This page attempts to explain the significance and meaning behind the Plough Inn Sign. Research is augmented with photographs of pub signs.



 

Inn Signs
Inn Signs
Plough

Background Information
The sign of The Plough is a particularly common pub name in rural areas although it does also prevail in towns and cities.

The name itself has been in use since the sixteenth century and, indeed, an older spelling of The Plow can still be spotted around the country, though these are quite rare today.

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The first two signs in the gallery featured above were photographed in the Staffordshire village of Trysull. The sign board was probably changed when the Banks's name disappeared from the livery of the re-branded Marston's estate. However, it is interesting to note that the sign has changed from a horse-drawn plough to that of a modern tractor. I have seen the same transition occur at Hereford [see below].

Inn sign of The Plough at Thatcham [2004]

In the middle ages, and at the time of the ploughing season, ploughs were often blessed in  a ceremony in which a plough was decorated. A collection would be raised in the parish and the 'plow money' was used to brew a special plough ale. This was the case at Sygate [see far right inn sign] where farmers led an annual procession to the church at Cawston. When the Norfolk pub was closed in 1950, the inn sign was placed in the Church of Saint Agnes, together with a plough and a dedication which reads:

God speed the plough And send us ale corn enow
Our purpose for to make at crow of cok,
Of the plolete of Sygate;
Be marry and glade
War good ale yis work mad.

Incidentally, at some older universities there is a term to describe a student who fails an examination. It is said that the candidate has 'ploughed' which presumably describes the furrowed brow that a particularly difficult question might pose. Then again, maybe the student opted to spend revision periods in establishments like these - called The Plough.
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Inn Sign
Inn sign of The Plough produced for Whitbread [1973]

Inn sign of The Plough at Trysull [2010]

Inn sign of The Plough at Shenstone [2003]

Inn sign of The Plough at Stoke Lacey [2004]

Inn sign of The Plough at Ashbourne [1973]

Inn sign of The Plough at Harborne [1990]

Inn sign of The Plough at Harborne [1995]

Links to other Websites
Inn Sign Society

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Featured Inn Signs
Click here for a list of inn signs featured on the website, along with an overview of British pub signs.

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Inn sign of The Plough at Charfield [2009]

Inn sign of The Plough produced for Charrington [c.1966]

Inn sign of The Plough at Amerton [1972]

Inn sign of The Plough at Hereford [1990]

Inn sign of The Plough at Hereford [1990]

Inn sign of The Plough at Hereford [1992]

Inn sign of The Plough at Hereford [1992]

Quotation
George Orwell
"Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals.
George Orwell

 

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