The Tichborne Dole

 An ancient ceremony took place in the village of Tichborne in Hampshire on the Feast of the Annunciation, (Lady Day), when Fr John Buckley, Roman Catholic Dean of Winchester, blessed the Tichborne Dole. Mr Anthony Loudon, the Master of Tichborne, his wife Catherine and their daughter Ella, together with Mrs Denise Hendrie, only surviving daughter of the last Baronet the late Sir Anthony Tichborne, and several other relatives were present for the traditional blessing, which dates back to the time of King Henry II. The custom was originated by Lady Mabella, wife of Sir Roger Tichborne. As she lay dying she asked her husband if he would grant her means to leave a charitable bequest in a dole of bread, to be distributed to any poor folk who should apply for it at Tichborne House on Lady Day. Sir Roger, somewhat heartlessly, agreed to give for this purpose the corn from all the land which his dying wife could walk around around while a lighted torch burned itself out. Too weak to walk, Lady Mabella succeeded in crawling around a twenty-three acre field which is still called 'The Crawls' to this day and which is situated just north of Tichborne Park and beside the road to Alresford. To fulfil Lady Mabella's dying wish to this day on each Feast of the Annunciation, the Tichborne family dole out flour to families from around "The Crawls". Older people present at Sunday's ceremony said they couldn't remember a fairer March day in all their years. At the beginning of the blessing the Dean said a prayer for world peace.

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