Plough Monday, its Customs and Traditions in Lincolnshire and Beyond
Born in Northampton, Ruairidh Greig grew up and was educated in Grimsby, Lincolnshire. Inspired by the folk revival of the 1960s, he began to explore his Scottish family traditions and those from his local area in Lincolnshire. His initial interest in song soon extended to most aspects of folk life and folklore. Whilst training to be a teacher, in Sheffield, he became involved with the University Survey of Language and Folklore as a volunteer collector.
After qualifying, he completed a postgraduate Master of Philosophy degree on Seasonal House-Visiting Customs in South Yorkshire. Returning to Lincolnshire in 1979, he has continued to research local customs and traditions, especially the Plough Play.Plough Monday has long been celebrated in Lincolnshire, marking the start of the agricultural cycle in the New Year.
The talk charts the records of the earliest references in church records to reports of related customs in general and to the Plough Play in particular. First reported in the eighteenth century, this local version of the mummers’ play combines elements from various sources, including folk song, stage drama and chapbooks. These will be examined in more detail with regard to music, language and humour as well as noting the response of the community.