M. H. Mason (Auth.)
NURSERY RHYMES AND Country Songs: BOTH TUNES AND WORDS FROM TRADITION [The Old Horse: Christmas Play from Notts.]
London: Metzler & Co., 1877, pp.49-50
This includes a song headed "The Old Horse: CHRISTMAS PLAY". There are two
songs with tunes, one headed "Prologue" (12 lines in 3 stanzas), and the headed
"Enter the Old Horse" (20 lines in 4 verses). A footnote reads:-
"It is an old Christmas custom in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire to go from house to house with the skull of a horse, painted
black and red, and supported on a wooden fore-leg. A man in a stooping posture, and covered with a cloth, represents the
body of the horse, and, from the inside, snaps its formidable jaws at the company. The custom also survives in South Wales,
but the tune is different. There are many variations in the words. This is a Nottinghamshire version."
Marianne Mason lived at Morton Hall near Ranby, Notts., from 1869. As she collected
the songs in this book from her family and the people around her, it seems
likely that this play came from the vicinity of Morton Hall.
Morton Hall, Ranby, Notts. (SK6580); Notts.; Derbys.; South Wales
Col. 1869 to 1877; Publ. 1877
Full Text; Tunes; Dramatised Songs; Christmas; Old Horse
Marianne Harriet Mason (Col.); Miss E. M. S. Scannell (Illus.); Miss Edith Maud Susanna Scannell (Illus.)
TDRG Archive, Ref. TD00078;
Folk-lore Society Library
Last Updated Nov 1987 by Peter Millington.