What is maundy money?

Some history first ...............

Maundy money is associated with a thursday.This is the day before Good Friday which is remembered for Christ washing the disciples feet before the last supper. At the end of the meal Christ gave them a new commandment to love one another ----- John 13.34.

The word maundy is derived from the latin mandatum command.

The opening words of the maundy ceremony are " A new commandment give i unto you "

The maundy ceremonies have been known since circa AD597 when St Augustine referred to them. Some records refer to the ceremony dating back to the 5th century and referred to as pendilavium (lavenda) which followed the holy communion on maundy thursday.

The first ceremony held was in 1210 when King John was at Knaresborough in Yorkshire.

In England the tradition started with the monarch giving out food, clothing and wine.The first recorded instance of the monarch giving out money was in Rochester -- 1213 when King John gave 13 pence to 13 poor men.

Continuous records of the maundy ceremony date back to King Edward I (1272 - 1307).

In the early days the reigning monarch washed the feet of the poor in imitation of Christ’s actions. This became less frequent in the 17th century with the outbreak of the plague. The monarchs used to get people to deputise for them if there was any sign of possible health hazards.

In the 18th century the washing of feet was discontinued.

FOOT-WASHING - Click here for further details

As an example at Westminster Abbey the broad stone seat in the northern most bay on the west side of the east cloister was the location used for washing the feet. This became known as the maundy bench.

In many churches and cathedrals the east cloister is the most usual place for the feet washing ceremony.

At the maundy service you would also see "nosegays". These were spring flowers and herbs. Originally they were used as a precaution against infection.

Banquetting House - Whitehall. Distribution of Her Majestys Maundy

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