"HOODING a country masquerade at Christmas time, which in Derbyshire they call guising (I suppose a contraction of dis-guising), and in other places mumming." (Rev. Samuel Pegge, Alphabet of Kenticisms, compiled 1735-6)
Above is the earliest known reference to the Kentish word 'Hooding' or 'Hoodening'. The East Kent tradition of Hoodening described in 19th and early 20th century sources usually, but not always, involved the performance of a 'Hooden Horse'. A number of groups continue this practice; St Nicholas at Wade, Whitstable, Deal and Dover in East Kent and Tonbridge in West Kent. Although traditionally a Christmas custom you can now see the antics of the hooden horse at other times of the year and in new contexts e.g. Whitstable May Day, Broadstairs Folk Week, Banbury Hobby Horse Festival, Sidmouth Horse Trials.
I have been performing in the Whitstable May Day procession since 2005 when I refurbished the Oyster Morris horse, originally built in the 1970s. In 2011 I constructed a new hooden horse for the Sandwich Folk and Ale Festival, now used by The Canterbury Hoodeners which I co-founded in 2016. I make props and animal disguises, such as the stag, for The Canterbury Hoodeners. All our plays are inspired by traditional and historical material. For bookings please contact me through the link at the bottom of the page.
The Canterbury Hoodeners perform at the Bell and Crown, Canterbury, Christmas 2018
The Canterbury Hoodeners perform 'The Outlaw Robin Hood' and 'The 1217 Battle of Sandwich', Summer 2017
The Canterbury Hoodeners perform 'The Hooden Horse Play', Christmas 2016
The Oyster Morris horse at Whitstable May Day, since 2005