BOOK DEVON HOTELS

Join in

Send page to a friend

4818 views since 11th March 2011

Related links:

Events | Lore & Legend | Rather Interesting | Cultural Britain

Featured Destination

January 2018: Get Fit on the North York Moors

January is the traditional month for regretting the excesses of December and promising yourself – and others – that this year you are definitely going ...More
More Uk destinations

Kingsteignton Ram Roast, Devon

Every year the inhabitants of what used to be the biggest village in Devon, but since the start of 2009 has become a town, roast a whole ram, continuing a long tradition. Quite how long is open to debate: sceptics say the thing is probably just a nineteenth century survival; romantics claim it dates from the Middle Ages; and those with the best imaginations push it all the way back before Christianity arrived in the county.
The story goes that at one time the spring that supplied – still supplies in many cases – the settlement all but dried up. The romantics link this to a baptism, when the drought meant there wasn’t enough water to wet the baby (the shade of a Devonian Marie Antoinette seems to be crying let them use cider then), but both they and their imaginative friends say that it was decided to sacrifice a ram in the hope of appeasing whatever it was that had stopped the spring’s flow. If they were pre-Christian they were appealing to their gods; if Christians they were making an each-way bet.
As soon as the ram was killed in the dried-up stream bed the water started to splash forth again, and the then village was saved.
The stream used to be diverted to accommodate the sacrifice, but these days a field suffices. And once upon a time the roast was the excuse for a solid day’s drinking and consequent misbehaviour, now largely replaced with entertainment for the children of the place. Even the date has changed – it was formerly a Whit Tuesday event and now takes place on Spring Bank Holiday. Whatever the changes, the event is important to the locals to this day – even the Kingsteignton Athletic football team is nicknamed The Rams, identifying them with this important custom. Long may it continue – any event that involves large quantities of roasted meat and something to wash it down should be given our support.

More British Folk Customs?

If you like this, Share it

Brit Quote:
A truth that's told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent. - William Blake
More Quotes

On this day:
Hartley Pit Disaster - 1862, Britain drops out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism - 1992
More dates from British history

click here to view all the British counties

County Pages