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A Brief History of the North East Hants Ploughing Match

On the 25th February1840 , a small group of farmers met at the Alton Town Hall.

Jane Austen's nephew, Mr Edward Knight of Chawton House, was in the chair and later in the meeting he was elected as the first President of the newly constituted North East Hants Agricultural Association.

The NEHAA was formed with two objects in mind: The advancement of agricultural knowledge in this part of Hampshire. To improve and benefit the labourers in agriculture.

The first Lamb market was held on the Butts in Alton on the 14th of July, more of a market than a show which it eventually became when Mr Thomas Parker was awarded the first prize for "The best Coup of 100 lambs", later in the year the society held the first North East Hants Ploughing Match followed by a dinner in the Town Hall to present the prizes.

A fatstock show followed on the 1st of December and the Association also published a schedule of labourers rewards in the form of a poster.

There were various classes which reflect contemporary social values. Class 'A' was for labourers who have maintained the largest families respectably with the smallest amount of parochial relief since 1835 ( illness excepted). Prizes were a substantial sum for the time from £3 for first prize to £1 for third.

North East Hants 1936The North East Hants Ploughing Match continued as an annual event with a class for tractor ploughs introduced in 1936 (The photograph on the right was taken in the same year) at the instigation of Mr W Brock from West Worldham.

The Ploughing Match has been a regular annual event until the present day, although occasionally interrupted by a couple of World Wars, inclement weather and movement restrictions imposed as a result of Foot and Mouth outbreaks.

Each year, in October around 30 ploughmen from North East Hampshire and the surrounding areas compete for the North East Hants Championship. The last Alton Show was held at Froyle Park in the Summer of 2013, and although plans were made to hold a show in 2015 site restrictions imposed by the landowner regarding parking and the reduction of the area available made it impossible for the Show to continue.

The NEHAA was finally wound up in 2016 and assets were transformed to the Alresford Show Society and in October 2016 the last North East Hants Ploughing Match organised by the Association was held at Wyck by kind permission of Neatham Farms.

There was support from the competitors and former NEEHA members to continue the event and a collection at the 2016 Match raised over £400.

On April 26th a meeting was held at the Golden Pheasant in Farringdon and The North East Hants Ploughing Society was founded with the intention of organising, financing and securing the future of the North East Hants Ploughing Match.

The 2019 North East Hants Ploughing Match will be held at
Kings Farm, Binsted, by kind permission of Mr. John Stephens

(Schedule and Entry Forms will be available to download as soon as we have updated the forms from last year!)