We have acquired a large collection of 'God Speed The Plough' mugs and jugs which will be appearing on our site shortly
For many generations Cider formed part of the way of life among farming communities over a wide area of the West Country.
Cider was made on individual farms and was stored in large wooden casks each holding up to 100 gallons or more. The cider was drunk from traditional Cider Mugs of varying design and capacity with one, two or three handles.
The 'Farmers Arms' mugs bear an agricultural theme and were used extensively in the cider drinking areas of the West of England almost two centuries ago.
The two handles serve for passing the mug from one person to another in the friendly atmosphere of the Cider Cellar.
Extracted from: www.fionalake.com
In God We Trust - The Farmers Arms
Let the Wealthy and Great
Roll in Splendour and State
I envy them not I declare it
I eat my own lamb
My chickens and ham.
I shear my own fleece and I wear it
I have lawns, I have bow'rs
I have fruits, I have flow'rs
The lark is my morning alarmer
So jolly boys now, here's God speed the Plough,
Long life and success to the Farmer.
While the verse doesn't mention any of the headaches farmers have always had to contend with - the vagaries of the season, physically demanding work, increasing costs and decreasing prices - it does sum up very nicely the feeling of independence and satisfying productivity that is at the heart of every farmer.
Apparently dating from the late 1700's up until the middle of the last century, quite a lot of china and pottery was produced in England with variations of the Farmers Arms poem. The Adams family produced pottery in Staffordshire back to the 17th century although they are no longer in existence some of the designs are still manufactured by Wedgwood.
Burgess & Leigh (B & L Ltd., Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent) also produced pottery with the 'Farmers Arms' poem on it around a century ago - cups and saucers and plates, and a large punchbowl with a set of mugs to match. Their work tended to have a brighter red, blue and yellow than the pottery produced by Adams, however they use the same black transfer technique.
Burgess & Leigh apparently also produced a mug with the following verse:
We plough the fertile meadow
And sow the furrow'd land
But yet the waving harvest
Depends on God's own hand
'Tis his mercy gives us
The sunshine and the rain
That paints in verdant beauty
The mountain and the plain.
There are also ironstone mugs produced by Burleigh Pottery, Staffordshire, (producing since 1851 and best known for producing blue and white china, eg with the well known 'calico chintz' pattern) titled 'God Speed the Plough' and 'Industry Produceth Wealth' with the same 'Farmers Arms' poem.
Leeds pottery apparently also produced 'Farmers Arms' crockery. Sunderland also produced pearlware (pink lustre and black transfer printed) Farmers Arms plaques and mugs etc - some with the 'Sailors Farewell' on the reverse, as did other makers.
Most recently, Wade Potteries, Staffordshire, produced a limited edition run of 500 two-handled cider mugs with the 'Farmers Arms' verse on them for the Taunton Cider Company in 1981.
In addition to mugs, oversized cups and saucers, soup bowls, plates and punch bowl sets there are jugs, often around 17 - 18 cm (7") high.
One 'Farmers Arms' jug produced is most unusual because it is very much brighter and more expensive in style than the others that were made - with a solid, bright sky, blue background and gold leaf edging - much more sophisticated glazing than is usual. Most Farmers Arms pottery and china is simple in design and muted in colour (usually with the black transfer print being the only decoration, or muted colours surrounded by a black transfer design border), in keeping with the sentiment of the verses printed on them.
Most of this pottery and china is illustrated with farming equipment of the time, (winnowers, ploughs, rakes, pitchforks, shovels, axes, barrels, pails, scales etc) livestock (horses, cattle, sheep and poultry), and produce such as a wheatcrop and wheatsheaf decorated with intertwining leaves and scrolls. Often the farmers wife is shown hard at work churning butter while the farmer pours a mug of ale (hopefully to offer to his hardworking wife - but probably not, given the era of production!).
Extracted from: www.fionalake.com
By Kind Permission
God Speed the Plow
Though the wealthy and great Live in splendor and state I envy them not, I declare it
For I grow my own hams
My own ewes, my own lambs
And I shear my own fleece and I wear it
By plowing and sowing
By reaping and mowing
All nature provides me with plenty
With a cellar well stored
And a bountiful board
And my garden affords every dainty
For here I am king I can dance, drink and sing
Let no one approach as a stranger I'll hunt when it's quiet
Come on, let us try it
Dull thinking drives anyone crazy
I have lawns, I have bowers
I have fruits, I have flowers
And the lark is my morning alarmer So all farmers now
Here's God Speed the Plow
Long life and success to the farmer
The following are potteries who have at one time produced God Speed The Plough or Farmers Arms Mugs.
This list is by no means exhaustive and if you know of others I would love to hear from you.
F.R Gray & Sons Ltd.
Portland Pottery Ltd. Regal Works. Cobridge. (Pre 153 when taken over by Cobridge Pottery)
AW Gale. Bee Farmer. Marlborough.
Grays Pottery. Staffordshire. (c.1933 - 1961)
Burgess & Leigh. Est. 1851. (BurleighWare)
Kirkham. Stoke on Trent
Adams. (1914 - 1940)
Bourne & Leigh. (c 1895 - 1900)
Herculaneum Pottery. Liverpool. (c1811). "The Farmers Arms" and "In God Our Trust" Printed Pearlware.
Dixon Austin & Co. Sunderland.
Sandland. used by the pottery of Lancaster & Sandland Ltd of Dresden Works, Hanley, Staffs wwho traded from 1944 to 1970s.
Lowestoft Pottery. Earliest examples 18c.
Low Ford Pottery. South Hylton. (1796 - 1800).
Blackhurst & Tunnicliffe. Staffs. (c.1880)