Presentation on theme: "The Haxey Hood Games Katy Thompson. Where…? Haxey is a large parish on the southern border of the Isle of Axholme, North Lincolnshire. It consists of."— Presentation transcript:
Where…? Haxey is a large parish on the southern border of the Isle of Axholme, North Lincolnshire. It consists of the villages of Haxey and Westwoodside with the hamlets of High Burnham, Low Burnham, Eastlound and Graiselound
Introduction Every January, the parish of Haxey goes a little crazy for the day. They play a mad game called the Haxey hood. This ancient tradition that has been practised since the 14 th century making it the oldest local tradition in England. The game is played between the towns Haxey and Westwoodside in North Lincolnshire. It is a kind of rugby game where a leather hood is slowly walked by a large, unorganised rugby scrum to one of four pubs, where it remains until the following year’s game.The game is played on the “hoodlands” on the 6 th of January. The game does not really have any rules – it resembles a giant medieval rugby match with many people taking part.
The Legend Behind The Custom. The official story is that in the 14 th century the wife of Sir John De Mowbray, a prominent landowner, lost her hood whilst riding towards Westwoodside on the hill that separates it from Haxey. Thirteen farm workers (known as Boggins) in the field rushed to help and chased the hood all over the field. It was finally caught by one of the farm workers, but he was too shy to hand it back to the Lady. He gave it to one of the other workers to hand it back to her. She thanked the farm worker who had returned the hood and said that he had acted like a Lord. Whereas the worker who had actually caught the hood was a fool.She was amused by this act and donated 13 acres of land on condition that the chase for the hood would be re-enacted each year. It was this re-enactment that became known as “The Haxey Hood”.
What happens… The ceremonies of Haxey Hood begin in the early afternoon with the procession of the Fool and his twelve ‘Boggans’ up the village street to a small green outside the parish church. The Boggans are the official team of players in the Hood Game, and play against anyone who comes. The chief among them is the King Boggan, or Lord of the Hood, who carries a wand, or roll of thirteen willows as a badge of office. Tradition demands that he and all his team should wear scarlet flannel coats, and hats covered with red flowers. A few Boggans may turn out in their ordinary clothes, but invariably the ritual red appears somewhere in their dress, if only in the form of an armband or some fluttering scarlet ribbons.
The Fool, who leads the procession has the right to kiss any lady he chooses throughout the day. The Fool and the Boggans have already been busy in the week before the event visiting nearby villages inviting people to come to the Hood-throwing, at the same time collecting money for the festival expenses and charities. On the day itself, when the procession eventually reaches the village churchyard, the Fool mounts a stone that once formed the base of a tall cross. There he makes a speech, welcoming all present and inviting them to join in the game and he reminds his listeners that the order of the day is: Hoose agen hoose,Toon agen toon,If tho' meet a man, knock 'im doon,But don't 'Ut 'im!.
This means: house against house, town against town, if you see a man knock him down but don’t hurt him. While the fool is speaking, a small fire of damp straw is lit behind him, and a cloud of smoke pours out all round him. This is known as 'Smoking the Fool', and is a modern version of an ancient ceremony, which took place on the morning after the Hood Game. Some straw was set alight under a tree and the Fool was tied to a branch above it. He was then suspended over the fire and swung backwards and forwards over it until he almost suffocated; then allowed to drop into the smouldering straw, which was well wetted, and had to scramble out as best he could. The Leather, or Sway Hood is produced, and is thrown straight up into the air, by the Lord. The ring of Boggans breaks up, and all orderly play disappears. An unorganised scrum of people pour slowly down the hill, swaying backwards and forwards. The Hood may not be kicked or tossed forward, but only 'swayed', that is, pushed, pulled, or dragged towards one of the three pubs that serve as the 'goals‘.
The game ends when the Hood arrives at one of the pubs and is touched by the landlord from his front step. The landlord then takes charge of the Hood for the following year until the next game, and is supposed to give everyone a free drink. The winning pub pours beer over the Hood and then hangs it behind the bar. Despite it being a very rough game there are very few injuries and little damage. Most injuries that there are come from too much beer before or after the game whether it is the winners celebrating or the losers commiserating. The event is as much about the drinking in the pubs as anything else. Just as with Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve, more ale is probably drunk on Hood Day, and Hood Eve in Haxey, as any other, the pubs are always heaving.