Ambleside Rushbearing







These photographs, kindly loaned by local historian Joan Newby who has amassed accounts of Ambleside Rushbearing, show how the ancient festival has changed little over the years from the earliest recorded events.


Joan has researched and collated Parish Church archives to build up an almost complete year by year account stretching back to 1831. Her records show that the Rushbearing service that year assembled in the Market Place at 8.00pm and followed the Ambleside Union Band back to the parish church – at that time St Anne’s, where the garlands were hung.


The bearings were made of artificial flowers and after the Sunday service children were given gingerbread, a tradition which still continues today.


The Rushbearing remained almost unchanged for more than 100 years before alterations to the one-way traffic system enforced a change of route in 1976. The time was brought forwards to 2.30pm in 1983 with the present format of sports and tea following on from the church service which has recently been held outside.


Once in decline, numbers have again been swelled by the number of summer visitors eager to take in the ancient custom and, while many other traditions in the village have passed into the annuls of history, the Rushbearing still survives as a reminder of a bygone era.