Eccles Mural

July 22, 2017

It is not about the Wakes summer holidays that were held some sixty or seventy years ago! The Mural shows the Eccles Wakes that used to be held in August on the feast day of St. Mary, to whom the Parish Church is dedicated. The Wakes had its origins hundreds of years ago in the custom of rush bearing; cartloads of rushes were spread over the church floor. The carts were decorated, the people dressed up and celebrated with music, dancing and gentle feasting. 

 

By the 19th Century the Wakes had become a less religious affair. Races and competitions were held and blood sports included bull and bear-baiting and cock fighting. Although crowds came to Eccles to enjoy the general rowdiness and excess, many locals objected to the gross behaviour and the cruel sports. In 1877 the Home Secretary, at the request of the Eccles Local Board, banned the Wakes.

 

In 1980, artist Ed. Povey painted a mural to mark the historic event and indicate what went on.

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