RAMSEY celebrated Plough Monday this week when hundreds of children took to the streets to Molly Dance. More than 230 students from 14 Cambridgeshire schools, including Ramsey Junior, St John s in Huntingdon and Bushmead in Eaton Socon, performed among th

RAMSEY celebrated Plough Monday this week when hundreds of children took to the streets to Molly Dance.

More than 230 students from 14 Cambridgeshire schools, including Ramsey Junior, St John's in Huntingdon and Bushmead in Eaton Socon, performed among the remains of Ramsey Abbey.

The project refreshed an old farming tradition - Plough Monday, the first Monday after twelfth night, when ploughmen would blacken their faces and wear white shirts as they dragged a decorated plough through town.

The men would perform dances and ask wealthy landowners for money, food and drink. If they were refused, they would plough a furrow across their garden or rip up their doorstep.

Molly Dancing was practiced by the ploughboys, particularly in the Fens, but it died out in the early 20th century before being revived in the 1970s.

Mandy Corney, an admin assistant at Ramsey Junior School, told The Hunts Post: "It was a bit like trick or treat and they would mess up your garden if you didn't give them anything."

However, she stressed that the children taking part in Plough Monday were not going to be involved in any such anti-social behaviour.

"We're not encouraging the children to plough up people's gardens, we're leaving that part out," she said.

She added: "There was a re-enactment of the dancing with the children all dressed up in traditional outfits and they had a plough blessed by the vicar. There was a straw bear, similar to the Whittlesey festival, but the Ramsey traditions outdate theirs."

The Heritage Lottery Fund and Cambridgeshire County Council funded the day.

INFORMATION: The event will be shown on Countryfile, BBC One, Sunday, 11am.