About Haxey Hood
Haxey Hood is a traditional sport which dates back to the 14th Century (The Middle Ages) or over 700 years ago in Haxey, Lincolnshire. The official story is that in the 14th Century Lady de Mowbray, wife of an Isle Landowner (John de Mowbray) was riding towards Westwoodside on the hill away from Haxey when her Silk Riding Hood blew off. 13 Farm workers rushed to the field and chaed the hood all over the field. It was finally caught by one of the workers and as he was too shy to hand it back to her himself he handed it to one of the others to hand it back to the lady. She thanked the farm worker who handed her back the hood and said he acted like a lord and told the other farm worker he was a fool. She was so so amused by this act of chivalry and the chase that she donated 13 acres of land so that the chase would be re-enacted each year.
Before the Chase
During the preceeding week the Fool and the Boggins tour nearby pubs raising money for local charities (traditionally it was to pay for the event itself). All wear full festival costumes and sing traditional English songs.
The Day of the Chase
On the Day of the Chase, which happens twice a year on the 6th of January and 6th of June each year, coinciding with local festivities, At 12 noon the festivities start at the ale houses and the people of the village follow the festivities. They take in four pubs: Carpenters Arms, Kings Arms, the Loco and Duke William, singing folk songs as they go. Around 2:30 PM they leave the Duke William and head to the Church, with the fool leading the procession and having the right to kiss any woman along the way. He makes a speech and behind him a fire is lit with the smoke rising around him. Traditional words finish the speech : “Hoose agen hoose, toon agen toon, if a man meets a man nok ‘im doon, but doant ‘ot ‘im”
Description of the Children’s Game
The proceeding start with the rolling of twelve Hessian Sacks sewn up to prevent them unrolling – these are the hoods. This is a prequel to the main game whereby children race for them and if tackled must throw them in the air, unless the challenger is a “boggin” in which case the hood is returned to the lord who starts it off again. After a while the Boggins let the Hoods be taken off the field where they can be returned for a cash reward, which in 2018 was around St£2.00.
Description of The Main Game
After the fun of the Children’s Game, the Sway Hood is thrown in the air and the Sway (Rugby-type Scrum) begins. The idea is to sway the scrum towards one of the four pubs in the village. Each team attempts to sway it towards their own pub. The sway makes slow progress, often stopping when it collapses to let people out, safety being of paramount importance. The game ends when the Hood arrives at one of the Pubs and is touched by the landlord at the entrance. The Hood hangs behind the bar on one of two hooks for each Hood (6th January and 6th June) which are put there for this purpose. Beer is also ceremoniously poured over it. The Hood hangs in the winning bar until New Years Eve, when it is removed by a boggins for the next game. Despite the rough nature of the game most injuries come from too much beer being drunk rather than the scrum.
Lincolnshire Haxey Hood, January 5th, 2019
Royalty-free stock photo ID: 1275324475
Haxey,Lincolnshire,UK. January 05th 2019.The ancient game of Haxey hood took place today,two villages do battle for the leather hood,Ahead of the game the Haxey fool is smoked while giving speeches.
By Ian Francis
Ephinany (12th Day of Christmas new Calendar or Old Christmas Day old Calendar) – the 6th of January.
The Boggins (players) probably refers to the Bogs (Scottish Celtic ‘Bogah’) which surrounds the village of Haxey.
Haxey is probably derived from ‘hock’ which in the local dialect is ‘hox’. Hood refers to the hood used. The Official story of the Hood in the 13th or 14th Century are unlikely, but there are parallels between the Hood and the Bog in Bog Burials throughout Western Europe from ancient Celtic times. If sacrifice in ancient times is to be believed one of the times for it was mid-winter, when the game takes place. The “Smoking of the Fool” described above is a watered-down variation of a previous tradition whereby the fool was tied up by ropes and suspended above a fire. Both the Game and sacrifices took part at the edge of the bogs. Several well-preserved bog bodies have been found with leather hoods tied around their heads.
Lincolnshire Haxey Hood, January 6th, 2012
Royalty-free stock photo ID: 260688128
The traditional and ancient Haxey Hood annual event at the town of Haxey, Yorkshire, UK, taken 6.01/2012
 Wojciech Liponski (2003) “Haxey Hood” World Sports Encyclopedia pg. 260-261. MBI Publishing, St. Paul. Minnesota, USA.
 Haxey Hood (2019) Haxey Hood: 700 Years of Tradition [Internet] Available from: https://www.wheewall.com/hood/ [Accessed 27 July 2019]
Thanks to Derek Walsh.
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Researched, compiled and written by Enda Mulcahy for the
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Last Updated: 23 October 2021
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