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Saddleworth Rushcart

By jasonrwl
Thank you very much indeed for your votes and comments on Dawn on the Rocks and particularly to Mark (marktc) for his GEA. Thanks also to Jenn (taggart) for her UA on Mustangs. All very much appreciated.

Had a fantastic day on Sunday at the Saddleworth Rushcart Festival and here are a few shots to give you an idea. The following is from the programme.

The practice of taking rushes to churches as an annual ceremony is a long established tradition across the country. Over time in the South Pennine area, this rush-bearing took the form of a cart, piled high with rushes. This would be paraded to the local parish Church by local villagers, where the rushes would be spread on the floor, often mixed with fragrant herbs, as insulation against the cold winter.

It became the practice for many villages and hamlets in Saddleworth to build such carts and take them to St Chad's parish church in Uppermill. It was a very competitive event, with each village trying to outdo the others. Morris Dance sides being a regular feature and equally competitive.

The Saddleworth Rushcart tradition grew over time into a festival held on the Wakes or Mill holidays. However, with the coming of the railways, the local population were able to travel further for their annual break and local Wakes celebrations died away. The tradition of Rushcarts in Saddleworth eventually died out in the early 20th Century, following the upheaval of the First World War. The last Rushcarts celebrated the Armistice but in reality marked a changing world.

The Rushcart was revived in 1975 by the newly formed Saddleworth Morris Men, as it was pulled from behind the Commercial pub in Uppermill, a local tradition was renewed. Nowadays the rushes are cut during August and built on a two-wheeled cart, usually 13 feet high and weighing 2 tons. The Cart is trimmed with heather and on the Saturday morning the front is dressed with a banner made by the Saddleworth Morris Man who is to sit on top of the Cart over the weekend, the "jockey". He is supplied with ale for the day in a copper kettle.

The cart is then pulled around the Saddleworth villages by Morris Men from all over the UK and sometimes from abroad, often over 150 of them. On Sunday the Rushcart is taken to St Chad's Church above Uppermill where the top is then dismantled. In keeping with tradition the rushes are mixed with fragrant herbs and flowers and symbolically spread in the aisles.

Tags: Photo journalism Saddleworth Morris Rushcart

Voters: phillG, Richsr, NDODS and 22 more

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NDODS 11 5.2k 127 United Kingdom
27 Aug 2014 8:40AM
So very interesting. Thanks for sharing especially your very well observed and captured accompanying imagery.

Regards Nathan GrinGrinGrin
Richsr 14 91 223 England
27 Aug 2014 8:41AM
Good set of images for the event Jason
cats_123 Plus
17 5.1k 30 Northern Ireland
27 Aug 2014 8:45AM
What wonderful traditions we have GrinGrin
Hermanus 9 4 South Africa
27 Aug 2014 8:50AM
Such a colourful history and images !! I really enjoyed them Smile
richmowil Plus
12 465 2 England
27 Aug 2014 9:52AM
Good set of event images Jason!!
Saddleworth is a place we visit often, a very friendly community who keep these old traditions alive. You have captured this event perfectly Jason. Everyone looks like they are enjoying the celebration. SmileSmileSmileSmile
Irishkate Plus
11 45 121 United Kingdom
27 Aug 2014 1:04PM
Interesting to learn of these old traditions and great images to illustrate.
Kate GrinGrinGrin
taggart Plus
17 47 14 United States
27 Aug 2014 3:02PM
Thank you for a glimpse into an ancient and colorful tradition-- good reportage!

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