What is a plough creake?

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Joe Crowdy
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Joined: 14 Jan 2021, 14:13

What is a plough creake?

Post by Joe Crowdy »

I am reading seventeenth century assize court depositions from Ely, and have come across a word I don't know: the "creake" of a plough. Does anyone know what this is?

It appears in lists of stolen plough iron:

"a cowlter slitt & other iron which seemed to be the creake of a plowgh"
"one plowgh cowlter two plowgh streakes a creake and chayne & a whipletree"

Any help much appreciated!

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Joined: 25 Jun 2017, 09:54

Re: What is a plough creake?

Post by webweaver »

I posted this question on the Rural Museums Network list, prompting the following:
SL: I wonder whether the “creake” is the “hake”? It’s just it refers to “creake and chaynes” together. The hake is where the chain is connected to the plough. This is purely a guess. I’m sure someone out there will know for sure.

BP: This is a new but interesting one to me; especially being a Fenland reference. I'm inclined to agree with Seb especially as it links the two parts, Creake and Chayne, and places them in working order before the whippletree. It will be referring too to a wooden plough where these two iron items would also be physically linked together at the end of the plough's beam.

It will be interesting if other Creake references appear.

RD: I thinks it’s the hake too as [BP] said it’s in order. Not sure if it might also be a reference to a frame/ fore carriage as used the Norfolk Gallows plough and others.

MP: I’m slightly embarrassed to post this, but I asked one of our ex-farmer volunteers what a plough creake is, and his response was: “it’s the noise it makes if you haven’t oiled it properly…”

BP: And following up from [RD's] email and [MP's] this morning, earlier this morning I was thinking about the noise! Maybe not so daft?

If, thinking about "later Medieval" ploughs and a "Gallows" plough as survived in use in Norfolk to the1900s (OK [RD], I know today too), the earlier ploughs would have had fore carriages that not only integrated the "hake" but would have had wooden wheels on wooden axles (pic attached) that I'll "bet" may well have creaked through lack of grease and influx of sandy soil.

They've gone quiet now. There is nothing more definite from these guys who probably know their ploughs.

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