Shrove Tuesday egg shackling tradition still going strong at Stoke St Gregory Primary School
Its origins go back to medieval days but the modern world has caught up with the Shrove Tuesday tradition of egg shackling.
Once upon a time when Stoke St Gregory Primary School, near Taunton, had finished the ceremony of rattling a collection of eggs around in a sieve to find which remained unbroken for longest the slippery leftovers were passed on to a farmer for pig food. These days health and safety rules forbid such things, but the children still have fun.
With Shrove Tuesday in half-term week the school held the ceremony early. Each of the 93 school children and the 20 youngsters from the Willow Set pre-school took an egg to school and watched as they were rattled in batches in the village hall until three eggs remained from each class.
The overall winner was Nathan Clarke, eight, who took the shackling shield which will be inscribed with his name. Chloe Brownsie, four, was second and Amelia Webster, seven, came third.
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Head teacher and chief shackler Barbara Berks said: “The final act is to crack the winning egg – to make sure that it hasn’t been cooked. No one knows how long the school’s been doing this, but we know it goes back to at least the 1940s.
Originally it was connected with using up eggs before Ash Wednesday and they used to use them for all sorts of things and ours did used to go for pig feed but that does not happen now.”
Neither are the eggs rattled over children’s heads as some say happened in the past.