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The women and girls used to go into the fields in the autumn to pick the rushes when they had produced flowers. The rushes were trimmed and peeled. A thin strip of rind was left to support the white pith; this was passed through bacon fat. This rush light, about twelve inches in length, was placed in a rush light holder.

A simple form of rush light holder was just a short iron rod divided to form a 'V' slot. The rush light was wedged into this slot. To light a rush light, a flint and striker were used to ignite tinder - usually charred rags. Cottages and farmhouses (until the middle of the nineteenth century), were lit by rush lights and tallow candles.