THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Ploughing match is held at Markethill

From the News Letter, March 24, 1829

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 7:00 am
William Steenson from Markethill, Co Armagh, with his 1943 Fordson tractor at the 99th Mullahead Ploughing Match in February 2014. Picture: Gavan Caldwell/News Letter archives

Eighteen ploughs of the most modern construction with horses and harness, which might be equalled but not excelled, came together in a field owned by Mr Joseph McKee for the Markethill Farming Society’s annual ploughing match, reported the News Letter on this day in 1829.

The News Letter’s correspondent wrote: “About one o’clock the several ploughmen commenced their appointed lots, each anxiously looking forward to success.”

The correspondent added that “the ploughing was executed in a respectable and workman-like manner” and that at about six o’clock the members of the friends of the society “repaired to Mrs Stratton’s Inn” where they sat down to a “very excellent dinner”.

Captain Algeo, one of the vice presidents of the society, was called to the chair “in the absence of the worthy president”, the Earl of Gosford, who had been “reluctantly detained” by Parliamentary business.

The names of the successful ploughmen were as follows: John Brown, Robert Hutcheson. Robert Harden, Robert Augheltree, Robert Ferguson, James Hutcheson, Warren Bigs, James Gray, James Black and Matthew Black.

Those recognised for “best harness” included James Stott, Nathaniel Greer and Matthew Black.

The following toasts were given from the chair, after each the band of the Armagh Regiment, in an adjoining room, “played an appropriate air”.

The King, tune – God Save The King; The Duke of Clarence and the rest of the royal family, the Lord Lieutenant and the prosperity of Ireland, the Markethill Farming Society and the Earl of Gosford.

At about 11 o’clock the chairman retired when the numerous assemblage of gentlemen and farmers “separated, “highly pleased with the occupations of the day”.