Quarter days

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Quarter Days

Midsummer horn.jpg

A 1958 photograph of the traditional horn being blown on Midsummer Day

In Jersey rents for farms and farmland were traditionally paid annually, usually on Chritsmas Day, or Christmas Eve

The tronc at St Saviour's Parish Church

However, four Quarter Days were established on 25 April 1753 and confirmed in the Code of Laws of 1771, for the letting of houses. These are Lady Day, 25 March; Midsummer Day, 24 June; Michaelmas Day, 29 September; and Christmas Day, 25 December.

Every parish church had a tronc sunk into the outside wall in which donations for the poor could be left, and the tronc was emptied and its contents distributed on Quarter Days. The boxes are still in existence at each church, although the practice has died out.

A letter by an anonymous writer in 1828 describes the custom:

"A long iron box, calle Le Tronc, is perpendicularly inserted in the wall on the outside of every church, to receive the alms of the charitable for the por, and a tablet with this sentence above it:"Celui qui a pitié du pauvre preste à l'Eternal, qui lui rendra son bienfait" ("He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord, and that which he hath given will He pay him again"). Collections are also made every Sunday at the church doors; which, with the contents of the troncs, are distributed every quarter by the Minister, Principaux, Constable, and other officers, among the poor of the parish, in aliment or vestments as their wants require."
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