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Page last updated at 08:42 GMT, Monday, 11 January 2010
Plough Monday and the Molly-people

Plough Monday Club
Balsham Plough Monday Club: James Kiddy, Phillip Smith (Betsy), Buster, John Robinson, Roger Scotland

Plough Monday is the first Monday after Epiphany. Traditionally it was the day which farm workers returned to their duties after the Christmas and new year break.

A plough would be taken into the local church to be blessed in order to "speed the plough" and ensure a bountiful harvest later in the year.

Traditionally, this was a difficult time of year for farm workers, as the ground was often too hard to plough. No work meant no money, so they began to decorate their ploughs and carry them around the villages, asking for money from the wealthier residents.

The money was supposed to see the workers and their families through hard times, but was more often spent in "beery jollification" in the nearby ale houses in the evening, accompanied by music and dancing.

This tradition has been revived in some of East Anglia's rural villages and Balsham is just one place where you can catch this quirky event being re-enacted.

Ploughing route

Here's where you can catch the madness and mayhem as Balsham celebrates Plough Monday on 11 January, with the help of the Mepal Molly Men and the Cambridge Morris Men.

This is a proposed route and may change if the roads are affected by the weather, or the ploughmen and dancers spend too long in any one hostelry!

As you can see, dancing takes place all around the county and the plough itself will be pulled through the streets of Balsham from 5.30pm on Monday evening.

Monies raised by this year's event will be donated to MAGPAS First Responders, Blasham 1st Girl Guides and Balsham Colts Football Club. This is the 38th Plough Monday celebrated by the group, and so far they have raised in excess of £40,000 for local charities.

Plough Monday: Monday 11 January 2010

10.15am First dance - Mepal Primary School, Brangehill Lane

10.50am Sutton Primary School, The Brook

11.30am Haddenham Primary School

12.00 noon Aldreth "Worlds End"

1.30pm Sutton High Street Dance by "One Stop" Shop

2pm Stretham Red Lion

2.45pm Wilburton Church - (TBC)

3.00pm Haddenham Three Kings

3.30pm Witcham, by the bus shelter

3.45pm Wardy Hill Green

4.00pm Covaney, by old school

4.15pm Ely Market Square

5.30pm Fox Road, Balsham

6.00pm-7.30pm Balsham High Street

8.15pm Princes Close

9.15pm West Wratting Road and Bell

9.45pm The Three Pickerals, Mepal. Final dance. Music and entertainment in pub

10.30pm Propose a toast to absent and former Mepal Molly Men


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