Hoodening from 2017 onwards

⇐ Earlier Hoodening History, 1966-2016


August: Dobbin and Satan visited Herne Bay and enjoyed some Good Hyracotherium ale at 'Flogging a Dead Horse' (qv Kent Community Foundation), an imaginative part of Herne BayFest 2017. The artist who created it, Claire Knights, was tragically murdered near St Nicholas in 2023.

November: George was interviewed by Cecil Haire on Canadian Radio's CBC Cross Talk together with Ryan Davis of the Newfoundland Mummers Festival.


December performances raised £1700 for East Kent Hospitals Charity Dementia Appeal. Songs commemorated Chuck Berry and Peter Skellern. There was also an amended version of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' to celebrate our first visit to the Wantsum Brewery Tap Room.
Members: David Gray (Molly), Roy Fairbrass (Sam), Ben Jones (George & Musician), Budgie Paul (Wagoner: Bill), Simon Lane (Dobbin & M. Mac'roon), Tom Paul (Dobbin 2). Script by Annette Paul.


Discordant Comicals Hoodening book front cover

George Frampton's definitive work "Discordant Comicals: The Hooden Horse of East Kent" was reissued in a greatly expanded, full colour hardback edition, by St Nicholas-at-Wade publisher Ozaru Books. Eleven hooden horses and numerous hoodeners from across the country attended the launch party.

December performances raised £1500 for Home Start Thanet. Three (!) new songs commemorated the passing of Charles Aznavour, and Charles Hodges (of Chas & Dave), and there was even yet another amended 'Sheps' version of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' — to mourn The Boyden Gate's dropping out of the Good Beer Guide (on Boxing Day the Mummers' references to Christmas Ale had to be amended, as the pub had no Christmas Ale, no Bishop's Finger, no Spitfire or Spitfire Gold, just two weak ales and lots of lager).


Autohoodening flyer
9 December: George Frampton (author, see above), "George" (Hoodener), James Bloodworth (author of "Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain") et al. participated in Auto-Hoodening — a reimagining of Hoodening for modern automated work in an Amazon "fulfilment" centre.

December performances in aid of Abi's Arm Appeal and Louie's Helping Hands raised a total of £2250.


March: another replica enters the East Kent stable — this time Nabbler, made by James Frost based on Satan / Black Beauty. James's original suggestion for a name was Damien (son of Satan, geddit?).

Nabbler, a hooden horse

December: Anti-Amazon agit-prop anarchic "Auto-Hoodening" artistes strike again! See above, December 2019, and below.

Moll in front of a green screen

Given the Covid-19 pandemic, live performances in December were not an option — so instead we used "green screen" technology to edit together a virtual performance, raising over £1000 in aid of Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex's Coronavirus Emergency Appeal via JustGiving.


Dobbin as an Amazon wage slave

If Hoodening were not six blokes in an East Kent pub portraying 19C farmers, but a full cast from Infinite Opera performing at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with Dobbin an Amazon wage slave, it could look like this… Captain Swing, the fictional face of worker dissent in the great English agricultural uprising of 1830, is resurrected to confront the horrors of working as a seasonal associate in an Amazon fulfilment centre. Autohoodening is a folk operatic masquerade, created by PostWorkers Theatre…
3 minute trailer, full 80-minute film

New wagoner

The effects of Covid: following Trice, Howland, Debenham, Jones, Bolton, Beale and Paul, now the name Cole (a.k.a. Dobbin I v2.0) joins the illustrious ranks of those who've played the Wagoner over the last 116+ years. Our performances were severely curtailed, but we still managed to support Strode Park by raising £1,759.65 (including £47 thanks to those who donated online). A video of one performance was made available briefly online for those who couldn't make it to an 'in the flesh' one.

Maylam eBook

Ozaru Books published on Kindle an annotated version of Maylam's seminal 1909 book "The Hooden Horse". The cover features Dobbin with Jack Fairbrass, Hoodener — and grandfather of modern Hoodener 'Sam'.


Aaron Janes
Aaron Janes, multi-talented hoodener (Whitstable horse, musician, beast maker) dies.

Chris Smith
Chris Smith, Boyden Gate landlord, guardian of the Chislet horse, founder of Marshside Mummers, dies.

October to January
Autohoodening makes an appearance in Sweden at Luleå Biennial.

£2089.60 raised for Cruse Bereavement Support, including a first performance at The Magnet micropub.


row of hooden horses and other beasts

After a walk from Time & Tide Brewery including performances en route (harking back to the Great Walk of 1919), several horses gather at Sandwich Medieval Centre for wassail refreshments and songs from the Deal Hoodeners, acting as a preview for the Maidstone exhibition.

Book cover

Ozaru Books published Animal Guising and the Kentish Hooden Horse by James Frost, as a catalogue for the exhibition in Maidstone but also a standalone book building on the prior work by Percy Maylam and George Frampton.

Hooden Horses in Carochos magazine
A brief article appears in the Spanish magazine Los Carochos.

8 February to 17 June
Animal Guising and the Kentish Hooden Horse, a major exhibition curated by James Frost, held at Maidstone Museum.

The exhibition included several special events, often accompanied by curator's tours:

As part of the exhibition, some hooden horses were 3D scanned for the first time. If you can see a horse below, try dragging/scrolling it around with a mouse, and also combining this with shift/control keys etc. However, it's quite likely you'll see nothing, as browser support is still limited; if so, click here to download it then open directly in Acrobat or other software supporting 3D PDFs.

Several videos were taken at the various exhibition events, as shown in the playlist below:

11 February 2023

Nothing to do with hoodening itself, but many people got excited to see Coppin, a horse from Boss Morris, appear on stage with Wet Leg at the Brit Awards.


18 November 2023 to 13 January 2024

"The Hooden Horse: a Christmas masquerade" exhibition at Herne Bay Seaside Museum

Winter season

James Frost's workshop for Bowyer Street Morris results in the birth of several new foals — although it's not yet clear if they'll mature into hooden horses or mere morris/mumming beasts.

Hector from Whitstable Margarita from Margate

£2091.71 raised for Holy Trinity Margate's dementia sessions. For the first time ever (?) no private bookings. Sam 'Brownstain' (Roy Fairbrass) provisionally retires, but leaves his mark… by providing the script. Members: Simon Greenstreet (Dobbin), Peter 'Budgie' Paul (Wagoner: Bill), David Gray (Molly), Simon Maliphant-Gray (Boy), Ben Jones (Musician = George), Tom Paul (Ted), Jamie Cole/Annette Paul (Paddy/Bruce). Script by Roy 'Sam' Fairbrass with help from Annette Paul & Ben Jones.
Venues: Village Hall, The Magnet, Sun, Boyden Gate (new management), Wantsum Brewery Tap Room, Monkton Village Hall, Crown (Cherry Brandy: new management), Seaside Museum Herne Bay, Margate Arts Club, Bell

Performance at Wantsum Brewery Performance in Herne Bay


This year's schedule