Haxey Mowbray Stone
The Haxey Hood takes place on the 6th January but it actually starts a week before when the Fool and the Boggins tour local villages to collect money. They sing folk songs such as ‘The Farmers Boy’ and ‘Drink England Dry’. On the day the game starts with a tour of all the ale houses involved. The Fool, Lord and Boggins get a free drink at each as a good luck token from the landlord. They start at the Carpenters Arms in Westwoodside where the Fools face is painted. Traditionally it was painted using soot and ochre. Once all the ale houses have been visited the Fool will lead the procession up to St. Nicholas’ church where he makes a traditional welcoming speech standing on an old mounting block. This mounting block is pictured here and is known as the Mowbray Stone. Whilst the Fool gives his speech damp straw is lit behind him, this is known as ‘Smoking the Fool’. As the games start the hood is thrown into the Sway. This massive group of people push and pull the hood to try and get it to their favourite ale house. Participants safety is monitored by the 11 Boggins and the Lord acts as referee. The game ends once the hood reaches an ale house and is touched by the landlord. Beer is poured over the hood and it is hung behind the bar for the rest of the year.
Image and text copyright of Isle of Axholme and Hatfield Chase Landscape Partnership.