Corn Dolly Nativity

Normally at this time of year we display one of our most fragile objects, a nativity made of straw. These delightful figures are very precious, and we rarely handle them for fear of damaging the stems. This year they will remain safely stored away ready to make an appearance next year.

They were made by Mr and Mrs Hobson, of Stainsacre, who were regularly seen displaying their craft at the agricultural shows in the district, and who passed away in the 1980s.

The term ‘corn dolly’ was coined in the early part of the 20th century to cover all variants of this craft, together with the descriptive names given to the various shapes.

These intricate models are more properly connected with harvest-time and originated long before the Christian era. It was believed that the spirit of the corn, which lived among the crop and made homeless by the harvest, could be kept safe over the winter in the hollow shapes fashioned from the last sheaf of the crop. The ‘corn dolly’, possibly a corruption of ‘idol’, was ploughed into the first furrow of the new season.

This will be the last object of the week for 2020, as we take a break for a couple of weeks. Happy Christmas to you all and we look forward to welcoming you in 2021.