The first evidence that the ploughing match ‘season’ was upon us, was this advert for caterers for one of the later matches to be held in Cruwys Morchard.
The 24th annual Witheridge Match, held at West Worlington, was one of the earlier ones. The report in the Tiverton Gazette gives the prize winners in the three classes – fathers and sons, men over 20 and boys under 20 (I wonder which class you went in if you were actually 20!). There was also judging of root vegetables and the best groomed horse.
The Museum is known for its important, local, agricultural collection, so much a part of Mid Devon life. As you stand in the entrance of the Agricultural Hall, you will already have passed one plough and will immediately have three more in view. Further on in your visit, there are more lined up in the Yard.
The pictured plough, exhibited indoors, was made by J Cooke and Son of Lincoln which was an important firm from the 1850s until the 1920s. Competitive ploughing with horses and tractors is very much still alive and Cooke’s ploughs are among the favoured implements. This year, on October 14th and 15th, the National Ploughing Championships and Country Festival is being held at Bishops Lydeard near Taunton.
The ‘Syracuse’, in the Yard, is an unusual plough. The American, Syracuse Chilled Plow Company was founded in 1876 and continued until the mid-1950s. Unusually they made right and left handed ‘plows’. Apparently farmers in Indiana and Ohio preferred them! Imports to this country started between the World Wars.