Villagers get into the spirit of Plough Monday in Tilney All Saints

PUBLISHED: 10:17 14 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:17 14 January 2020

Pupils help mark Plough Monday tradition in Tilney All Saints. Picture: LUMINART PHOTOGRAPHY

Pupils help mark Plough Monday tradition in Tilney All Saints. Picture: LUMINART PHOTOGRAPHY

Archant

More than 100 youngsters in a village near Wisbech marked the tradition of Plough Monday by performing a molly dance.

Pupils help mark Plough Monday tradition in Tilney All Saints. Picture: LUMINART PHOTOGRAPHYPupils help mark Plough Monday tradition in Tilney All Saints. Picture: LUMINART PHOTOGRAPHY

Pupils from Tilney All Saints and Anthony Curton helped take a plough to the church accompanied by tractors on January 13.

Residents and farmers gathered to sing and dance as the plough was blessed.

It follows a heritage fund grant to revive some of the village's history and traditions.

The project is called 'Sharing The Plough' and will see children perform the dance next Monday (January 13).

Pupils help mark Plough Monday tradition in Tilney All Saints. Picture: LUMINART PHOTOGRAPHYPupils help mark Plough Monday tradition in Tilney All Saints. Picture: LUMINART PHOTOGRAPHY

The first Monday after the twelve night would be a focus in most East Anglian villages.

It is the day that farm workers were supposed to return to work after Christmas.

It is believed that farm workers would go around their village with a plough, perform a dance and or song at people's houses and expect to be paid in food, drink or money.

It is said that if the residents of the house were not forthcoming then ploughboys would drag the plough across their front garden, or plough up the front doorstep.

Pupils help mark Plough Monday tradition in Tilney All Saints. Picture: LUMINART PHOTOGRAPHYPupils help mark Plough Monday tradition in Tilney All Saints. Picture: LUMINART PHOTOGRAPHY

One of the organisers, Nicky Stockman, said, "It was a joyous occasion to see the work come to fruition.

"There was dancing, singing, the plough was blessed and a plough light lit."

There are references recorded in the churchwarden's accounts which show that taking the plough through the streets on this day is a very ancient tradition.

The Tilney records cover every year from 1443 to 1557, the most complete records that some researchers have ever seen.

Pupils help mark Plough Monday tradition in Tilney All Saints. Picture: LUMINART PHOTOGRAPHYPupils help mark Plough Monday tradition in Tilney All Saints. Picture: LUMINART PHOTOGRAPHY

Mr Stockman, who is also one of the presenters of the Folk Show on Radio Cambridgeshire, added. "The pupils performed at a very high level, so much so that we are taking them to a very large get together of molly dancers in Ely on 25th of the month.

"A great time was had by all and the feeling of pride in a local traditional was tangible."

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