Bull jug

Contributed by Stamford Museum

Before TV, certain events and festivals would be occasions for mass celebration. In Stamford, November 13th, St Brice's Day (anniversary of the massacre of the Danes,) was the day of a bull running festival, an ancient custom in the town dating back to the middle ages. A bull was released in the streets and would be chased by people and dogs, no doubt accompanied by raucous behaviour and drinking. The bull would eventually be chased into the River Welland, it would then be killed, roasted and eaten. Obviously this would now be regarded as cruelty, then it was regarded as sport in much the way that the Pamplona bull run is looked upon in Spain. It was suppressed for good in 1839 with the support of the RSPCA. The jug itself is rare if not unique and has the wording 'a Bull, a Bull,is all my cry; a Bull, a Bull for ever'.It also has the name Ann Blades and 1792 inscribed. She was a 'Bull Lady' who presided over the whole affair, accompanied by Bullards - the keenest of the bull runners, and the song of the Bullards. It is interesting that many societies deified the bull, for example on the island of Crete and this event may also have had Roman origins.

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  • 1 comment
  • 1. At 08:38 on 2 November 2010, Carol Meade wrote:

    Thanks for the site really information. Am really interested in Bull Jug and the reverse side Ann Blades - does anyone have any information on her. My maiden name was Blades and my ggg gf was the town beadle of Stamford, as was his son until they fell foul of the law. Have been to Stamford but did not know about the jug. Would love some further information on Ann Blades if any known.
    Warm regards
    Carol Meade

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