Plough Monday **Updated

by Michael Ford last modified 14 Jan, 2013 06:35 PM

What is Plough Monday?

Come, all you jolly ploughmen, of courage stout and bold,
That labour all the winter in stormy winds, and cold;
To clothe the fields with plenty, your farm-yards to renew,
To crown them with contentment, behold the painful plough!


In medieval times, farmers resumed their work on Plough Monday after the twelve days of Christmas, when ploughmen traditionally blackened their faces and marked the end of the Christmas period for the agricultural communities.

It was common for ploughs to be blessed by the Church the day before, on Plough Sunday. Molly dancing traditionally appeared only during the depths of winter and was regarded by many as an East Anglian form of Morris. Dances are still performed today.

-Courtesy St Mark’s News (Talbot Village) January 2013

On 14th January 2013, the Church of England is encouraging Christian communities across the country to pray for farmers and those working in the rural economy. Special prayers have published online.

Plough Monday is the traditional start of the farming year, and follows Plough Sunday, when many churches hold special services to pray for farmers and farming. Plough Sunday services are traditionally the first Sunday after Epiphany (on 7th to 13th January) although some churches will mark Plough Sunday and Monday at a different time.

Click here for prayers for Plough Monday from the CofE.
Click here for details of worship for seasons and festivals of the agricultural year.

UPDATE: extra Plough Sunday services include

Sunday 20 January, 3pm: Church Year, Ecumenical Events, Charity Events
Churches Together in Dorset’s Plough Sunday Service in the Main House of Kingston Maurward College
The service is aimed at farmers and growers and their families and friends across the County, but everyone is welcome. Parking is available. Tea & cakes afterwards. Donations welcome for the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI).
Contact Jean Coates:

Sunday 20 January, 7pm: Church Year
Plough Sunday- a celebration of church life at St Leonard’s Church Semley
Speaker: Farmer Mark Jeffery. Wine and victuals afterwards.

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