Morris dancers blessed the beer at a new brewery as part of a traditional celebration dating back centuries.

The Good Easter Molly Gang visited the Bishop Nick base in East Street, Braintree, yesterday as part of a day-long tour to mark Plough Monday.

The agricultural celebration historically takes place on the first Monday after Epiphany.

A coachful of revellers, with black faces and peasant costumes, descended on the brewery at 10am and began singing and dancing, as well as sampling the local brew.

Brewer Nelion Ridley said: “It’s bad luck to charge the Molly Dancers for beer, but it was an honour to have them christen our new brew house in Braintree."