Plough Monday is almost upon us once again! If you live in Balsham, You should have received your Save The Date card. On Monday 8th January we are raising funds for East Anglia Air Ambulance, Hearing Help and Eddies (part of St Edmunds Trust).
Please give what you can to help make this event another record year. We hope to see many of you as we pull the Plough from Queens Close from 5.15pm, stopping at Nine Chimneys, Church Lane, West Wickham Road, Plumian Way, The Bell and finishing at The Black Bull.
The Cambridge Morrismen will, as usual, be accompanying us along the way.
God Speed the Plough!
Plough Monday 2017
Plough Monday 2017 has broken all fundraising records!
We were once again out and about on 9th January 2017 with the Cambridge Morris Men fundraising for Balsham 2nd Brownies, Buttercups Community Pre-School and a village defibrillator.
Our thanks to everyone who supported us, in particularly Roger & Sam Plumb, Jo & Stan Stinton, Dave & Sue Arnold, Martin & Cazzy Walsh and Alex & Jolie Wright, The Black Bull and The Bell for their excellent hospitality.
This year's total was a massive £3,219.50!
If you would like to receive more information about the Ploughmen or wish them to call at your house on Plough Monday 2018 then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, use our Contact page or send us a message on Facebook.
Balsham Feast 2016
The Balsham Feast is on 2nd July 2016. Please visit the Ploughmen's raffle stall with the first prize being a 'Flight over Cambridgeshire'! Other prizes include a Gardening Voucher, a 'Summer Occasion Hamper' and a £20 meat voucher. We are also holding a welly wanging competition so come and have a ... wang?!. Money raised will go to benefit village causes.
Plough Monday 2016
Plough Monday 2016 took place on Monday 11th January. This year, the route started at Queens Close/Fox Road end of the village and were, again, joined by the Cambridge Morris Men who entertained at each stop. It was another record-breaking year, raising £2,500! Our thanks to everyone who participated and donated, particularly those who hosted us so generously.
The monies raised from Plough Monday have now been distributed to the Balsham Map Project (£250), MacMillan Cancer Support (£600) and the Balsham Colts Football Club (£300). It was hoped to be able to support the Balsham Youth Club also but, unfortunately, the Club have had to make the sad decision to close following the Cambridge County Council pulling their funding. We will, however, hold on to their donation in case alternative funding is found and they are able to reopen at some point in the not-too-distance future.
The Ploughman have also generously donated £600 to the Balsham Feast which will take place on Saturday, 2nd July 2016.
If you wish for the Ploughmen to call at your house on Plough Monday 2017, please contact us at email@example.com or use our contact page or Facebook Messenger.
Plough Monday 2015
Plough Monday 2015 took place on Monday 12th January, The route started at the Rosy Green end of West Wickham Road at 5.30 pm where, together with the Cambridge Morris Men, they toured the village collecting and entertaining throughout the evening.
It was an excellent evening with a record amount of money raised - £2430.
Our thanks go to the hosts who were wonderfully welcoming with food, drinks and plenty of invited friends and neighbours. Our thanks also to the foot followers for their continued support.
Plough Monday 2014.
M is for Monday, Mulled wine and Merrymaking, all of which was in plentiful supply on Plough Monday, 12th January 2015. It was wonderful to see so many people turn out to see us and in particular I would like to thank our hosts who fed and watered us so well. We raised the grand total of £2180.00 which after expenses left us with £2000.00
Sales of raffle tickets were good again this year, particular thanks to all our ticket sellers. First prize of £100 was won by Sam Grant, £40 meat voucher went to William Budenberg, the Dog and Duck voucher was won by Roy Baine with the Cheffins luxury hamper going to Norman Ellam. Details of other prize winner s can be obtained from Jan Ellam on 01223 894887.
In the interest of making sure as much money as possible goes to worthy causes, we decided to forgo Presentation Evening and cheques have already been distributed to the Parish Nurse Scheme, Balsham Institute and the 1617 Map Group. The Ploughmen will also purchase and install a new bench for Mays Avenue green as soon as the weather improves.
Plough Monday 2013
So another Plough Monday draws to a close and thanks again to all those who supported us. We were followed again by the Cambridge Morris Men who put on a great show at each stop for which we are very grateful. The Haverhill Echo followed us round for part of the evening and even posted a short video clip on their website.
The evening started at the corner of Old House Road/Plumian Way where Balsham's vicar, Rev Julie Norris, blessed the Plough and sent us on our way. Our next stop was Woodhall Lane where the Morris Men danced in the very grand entrance hall of Balsham House. After collecting from houses to the bottom of the village and back, we were warmly greeted at The Rookery, followed by The Manor where, again, the Morris Men were lucky enough to dance in the warmth of the ballroom. We then negotiated the Plough through The Black Bull and finally rounded off proceedings in The Bell. Our heartfelt thanks go to all of those who provided hospitality.
