The Welbourn Horkey Festival was a celebration of harvest and traditional rural life in the village of Welbourn. It took place in October 2016 in a number of locations around the village: the Village Hall, Castle Hill, St Chad’s Church, the Old Forge and the location of the former Co-Operative Shop.
The Horkey (a traditional name dating from the 16th Century for end of harvest celebrations) told the story of ‘seed to loaf’, inspired by the time when Welbourn and other small villages like it, were able to sow the seed, harvest the wheat, mill the flour and bake the bread all within a few miles.
Prior to the Horkey weekend, a range of workshops and activities were held with families and community groups to increase knowledge of local history and encourage people to create artworks responding to what they have learnt. The works produced formed a major part of the Horkey celebrations and served to decorate, inform and inspire visitors during the event.
School children at Welbourn Primary School worked with artist Lyndall Phelps and Miranda Sharpe and historian Dave Reeves to create artworks inspired by the village’s heritage. Dave Reeves explained the history of Welbourn to the older children and used his research into the local dialect of the area as inspiration for a praise poem for the village that they wrote together.
Other children created artworks inspired by crops seeds and leaves or ‘boundary markers’ and wearable neck pieces using local dialect words, and metal flags celebrating the Welbourn story.
Secondary pupils from Sir William Robertson Academy worked with Lyndall Phelps on a project focused around agricultural history and the trades that had been working in the village, recorded on the 1911 census. Students visited the Museum of Lincolnshire Life for research purposes and to make preparatory drawings of tools associated with the trades, these were then translated into designs onto fabric using lino printing techniques. The series of prints were then sewn together to make a striking ‘trade banner’. This was processed alongside the primary school artworks to St Chad’s Church where it was displayed during the church service before moving to the Village Hall for the Horkey day.
At the Horkey event itself, as well as enjoying the outcomes from school and community workshops, a new artwork by Lyndall Phelps was displayed at St Chad’s church. Visitors could also see an exhibition of vintage and traditional farming equipment, organised by local farmers that took place on Castle Hill. The star attraction was a working 1920s threshing machine which drew a huge crowd. This part of the Horkey was vital to Ridges & Furrows’ focus on the agricultural history of the area and to introduce or reintroduce people to the farming practices of Lincolnshire.
At the village Hall the Shrub & Grub local bakery worked throughout the event to create loaves from locally grown wheat flour. Free apple juice, pressed on the morning of the event from apples grown in Welbourn’s community orchard, received a lot of positive feedback. In addition to this locally grown attraction, farmer Robert Cross brought in a huge pumpkin for people to guess the weight of.