Once a medieval feast day across England, today the annual Hocktide Festival is seen exclusively in Hungerford, Berkshire. It began more than 600 years ago to celebrate the granting of free fishing and common land rights to the town by its patron, John of Gaunt.
Hocktide's elaborate proceedings include the right to kiss the 'prettiest girls' of the town by 'Tutti' (or tything) men. After the election of the Tutti by the Hocktide 'court', the men are given traditional wands of office - staves decorated with flowers. They then exercise the privilege of either collecting a penny from each resident or kissing the prettiest girl on the premises.
With 102 houses to visit, the Tutti men's labours last the best part of a day. Meanwhile Tutti Maidens hand out sweets and oranges. Finally, heated coins and oranges are thrown from the Town Hall steps to children gathered outside.
Curation: Amanda Uren
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