Plow Monday, Historic and Updated
January 12, 2010 1:12 PM   Subscribe

On January 11, 2010, Canon David Parrott blessed laptop computers and mobile phones during the Plow Monday service at St Lawrence Jewry Church in the City of London. Plough Monday is the traditional start of the English agricultural year, and the Church was involved with blessing of tools for the coming year. Before it was involved with church services, Plough Monday was a time for folk plays and dancing (associated with other Mummers plays), with regional variations. Some new Molly Dancers have revived the traditions, complete with plow. There were also races to see who would start their work the earliest, to show their readiness to commence the labors of the year. So sing out now and walk your plough (or play a ring tone on your mobile phone).

Keep digging and you'll find a wealth of region-specific information, such as Plough Monday in and around the City of Nottingham, and ploughwitches and the straw bear at the Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival. Also available online in one form or another: volumes of historic writings related to Plough Monday and related events throughout England.

Previously: more of British traditions in Old Weird Brittanica.
posted by filthy light thief (12 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Jewry church: You're doing it wrong.
posted by yiftach at 1:18 PM on January 12, 2010

From wikipedia: The church was originally built in the twelfth century and dedicated to St Lawrence. The church is near the former medieval Jewish ghetto, which was centered on the street named Old Jewry. There are two other St. Lawrence churches in London.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:21 PM on January 12, 2010

I think that Mr. Parrott's action is a very admirable display of religious integrity.
posted by honest knave at 1:30 PM on January 12, 2010

Speed the plow! (Texas Fiddling)
posted by The White Hat at 1:32 PM on January 12, 2010

Thanks, flt.
I'm sorry the first comment on your (as usual) terrific, informative and well-researched post is so silly.
posted by yiftach at 1:33 PM on January 12, 2010

Don't worry. It is an odd name, and it's a weird post in general. I'm not sure where it'll go.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:36 PM on January 12, 2010

Canon Parrott blessed the tools of the trade of the financial workers who come to this church.

This must be the reason for so many successes in the city recently : )
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:07 PM on January 12, 2010

In all seriousness, it is notable that plows can only rarely be used to access pornography.
posted by jefficator at 2:08 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Great post!

this is just my odd little peculiarity, but for some reason the US spelling 'plow' looks soo wrong. I wish you'd just used english consistently.
posted by wilful at 2:56 PM on January 12, 2010

I was wondering about this while writing it. The Times Online article spells it "Plow Monday" and "plough" (using both spellings twice each). The rest of the articles are British in source and I've used "plough" or "Plough Monday" when referring to them, and the one American article from "historic Camden country" mentions that the Molly Dancers brought their "plow," so I carried that into the post. Consistently inconsistent, if you will =)
posted by filthy light thief at 3:16 PM on January 12, 2010

On January 11, 2010, Canon David Parrott blessed laptop computers and mobile phones

I was once present at a church service where the vicar, a kind-hearted man, asked us to pray 'for all computers suffering from viruses'.
posted by verstegan at 3:35 PM on January 12, 2010

Brilliant post! Thank you.

Gleaned from the linked wikipedia entry:

In the Isles of Scilly, locals would cross-dress and then visit their neighbours to joke about local occurrences.

How very Scilly of them.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:20 PM on January 12, 2010

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