The Ogborne Champion Ploughmen of Somerset
(Note for north American visitors; ploughing = plowing )
Keeping the tradition alive:
Peter Ogborne ploughing match judge- including at the 150th Mendip Ploughing Society Match WEDNESDAY 25th SEPTEMBER 2019 . (Society Assistant Secretary : Judith Ogborne)
Newspaper accounts of the exploits of this remarkable family have been very numerous, but none better than the attached which has been published many times.
It seems that John Ogborne of Winford, Somerset sired no less than six sons, who became champion ploughmen, and their sons in turn sired sons who carried on the tradition.
King George V wrote a letter of congratulation to Mr John & Mrs Susan Ogborne in 1932 on the occasion of their 64th wedding anniversary, which included the good wishes of Queen Mary:
In summary the ploughing champions were:
John Ogbourne, the head of the family,
John C Ogbourne, the eldest son won 32 first prizes for ploughing before he was 21 years of age and went on to become ploughing expert for Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies. One of Ransome’s principal products was ploughshares. His son Leonard also excelled at ploughing, and chose his wife from the Matthews family of veteran ploughmen.
William Ogbourne, winner of 106 first prizes in ploughing competitions and beat the best for miles around. Two sons, Arthur and Charles also excelled as ploughmen.
Herbert Ogbourne living then at Corner Pool was the third son, and at the time of the report had taken 11 first prizes in succession for his ploughing. He too had a son called Leonard who also excelled in ploughing matches. Leonard’s younger brother Berty was also proficient in ploughing.
Alfred who also lived at Winford did well in the same pursuit, but later felt he should leave ploughing to his brothers and follow other things.
The youngest son was Walter, who also took many prizes in ploughing matches.
Many thanks to descendants of this family who have contacted us with additional information, including this from a descendant of Lionel George Ogbourne (see picture above):
“My mother was an Ogbourne, daughter of Lionel George from Chew Stoke, she (the youngest) and her six sisters and two brothers were brought up to help with the ploughing horses and I remember her complaining about cleaning horse brasses in preparation for ploughing matches! My grandfather (Lionel George) died as a result of an accident with a horse and hay cart in 1945 when my mother was 16.”
Paul Newman has recorded a version of the song”The Somerset Ploughman” by Di Franklin. Di’s husband is related to the Ogbourne Ploughmen. Click here to hear The Somerset Ploughman