Centuries-old custom honoured at Musgrave

Date: Friday 7th July 2017
Parents and children walk from the village institute to St. Theobald’s Church.
Parents and children walk from the village institute to St. Theobald’s Church.

IN keeping with a centuries-old custom, rushbearing at Musgrave took place on the first Saturday in July, when children carried crowns created out of flowers and crosses fashioned from rushes — all made by their parents..

Children with flower crowns and crosses take part in the traditional Musgrave rushbearing ceremony.
Children with flower crowns and crosses take part in the traditional Musgrave rushbearing ceremony.

On a warm and sunny afternoon, a procession of children and adults left the village institute and ambled their way to St. Theobald’s Church by the river, accompanied by a vintage tractor.

Rushbearing is held to remember the ancient tradition of “spring cleaning” the church in the days when a church would have had an earthen floor. The old rush floor covering would have been removed, and a new covering laid.

The children re-enacted this tradition by strewing more rushes on the beaten earth floor of the tithe barn, which had been specially swept in readiness for the occasion.

Once at the door of the church, the procession halted and parents organised the children in front of the beautiful rushbearing banner for photos to be taken in the sunshine. During the rushbearing service, led enthusiastically by the Rev. Kristy Pattimore, the children brought their crowns and crosses up to the altar for everyone to see.

After a lively service, everyone made their way back up the hill to the institute for afternoon tea.