A snapshot in time, showing how 21 year olds celebrated their coming of age in the 19th century


“Bacton Villa near Abbey Dore was the scene on Friday last of much festivity on the occasion of the coming of age of Mr. J.H. Hamp. A mixed brass band arrived at Bacton about half past seven o’clock and the bells of Abbey Dore and Bacton commenced ringing, continuing with the fire of cannon, throughout the day. Some time since a Committee was formed to collect subscriptions, which which were purchased an ox, a wagon load of bread, a quantity of cider and two fat sheep.
A procession was formed at the Lion Inn, and accompanied by the band, with the ox ready for the spit, bread, five hogs heads of cider in three wagons drawn by 15 grey horses richy caparisoned with rosettes etc., advanced to the residence of Mr. Hamp where it arrived about twelve o’clock. The concourse of persons on foot and horseback was numerous and the procession was a mile in length and it is calculated that there were two to three thousand persons present. There were several flags with the procession and at Dore were two triumphal arches having the words “long life and happiness to John H. Hamp Esq.” surmounted upon the one, and on the other which was very tastefully decorated, and placed at the entrance to the lawn, “Welcome!”
Eventually, after lengthy speeches……..
“The beef and mutton, with the accompaniments of bread and cider, having been satisfactorily disposed of, a succession of all kinds of rustic games took place – girls running races for bonnets and gown pieces; boys for hats; others leaping the brook, climbing a greasy pole, bobbing for sixpences in a tub of water etc. In the afternoon there was a dance upon the green, with Mr. Hamp leading off with a lady from Ross and the visitors at Bacton joining in the animated throng.
At night a brilliant display of fireworks took place, after which again there was a dance within doors and a healthy enjoyment was kept up until morning.!