Clovelly is a close and thriving community, uniquely linked to the past, fiercely proud of its fishing heritage as well as the history of its residents, and the traditions which have meant so much to so many. For generations every Shrove Tuesday, the children of Clovelly have taken part in a curious custom, which is said to rid Clovelly of all the bad things from the previous year, chasing bad spirits away and banishing the Devil into the sea with a perfect riot before the season of Lent begins. Tin cans (and just about anything else that makes a suitable racket) are tied to strings and dragged down the famous cobbled street, right to the end of the harbour wall. There, the strings are tied together and the metal objects are thrown into the sea; it is said to take the evil spirits with them. As Clovelly is a fishing village they would never be left to litter the sea, so having served their purpose the cans are retrieved from the water and recycled! Not much is known about exactly when the tradition started in Clovelly, but the ‘Lentsherd’ is detailed in the Clovelly Chronicles. It seems that each generation has a different name for the custom ~ “Lanshard”, “Tin Night”, “Rattlin’ Tin Night”, “Tinning” to name but a few. I have researched this event and it appears to be quite unique ~ How fitting for such a perfectly unique village and community. My family set up our ‘Clovelly Silk’ textile workshop 20 years ago. When my eldest child was first able to toddle and Shrove Tuesday was approaching, I asked a friend and neighbour about how we could get involved with this custom which I had quietly admired for so many years. I was shocked to discover that the previous year, only three children had taken part and that nothing was planned for this particular year. Concerned that this tradition must not be lost, I began contacting other families in the village and very quickly arranged for us to meet. I wanted my child to take part in a tradition which to this day, means so very much to those who carried out this ancient custom when they were children. I sincerely hope the tradition continues for generations to come and meanwhile, my own Clovelly children are thrilled at the mere thought of starting to save their tin cans, and look forward to enjoying delicious pancakes afterwards!
- Event: Clovelly “Lentsherd” aka “Tin Night”
- Date: Tuesday, 17 February starting at 5:00 pm
- Location: Clovelly village, North Devon
- Admission: Free from 4:30 pm
Join in the celebration of a wonderfully unique tradition at Clovelly! Lentsherd has recently evolved (via social media) to include tags bearing the names of children from all over the world. These names are sent via the ‘Clovelly Village’ Facebook and Twitter pages. The tags are tied to a string of tin cans, then dragged down the cobbles on their behalf! Shrove Tuesday this year is February 17, during Half Term, so do come and help Clovelly celebrate this ancient tradition. Children are invited to meet at 4:45 p.m. for a 5:00 p.m. start at the Victoria Fountain on the cobbles, bringing with them tin cans tied to string. Children must be accompanied by an adult. There will be free entry for visitors to Clovelly after 4:30 p.m. The custom is most certainly not a race and all participants are encouraged to head safely down the cobbled street at a pace that suits them. Following the riotous fun, children taking part can enjoy building a free pancake with ice cream, squirty cream, a selection of fruit syrups or lemon juice and sugar to decorate with sprinkles and other toppings at the Red Lion. Families can enjoy the ‘Tea Time Specials’ ~ Fish and chips with peas and tartar sauce, or Cheeseburger chips and salad in a bun, available from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm at the Red Lion. In traditional Shrove Tuesday style, delicious pancakes will be available for all to buy at The Red Lion, with delicious and indulgent toppings, such as Chocolate Baileys ice cream and a real orange syrup or Rum Flambéed Bananas with clotted cream and a toffee sauce, or of course, a plain pancake with lemon and sugar! For latest details, please contact me or visit the Clovelly website: www.clovelly.co.uk