North Lincolnshire's Haxey Hood cancelled for second year due to Covid

Participants during the Haxey Hood in 2019. Credit: PA Images

An ancient rugby-style tradition that dates back hundreds of years in North Lincolnshire has been cancelled for a second year in a row due to Covid.

The annual Haxey Hood, which involves crowds from Haxey and Westwoodside gathering to bring a leather tube to one of four pubs, takes place on 6 January each year.

Phil Palmer the 'Chief Boggin' carries the leather hood through the crowd before the 2016 Haxey Hood game. Credit: PA Images

It was cancelled for the first time in more than 100 years because of the pandemic in 2021.

Now, organisers say "it is with deep regret" that the event cannot take place in 2022.

Haxey Hood: Key facts

  • One of the oldest traditional events in England with roots traced back to 14th century

  • Takes place in the Village of Haxey in North Lincolnshire on the 12th day of Christmas (6 January) each year

  • Similar to a rugby scrum (called the Sway) which involves pushing a leather tube called the hood to one of four pubs in the parish

  • Thirteen characters from the original story take part: the Lord, the fool and eleven Boggins

  • The hood stays at whichever pub wins until the following year

The custom is thought to date back to the day when a Lady De Mowbray was riding along the fields, lost her hood, and workmen scrambled over to help.

The hood was returned but it was all tattered and torn. She was so taken by their kindness that she wanted a game to be named and played as a reminder of the act.