Wednesday, April 18, 2012

More on 'God Speed the Plough'!

You may have read our previous post concerning a named mug with 'God Speed the Plough' painted on it.  Our harvest mug is currently on display at Drury Lane Library, and will be going into Wakefield's new museum when it opens in the autumn.  

One of our team, whilst on holiday in Dorset this week, spotted this later, mid 19th century harvest mug on display in Shaftesbury's Gold Hill Museum.  
Harvest mug on display at Gold Hill Museum, Shaftesbury
Unlike ours, this one doesn't seem to have a name on it, but instead has a poem on the back, and is more finely decorated.
Our mug is named and dated, whereas this one has a poem instead (excuse the poor photo!)
The verse reads:
Let the wealthy and great
Dwell in splendour and state
I envy them not I declare it
I eat my own lamb
My own chickens and ham
I shear my own fleece and I wear it
I have lawns, I have rowers
I have fruit, I have flowers
The lark is my morning alarmer
So jolly boys now
Here's God speed the plough
Long life and success to the farmer

Do you know of any other 'God Speed the Plough' mugs?
Do tell us about them!


  1. Hi, I have a jar which I've had for years. It is creamware. On the front is a picture of a farmer pulling two horses which in turn are pulling a cart with a large roll of hay on it. In the background is a small village with a church steeple. On either side of the design are two small circles with various implements that would be used by a farmer. On the back is the poem you printed above with a few small changes. It is encircled by a ring of flowers and leaves. On the bottom is the inscription: A.W. Gale Bee Farmer Marlborough Sandland Ware Made in England. Is there anything you can tell me about this item. I don't know anything about it's background. Thanks.

    1. We do not have a ceramics expert on our staff, but it looks as though your jar is a recent version of an old tradition. A. W. Gale was a real bee farmer in Marlborough and the following is taken from the parish history:

      A. W. Gale (d. 1969), who in 1922 began to breed bees for sale and later to sell beekeeping equipment, occupied premises in High Street,Marlborough, given up after 1939, and in London Road. He founded a subsidiary company, Honeybee Farmers Ltd., wound up after 1963, to distribute honey in jars. A. W. Gale (Bees) 1982 employed six men to tend a thousand hives at its bee farm in London Road. (fn. 369)

      From: 'Parishes: Preshute', A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 12: Ramsbury and Selkley hundreds; the borough of Marlborough (1983), pp. 160-184. URL: Date accessed: 26 July 2012.

      Presumably the farm either sold these or gave them away as advertising. As the farm seems to date only from the 1920s, then it couldn’t be any earlier.

      ‘Sandland Made in England’ is a mark used by the pottery of Lancaster & Sandland Ltd, of the Dresden Works, Hanley, Staffordshire who were in business under that name from 1944 to the 1970s.

      A look on the internet shows that there are similar mugs in existence; some sellers describe them as 19th century in date and don’t mention Sandland Ware, but if they are marked A. W. Gale, then they must be misled by the traditional style.

      It is of course possible that there was another A. W. Gale Bee Farmer in Marlborough making these at an earlier date, and so for a definitive answer, you may need to speak to a ceramics expert.

      We hope that helps!

  2. i to have a piece but mine is what looks to be a honey jar marked A.W. Gale bee farmer marlborough sandland ware made in england then its stamped 1663 i believe and then 2 brown lines which i think look like 11 do you know anything about it at all.

    1. William Earnest’s honey jar is marked Sandland, like some of the God Speed the Plough mugs, a mark which the pottery reference books list as used by the pottery of Lancaster & Sandland Ltd, of the Dresden Works, Hanley, Staffordshire. As they were in business under that name from 1944 to the 1970s, it must have been made during that time.

      But it can be dated slightly more closely than that, as it fits exactly with the information about A W Gale from the parish history (see notes above). He founded a subsidiary company, Honeybee Farmers Ltd to distribute honey in jars. As the company was wound up after 1963 and probably before A W Gale’s death in 1969, then it is likely to date from late 1940s-1960s.

  3. We have a God speed the plough 2 handled mug with the poem on it, exactly like the one depicted above. We also have a matching jug with silver rim and the same poem dated 1809 Benjn Page Ashby Field. Both damaged with a chip or two.

  4. HI, Wondering if you could assist me in pricing an item i have, A .W. GALE



    1. Hi - I'm sorry, but we're unable to give valuations.

      You could try John Walsh

      Or Bonhams


We would love your comments - though they may take a day or two to appear.