Coleby Plough Play: 2024

Plough Monday is the traditional start of the English agricultural year. Generally the day will fall on the first Monday after Epiphany, 6 January. The day before (Plough Sunday) a ploughshare would be brought into the church with prayers given for the blessing of human labour, tools, as well as the land and requests made for a successful season and harvest.

On Plough Monday, farmworkers would sometimes drag the plough around their parish, stopping at doors, to perform a song or rhyme at the end of which would be a request for a small donation or ale. In some areas, the teams would be costumed and arrive to perform a short mummers type play. These Plough Plays (or Jags) were an especially strong tradition throughout the East Midlands, recorded in Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Rutland. [1] 

While Plough Monday customs declined in the 19th century they have seen a revival  in some areas through the 20th Century. 

This year I was lucky enough to catch up with the Colbey Plough Jags [2] when they performed their play under icy winter sunshine, on the village green in Springthorpe, near Gainsborough.

Here are some photos I took of their performance.


Sources and further info:

[1] This article by Ruairidh Greig, gives a fantastic overview of the Plough Play as a tradition in lincolnshire.

[2] You can find the Colbey Plough Jag website here:


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