I came across this bit of heritage and would like to know more:
The Burryman is an ancient tradition, dating back to at least 1687, and is said to bring luck to the yearly fair. During the day, a local man is dressed in a full-body costume made of flannel, before completely covering himself in burrs ? (the hooked fruits of Arctium Lappa and Arctium Minus, to be precise). The Burryman must collect all these burrs himself, as well as flowers and ferns to decorate his costume. Once covered in his Arctium suit, the Burryman finishes off the ensemble with a flower-covered bowler-hat, a flag cummerbund and two staves of flowers.
Where this tradition came from is a bit of a mystery. Some people associate it with a fishing ritual, to celebrate the fruits of the sea and propitiate the gods for further bounty. There has been a suggestion that the Burryman is a representative of the Green Man who pops up in many English folklore traditions and represents vegetation and fertility. Yet others maintain that it commemorates the landing of Queen Margaret, from whom the town took its name, and whose husband hid from the English in a gorse bush.
I smell a good story...does anyone have any first hand accounts to tell or maybe a link or two to pass along?