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Author Topic: The Hooden Horse  (Read 8954 times)

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Offline TonyYoung

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Re: The Hooden Horse
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2014, 06:11:46 »
I have just started reading a book entitled 'A Dictionary of British Folk Customs' by Christina Hole (2nd Edition 1995 [1st Ed. 1976] Copyright Christine Hole 1976, Published by Hutchinson & Co 1976, Paperback by Granada Publishing 1978, slightly amended version paperback Helicon Publishing 1995)

With regard to Hodening (or in Kent Hoodening):

The Horse regularly appeared through the year at, especially in Midwinter (Hallowtide, the Twelve Days of Christmas, et al). The Horse was a man dressed as an animal, covered in blanket and carrying a horse's head, with reins, on a pole. The head was sometimes wooden but usually a real horse skull - hinged jaws allowed the mouth to snap open and shut. Along with other young men the horse 'galloped' and visited hoses as a 'lick-bringer'. This was not always successful and in 1839 at Broadstairs a woman was so terrified coming face-to-face with the 'horse' she died of fright. The custom was subsequently forbidden by local magistrates.
In East Kent Hoodening took place at Christmas. The Horse had a wooden head and sometimes a lighted candle was placed in the mouth. Farmworkers walked with the horse, one leading it by the reins or a rope and carrying a whip, and another worker light enough to ride on the horse's back. A third known as Mollie or Old Woman was in female attire and carried a broom or besom.
In Reculver, only men who had worked with horses during the year were allowed to partake.

The book notes that as a ‘widespread rural custom’ Hoodening has vanished from the Kent scene.

A referenced note states, however, that the Hooden Horse appears for charity in Folkestone at Christmas, and since 1954 at Charing has appeared at Whitsun, accompanied by Morris Dancers. In 1956 the inn at Wickhambreaux was renamed The Hooden Horse and is a meeting point for Morris dancers and hand-bell ringers in early September in connection with the hop harvest (Information supplied to the author by Mr Barnett Field of Folkestone, 1967)

Further references to Hodening in other parts of the country are also given.
With regard to

Also, the Hooden Horse is mentioned in a newish folk song by Chris Wood from Faversham, "Mari Lwyd", on the English Acoustic Collective album "Ghosts"

Mari Lwyd is a Welsh version of the Hooden Horse which apparently survives in Glamorganshire and Carmarthenshire around Christmas time.
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seafordpete

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Re: The Hooden Horse
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2012, 19:58:18 »
. It had a moveable jaw, and sacking for a neck, if I remember correctly. Not the thing you would want to find lying on your pillow...


Oy, leave my Mrs out of this !!!!

Offline Far away

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Re: The Hooden Horse
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2011, 14:47:29 »
Yes, Riding with the Angels, I remember a hooden horse in the Folkestone museum in the late 70s. It had a moveable jaw, and sacking for a neck, if I remember correctly. Not the thing you would want to find lying on your pillow...

fosdyke

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Re: The Hooden Horse
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2010, 23:00:31 »
The horse in the TV news item seemed to spend most of its time being bashed on the head, and I didn't follow why that was so.

The pub in Tonbridge was on the corner of Pembury Road and Lavender Hill. I first saw it about 12 years ago and it needed a few 'sightings' before I realised it was the 'Hooden' and not the 'Hooded Horse'. I haven't been down that way for over a year but I think it closed for a while and then re-opened with a different name, but can't remember what.

There were a number of Hooden/Hoodeners etc horse pubs in and around Kent changing their names from their originals in the 80's. They were the brainchild/empire of a chap (I never knew his name), who started with the Black Dog in Great Chart which became the Hodden Horse, (and still is). One pub became three with another added in Willesborough (Hooden on the Hill), and Rolvenden Lane, others followed including the Tonbridge Pub, and another in Ashford, and at some point the chain was sold. Some pubs have reverted to their old identies, or taken on new ones, but some still exist - as with the Ashford ones.

As to Hoodening, and the Hooden Horse, it is part of a Morris/kentish tradition, or at least been adopted by it - but i'd have to quiz my brother on that - he knows more about that sort of thing than I!

Offline Riding With The Angels

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Re: The Hooden Horse
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2010, 00:04:26 »
There's an article about the Hooden Horse in one of the old A5 size Kentish history magazines, Meresborough Press I think. Trouble is it's at my mum's house in Strood, 200 miles away. Seem to remember it having a wooden head with movable jaws that snapped at passers-by. (similar to the one in the linked BBC article two posts above)

Also, the Hooden Horse is mentioned in a newish folk song by Chris Wood from Faversham, "Mari Lwyd", on the English Acoustic Collective album "Ghosts"

You are right on the description Chris, there are some in (I think) Folkestone Museum. I have a book on Kent Folklore which details it and contains a number of pics which I will put on - The book is out on loan at mo so when I get it back I will have a delve through it.

I believe that the custom of the Hooden horse is seperate to Morris and more associated with paganism, mummers and the like but I stand to be corrected on this. Not got the book to back it up!


Offline ChrisExiledFromStrood

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Re: The Hooden Horse
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2010, 16:04:48 »
I was wrong about that publication - the info on hoodening is in "Kent Lore - a heritage of fact and fable" by Alan Bignell. Published by Robert Hale. London in 1983. (Thanks Mum!). The book also has info on local dialect.

Offline ChrisExiledFromStrood

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Re: The Hooden Horse
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2010, 20:18:59 »
There's an article about the Hooden Horse in one of the old A5 size Kentish history magazines, Meresborough Press I think. Trouble is it's at my mum's house in Strood, 200 miles away. Seem to remember it having a wooden head with movable jaws that snapped at passers-by. (similar to the one in the linked BBC article two posts above)

Also, the Hooden Horse is mentioned in a newish folk song by Chris Wood from Faversham, "Mari Lwyd", on the English Acoustic Collective album "Ghosts"

Offline peterchall

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Re: The Hooden Horse
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2009, 13:06:45 »
The horse in the TV news item seemed to spend most of its time being bashed on the head, and I didn't follow why that was so.

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Offline sheppey_bottles

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Re: The Hooden Horse
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2009, 09:35:25 »
Found this on Google...

http://www.morrisman.f2s.com/Hoodening.htm

Plenty of info on the Hooden Horse and Morris men, very interesting. The hooden Horse tours with a man dressed as a woman called a Betsy...

seafordpete

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Re: The Hooden Horse
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2009, 09:24:25 »
Isn't it the hobby horse Morris men use?  

Offline peterchall

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The Hooden Horse
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2009, 19:42:37 »
I've just seen an item on BBC Southeast News about the Hooden Horse of Kent. Apart from there being a pub in Pembury Road, Tonbridge, called 'The Hooden Horse' it's new to me. Can anyone tell me more?
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

 

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