CANON Norman Dawson and reader Ann Dawson welcomed the congregation to the Church of St James the Less, Tatham on Sunday, January 12 for the annual Plough Sunday service, always held on the first Sunday after Epiphany.

Ann told of the tradition of blessing the plough; a village would have one communal plough which was kept in the church throughout the winter, often with a light on or beside it.

She also emphasised the importance of good earth and soil for the growing of any crop. During the service Isabel Hilton carried a container of soil to the front of the church and the entire congregation read the blessing of the soil.

Later, Tom Hilton and Geoff Ford carried the very heavy Stitch Harrow, representing the plough, which was also blessed, ending with Godspeed the plough.

Readings were given by Brian Rycroft, Sarah Rycroft, Linda Kirkby and Phyllis Holt. John Parkinson accompanied hymns, including We Plough the Fields and Scatter the Good Seed on the Land.

Following the service, tea and bacon butties were served in the church.