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Hinckley Plough Bullockers
The Hinckley Plough Bullockers have revived and continue a local tradition whereby the farm workers on Plough Monday (the first day back after the Christmas holidays) would clean up and decorate their plough with brightly coloured ribbons. This would then be taken with them around the village and to the big houses, where dances would be performed in exchange for money, food and beer (or else they would plough up the driveway). Nowadays we take the plough around various public houses in the villages of Sharnford, Sapcote and Stoney Stanton.
When the group was formed in the 1980s there was very little information about the dances performed by the original men in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Tony Ashley however, discovered an old newspaper article which described some aspects of the dancing, and included such phrases as 'ad-lib stamping and shuffling' and 'they danced a travesty of a quadrille'. There was also some suggestion that the dancers may have partaken of a certain amount of alcoholic refreshment. The modern Bullockers obviously endeavour to keep up these old traditions as best we can.
I joined the Bullockers in around 1998, and was my first introduction to morris dancing. At the time I was still involved with the Sealed Knot society, and didn't think I would have enough spare time to join a full morris side, but the Bullockers only dance out once per year, and there are only 6 practice sessions (now reduced to 4). After a few years dancing with the Bullockers, Tom Sullivan suggested that I join Anstey Morris which is now the main side that I dance with regularly.