Haxey Hood 2020: Here's which pub triumphed in this year's traditional contest

The rough and tumble is over for another year – and the winner of this year’s Haxey Hood has been crowned.

Monday, 6th January 2020, 6:18 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 9:50 am

The Kings Arms at Haxey emerged victorious in the centuries old battle which see villagers from Haxey and neighbouring Westwoodside go head to head in a bid to take control of the prized leather hood.

Thousands of people descended on the village for the game, which dates from 1359, and is normally contested between regulars from pubs in the two villages.

It was the Kings’ first victory since 2017, following two successive wins for the Carpenters Arms at Westwoodside.

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James Chawtin takes charge of the Haxey Hood as the Fool for the first time. Photo: SWNS

This year, the game was contested by the Stanholme Guest House and The Loco, both in Haxey.

And there was a new public face of the contest this year.

James Chatwin took over the colourfully costumed role of Fool at the annual New Year game after previous incumbent Dale Smith stepped down after 25 years.

James has been heavily involved in the game since a child and has been a Boggin – one of the organisers of the game – for nearly twenty years.

The Fool is based on one of the characters from the original staging of the contest more than 700 years ago.

The game's origins are said to stem from an incident when while riding over hill which separates Haxey from Westwoodside, Lady De Mowbray, the wife of a local landowner, lost her riding hood to the wind.

A group of farmworkers gave chase but the man who picked it up was too shy to hand it back, passing it to another man.

She said the man who handed it over had acted like a Lord, while the one who chose not to had acted like a Fool, helping to create the tale behind the ancient game.

The Fool leads proceedings and leads the traditional speech from the mounting stone in front of Haxey Church before the Smoking The Fool ceremony where damp straw is set on fire behind him.

He also leads the Hood's popular chant, “oose agen hoose, toon agen toon, if a man meets a man, knock '˜im doon, but don't '’ot ‘im,' which translates as '˜house against house, town against town, if a man meets a man, knock him down but don't hurt him.'

The game always takes place on January 6, unless the date falls on a Sunday.