The total raised at the end of the night was £2,001.25 which will be distributed between the Meadow Primary School’s ICT project, Balsham Youth Club and Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline (Cambridge Link) at our Presentation Evening on Monday 4 February at The Bell. As usual, all Ploughmen - past and present - helpers, hosts and anyone who would like to be involved with the club and our activities are welcome to join us.
Plough Monday 2012
Thank you so much to all who gave generously on Plough Monday evening and our heartfelt thanks to the hosts who welcomed us so warmly into their homes. We didn’t anticipate so many Morris men joining us this year or that they would be the ‘advance’ party getting to the stops before the ploughmen. We were joined at one point by some of the Scouts and it was also great to have so many followers who came round with us. Thanks to a new wheel on the plough, and an unusually warm evening, we managed to keep pretty much to plan and enjoyed a little bit more time with each host and their guests.
Many thanks to all who sold (or bought) raffle tickets, too many to mention this year, but it was a record year for ticket sales. We raised a final total of £1981 which will be distributed to the Scouts, Brownies/Rainbows, Institute Committee and MOOSC (Meadow Out of School Club) at our Presentation Evening on Thursday 8 March at 8.00 pm in The Black Bull PH. All Ploughmen – past & present, helpers, hosts and in fact, anyone who would like to be involved with the club and our activities are very welcome to join us.
Plough Monday – 9th January 2012
As sure as night follows day, Plough Monday follows Christmas and arrangements are now completed for 2012.
This year happens to be the 40th Anniversary of the 1972 revival, when a few local men got together over a pint in one of the pubs and thought a revival of Plough Monday would be a good way of raising funds for the various charities and organisations of Balsham. Money raised in 1972 amounted to the sum of£75.00 and was put towards repairs to the Church Tower.
In 1990 the amount raised totalled just over £1000 and in the year 2006, with help from Mr and Mrs Potter who in conjunction with Plough Monday held a celidh at their manor house, we broke the £2000 barrier raising the grand sum of £2529.00 in total.
This year we have received, from various charities and organisations, more than the usual amount of requests for donations and after deliberation have decided to support them all. These being the 1st Balsham Scouts hut refurbishment fund; Meadow Out of School Club (MOOSC); Balsham Institute Committee; and the Guides, Rainbows and Brownies. Being our 40th Anniversary we would love to raise a record amount and to this aim are holding a ‘meet and greet’ outside the Yole Farm Butchers Shoppe on Saturday 7th January 8.30 – 12.30 where we will be only too pleased to talk about the club and the traditions of Plough Monday. Raffle tickets will be on sale for of £100 cash prize plus numerous other prizes. Refreshments and mulled wine will also be available.
On Plough Monday itself we will start the day by visiting the Meadow Primary School and talking to the children at their 9.00 assembly. The Rev. Julie Norris will also be in attendance to bless the Plough, as is tradition, to ensure good ploughing, sowing of seed and harvest in the coming year.
The evening festivities will start at 5.00 pm when the ploughmen are joined by the Cambridge Morris men who together will tour the village dancing, knocking on doors, collecting money and the partaking of 'hospitality' stops along the way until finally coming to rest at the Black Bull public house approximately 10.30. The night then continues with the counting of money and drawing of the raffle. This can take some time and it is usually the early hours of what is now known as ‘Harrowing Tuesday’ before the ploughmen of Balsham get home to their beds.
Route and Times 5.00 pm Cambridge/Linton Road junction. 6.00 Lower Farm 6.45 Princes memorial Shelter/Church Lane 7.30 West Wratting Road 8.15 West Wickham Road and Old House Road 9.40 Bell Public House 10.15 Black Bull Public House.
All are welcome to come along and join in the activities.
Plough Monday 2011
The night of January 10th was bitterly cold and damp but this did not deter our Ploughboys who once again took to the streets of Balsham collecting money for good causes. The evening got off to a brilliant start at Princes Close where we were treated to a veritable feast before moving off with the Cambridge Morris men on our chosen route throughout the village. Further stops were made at West Wickham Road; Goodliffe Avenue; West Wratting Road; The Rookery; Lower Farm; Woodhall Road; The Black Bull and, finally, finishing at the Bell where we celebrated in the time honoured way.
The evening itself was not without incident. We got progressively later as we went round the village, partly due to the wonderfully warm welcome we received at each stop, so warm in fact that it was difficult to leave. But our lateness was mainly due to the plough wheel breaking in Sleford Close. This meant that the plough had to be carried more than it was pulled and, combined with the uphill distance, meant that we were really on the drag by the end of the night.
The plough itself is a bit like “Trigger’s Broom” with the addition over the years of a wheel, various bits of replacement timber and now a new rope - custom made this year by Mr Roy Bayne, father-in-law of one of our ploughmen. This rope is a great improvement, handmade with hemp with the handles spliced through, and will be much stronger.
