Clogs galore as rushbearing hits the streets

1
Have your say

The sound of clogs and music filled the streets as the annual Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing Festival hit the road.

Merriment and drink were plentiful as the 16ft high thatched rushcart was pulled by 60 men who called at pubs and churches on the route.

The rushbearing procession at Windle Royd Lane towards Warley Town.

The rushbearing procession at Windle Royd Lane towards Warley Town.

Crowds of onlookers - many of who beat them to the bars - were awaiting the colourful arrival.

Rushbearing dates back centuries when new rushes were taken into churches by carts to cover the floors once a year and it became a celebratory holiday.

Cart foreman Graham Yardley said 2013 proved to be a good year.

“Re-creating an old tradition such as this does bring a lot of people into the area and it’s good for pubs, restaurants and small businesses,” he said.

Persephone Women's Morris perform at St John's Church, Warley.

Persephone Women's Morris perform at St John's Church, Warley.

Mr Yardley has now been part of the festival for over 30 years.

“Some of the churches have closed down and a lot of pubs have gone,” he said.

“But, more pubs have opened up - unfortunately no churches.”

Dance co-ordinator Amy-Rose Atkinson said there had been a determined effort to include more Morris dance teams and that had paid off.

There were 11 dance teams on Saturday and eight on Sunday.

“It’s been really successful this year,” she said.

Wendy Garlick, of Leeds, was with the Persephone Women’s Northwest Morris and the team danced with bells on their clogs with a style taken from cotton mills.

“It was danced when the mills had a holiday and the workers’ paraded through towns,” she said.

Other events were organised to coincide with the event including a craft market, village fair and horticultural show.

The festival service was held at St Peter’s Church, Sowerby, on Sunday morning.