‘At Warrington, Bolton, and Manchester, on Easter Monday, the women, forming parties of six or eight each, still continue to surround such of the opposite sex as they meet, and either with or without their consent, lift them thrice above their heads into the air, with loud shouts at each elevation. On Easter Tuesday, the men, in parties as aforesaid, do the same to the women.’
The Gentleman’s Magazine commented in 1784: ‘It is a rude, indecent, and dangerous diversion, practised chiefly by the lower class of people. Our magistrates constantly prohibit it by the bellman… [the town crier, presumably]’.
Thomas Pennant says: ‘In north Wales, the custom of Heaving, upon Monday and Tuesday in Easter week, is preserved … the young men go about the town and country, from house to house, with a fiddle playing before them, to heave the women. On the Tuesday, the women heave the men.’
More demurely (possibly), down south you could go egg-rolling on Greenwich Hill – ‘a relique of old City manners, but peculiar to the metropolis’.
In Manchester the current pastime appears to be throwing football managers in the air – nice to see that these old customs can keep up with the times!