Notes from Brian Dawson

Letter in "Lincolnshire Life" Magazine August 1967
“Your mention of Plough jags in "Lincolnshire Life" has aroused some interest in our village. I myself have had the Plough Jag horn for some years and should like to see the custom revived. I saw the West Halton Gang as a schoolboy in Winteringham and I Know of five gangs that went around at that time, each one at Winteringham, Burringham, and Alkborough and two at Burton known as the Big Gang and the Little Gang. They all had free and unhampered use of the highway."
    A. Frost, 2 Hewde Lane, Winteringham
I was introduced to Harry Ashley, who lived at Broughton, by Jenny Hague of Scunthorpe, in the summer of 1967. His daughter (or granddaughter) had a record stall on Scunthorpe Market. He was a small man who was very alert, fit and mobile for his years. He was born in 1877.

Information from Harry Ashley (90) of Back Lane, Broughton September 1967.
“I went plough-jagging from the years 1898-1902 round all the villages from Burton to Alkborough, Alkborough to Whitton, the Winteringham road to Winterton, Roxby, Sawcliffe, Scunthorpe on to Normanby Hall finishing at Burton Stather, jumping over hedges and walls etc. - walking all the way.
We used to share out all the money between us, allotting approximately £1 each. A little money was given to the women at the club to have supper ready for us finishing up about 11.00pm.

We had a melodeon player and a drummer- 4 Hatmen with very tall hats on, - a rag fool and a nigger, a doctor and a Betty (dressed up woman with a sweeping brush, 4 cadgers and 2 hobby horses.”

We (Maurice Ogg and me) arranged to take Harry to see Roly Redhead at Burton Stather. They hadn't seen each other for many years and we hoped to get them to talk about the time they were in the Ploughjags together. Unfortunately Roly Redhead was in bed with bronchitis and was not at all well.
He was pleased to see Harry but we were only able to stay a few minutes. Roly spoke of the step dancing - how they would compete for a gallon of ale.

I did go round with the Coleby Plough-jags on a couple of occasions, after Mo had set the revival in motion, as a hatman/musician but I never took a speaking part.
One of the songs I collected from Harry Ashley, Broughton (Lincs) in September 1967
    Early One Morning
    1.     Early one morning at the break of the day
            The cocks they were crowing and the farmer did say
            "Rise my good fellows, rise with goodwill
            And the horses want something their bellies to fill."
    2.    When four o'clock comes up we do rise
            And into our stables we merrily flies.
            With rubbing and scrubbing, I swear and I'll vow
            You're all jolly fellows that follows the plough
    3.    When six o'clock comes, to breakfast we meet
            Beef, ham and bacon we generally eat.
    4.     The master came in and gave his reply
            “What have you been doing during this long summers day?
            You haven't ploughed an acre, I'll swear and I'll vow.
            You're all jolly fellows that follow the plough.”
    5.    The waggoner turned round with a laugh and a joke
            He said to the lads, “It's time to unyoke.
            Unharness your horses and rub them down well
            And the master will give you a jug of best ale.”