The Plough Monday Dinner

The Plough Monday Dinner

“God Speed the Plough!”

After a convivial chat and a post-Christmas catch-up with friends and the Master’s guests  over a glass or two of fizz, we made our way into the very impressive Dining Room at Cutlers’ Hall.  The Master, Simon Wilkinson, and Sheriff Bronek Masojada, processed to their seats, accompanied by Wardens, Jeremy Bedford, Simon Millar, Peter Winfield and Simon Wood and the traditional hand clapping.

In the absence of our Chaplain, the learned Clerk, Major General Aidan Smyth, gave the Grace and led the Company in the traditional Farmers’ Toast – “God Speed the Plough”!

“Let the wealthy and great
roll 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 bowers
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

God speed the Plough!”.


The delicious menu comprised wild mushroom and haddock parfait, through to tender Black Face Sussex lamb, poached pear and apple and concluded with The Ploughman’s savoury followed by coffee and truffles, each complemented with well-chosen wines and finished with Madeira, which made a lovely change to the traditional Port.

Court Assistant, Emma Whittaker, gave the formal welcome to the guests and proposed the Toast to the Lord Mayor and the City of London and The Sheriffs of the City of London.  She was sorry to report that Sherriff Dame Susan Langley was unable to attend.  However, she was delighted to welcome Sheriff Bronak Masojada, elected as Alderman of Billingsgate in 2019, after a distinguished career in insurance.  Now retired, amongst many other activities he serves as Chair of the East End Community Foundation, grant-making to improve lives in Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and the City of London.  Emma then welcomed Claire Burrell, Master Insurer and Jane Masojada, who as a Feltmaker herself, had been invited by the Master to attend Plough Monday to accompany her husband.

Sheriff Bronek then stood to return the toast to the Feltmakers and the Master.  He enjoys being a part of such a long tradition and was particularly pleased that his wife, Jane, was invited to attend as well.  He went on to encourage us by explaining that the City of London has unrivalled expertise from Insurance to Education and from Banking to Architecture.  He was optimistic that despite the turbulent times in which we live, the UK could utilise this expertise and make good progress.

The Master responded by thanking Emma and formally welcoming his personal guests, noting that because they were old soldiers, he felt sure they would have forgotten everything by the morning!  The Master acknowledged the support of the Court and his delight to see lots of milliners becoming more engaged with the Livery as he is keen that the Feltmakers continue to support craft and artisan skills, not only millinery but also allied trades.  He mentioned the Feltmakers’ success at the British Red Cross Christmas Market, where we raised £8,800, more than any other stall.  Our Livery Company is held in high regard, acknowledged for its friendliness and moreover, the Lord Mayor has stated on several occasions how happy he is with his tricorn!

In all, a wonderful, convivial evening with excellent food and fine company.


Sarah McLeod

L to R Past Master Derek Bedford, Sheriff Bronek Masojada, The Master, Master Insurer Claire Burrell





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