Plygain and Poems at Christmas in Tenby

Plygain means ‘morning light’ and was a traditional religious service held in the local Parish Church. It commenced at 3 a.m on Christmas morning to watch the daybreak of Christianity and commemorate the coming of Christ.

The service would attract large crowds, even though they may have to walk several miles in the dark and cold.

In Tenby the young men of the town would escort the Rector with lighted torches from the rectory to St Mary’s Church for Plygain. On arrival they extinguished their torches and left them in the porch.  The service consisted of prayer, praise, thanksgiving and carols were sung.CHRISTMAS STORIES

After the service the torches were re-lit and the congregation escorted the Rector back to his home with the church bell ringing continually until the time of the usual morning service.

The rest of the day was devoted to pleasure, including hunting hare, woodcock and especially the squirrel.  Games of football were played and old quarrels ended.

Unfortunately disorder brought about by men under the influence of alcohol put an end to Plygain in most places!

Perhaps the very early start and the hangovers might be a little hard to deal with on Christmas morning nowadays although of course not uncommon, but something we could resurrect are the carols …. It seems that in days gone by, the local bards might be expected to compose a carol, indeed a poet was not considered a poet unless he could sing a carol! I think we should get our talented local bard Nicky Lloyd to pen something festive for us this year!! We could all join him for a sing-song in a local pub or pubs?…Sounds good to me!