Two new exhibitions have opened at Scunthorpe’s North Lincolnshire Museum celebrating our local wildlife, and one of Lincolnshire’s most curious folk traditions.
Thought to date back to the 16th Century, Plough Jags are traditional rural plays that were seen all over Lincolnshire and other counties. The plays were performed yearly in early January, before the ploughing season started. In part this was to contribute to the Church’s plough light, but it is also thought that the money and goods collected were used to have a feast before the hard work of the season.
The plays are delivered in songs, verse, and prose, with plentiful use of ad-libs, and sometimes dancing. Traditionally, men and boys play both the male and female characters, with colourful costumes.
Although Plough Jags – or Plough Plays as they are sometimes known – became much less common in the 19th and 20th centuries, these plays are still performed to this day in North Lincolnshire by a dedicated group of volunteers.
The museum’s Plough Jags exhibition tells the story of this local tradition and showcases the costumes worn by today’s Plough Jag performers.
In conjunction with the Coleby Plough Jag group, the exhibition will also involve a workshop on how to be a Plough Jag, to help keep the traditional alive. Join the Plough Jags on Sunday 7 April at North Lincolnshire Museum for their free workshop from 1.30pm to 2.30pm.
Also now on display on that museum is the Animals at Home exhibition. The exhibition takes a dive into the museum’s animal collection to explore three of North Lincolnshire’s important habitats: Humber wetlands, ancient woodland and coversands heathland.
Visitors to the museum will be able to get up close to specimens including badgers, foxes, hares, hedgehogs, ducks, owls and sparrow hawks.
Collections Manager for North Lincolnshire Museum, Rose Nicholson, said: “North Lincolnshire Museum prides itself on telling our unique local story, and these two exhibitions just show the true wealth of our area’s history and culture!
“It’s important for us to tell the Plough Jags story, which I’m sure many people were totally unaware of. This is also a fantastic opportunity for visitors to find out more about the animals that also call our area home.”
The Plough Jags and Animals at Home exhibitions will be on display at North Lincolnshire Museum on Oswald Road in Scunthorpe until 29 September 2019.