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Lord of Misrule

called in Scotland Abbo of Unreason, prohibited in 1555. Stow says, “At the feast of Christmas, in the king's court, there was always appointed, on All-Hallow's seve, a master of mirth and fun,” who remained in office till the Feast of Purification. A similar “lord” was appointed by the lord mayor of London, the sheriffs, and the chief nobility. Stubbs tells us that these mock dignitaries had from twenty to sixty officers under them, and were furnished with hobby-horses, dragons, and musicians. They first went to church with such a confused noise that no one could hear his own voice.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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