Cathedral hosts celebration at start of the farming year

PloughPlough Sunday, the traditional day of church services to mark the start of the farming year following the twelve days of Christmas, will be celebrated with a hot pork rolls, an exhibition and a major regional service at Ripon Cathedral on Sunday 14 January at 3.30pm. 

The Plough Sunday service at Ripon Cathedral has grown year on year and this year the annual celebration of farming and rural life is being jointly organised with the Yorkshire Rural Support Network.

Adam Bedford, North East Regional Director of the National Farmers Union will be a guest speaker at the service which is also supported by Yorkshire Young Farmers, Future Farmers of Yorkshire, Farming Help Charities and The Yorkshire Agricultural Society.

There will be an exhibition of farming support and rural charities and organisations in the cathedral from Wednesday 10th January before the service itself is held on Sunday January 14th.

Plough Sunday marks the first working day after the twelve days of Christmas. Historically, ploughs were brought into parish churches to be blessed before work began the following day on ‘Plough Monday’. 

In days when work was scarce in winter, the observance looked forward to the time of sowing with the promise of a harvest to come. 

In medieval times some communal village ploughs were stored in the parish church. At the end of the Christmas season when there was no work, no wages nor free meals, the ploughmen would haul the plough around the parish begging for silver and threatening to plough up the garden of any who refused.

Now Plough Sunday is seen as a way of celebrating rural life, especially the work of farmers and all who care for the land.

This is a collaboration between the cathedral, the Anglican Diocese of Leeds, the four Districts of the Methodist Church and the Roman Catholic Church. The Service will be led by the Bishop of Huddersfield, the Rt Rev Jonathan Gibbs and the Dean of Ripon, The Very Rev John Dobson. 

Dean John said: “The Plough Sunday Service at Ripon Cathedral is a great event which has grown in popularity over recent years. The pork rolls and drinks beforehand help to bring people together from across the region in fellowship and friendship. 

“The service itself is always full of life, energy and joy whilst at the same time recognising the real challenges that face farmers and rural communities – not least those relating to economics and isolation together with the employment and housing opportunities for young people. This is a service that is open to everyone and anyone that would like to join us will be made very welcome.”

The event begins with hot pork rolls, tea and coffee, all provided free of charge, from 2.30pm, whilst a tractor and plough, kindly provided by Ripon Farm Services, will stand on the Cathedral forecourt. The Highside Longsword Group (pictured right)  will be demonstrating their skills prior to the Service. 

The service, with a theme of looking forward, will begin at 3.30pm. 

Everyone with an interest in farming, rural communities and the environment is warmly invited to the service. 


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