Middleton Pace Eggers celebrate 50 years
Date published: 29 March 2016
Photo: Liz McInnes
Middleton Pace Eggers
Middleton Pace Eggers visited pubs around Middleton on Bank Holiday Monday (28 March) - this year celebrating 50 years of Pace Egg plays.
The first performance was at the Dusty Miller, near the bus station, the last at the Ring O'Bells at the top of the hill.
The players perform at pubs in Middleton, inside or out depending on the weather or space available.
Liz McInnes MP said: “It was great to see so many people at the Pace Egg at the Boars Head, especially in their Golden Jubilee year. This is a wonderful tradition in Middleton, and it was good to see so many people supporting them.”
A collection was taken for the British Heart Foundation.
Pace-Egging is an old Easter begging custom. By performing a "play", the poor of the parish could attach some moral legitimacy to asking for money (otherwise illegal), i.e. they were giving entertainment in return for alms. There certainly seems to have been a Pace-Egging tradition in Middleton in the nineteenth century (though it probably goes back to the seventeenth at least), and this was revived in 1967, largely due to the efforts of Mike Harding. However, it's Martin Gittins (playing the doctor from 1967) who's primarily responsible for keeping the creaking show on the road.