The Official Tourism Website for Herefordshire

Riding the Stang

Did you know that in the days before radio, television and video games, country folk had to make their own pastimes and Herefordshire was no different.

A popular pastime was to pick on a villager who had recently caused concern – usually for ill-treating their wife or husband or for being unfaithful.An effigy of the selected villager was hurriedly made of straw and old clothes and a short ladder known as a ‘Stang’ was sourced. The effigy would be mounted upon the ‘stang’ and carried by villagers to the offenders house. A motley crowd would follow the procession beating pots, pans and tins and generally making as much noise as possible. Upon reaching the house the crowd would chant songs of the person’s wrongdoings; this would go on for three consecutive nights with an ever growing rowdy crowd. Finally the effigy would be lit upon a bonfire and burned amid much chanting and drunken merry making.

Records show that ‘Riding the Stang’ frequently took place in Leominster and in many other Herefordshire villages up until the late 1800’s, so let’s hope there’s not a resurgence!

If you love Herefordshire Folklore and History follow our weekly Facebook ‘Folklore Friday’ feature here.

Click here to return to our Herefordshire History and Folklore page for more great stories.