Plough Monday

Plough Monday falls on the first Monday after Twelfth Night and as this year Twelfth Night is on Monday 5th Plough Monday is 12th January 2009. Recognised as the traditional start of the agricultural year in Britain, Plough Monday is quoted as early as the 15th century.

Traditionally this day saw the resumption of work after the Christmas break Decorated ploughs were hauled from house to house where requests for money, food and drink would be made. Often the ploughs were accompanied by and old woman or ‘Bessy’ and a fool. The fool or jester dressed in skins or highly coloured clothes bought a sense of good humour to the event. It was sometimes the case that if the rich landowner failed to give to the ploughboys they would plough up the entrance to his house.

By the 19th century the Plough Monday celebrations had waned, to be revived somewhat in the 20th century. Some parts of the UK still celebrate Plough Monday with Norfolk and Cambridgeshire amongst those counties carrying on the tradition this year.

miniature horseshoe
© F H Powell 2009