Plough Monday

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The Plough

Plough Monday, the first Monday after 6th January, was a major celebration before the days of mechanised farming and was a visible demonstration that all was well in agriculture - by inference, if the plough boys were out with the plough then, in due course of time, crops would be planted and harvested and there would be food to eat.


As most farm workers were laid off and un-paid between Christmas Eve and Plough Monday, the men, as "Plough Jags", would go out round the big houses and pubs in their locality and perform their own mummer's play in order to earn food, beer and some extra money. The arrival of the Plough Jags became an essential part of the Christmas and New Year celebrations.

 

 



The name "Jag" was originally given to the draft animal used to pull the ploughs in Lincolnshire before tractors were invented. In time, the term 
"Plough Jags" came to mean the ploughing team of men and beasts.


Branston Plough Play 2008There is an unbroken tradition of performing these plays but nowadays few of the actors are farm workers and the collection is generally taken for a local charity. In fact, throughout Lincolnshire, there are over forty towns or villages that have their own play giving a variation to the age old themes of life, death and resurrection.

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