The Gloucester Cheese Rolling, also known as the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake, is an annual event that’s usually held on the day of the Spring Bank Holiday at Cooper’s Hill, Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom. The activity usually occurs on the last Monday in May, and takes place on May 29 this year. For the Cheese Rolling and Wake, participants race down Cooper’s Hill, which is a 200-yard-long hill, following the rolling down of a round of Double Gloucester cheese. The Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling was initially a tradition among residents of the local village of Brockworth, however, now people from all over the world take part in the activity.
History of Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling
The Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling originally took place on Whit Monday. It then moved to the Spring Bank Holiday. The earliest record of cheese rolling traces back as far as 1826 through a message which was written to Gloucester’s town crier. It was deemed to have already been a long-existing tradition, even as far back as that time.
There have been two origin stories for the Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling event that have been theorized so far. The first origin story posits that the ceremony evolved from what used to be a requirement ritual for the maintenance of grazing rights among commoners. The second origin story is that it evolved from pagan origins notable for the custom of rolling objects down the hill. There is a belief that bundles of burning brushwood were rolled down the hill to symbolize the emergence of the New Year after the winter season. Another tradition connected with this belief is scattering biscuits and sweets at the top of the hill by the Master of Ceremonies while he conducted his business. It is regarded as a rite of fertility to encourage the fruits of the harvest.
The Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling went on for many years and for the 1982 edition, there was a team of students who came from the University of Bristol to record the event on film using cameras; one of which was set to slow motion in order to capture graphic details. Just over 10 years later in 1993, 15 people were injured during the Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling, including four serious injuries, and it was developments of this nature that led to its cancellation in 2009. The event was revived in 2011 by Candis Philips and Sara Stevens.
Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling timeline
The earliest record of the Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling is found in a message to Gloucester’s town crier.
This edition leaves 15 injured from doing the roll — four of these individuals also record serious injuries.
The Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling event is canceled over health and safety concerns due to previous records of injuries.
The Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling is revived again after its cancellation in 2009.
Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling FAQs
What is the Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling?
The Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling is an activity in which participants race down Cooper’s Hill, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom.
When did the Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling start?
The Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling is a tradition that dates back several hundred years and information about its exact origin as it relates to when it began, is shrouded in obscurity.
Is the Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling dangerous?
On the face of it, rolling down a hill at such speeds as the Cheese Rolling can definitely cause some injury. However, the risk of getting hurt is greatly reduced with the use of protective gear.
Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling Activities
Visit Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire
A good idea for the Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling would be to visit the location. Visit Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire, and witness the roll for oneself.
Participate in the cheese rolling
You can go a step further than simply visiting Cooper’s Hill. You can also participate.
Share your experience online
Document your experience. Share pictures online using the hashtag #GloucestershireCheeseRolling.
5 Interesting Facts About Gloucestershire
The most famous landmark
Gloucestershire’s most famous landmark is the cathedral, which has existed since the 7th century.
The birthplace of J.K. Rowling
The popular author of the “Harry Potter” series was born in Yate, Gloucestershire.
The birthplace of Robert Raikes
Raikes, the Anglican layman who started the Sunday school movement in the U.K., was born in Gloucester.
The inspiration for the Old Spot pig
The Gloucestershire Old Spots, a historic breed of pigs, are named after the town of Gloucestershire.
Home of the Forest of Dean
The ancient Forest of Dean, one of the oldest in the United Kingdom, is located in the west of Gloucestershire county.
Why We Love Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling
It can be a fun physical exercise
It may not sound entirely appealing on the surface, but hey, with protective gear, the cheese tolling can be a fun sport! Take the necessary precautions and enjoy.
It’s a chance to experience new cultures
For non-Britons, this event is an opportunity to travel down and experience a new culture. You’ll have the opportunity to meet new people and have a change of scenery.
There’s cheese involved
There’s cheese involved! Who isn’t excited at the mention of cheese, right?
Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling dates