God Speed the Plough

“Let the wealthy and great, roll in splendor and state
I envy them not, I declare it.
I eat my own lamb
chickens and ham,
I shear my own fleece
And I wear it.
I Have lawns, I have bowers,
I have fruits, I have flowers,
The lark is my morning alarmer.
So jolly boys now,
Here’s God Speed the Plough,
Long life and success to the farmer”

Today I am sharing one of my favorite items from our Pipe Creek Farm collection. We furnish the farm with utilitarian (yet artsy) items that have a function rooted in the history and purpose of the surrounding land. And yes we have the occasional Pumpkin- as many people refer to the historic house as Pumpkin Patch Farm. Most items are from the Baltimore-York corridor and the harvesting of hay, corn and cattle are the main staples for revenue here- so when we found this pattern of china, Farmers Arms, by Burgess & Leigh, we got very excited.

The 19th C china was actually made in England with its original saying coming from “God speed the plough, ‘a wish for success or prosperity,’ was originally a phrase in a 15th-century song sung by ploughmen on Plough Monday, the first Monday after Twelfth Day, which is the end of the Christmas holidays, when farm laborers returned to the plough. On this day ploughmen customarily went from door to door dressed in white and drawing a plough, soliciting ‘plough money’ to spend in celebration.

Chaucer’s Monks Tale penned in the 16th C. “God spede þe plouȝ: & sende us kǫꝛne Inolk” turned it into a short, satirical complaint, listing the various indolent members of the clergy who will demand a share of the ploughman’s harvest, rendering his work futile. But the

But today, the charming bright colors and the simple hard working life depicted are reminders of an era when families worked together, planted and harvested together- and we yearn for that.

We were lucky in that our large charger (13.5″) and several accompanying plates were sold during the William K. du Pont Collection sale this year from his home Rocky Hill. Because the plates were in varying stages of distress and because the buyers gathered for these auctions were looking for Americana, we were able to purchase these plates. And it is important to note that the plates in order to be collectable must still be readable and that is an issue with pottery this old. I would not recommend using them but they do make a fabulous Place Plate, or cabinet plate.

We offer a set of 8 on Chairish and on our website, which are the best of the lot and we are happy to retain the more worn ones and the Charger here at the farm.


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