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Of Worp

Fleecing the gentry in dark alleys or moonless lanes marked a great step forward in early Cult charity fund-raising.

In this photograph from 1879, festooned with mystic paraphernalia, a party summons the ancestors’ blessing before a night’s highway robbery -- in the first year of Bill Twite’s famous Fund for Fallen Women.

The Great Horn of Worp is sounded, and the spirits of Cult members past are said to accompany the pillagers in their charitable work.

A pledge is made by gang members to honour codes of civility and good humour during the sacred act of theft, and thank you receipt cards are given to victims in recognition of their kind gifts to the less fortunate.

Twite set up the fund after broken guttering on the Green Man Inn made the cobbled hill slippery, causing numerous accidents for local women carrying heavy loads.

Twite took to sitting on a bench on the Green all day, keeping his eye on village womenfolk, ready to spring into action should a clog slide or an ankle turn. 

The assets of the Fallen Women fund supplied cups of sweet tea and brandy to females suffering from a tumble, and similar day-long sustenance to Twite himself during his generous vigilance.

A hill

The tradition has continued in the Twite male line -- despite the invention of the rubber clog soles and pneumatic wheel barrows nowadays used by women to move beer barrels, bricks and suchlike. 

Now that shoulders and hods no longer bear an unbalanced weight, accident levels have fallen dramatically. But Twite’s great-grandson can be seen most days, carefully watching the lasses go about their heavy lifting chores.

Keeping an eye on womenfolk -- a Twite tradition

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