From Friday 12th August to Saturday 13th August 1814 Soham held a Peace Festival to celebrate the ‘Peace of Amiens’. A lengthy procession of townsfolk made their way down to Angle Common where around 2000 of the Soham poor were rewarded with a feast laid out on 24 tables to form a large circle. A variety of festivities and games, from the time, were also provided such as donkey and pony races, a wheel barrow race ‘by Six Men blindfold’, climbing a mast for a hat and the always popular Jingling Match, Grinning Match and Pig Hunt. The illustration above represents part of the procession headed by a "most excellent band of music," and followed by a platform on which a woman of "Majestic Deportment, habited as Britannia, with a child on each side to represent Peace and Plenty."
Three Soham men, Joseph Pollard, Edward Eden and Edmund Webb took part in the Battle of Waterloo on 18th June 1815, with Pollard being killed in action. The Festival lasted two days with a sum of £300 having been collected.
The Jingling Match
All the participants, with the exception of the Jingler were blindfolded. The Jingler had a small bell, which he had to ring incessantly for an agreed time - usually twenty minutes - while he tried to elude capture by the blindfolded competitors as they located and pursued him by the sound of the bell. He won the prize if he remained uncaught when the match was ended.
The Pig Hunt
The Pig Hunt involved the catching of a pig whose tail, previously cut short, had been soaped. The animal had to be seized by the tail alone. It was usual in these type of ‘animal’ games for the prey to be awarded as the prize.
The male competitors had to don a ‘horse collar’ or bridle for this event. The prize was given to the man who made the most hideous grimace.