Letter from Mo's Mother

Letter from Mrs Audrey J. Ogg.    (Maurice Ogg’s Mother)    January 1998
    The Coleby Ploughjag book I found to be really interesting and enjoyable, with so many talented players contributing to it with their experiences.
    Some years ago Mo asked me if I knew anything about the PLOUGHJAGS in the past. I knew a little. The Players from West Halton and surrounding villages visited Winteringham school, dressed, I believe, as the Hobby Horse, the Rag Fool and one with a blackened face, as I remember, frightening us to death. My brothers used to dress up, and knocked on villagers' doors, reciting a rhyme, but I never remember hearing a play. I knew it was performed on the Monday nearest January 6th 'Plough Monday' (the Epiphany) and was told that the Plough was blessed in the churches at this time.
    Mo spent a lot of time researching, I know, besides collecting songs from local residents, besides working hard as a joiner, - and a good one at that - as many will agree. I recollect him sewing material on to a hat and jacket for the Rag Fool outfit, and decorating a tall black hat with sequins, as I had also watched my mother making outfits in the past. I also remember him making a wooden HobbyHorse.
    At one time I shewed him how to make corn Dollies. He became much better at making them than I was. He told me later that he had presented one to the Mayor of Clamart at the Town Hall on the visit to France. He brought me a nice vase, which I treasure along with the ones he brought me from Ireland.
     On Plough Jag Day he would come round to our house (we lived next door in Coleby) attired in smock, trilby hat, bells upon his socks, and with a pig's bladder on a string in one hand, and a collecting box in the other. “I'm just off, Mother.” he would say.
    We were given the first smock by Mr Harrison, my daughter's father in law, but it was torn eventually. He also gave us a large pair of lace trimmed cotton bloomers, which I still have, and Mo told me they were worn by one of the 'ladies'. I greatly admire the smocking on the smock worn later; I know a lot of hard work must have gone into that.
    In the early days when Pete Day worked on the farm with my husband we watched the performers at Coleby Hall. Incidentally, Mo and Pete were born in the same house locally- but of course in different years.
    The year the play was shown on television, I hoped that they would understand Mo’s Lincolnshire accent, my mother always insisted that I spoke 'correctly' in her words, and with the elocution lessons at the C of E school I attended, this was a great influence, but I haste to add I have nothing against dialect, and have even been known to perform in the village using a Lincolnshire accent, and when visiting Southern counties, they always know that I come from the North, often presuming “Yorkshire” (I like their dialect too).
     I know that Maurice had many friends and that he enjoyed their company. It is sad that some of them are here no longer, but I am pleased that the Plough Jag has lasted 25 years, and has brought joy to performer and audience alike. Long may it continue.