‘We won’t be ploughing up anyone’s driveway’ - village prepares to celebrate farming heritage

The Plough Monday celebrations in Northwold in 2018. Picture: Ian Burt

The Plough Monday celebrations in Northwold in 2018. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Locals have been reassured that their driveways will not be ruined by an event aimed at celebrating a village's farming history.

The Plough Monday celebrations will see farmers and their plough parading through Tilney All Saints near King's Lynn on Monday January 13 at 10:30am, and the event's organiser, Gordon Phillips, has been busy reassuring residents that some traditions will be left in the past.

Plough Monday parades have taken place in the village since 1453, with farmers traditionally performing a song and dance for villagers in return for a donation to the church or to themselves, if the donation was not deemed large enough or families did not make a donation, they could expect to see their driveways and gardens ploughed up in what could be considered farming's answer to trick or treat.

The tradition began as the day was the first Monday after 12th Night and was the day that farmworkers were supposed to return to work after Christmas, however most didn't and instead held a parade. Plough Monday was still serious business at the beginning of the last century.

Mr Phillips says the farmers no longer collect money for the church or themselves while parading, and they'll also leave people's lawns untouched.

He said: "Tilney All Saints has one of the oldest associations with it in the world, with records going back to 1453. It's important to have it back but we won't be collecting money for the church, or ploughing up any gardens."

The practice is being revived as part of a Heritage Lottery campaign called Sharing the Plough which has seen Tilney All Saints School awarded a heritage fund to revive traditional farming practices.

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The parade will run from the school to the church where the plough will be blessed, children will follow the parade performing traditional 'molly dancing' to historic music from the village collected by Vaughan Williams.

Students at the school are also inviting members of the community to join in with the parade.