Hoodening 1945-1965

⇐ Ancient Hoodening History


Acol horse appears at VJ Day celebrations. [Click pictures to enlarge; hover for descriptions]
Horse with group, many from the Crown and Sceptre
Photo shows Mr Laming, Len Harris, John Swanock (from Woodchurch), Jack White, Edie Cowell, her niece Mavis Kemp, unknown horse, unknown gent, Mr Fellows and Mr Raynor.


Ravensbourne Morris Men "adopt" the replica horse which had appeared at Aylesford Folk Dance Festival just before WWII. See East Kent Morris site.

December 1952 (and a couple of years afterwards)

Boys from St Stephen's school tour Canterbury with a horse, made for Edward Coomber (a teacher with a folklore degree) by Arthur Clark's senior woodwork class at the Sir William Nottidge School in Whitstable; the horse later gets passed down to Mark Lawson. A youth club in Godmersham does the same, with a horse made by Albert Graves, that later gets passed down to Ed Joyce.

St Stephen's school group St Stephen's school group St Stephen's school group St Stephen's school group


A copy of the Deal horse, made by Barnett Field, appears at the Coronation celebrations in Folkestone. It is later used there for annual "handbell hoodening". It has been said that "some women in Birchington also recreated a Hooden Horse for their Coronation celebrations", but this is probably a mistake for the events of December 1954. We have however unearthed pictures from 1953 showing a different horse from that used in 1954; probably the same as used in Acol in 1945 (and maybe the 1920s or earlier too).
Horse ('Norman') with an African ('the man next door') Horse with cowgirl (Mary Chidwick) 'Trigger' receiving a prize (from whom?)

7 June 1954

Posters used by the East Kent Morris Men for Whit Monday celebrations seem to be the first traceable record of the phrase "If ye the Hooden Horse doth feed, throughout the year you shall not need", probably thought up by Barnett Field.

Christmas Week 1954

The Social Studies group of Birchington Evening Townswomen's Guild made a "faithful reproduction of the original [Hooden Horse] which toured Birchington […] designed […] by an elderly man who was one of the Hoodeners" (and who is described in one newspaper report as "the husband of one of their members"). They used this to tour the village singing carols and raising £14 3s 10d for the Village Centre Fund. Participants (some?): Mrs Venables, Jessie Payne, Fanny Reed, Mrs Roach, and Dorothy Farebrother (under the horse).
Article Article Photo

9 May 1956

Birchington Evening Townswomen's Guild perform a play with their Hooden Horse at the Granville Theatre in Ramsgate, in the East Kent Federation of Townswomen's Guilds pageant "Once They Lived in Our Town". The play was set in Birchington in 1867, was produced by Harriett Buck, and featured the characters Grandmother, Father, Mother, Child, Hoodeners and Carol Party. [Click any of the pictures to enlarge]
Article + photo Programme

21 July 1956

"Swan Inn" in Wickhambreaux is renamed the Hooden Horse in accordance with brewery instructions: see leaflet, and also the following cuttings (courtesy of Ravensbourne Morris). [Click any to enlarge]
Article from Kent Messenger Article + photo Article by Sir Stephen Tallents Article + photo about subsequent appearance in Folkestone

22 September 1956

Birchington Evening Townswomen's Guild met the East Kent Morris Men at Wickhambreaux, and "saw their horse and watched a fine display of Morris Dancing". At the time they also wrote about "perpetuating our revival" and that "we hope to continue our Mumming during the coming Christmas season — all the original team are still keen participants" but we can find no further mention of any Hoodening in Birchington.
Letter from Barnett Field Guild's notes

Sometime in 1956

"Hoodeners" did a one-off performance at Stede Hill, Harrietsham at the home of Robert Goodsall (author of 4 books variously called 'A Kentish Patchwork'), using a horse he had constructed.

September 1959

Hop-hoodening starts, again instigated by Barnett Field.


Folkestone International Folklore Festival (Barnett Field again: see his book Midsummer Fire) produces a giant Hooden Horse, 14 feet high. It is rumoured that it was carried on a shopping trolley, and still exists in an attic somewhere. Those rumours are (as yet) unconfirmed, but at long last we have found visual evidence of the horse him/herself!

Giant hooden horse Giant hooden horse

You can click for larger images — but they are simply taken from an online video, that was converted from a cine film found on eBay some 50 years later — the whole video is around 3 minutes but only shows a couple of short glimpses of the horse, which have been extracted below. Thanks to GuildfordGhost for finding it and putting it online!

Later Hoodening History, 1966-2016 ⇒