Tradition of Whitby’s Penny Hedge lives on

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Crowds gathered along the harbourside in Church Street on Wednesday to watch the town’s oldest tradition be performed.

The building of the Penny Hedge, which dates back to 1159, begun at 9am sharp when bailiff of the manor of Fyling Lol Hodgson and past horn blower Tim Osborne, carried out the bizarre custom.

The planting of the Penny Hedge''w131619a

The planting of the Penny Hedge''w131619a

Mr Hodgson, who had gathered up the hazel sticks used to build the hedge the night before, said the weather had been perfect.

The role fell to him as a member of the Manor of Fyling Court Leet which manages 700 acres of land on the North York Moors on behalf of Sir Frederick Strickland.

“I really enjoy doing it,” he said. “I feel proud.

“It’s vital we keep such traditions going.

Lol Hodgson, bailiff of the manor of Fyling and Tim Osborne, horn blower, at the annual Penny Hedge ceremony in Whitby''w131619

Lol Hodgson, bailiff of the manor of Fyling and Tim Osborne, horn blower, at the annual Penny Hedge ceremony in Whitby''w131619

“If Whitby has an older tradition, we haven’t come across it.”

Once the hedge or horngarth was constructed, which took around 20 minutes, Mr Osborne blew the horn three times as the pair faced the oncoming tide, crying ‘Out on Ye’ three times, bringing the ceremony to a close which prompted a round of applause from the watching public.

“It’s been grand weather, it’s better than rain,” added Mr Hodgson

“Hopefully the building of the hedge will have been a success. It has stood for the past three or four years. We’ve never built one that hasn’t withstood the three tides although we’ve built some that have lasted a lot longer.

“I do come and look at it after. I will be down in a couple of days’ time to make sure it is still standing.”

Whitby Mayor John Freeman, who attended the ceremony, added: “It’s fantastic to see this amount of people turn out to see this ancient ceremony.”