THE CHRISTMAS THORN.– A friend of mine met a girl on Old Christmas Day, in a village of North Somerset who told him that she was going to see the Christmas Thorn in blossom. He accompanied her to an orchard; where he found a tree, propagated from the celebrated Glastonbury Thorn, and gathered from it several sprigs in blossom. Afterwards the girl’s mother informed him, that it had been formerly the custom for the youth of both sexes to assemble under the tree at midnight, on Christmas Eve, in order to hear the bursting of the buds into flower; and she added: “As they comed out, you could hear ‘um haffer.”
Jennings, and after him Halliwell, give this word haffer for to “crackle, to patter, to make repeated loud noises.” C.W. BINGHAM.
— Notes and Queries, 3rd S. IX. Jan. 6, ’66.
Glastonbury.– A vast concourse of people attended the noted thorn on Christmas-day, new style; but, to their great disappointment, there was no appearance of its blowing, which made them watch it narrowly the 5th of January, the Christmas-day, old style, when it blowed as usual.
— Gentleman’s Magazine, January 1753.