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 Oakenhoof Folk Arts.  

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.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 event is cancelled.  Details of the 2022 event are to be confirmed.

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