The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Every Day Book

William Hone (1780-1842 ), 2 Vols.
London: William Tegg, 1825, 1827.

Portrait of William HoneWilliam Hone was born June 3, 1870 to William Hone, Sr. and Francis Maria Stawell Hone in Bath, England. In 1873 the family moves to London. In 1792, Hone takes first job as "factotum" for solicitor in Bishopsgate Street. The next year, he publishes a broadside critical of the French Revolution, beginning a long career political career. He married Sarah Johnson on July 19, 1800. Also in that year, he opens a small stationary shop and circulating library in Southwark. Over the years, he would open, and close, several book stores and similar enterprises. In 1817, he is arrested on three occasions for blasphemous and seditious libel charges allegedly made against Lords Sidmouth and Castlereagh. After three trials, and three acquittals, Hone becomes a celebrity. After 1820, he became less political, and focused on publishing books such as The Lost Books of the Bible (1820), Ancient Mysteries Described (1823), The Every Day Book (1825, 1827), The Table Book (1827), and The Year Book (1832). He died following a stroke in Tottenham on November 6, 1842. The engraving, left, is from The Every Day Book (Volume 1, 1825).

Concerning the saints. Hone gives this note under January 1, Volume 1:

Without noticing every saint to whom each day is dedicated in the Roman catholic calendar, the names of saints will be given day by day, as they stand under each day in the last edition of their “Lives,” by the Rev. Alban Butler, in 12 vols. 8vo. On the authority of that work the periods will be mentioned when the saints most noted for their miracles flourished, and some of those miracles be stated. Other miracles will be given: First, from “The Golden Legend,” a black letter folio volume, printed by W. de Worde. — Secondly, from “The Church History of Britain,” by the Benedictine father, S. Cressy, dedicated by him to the queen consort of Charles II., a folio printed in 1668. — Thirdly, from the catholic translation of the “Lives of the Saints,” by the Rev. Father Peter Ribadencira, priest of the society of Jesus, second edition, London, 1730, 2 vols. Folio; and Fourthly, from other sources which will be named. By this means the reader will be acquainted with legends that rendered the saints and the celebration of their festivals popular.”

Editor's Note:

For most days, only that information which specifically relates to the Christmas-related holiday or customs will be reproduced.

In all texts, I have inserted "[?]" where I am not certain of the typography. The volumes from which I worked, at the time of this transcribing, were 179-181 years old; the text was in very good, but not perfect, condition. The bindings were poor, but this did not affect the contents.

Additions are also made from other works by Hone: Ancient Mysteries Described (1823) and The Year Book (1832).  I am also hoping to acquire The Table Book (1827).

Links To The Days
Advent through Candlemas

Advent, being the closest Sunday to the feast day of St. Andrew, November 30.

December - A General Introduction To The Month And Season

December 5 - Advent In Normandy

December 6 - Feast of St. Nicholas

December 14 - Beginning of Ember Week, an ancient fast, and the Approach of Christmas.

December 16 - O Sapientia

December 17 - The Season

December 24 - Christmas Eve

December 25 - The Nativity of Christ, or Christmas Day

December 26 - St. Stephen, the first Martyr, and Boxing Day. See also: The Presepio

December 27 - St. John, The Apostle and Evangelist

December 28 - The Holy Innocents, Childermas Day

December 31 - New Year's Eve

January 1 - New Year's Day. See, also, this supplemental discussion of Hogmany.

Handsel Monday, the First Monday Following New Year's Day

January 4 – Prepare for Twelfth Day

January 5 – Eve of Epiphany

January 6 - Epiphany. See, also: We Three Kings Of Orient Are

January 7 - St. Distaff's Day, the Day Following Epiphany

Plough Monday, the First Monday Following Epiphany

January 28 - Identified by Hone as Old Twelfth-Day, which he stated was still observed in some parts of England (Volume 2, 1827). See entry for January 6.

January 31 - The End Of Christmas Nears

February 2 - Candlemas

February 14 - Identified  by Hone as Old Candlemas Day Day (Volume 2, 1827).

Other topics of interest from Hone:

William Hone, The Year Book of Daily Recreation and Information. London: Thomas Tegg, 1832. December 11.


[To Mr. Hone.]
I am accustomed to seek for amusement in odd places. The other night I turned over some volumes which, common readers, would not appear Likely to afford recreation; viz, the “Statutes at Large:” and in the course of my pastime I noted down a few curious specimens of ancient laws, which I subjoin for your use
I am, Sir,
Yours obliged,
September 12th, 1827.

... Masks and Mummers. — Mummers shall be imprisoned three months, and fined at the justices’ discretion. The penalty for selling visors, or keeping them, is to forfeit twenty shillings, and to be imprisoned at the discretion of the justices. (3 Henry VIII. cap. 9).


For more information:

Works of William Hone at the Internet Archive:

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