We raised a final total £2078.68 which was distributed at our Presentation Evening on Friday 4 March at The Bell. This grand sum of money is made up from the street collection on the night and selling raffle tickets prior to and on Plough Monday. We are grateful to all who sell raffle tickets, for us. George Osbourn, a former Ploughman, each year consistently sells more than 100 books for us. £100 cash prize was won by Dave Appleby of Dolls Close, Balsham.
Causes receiving donations this year are the Meadow School PTA for their Playground Fund, Buttercups Pre School, who need funds to paint an anti-slip surface onto their outside decking, £500 to Balsham Parish Council for the purchase of a picnic bench for Rosie Green wood and £500 to be retained by Balsham Plough Monday Club towards the cost of the Balsham Feast, which is a bi-annual event for the village, hosted and paid for by the Ploughmen. Please see link to Balsham Feast for latest news.
Abbots Bromley Horn Dance performed in Balsham for the first time
A new addition to the Cambridge Morris itinerary was the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance performed at some of the stops. This dance is a unique traditional dance from the village of that name in Staffordshire which dates back to Anglo-Saxon times. It is said to commemorate the granting of hunting rights to the villagers and also has some connection to fertility rites, hence why the horns visit local farms during the day. One of the horns used has been carbon dated to around 1065.
They are red deer horns and are very heavy and kept in the local church. Abbots Bromley traditionally perform this dance on Wakes Monday, the day following Wakes Sunday which is the Monday dated between 6 and 12 September, dancing throughout the village and on to nearby Blithfield Hall.
They use a number of tunes like Cock of the North and Yankee Doodle which gives the dance a quicker feel. However after Cecil Sharp collected and published the dance in 1910, a tune that was claimed to be the old “traditional and proper” tune came to light it is this so called “wheelwright Robinson” that Cambridge, Thaxted and other teams now use.
Cambridge Morris first danced the Horn Dance on March 2nd 1929 at Newnham College using “a fine set of horns presented to the club” which came from the University Zoological Museum. They are Red deer horns land have each got a stock number, some are dated 1895. It was danced on May 4th that same year and it is noted that they were accompanied by Molly Hopkinson on the piccolo. Molly was the mother of our recently vicar Francis Woolley and a few years ago when we visited the Rectory on Plough Monday she confirmed that she did indeed play the haunting tune the Morris now use. The horns were only used a couple more times in 1933 and again in 1949.
It was mentioned at a Morris practice last October, by John Jenner, that he still had a set of horns on the top of his wardrobe and that they might be used again sometime. The young Squire took up the idea and Balsham Plough Monday was considered a suitable occasion, he persuaded his father to make the very fine Hobby Horse used. Of passing interest is that the grandson of the only man still alive who danced in 1949 was dancing this year in the dance at Balsham.
14 October 2010
As tradition decrees, Plough Monday will take place on the first Monday after Epiphany and will therefore take place on Monday 10 January 2011. Arrangements are in hand and many thanks to those who have offered to host the Balsham Ploughmen on the night.
The route will start at Princes Close at 5.30 pm and will continue through the village to Linton/Cambridge Road making various stops along the way. We are thrilled to be accompanied by the Cambridge Morris Men. The route will end this year at The Bell from 10.30 pm.
As usual, we are looking for village causes to support and would welcome any suggestions. Do you feel the village is in need of any extra amenities? Do you have know of an organisation that could do with our support? If so, please let a member of the Plough Monday club know by 4 November 2010.
Next Ploughmens' meeting is 4 November 2010.
5 March 2010
Presentation of fundraising cheques to Balsham Guides, Balsham Colts Football Club and MAGPAS First Responders. Black Bull, Balsham - 8.30 pm.
The Presentation Evening was well supported - in addition to the ploughmen there were representatives from MAGPAS First Responders, Balsham 1st Girl Guides and the Colts Football club to receive their cheques, as well as some of the 'hosts' whose houses we stopped at on Plough Monday plus John Jenner from the Cambridge Morris men.
It was commented on how nice and friendly, as well as entertaining, this years Plough Monday was with more than the usual supporters in spite of the bad weather. We were also pleasantly surprised at the high amount of money raised. In fact, we had a very positive response all round and have already received requests to call at several houses in 2011, (as we alternate which end of the village we start off from we are able to vary times and get new calls), plus a request to visit to the local primary school in the morning.
The club have now finished for a few months but will start the new 'season' early October, when we will be looking around for village causes to support. We try and keep to village organisations but if requests are not forthcoming we will fundraise for other causes such as the air ambulance or local hospices.
4 February 2010
Plough Monday meeting - 8.30 pm at the Black Bull. Ploughmen only. To discuss funds raised on Plough Monday, date of presentation evening, date of next Plough Monday, etc.
12 January 2010
"Harrowing Tuesday" - lunch at the Black Bull for Ploughmen (past and present) and their families to reflect on the events of Plough Monday and recover with traditional bangers and mash.