Haxey Hood

January 9, 2012 at 11:55 pm Leave a comment

For several years, a dear friend and Haxey resident has invited me to take part in the Haxey Hood shenanigans which takes place on Epiphany every year. Best summed up on the North Lincolnshire website; (copied below)…what it really is, is a  rugby scrum/pub crawl…and its been going for 700 years. This year, being resident in the UK, I found no reason not to attend. For some strange reason, fuelled by ‘the drink of choice’ (brandy and babycham – don’t ask!) and the bonhommie of the occaision, I chatted to opposing teams, gave them sweets, wheedled my way into photos with stragegic players and thinking I was a 19 year old student, joined in the scrum for Lady de Mowbrays bonnet for all of about 2 minutes, and am still sporting blue bruises and a gashed leg to prove it. Look carefully at the photo and you will note I am the only female in the scrum. There’s a clue. Tremendous fun, and The Duke William public house welcomed the coveted hood across their threshold which means they get the honour of keeping it for a year. Will I return next year? probably, but perhaps as an observer rather than a participant!

The Haxey Hood

Every year on 6th January, villagers in Westwoodside and Haxey dress up to compete for possession of ‘the Hood’. This 700-year tradition started when Lady de Mowbray was out riding and a sudden gust of wind blew her hat off. The local farm labourers chased after it. Lady de Mowbray, so pleased to get her hat back, handed out a few titles.

She named the person who returned it to her The Lord of the Hood. The person who actually caught the hood, but dared not hand it to her was dubbed The Fool. The rest were called Boggins, apparently because each time the hood changed hands during the chase she squealed in delight ” It’s boggined again”.

Everyone was given a strip of land for their trouble and she directed that the happening be restaged every year. All were to wear red jackets except The Fool, whose appearance was to be similar to that of a harlequin.

The event takes place on the Twelfth Night of Christmas, January 6 in a field in Haxey. It is believed to be Britain’s oldest traditional tussle. Proceedings are launched by the Fool from his stone in front of Haxey Parish Church, usually around 2.30pm, and include the ’smoking’ of the fool. He then leads the crowd up the hill for games for the children and the start of the main game at 3.30pm. The Hood, a long leather cylinder, is thrown into the air to launch the proceedings. When it falls the participants (regulars from the local public houses) swarm around it and attempt to sway the hood out of the field, through the streets and back to their favourite hostelry for a celebration and the honour of holding it for the coming year.

The game is refereed by the Lord of the Hood, helped by his Chief Boggin both dressed in scarlet hunting coats and hats decorated with flowers and plumes. The ceremonial Fool, and a bunch of Boggins in red sweaters keep order.

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Entry filed under: travel, Uncategorized. Tags: .

New Year, New Post, New Dragon Aloeric Primary School dragoned today!

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Debi Evans

Debi Evans

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