A list of sources relevant to the Play is given in the Bibliography.
In our MS Index we have listed every source available, though
many are repetitive, but for the present work we have only listed
those which contribute new facts. We ourselves have tried to
examine each authority quoted, but where this has proved
impossible, we have shown this by the words 'quoted by...' after
the entry concerned. Such references should be treated with
reserve since we have found a number of examples of misquotations
and also of derived accounts. An outstanding example of the latter
is the play from County Durham, first recorded by Topliff (1815) and
subsequently given more fully by Sharp (1834). This was republished
slightly amended by Bell (1857) and Stokoe (1887), still being attributed to County
Durham and later still it appeared in Turner (1901) and very recently in
Gee (1952), which give Cleveland as the location.
It is fitting to pay tribute to the work of Thomas Fairman
Ordish, whose interest in the Play led to the collection of MSS,
now known as the Ordish Papers. This collection was made from
approximately 1890 onwards, and contains the product of work in
the field by Ordish and many other collectors, such as Mabel
Peacock, E.H.Binney, Percy Manning, Mrs H.K.F.Eden, and
R.J.E.Tiddy, who had the advantages of witnessing what they
noted, as well as a clear understanding of the value of a written
record. Other contributors to the Ordish Papers sent extracts from
printed sources, not now readily accessible outside the larger
reference libraries. Still other contributors sent chapbooks
containing printed play texts, now unobtainable, making this a unique
collection of texts which have long since disappeared publicly.
The Table does not contain as many entries 'Ordish Coll.' as might be
expected, because only the unpublished items from the MSS are
thus given, but it should be noted that a considerable proportion
of the printed references have become known to us through
examination of the Ordish Papers. We have tried to examine all
these original references, and have shown them in the bibliography.
Our debt to this collection is great, and we suggest that the student
of the Play could save himself much time and labour by examining
the collection in the Folk-Lore Society's library.
If the references had been confined to the limits of the Table,
much valuable material would have been omitted. The amount of
literature devoted to this end is small but important: some of these
important general works are included in the Bibliography, marked
["Reference valuable for general reading"].