Riding the Stang was a very old custom which was carried out across Cleveland and North Yorkshire. Richard Blakeborough records witnessing a riding in Guisborough in 1891. The practice was a form of community justice reserved for wife-beaters. There were a number of rules to the riding.
1. The culprits name must not be mentioned.
2. The stang must be ridden in three seperate parishes each night
3. The stang-master must knock at the door of the person they were holding up to ridicule and ask for a pocket piece (fourpence).
In preparation for the riding an effigy of straw and old clothes was set in an upright position on a cart along with the stang-master. The villagers armed with pan lids, tin cans and anything that could make a din would then process to the front of the culprits house where the stang-master would recite the following rhyme.
Ah tinkle, Ah tinkle, Ah tinkle tang,
It’s nut foor your part ner mah part
‘At Ah rahd the stang,
bud foor yan Bill Switch whau his weyfe did bang,
Ah tinkle, Ah tinkle, Ah tinkle tang.
He banged her, he banged her, he banged her indeed,
he banged her, he banged her, afoor sha steead need;
Upstairs aback o’ t’ bed
he sairly brayed her wharl she bled,
Oot o’ t’ hoose on ti t’ green,
Sikan a seeght ez nivver war seen,
Ez neean c’ud think, ez neean c’ud dream.
Sa Ah gat ma a few cumrades
Ti traal ma aboot;
sae it’s hip hurrah, lads,
Set up a gert shoot,
An’ blaw all yer whistles,
Sreeam, rattle an’ bang
All ‘at ivver ya’ve gitten,
Foor Ah ride the stang.
The crowd would then raise a din which Blakeborough describes as a tumult of sound, to which the wildest ravings of Bedlam would seem insignificant. This performance would last for three nights, at the end of the third night the effigy was burnt in front of the culprits house.
Yorkshire Wit, Character, Folklore & Customs
R. Blakeborough. 1911