There are many opinions and points of view as to how “Coffee Day” began.
However it has been a regular feature of Croston life since the mid 1800’s and probably in some form before that.
- First and foremost “Coffee Day” is a Procession of Witness and involves members of the congregations of all three principal faiths in the village.
- All of the events on “Coffee Day” are organised by an independent committee, made up of local residents, although the committee is responsible in turn to the Church and Methodist PCC’s.
It is always held on the 1st Saturday in July and has been so as long as people can remember. And for older residents the day has been used to renew old friendships with people who have moved away from the village.
- There have been few occasions when “Coffee Day” has been cancelled one occasion was in 1915 when it was deemed “inappropriate”, because of the war. The weather has also been very kind to us over the years, although rain occurred on the day the procession was last cancelled in 1963 when a thunderstorm and cloudburst occurred. It took several weeks to dry out the banners.
There are many stories relating to the tradition of “Coffee Day” one of the favourite being that all those who took part were rewarded with coffee and a bun when the walk was over. Others (and I am one of those) say it is a legacy of an Old English event when the local tenants and freemen paid their dues to the squire or landowner. As the Church and the Squire were the principal (if not the only) landowners in Victorian and earlier times in Croston, it would be logical to see how both ideas could be combined. As no doubt there would be some reward for paying their dues.
To possibly support this idea up to the early 1950,s the route of the procession used to include a visit to Croston Hall, where a short break occurred and members of the procession were allowed to walk around the gardens.
This break ended with the members of the procession giving three cheers for the squire and the procession then returned to the Parish Room adjacent to the Boys School in Highfield Road for refreshments. This was then followed by a visit to Silcock’s Fair which had been set up during the previous week on the Croft fields and also watching the local morris dance group perform in the Rectory grounds.
This tradition has changed, as following the procession around the village the event now ends at the Old Rectory (now a nursing home) where the bands play a number of tunes for the residents and is followed by refreshments in the Old School and sideshows in the Church grounds.
Whatever the history of “Coffee Day” Croston has a tradition that has been a feature in the village for many years and while other local villages and towns no longer hold these events “Coffee Day” continues to attract record crowds every year.