Stoke Bliss Ploughing & Homecrafts
The society was founded by local farmers in 1947. They organised a Ploughing Match which included a range of agricultural competitions, which are now held annually at different farms each year (but within a 10-mile
radius of Stoke Bliss Church). Twenty years after the first ploughing match a ladies committee was formed
resulting in the homecrafts and handicrafts competitions which still have large entries today. A list of farms
where matches have been held over the years can be found below and also in
the printed schedule.
The competition included ploughing, hedge laying, sheepdog trials and crop competitions. The first ploughing
match was held at Hall Farm, Stoke Bliss (which was then part of the Underley Estate) by kind permission of
Mr Harry Dorrall; we returned to Underley Farm in 1997 and 2007 for our 50th and 60th year celebrations.
Many local families have been and are still involved in the Society.
Sadly, the hedge laying and sheep dog trials no longer take place, but the remainder of the competitions
When the society was first founded, horses were still being used to plough, and the modern-day tractor
then pulled a one, two or three furrow plough. Our claim to fame is that in 1959, John Gwilliam went
to represent Stoke Bliss at the National Ploughing Competitions where he came first, and went on to
compete at the World Ploughing Competitions in Rome in 1960, and was crowned
WORLD CHAMPION PLOUGHMAN. The John Gwilliam Memorial Cup is awarded each year in
honour of his achievements.
A new World record was set at the 1981 Ploughing Match held at Hayes Farm, Berrington, Nr Tenbury Wells,
by John Binning, who set out to plough an acre in under 12 minutes. This he did in a staggering
11 minutes 49 seconds which was then submitted for entry into the Guinness World Book of Records.
Tony Pattrick, M Pound, Di Pattrick, S Ward & G Watkins October 2006
Top 3 Sheepdog Photographs by Dennis Teal