A Wayzgoose, or formerly Waygoose, was an ancient event held to mark the transition from printing by daylight to printing by candlelight. Hosted by the Master Printer for his Workmen, it was known as a ‘great feast’, usually held around Bartholomew-tide. The Day of St Bartholomew is on 24th August – St Bartholomew being the patron saint of leather tanners/book-binders. It is said that Gutenberg’s first printed bible was finished on this ‘august’ day in 1456.
The etymology of the strange word ‘Wayzgoose’ is contentious, with accounts of it relating to: early Dutch words for a banquet, (Anglo-Dutch relations were strong through the 16th and 17th Centuries, and especially in Print); Middle English for ‘harvest goose’; and a ‘wake’, as in a feast or annual festival. When exactly this feast was first held is hard to know, but certainly it was an industry-wide celebration long before John Moxon records it in his book ‘Mechanick Exercises on the Whole Art of Printing’ in 1684. Whatever its origins, it is generally accepted as a bit of a Printer’s jolly involving food and drink!
Sadly, it seems the festival had nearly all but died out in the latter twentieth century, with very few known to still acknowledge it. Upon hearing about this ancient feast, Seth Woodmansterne thought it about time to resurrect this tradition as a celebration of the workers at The Croxley Press, Woodmansterne’s own award-winning printing and finishing house in Watford (on the site of the former Croxley Mills). Partnering with another award-winning ‘Master Printer’ seemed only natural, and Bruce Podmore, MD of Windles Group, took no persuading! Bruce has kindly offered to host the affair at Windles’ new home in Thame on Friday 8th September. As fellow competitors at the PrintWeek Awards, Bruce and Seth have decided to put down their ‘ink-balls’ and together with their production teams compete with footballs, rounders balls, and table-tennis balls instead!
Wish us luck (not that we need it!)