Crosses and crowns at village’sancient rushbearing service

Date: Friday 8th July 2016
Children with crosses and crowns take part in Musgrave’s traditional
rushbearing service.
Children with crosses and crowns take part in Musgrave’s traditional rushbearing service.

A GREAT band of children, parents and friends took part in Musgrave’s traditional rushbearing ceremony on Saturday.

The rushbearing is always held on the first Saturday in July, near St. Theobald’s feast day. He is the patron saint of Musgrave Church and also of charcoal burners.

The weather was not promising, but those taking part braved a heavy shower as they processed from the village to the church, accompanied by Peter Thwaites on his drums and the splendid rushbearing banner.

The girls wore crowns and pretty dresses and made a colourful sight, along with the boys carrying rush crosses tied with scarlet ribbon.

Rushes were spread in the old tithe barn, a reminder of the origin of this celebration which goes back to the days of mud floors in churches.

The 35 children, along with parents, grandparents and friends, packed into the little church by the river.

Children who took part were Emma, Caitlin and Matthew Pedley, Jack and Max Hayllar, Archie and Olivia Steel, Esther Hodgson, Thomas and Eliza Steadman, Brodie and Skye Gilby Steadman, Ewan and Elliott Morrison, Roman and Eden Watson, Emily and Robert Davidson, Lilly, Jess and Patrick Tarney, Sarah, Eleanor and Grace Featherstone, Abbie and Evie Heron, Jessie and James Heron, Frankie and Rita Alderson. Canon Carole Marsden presided over a lively service, crosses and crowns were taken to the altar, and joyful hymns were accompanied by David Opperman on the organ.

A splendid tea followed at the village institute, and the sun shone as the children joined in the sports with great enthusiasm, each one receiving a medal.

Bill Steadman, who died recently, aged 100, was specially remembered for his many years supporting the rushbearing and other village events. The banner was carried by Pail and Mark Steadman and there were several generations of the Steadman family taking part in the afternoon.