Rolling has become an annual event in Stilton and every May Day hundreds of villagers
and visitors make their way to the High Street to watch the teams battling for
the honour of being called the 'Stilton Cheese Rolling
event is also our village festival, and typically includes Maypole dancing, live
music, 'Molly' dancing and other entertainment. There are side-shows, fairground
rides, stalls, food and drink, and evening entertainment.
please park considerately on North Street or side streets.
little 'local' event gets considerable media coverage. Please click
here for publication-quality photographs.
Rolling 2010 took place on 3rd May
year's theme was International Dance
and Thanks in June's SCAN (pdf, 3.9Mb)
23rd 2007: Stilton Cheese Rolling features in Robbie
Coltrane's "B-Road Britain", broadcast on ITV1 at 9pm.|
the Radio Times "Choices": "What does a village community do to
keep itself alive after an A-road has completely bypassed it? Organise an annual
cheese-rolling contest down its high street, of course. The village of Stilton
in Cambridgeshire, where this bizarre activity takes place, is Robbie Coltrane's
first stop on the second leg of his journey peeking over the hedgerows of Britain's
B-roads to see what lurks there."
ROLLING 2006 took place on
May Day Monday May 1st
This year, celebrating
the history that has rolled along our high street, the theme was
do the Timewalk".
Stilton's position on the Great North Road made it an important stop for the postal
system. At first, riders carried letters from stage to stage where horses could
be changed and refreshments consumed. However, just 300 years ago on Friday 12
April 1706, the London to York coach service began. The journey took four days,
leaving the Black Swan in Holborn at 5am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Stamford
was the half-way point.
So in 2006 we marked this anniversary with a magnificent
Mail Coach, traditional dancers, maypole dancing and mummers (who performed "George
and the Dragon" to mark the 80th birthday of HM the Queen, and St. George's
Day), and we also featured Fred's Flying Circus (www.fredsflyingcircus.co.uk).
ROLLING 2005 took place on
May Day Monday May 2nd.
The theme was
"Sixty Years On", commemorating the end of World War II.
Programme of Events
Results and Thanks
the evening, the Stilton Cheese
Rolling Music Festival was held
in the Talbot car park, featuring the
acclaimed Stilton-based band LEON,
supported by It's the pigs and
ROLLING 2004 took place on
May Day Bank Holiday 3rd May.
Full 'rolling programme'
ROLLING 2003 took place on
May Day Bank Holiday 5th May.
did it start?
It would be nice to be able to say that the event is
"as old as the village" or that it's origins
have been lost in "the mists of time" but really no one knows how far
back the tradition of rolling the cheeses goes. Midway through the Twentieth Century,
when the village had turned into rather a quiet place having been by-passed by
the A1, and the inns and businesses had seen a big drop in their trade, a landlord
of one of the pubs decided to revive an ancient tradition. Or so he told everyone!
He could be seen rolling a Stilton Cheese along the road outside his pub. People
came to stand and watch and eventually joined in. And so the sport began - again.
It was originally run on Easter Monday and there
was not a lot of uniformity to it to begin with. It seems a piece of wood in the
shape of a Stilton Cheese was produced, a starting line drawn up somewhere between
the The Stilton Cheese Inn and The Talbot and the finish
line was outside The Bell Inn. Brave teams of Stilton men would then vie to roll
the cheese to it's finish and, after the ensuing scramble, and many
tussles and spills, the team that ended up steering the cheese to the finishing
line would win! Nowadays, the starting point is always outside The Bell Inn and
The Angel and the finish is a line drawn at the cross roads between the bottom
of Fen Street and Church Street. The contestants are teams of 4, either all men
or all women or mixed juniors, and each team member has to roll the cheese at
least once during it's flight. It's a knockout competition
with quarter's, semi's and a grand final.
Some of the teams wear fancy dress for which there is a good prize and it all
adds to the colourful scene. We would like to say that the sport
has become more genteel over the years but we still get the tumbles and spills
as in former days. The friendly rivalry grows during the competition as each team
passes through to the next round so we end up with some very competitive finals!
The prizes are always the same, a Whole Stilton Cheese and beer
for the men and a Whole Stilton Cheese and wine for the ladies. From its very
beginnings the Cheese Rolling first prize has always been a whole Stilton cheese
donated by the Stilton Cheese Makers
Association. Since the split into men's and ladies' championships SCMA have
generously given two cheeses and so the traditional prize of a whole cheese and
a tray of local beer can still be maintained
But, of course, the main prizes
are to be the winners of the coveted Bell Cup for men or the WI Cup for the ladies
and to go down in history as 'Stilton Cheese Rolling Champions'.
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