Crying the Neck

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'Crying The Neck' at St Columb Major (2008).

Crying The Neck is a harvest festival tradition once common in counties of Devon and Cornwall in the United Kingdom in Europe. The tradition declined following the invention of machines such as the combine harvester.[citation needed]

The tradition is no longer known to be practised in Devon. In Cornwall, however, the tradition was revived in the early twentieth century by the Old Cornwall Society.[citation needed]

Ceremony[edit]

In The Story of Cornwall, by Kenneth Hamilton Jenkin, the following explanation is given on the practice:

"In those days the whole of the reaping had to be done either with the hook or scythe. The harvest, in consequence, often lasted for many weeks. When the time came to cut the last handful of standing corn, one of the reapers would lift up the bunch high above his head and call out in a loud voice.....,
"I 'ave 'un! I 'ave 'un! I 'ave 'un!"

The rest would then shout,

"What 'ave 'ee? What 'ave 'ee? What 'ave 'ee?"

and the reply would be:

"A neck! A neck! A neck!"

Everyone then joined in shouting:

"Hurrah! Hurrah for the neck! Hurrah for Mr. So-and-So"

(calling the farmer by name.)"

Modern popular culture[edit]

In a harvest scene in the third episode of the second series of the 2015 of Poldark (S02 E03), Francis Poldark performs the tradition at Trenwith, his estate.[citation needed]

In a harvest scene in the third episode of supernatural drama The Living and the Dead (S01 E03), Charlotte Appleby performs the tradition at her husband's family farm, which she manages.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]