Monday, 10 January 2011

Today is Plough Monday - Molly Dancing Tradition at Hockham Green Tonight 7pm

Today is Plough Monday,  the first Monday after Epiphany (The 12 days of Christmas). In the past on Plough Sunday it was common for the vicar to bless the plough...the men who will use it...and the work it would accomplish in the coming year. Farmers resumed their work on the following Plough Monday. It was a day when ploughmen traditionally marked the end of the Christmas period for the agricultural communities. The first records of it date from the 1300s.  Before the reformation there are records of the burning of plough lights, maintained in churches by guilds of dancers, in several Norfolk  churches. There is also the Norfolk 'Plough Pudding' which is a boiled suet pudding, containing meat and onions which was traditionally eaten on the day.

As agricultural work was scarce in the winter, farm labourers disguised themselves, by blacking their faces with soot, to get money by dragging a decorated plough around the the village. As they dragged the plough they would shout out "Penny for the ploughboys!". In east Anglia molly dancers often accompanied the plough, with the farm labourers to dance and entertain for money, they also blackened their faces with soot to disguise themselves so they could not be recognised by their future employers. This tradition is still kept alive in Wayland at Great Hockham, tonight it starts from the village green at 7pm, with the blessing of the plough and  molly dancing by the Hockham Clodhoppers. All the money collected on the night goes to charity.

You can find more information on Plough Monday on the following links: 

1 comment:

  1. What a great evening! lovely people, much laughter! well done the Hockham Clod Hoppers!
    See you at The Horn in May!
    All the way from Watton.