17th & 18th SEPTEMBER

Scarecrows Through The Ages

For centuries wily farmers have sought ways to deter birds from eating their crops.

It's an age old problem that saw Greek agriculturalists carve wooden scarecrows to look like Priapus who, although the son of Dionysus and Aphrodite, was renown for being very ugly. Apparently when the boy played in the vineyards, the birds stayed away and a good harvest was on the cards!

In Japan, old rags, meat or fish bones were suspended from bamboo poles in fields before being set on fire. The resulting smell apparently had the desired effect and kept birds and animals away from the crop!

They called their scarecrows Kakashis which means something that smells awful.

In Medieval Britain young boys age 9 or older were employed to throw stones at audacious birds but with a shortage of labour after the Black Death, farmers resorted to building scarecrows.

Common throughout the UK they have many local names:

In Somerset they're called mommets, in Devon they're murmets whilst in Berkshire they're called hodmedods. Move further north and you'll find mawkins in the East Riding and Tattie Bogles guarding the potato crops in Scotland!