An interesting survival of Catholic days is the number thirteen, in spite of the efforts the Reformers made to stamp it out by calling it unlucky.
The model in men's minds from quite early times seems to have been Our Divine Lord and the twelve Apostles, and this number of thirteen was copied in all kinds of ways.
A benefactor wanted to found some alms-houses, or hospitals as they were more often called, and it will be found that, as a rule, they were built to the number of thirteen. Thus Hugh II, Abbot of Reading, founded a hospital for thirteen poor men and thirteen poor women, about the year 1190. Richard III founded the Heralds' College in London, and appointed that the members composing it should number thirteen, as they do to this day. Catherine of Braganza, wife of Charles II, brought a body of Portuguese Franciscans to London in 1662, the community consisting of a Father Guardian and twelve friars.
A “baker's dozen " as it was called consisted of thirteen loaves or cakes and there is legislation connected with this custom. But an interesting, and in some ways an amusing, survival of thirteen being regarded as a lucky number is to be found in the common custom of putting a hen to sit on thirteen eggs. When a sitting of eggs is advertised for sale, the number is always understood to be thirteen. If this number is really unlucky, as has been made out in modern times, is this number of thirteen eggs put under the hen with the hope that they won't hatch ? The interest of this thirteen egg custom, with its religious tinge, is, that it should have come down to us intact all the long way from our Catholic past. And it shows also how deeply matters connected with religion, in however small a way, entered into the daily life of our forefathers.