Leicester (SK5904), Leicestershire
"All the Year Round" (1888)
"All the Year Round" (Auth.)
LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES No.CCCCVI: PLOUGH MONDAY [Leicester]
Initially a description of plough trailing customs on Plough
Monday featuring Bessy with a collecting tin and threats of
malicious ploughing but no mention of any location or indication
of when this when done.
Finally comes the following: "When a schoolboy I remember seeing
a band of farm men and lads, decked out in all manner of grotesque
devices, parading the streets of Leicester as 'ploughboys,' and
capering about but with no plough accompanying them. Tusser's
'Husbandry' tells us that:
'Plough Monday next after the Twelfth tide is past.
Bide out with the plough: the worst husband is last.'
Before leaving Plough Monday I must refer to a custom observed
on the morning of this day amongst rural[?] men and maids. These
always strove the one to be up and dressed before the other. If
the men were up and dressed by the side of the fireplace with
some of their implements of husbandry before the maids could put
the kettle on, the latter were under fine to provide a fowl for
the men next Shrovetide; or as an alternative, if any of the
ploughmen, returning at night came to the kitchen hatch and cried
'look in the pot' before the maids could cry 'look on the dunghill'
they incurred the same penalty."
R. Hazlewood (Auth.)
LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES: No.784: PLOUGH BOYS [Leicester]
"In my early days plough-boysism as at its zenith.
Then Leicester was visited with very many sets from
the villages adjacent. Each set consisted of about six
or eight in numbers. One was attired in female
costume, and carried a larege woodedn ladle, and was
called 'Poll with the ladle,' intimating that she
was the one that served the plough boys with broth,
milk, &c, that made them so healthy and strong.
Another was called the 'Rag Man,' and was attired
in trousers and jacket, with small pieces of coloured
cloth similar to hearth rugs we see in the present
day. He had on his head a hairy cap, carried in his
hand a bullock's horn, which he frequently blew -
his face was raddled and a small bell attached
to his trousers behind. All the others wore clean
white shirts over their clothing, decorated with a
profusion of many ribbons of various colours. Their
hats were similarly decorated, which gave them a very
pleasing appearance. In proceeding along the streets
they accosted all they came in contact with, and asked
for money in the most urgent manner. They ran
after the girls in the streets. Persons locked their
doors to keep them out of their houses, for if they
once got in they would not go out without receiving
something. Plough-boying in Leicester has disapppeared.
One reason for this is that stocking-makers
and other others dressed themselves up as plough boys and
came to Leicester, but the people got aware of it, and
would not encourage deception. Now it rarely occurs
that there is seen any plough boys in Leicester. -
* indicates data that not yet been validated against the original source and/or has yet to be completely indexed.