If I am honest I doubt that many people will be celebrating the feast day of St. Oswald today. St. Oswald was a King of Northumbria who won the admiration of Bede who wrote about the saint a little less than a century after Oswald’s demise. Bede might have been a fan of the saint but the Pagan Mercians were less impressed and Oswald was killed fighting them.
In the middle-ages Saint Oswald was highly regarded but he fell out of fashion and is not widely known today. However, poor Saint Oswald isn’t entirely forgotten because the probable place of his final battle; Oswestry in Shropshire, is named after him and at Guiseley in Yorkshire a very old tradition surrounding this saint continues. On August 5th the local parishioners of Guiseley will join hands and move around the local church in a circle thus embracing their church and affirming their religion.
On the Saturday nearest the 5th August rushes are strewn on the floor of the church at Grasmere in Cumbria this harks back to a time when rushes were used to cover the mud floor of many a church. Today the church in question has a perfectly fine wooden floor but when has practicality ever stopped a much loved tradition!