The Burry Man South Queensferry Lothian Scotland. UK. With his helpers in a public house taking a break from his perambulations of the towns boundaries. Second Friday in August 1971.
Gelatin silver print
Provided by the artist - Homer Sykes
© Homer Sykes
There are reports from the nineteenth century of the Burry Man appearing in other Scottish locations when the fishing harvest was failing. The twentieth century Burry Man makes his perambulations of the town boundary on the date preceding the annual Ferry Fair. It is thought that this was once a fishing fertility rite, although these days it is associated with the local borough or burgh. The fair has been in existence since 1687, and now takes place during the second week in August. By 1971 nothing of what was once an eight day fair remained save the road race, run for a traditional pair of black boots.
This photograph was included in the book by Homer Sykes "Once a Year: Some Traditional British Customs" (Gordon Faser, 1977)