Littleborough Events and Associations Forum

Rushbearing Festival

Rushbearing began in the 10th century when Pope Gregory decreed that rushes should be taken to church on its Saints Day to cover the earth floor for warmth. At Grassmere the rushes are still carried in procession. But in Lancashire and parts of Yorkshire the procession became more elaborate with the rushes being conveyed on decorated carts. The tradition continued in many areas until Victorian times when it was banned for encouraging ‘drunkenness and lewd behaviour’. However, in Littleborough it is an occassion for family fun and celebration of the various forms of folk music and dance  

Littleborough Rushbearing was revived in 1991 by Rochdale Morris. The project was successfully achieved with the help of Littleborough Action Group and has become an important part of Littleborough’s calendar of events.

It is now organised by LEAF in conjunction with Littleborough Oakenhoof Cloggers.  

There is a parade through Littleborough on the Saturday that ends in Hare Hill Park where there are demonstrations, games, sports, and stalls of various kinds.

On Sunday the parade passes from Hollingworth Lake into the village where the musicians and dancers demonstrate their skills.


Rushcart Parade - Saturday 20 July
9.45 Muster at the King Bill & Rushcart
10.15 Dancing at the King Bill
11.00 Parade with Rushcart down to St Barnabas Church
11.30 Blessing at Church
12.00 Parade & Rushcart leaves Church
12.15 Dancing will start in The Square
12.30 Parade & Rushcart arrives in The Square
13.15 Parade & Rushcart leave The Square for Hare Hill Park
13.30 Parade & Rushcart arrive back at Hare Hill Park
13.30 Turn & Turnabout Dancing outside Hare Hill House until 3.15

Entertainment in Hare Hill Park – Saturday 20 July
11.30 Littleborough Band - bandstand - 1 hour
12.30 Punch & Judy & Tricks for Treats Dog Show
13.00 Vikings
13.30 Rushcart Parade arrives & Adam Perrot Storyteller – outside Hare Hill House 
13.50 Sing Littleborough - bandstand
14.20 Punch & Judy & Tricks for Treats Dog Show
14.45 Adam Perrot Storyteller
14.50 Raz All-Stars Cheerleading
15.20 Vikings
16.00 Punch & Judy

Throughout the day you can take part in Morton Sports Obstacle Course, crafts with The Star Tree Studio or meet some pigs and owls.

Rushcart Parade & Entertainment - Sunday 21 July
10.00-10.30 Meet at The Wine Press.
Dancing outside Wine Press

11.15 Rushcart Parade sets off to The Waterside
Holy Trinity Church opens from 11.30am for refreshments

11.45 Littleborough Band in The Square
12.15 PA Music
12.45 Rushcart Parade arrives in The Square
12.50 Littleborough Band in The Square
Turn & Turnabout Dancing

15.30 Rushes to be taken to Holy Trinity Church for Service 

Contact Information

Littleborough Events and Associations Forum

C/o John Kay, Molesworths Bright Clegg Octagon House
25-27 Yorkshire Street
OL16 1RH

Meeting times

Meetings are held monthly, on the first Wednesday of the month, at St Barnabas Church, St Barnabas Drive, Littleborough commencing at 7.30pm