The first Shows which we believe started in fact in 1882, were very different from the full Agricultural Show we hold now. Unfortunately all our records before the mid 1950’s have been lost, apart from one or two early Schedules donated by kind villagers. If anyone has any pre 1970 details of the Show, we would be grateful to be able to put them in our archives or borrow and copy them to keep as many details of the Show’s past as possible.
The earliest Schedule we have from Monday 3rd August 1903, was the 21st Annual Athletic Festival and Horse Show, held in fields owned by Mr George Lee, (Great Grandfather of Stephen Lee, one of our current Committee members). Monday’s 15 classes for working horses, shown in hand, ridden and jumping, which had an entrance fee of 3s 6d – 17.5p now. The prizes for the Trotting Match of about 2 miles were 1st £2, 2nd a medicine chest worth 1 guinea given by a firm in Leicester. Athletic events started at 2pm, & again at 6.30pm.
Tuesdays events included Bowling at the wicket – Entry 6d, Prizes – 1st Biscuit box, 2nd A pipe. There were Tug of Wars, Married v Single 10 per side; entry 3d, prize 10s; (50p) Other prizes included Silver Alberts, Gladstone bags, clocks and various silver plated tea sets.
By 1922 Mr E Shaw loaned the fields and there were only 11 horse classes and 11 athletic events, plus a pony race.
In a 1924 Programme athletes were coming from as far away as Scunthorpe, Knottingley, South Elmsall, Pontefract and all places in between. Heats had to be held to thin out all the entries.
In 1933 Two Dairy Cattle classes were introduced and in 1937 the entries for both classes were restricted to those living within a 6 mile radius of the Church.
By 1941 – the 58th Show had over 100 Subscribers and featured Horses, Foals, Dairy Cattle, Flower Show and Sheep Dog Exhibition and held in aid of the British Farmers Red Cross Society.
The 1966 Show, held classes for Horses, Dairy & Beef Cattle, Sheep, Pigs, Farm Produce, Jumping, Ponies & Hunters, Horticultural and Arts & Crafts classes. There was a popular Wild Flowers class for children under 15.
In 1970 a new committee with 37 members took over the running of the Show which combined the existing Ladies & Gents committees. The day was changed to the first Sunday in August, from the Bank Holiday Monday. The first Show in the area to be held on Sunday – some exhibitors refused to attend because of the change. Bingos and a Barbecue in Scruton’s barn funded the 1970 show.
Mr Scott was the catalyst for the change and first Honorary (unpaid) Secretary, Frank Fox was the Chairman and owned the fields we still use (thanks to David); President and Vet was Billy Fox from Doncaster. Mrs Scott ran the Arts & Crafts Tent, with Kath Fox from Fishlake running the Horticulture Tent.
One of the first things that happened was we became a Registered Charity, a position we modified last year when we became an Incorporated Charitable Organisation, mainly to protect the officers and members on the current committee.
In 1986 Jan Threadgold took over the Secretarial work from Mr Scott and has enjoyed so much over the last 30 years, we are sad to see the decline in the Heavy Horses and the loss of Pigs and Dairy Cattle. There is no doubt it is harder and harder to keep the Show running, mainly due to Health and Safety and Security issues, where many things have to be run along strict guidelines laid out by DEFRA, the H&S Exec and the Charity Commission.
It is now time for the younger generation to take over. The future is looking good for the continuation of our wonderful Show and tradition started by our ancestors