The first Monday after Epiphany was celebrated in some villages, the women as
Rock (distaff) Monday and by the men as Plow Monday, sometimes featuring a plow
In 1291 in the Nottingham village of Carlton, a jury testified that it was an
ancient custom for the lord and the rector and every free man of the village to
report with his plow and after sunrise on "the morrow after Epiphany" and "as
many ridges as he can cut with one furrow in each ridge, so many may he sow in
the year, if he please, without asking for license."
On the other hand it is possible that some of these plough customs may relate
to other times of year. For instance early Medieval "Plough Alms" were due for
payment to the Church after Ascension.
The oldest reference naming the day is one mentioning "Plow Mundy" from
Boxford, Cambridgeshire, and dated 1529. Even older references mention plough
customs at the relevant time of year, i.e. about Epiphany, and the oldest of
these are three from Durham dated 1378, 1402 and 1413.
Plow, Plough, A farm implement consisting of a heavy blade at the end of a
beam, used for breaking up soil and cutting furrows.
Christmas Boxing Day
Easter May Day
Hock Tide Plow Monday