; and when the masse is done, they shall make a proclamation att the pillory of the Youle-Girth (in the forme that followes) by ther serjant: We commaund that the peace of our Lord the King be well keeped and mayntayned by night and by day, &c.  Also that no manner of man make no congregations nor assemblyes. Also that all manner of whores and thieves, dice players, carders, and all other unthrifty folke, be welcome to the towne, whether they come late or early, att the reverence of the high feast of Youle, till the twelve clays be passed.
“The proclamation made in forme aforesaid, the fower serjeants shall goe or ride (whether they will); and one of them shall have a horne of brasse, of the toll-bouth; and the other three serjeants shall every one of them have a horne, and so go forth to the fewer barres of the citty, and blow the Youle-Girth.”
By the 1700s the term “Youle-Girth” had come to mean something a little different:

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