Viscount Conningsby of Culverthorpe Hall was a cousin of Isaac Newton. In 1733, the Viscount’s son was thrown to his death from an upstairs window at the family home in London by their pet African baboon. The young viscount was eventually laid to rest in St Michael and All Saints church in nearby Heydour. The baboon was killed and it is thought that the animal is buried in the grounds of Culverthorpe estate.
Every year, in November, the local community commemorate the event by a torch lit parade through Oasby which culminates with a stuffed toy baboon being thrown over the roof of the pub.
This year, the torch lit parade started at the Houblon Inn in Oasby at 7.30pm with many people carrying monkeys. Leading the parade, the Master of Ceremonies blew a horn all the way round the village trying to scare the baboon away. After several Morris dances, the parade arrived back at the pub and knocked on the Inn door. The landlord said that they would not be allowed in until the baboon had been thrown over the pub roof. Several local children tried, until one succeeded and everyone was allowed inside. There followed much merriment and music. The event helped raise money for Children In Need.
A very strange ritual, but a unique one!
With thanks to Dr Ruth Crook for sending this story and pictures in!