Tuesday, 16 August 2011

On a glorious summer's day the Parish of East Garston revived the ancient custom of Lammas celebrating the beginning of Harvest.  

Forty people including children gathered at the Agricultural Machinery Yard of  P J SMITH and heard a talk about the development of the agricultural machinery business from steam engines to combine harvesters to building work for the Olympics. 

After a short service the congregation moved to Lorne Hill Farm and Coldborough Farm where farmer Jonathan Rabbits gave a  talk on changing farming practices. This was followed by a talk from Elved Philiips, Managing Director of a group of grain companies, who talked about the global market in grain and who  presented the Incumbent, the Revd Tony Cumberlidge,  with a Lammas Sheaf Loaf made by Tony Manley of Cheiveley Bakery. 

Lammas comes from a conflation of the ancient words for Loaf Mass. The ancient tradition is that the first bread made from the first cut of the barley was used at Holy Communion .  But on this occasion the loaf was being carefully preserved to be ready for the Harvest Festival service in October linking the beginning to the end of the Harvest festival together in a wonderful symbolism.

After the reflection on global grain markets the service took a more local focus when it moved to the East Garston allotments. There  Martyn Wright, the Allotments Treasurer, spoke about how the allotments were set up and developed.  After the final blessing a Lammas lunch was enjoyed in the village hall.

A full description of the service written by Sally Wright,  together with a number of photographs taken by Martyn Wright ,  can  be found on the village website: http://tinyurl.com/3pncycy

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