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Brooke News – January 2022

Plough at Brooke Church

Sadly the rising pandemic numbers towards the end of last year affected St Peter’s proposed special services and events yet again. The popular, annual December coffee morning was cancelled as were the seasonal refreshments after the Candlelight Carol service.

However, we were still able to hold a ‘masked’ Advent Carol Service on Sunday 5th December and a ‘masked’ Carol themed Evensong with readings by local residents, organist Connie Beadman and trumpeter Hugh Illingworth on Sunday 19th December. The mulled wine, mince pies and socialising afterwards were, of course, very much missed.

A Holy Communion service at 8am on Christmas Day was also held as usual.

Thanks to all who made the church look, as always, very festive throughout the Christmas season with the decorated Christmas Tree, winter floral displays, twinkling candle lights and the Nativity family figures.

‘January brings the snow, makes our feet and fingers glow’ but luckily, so far, in 2022 this has not yet been the case and St Peter is back to a normal (with masks, but perhaps not for much longer) service routine.

On Sunday 16th January 2022, St Peter held it’s first, within living memory, Plough Sunday service, on the nearest Sunday we could get to the first Sunday after Ephiphany, the traditional date for the service. This Victorian tradition, when the soil, seed and plough were blessed in the hopes of a successful farming year and harvest to follow, goes even further back to an older tradition associated with the first working day after the Twelve Days of Christmas, hence Plough Monday in some parishes.

This year Brooke held a special Plough Sunday evensong on 16th January complete with a plough in the church and not just any old plough – it was a Rutland Plough, very kindly loaned for the occasion by the Rutland County Museum. The Rutland Plough was developed in the early 1840’s by Richard Westbrook Baker 1797-1861 of Cottesmore and manufactured by Ransomes of Ipswich.  RW Baker, the land agent and steward for the Gainsborough’s of Exton Hall, was a pioneering agriculturalist and social reformer as well as founding the Rutland Ploughing Match, the Rutland Agricultural Society and the once famous Ruddles Brewery of Langham.

During the Plough service which celebrated the treasures of rural life, God in creation and the place of the church in the countryside, local farmer Robert Eayrs assisted Rev Chris in the blessing of the soil, seed and plough, Jane Barnes President of Oakham Young Farmers and Ian Bell, churchwarden, read the lessons. Thank you to them, the congregation for some rousing singing of popular hymns and also to the bell ringers and Connie Beadman the organist.