Account of initiation into the Horseman's Word.

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Title - Account of initiation into the Horseman's Word.
Contributors - Willie Mathieson; George Hay
Reporters - Hamish Henderson

Summary - Account of initiation into the Horseman's Word.

George 'Lordie' Hay was initiated into the Horseman's brotherhood aged about fifteen. He was taken to another farm's barn after lights out in the big house, with a bottle of whisky, a loaf and jam. The 'minister' gives three knocks, the postulant is blindfolded, and there is a formal dialogue before bringing in the postulants. The minister chaffs them, gives orders to take off boots etc., then gives a 'sermon' with an injunction of secrecy, not to write or dite [indite] the word, and instructions on the care of horses. The postulant must hold up his hand throughout the minister's sermon. Then he is thrown down in the straw and given a calf's foot to feel as the 'Devil'. The postulant is told to write, and is hit with a chain or rope if he does. It ends with drinking and quiet talk. Most farmers disapproved, but Henderson of [?] would join in for the drink, which was plentiful, though because of the secrecy there was no singing or noise.

Lordie claims there was no actual word, but [after twelve minutes] Willie Mathieson arrives, and gives his account, including saying the word. He recalls that when he was taken through he was left, and if the women had not heard him, he could have frozen. There was a court case when participants in the ceremony were charged with illegal conduct and fined £30-40 each. Since then it has lapsed everywhere. Willie says you don't need it for a tractor.

Track Duration (h:m:s) - 00:17:13
Date Recorded - 1952.01
Language - Scots
Genre - Information
Collection - School of Scottish Studies

Track ID - 18445
Original Tape ID - SA1952.014
Original Track ID - SA1952.14.A1
Audio Quality - Good
Audio Format - R2R

Recording Location:
  County - Aberdeenshire
  Parish - Turriff

Item Notes - Willie Mathieson gives a full account of his own inititiation on tape SA1952.011.

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