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Barley Queen blesses Grain Brewery’s first crop in ceremony





A traditional ceremony – the likes of which has not been seen in Norfolk in decades – saw a crop field blessed by royalty last weekend.

Local woman Jennifer Mead took on the role of Barley Queen as she was tasked with calling upon the four elements of nature to bless a field of barley beside All Saints’ Church in Alburgh on April 27.

The unusual act – an ancient East Anglian folk tradition – was revived by Grain Brewery, a village business, as it embarks on growing and malting its first crop of barley.

This ancient tradition was taken on to help Grain Brewery’s first barley crop grow. Picture: Mark Bullimore
This ancient tradition was taken on to help Grain Brewery’s first barley crop grow. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Farmer Richard Bond, the Barley Queen Jenny Mead, Rev’d Chris Hutton, Hilary Halls and Phil Halls. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Farmer Richard Bond, the Barley Queen Jenny Mead, Rev’d Chris Hutton, Hilary Halls and Phil Halls. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Hilary Halls and the Barley Queen Jenny Mead. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Hilary Halls and the Barley Queen Jenny Mead. Picture: Mark Bullimore
The Barley Queen was tasked with calling upon the four elements of nature to bless the field. Picture: Mark Bullimore
The Barley Queen was tasked with calling upon the four elements of nature to bless the field. Picture: Mark Bullimore

Vicar the Rev Christopher Hutton performed a Christian blessing, before celebratory drinks were enjoyed back at the brewery.

Brewery owner Phil Halls said: “We revived the blessing to have a bit of fun, but also to celebrate the farming community and the fact that, later this year, we will malt our own barley to produce a born-in-Alburgh, brewed-in-Alburgh beer.

According to historian Walter Rye, the Blessing of the Barley Queen took place after the spring equinox in medieval times.



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