When researching my book on wife selling, I often found mention of the price including money returned ‘for luck’. It seemed like a nice thing to do, but it seems that, like so much about the process, it did have a sound basis in history and commerce. This is from Paul Jennings’ ‘The Living Village” from Drigg, Cumberland:
” When a farmer sells an animal not intended for slaughter he will give about one shilling in the pound back to the buyer in “luck money”, thus ensuring the animal’s continued good health. Up until august this was deducted by the auction company from the selling price, since when several auction companies used by Drigg farmers have refused to deal in ‘luck money’ ad it is now paid in cash to the buyer. ”
The same article has a few other customs:
Burial customs: No member of he family bears the coffin; that is the duty of neighbours. No matter what the difficulties the deceased must go out of his own door feet first.
Local families give their sons family surnames as their Christian names, such as Wilson, Tyson, Dixon, Scott and Thompson.
Wedding custom: the bride and groom, on leaving the church, find the church gate firmly tied. The groom has to throw copper coins to the local youth before he is allowed to untie the gate and proceed to the reception.