A.S.Buxton Collection (No Date - d)
*Albert Sorby Buxton (Col.)
*The Christmas Play of the "poor owd oss" [Cuckney, Mansfield & Elksley, Notts.]
Buff notebook, pp.33A-42
"The play of the 'Poor owd oss' was played in Mansfield
at Christmas time up to about 1870, it then died out and to-day
even the words seem lost except for an odd time or two.
Previous to the War, 1914, however it was played each Christmas
at Cuckney and at Christmas 1921 it was again revived for the
entertainment of the village children at their school party.
The words which follow were obtained from the man who has played
the part of the horse's head for some years. The custom was
for several men to go round to the houses & public houses and
when they had entered to repeat the first three verses then they
fetched in the 'owd oss', a gruesome figure, being a horse's
head fastened to a stick and carried by a man draped with a
dark cloth. The play is more or less suggested by the words.
In the last verse a blacksmith was summoned and he
attempted to shoe the horse. Rather rough bye-play followed
when the blacksmith was kicked over by the horse. Drinks were
then called for by the company, and after all had been supplied,
the server approached the horse and said 'Could th'owd oss manage
at drink". The jaws of the horse were so arranged that a glass
could be put in them and so the player got his refreshment
without taking off his things.
The play varied slightly as to the words in the different
towns and villages but in the main was the same. for instance
at Elksley they said"
'And where do ye think he took me Sir?
He took me down a suff and where do you think he landed?
Against the blacksmith's shop.'"
There then follows the full text of the Cuckney version,
comprising eight verses, amounting to 48 lines.
Cuckney, Notts. (SK5671); Mansfield, Notts. (SK5361); Elksley, Notts. (SK6875)
*Ceased 1870; Perf. before 1914; Rev. 1921
*Text Fragment; "Poor Owd Oss"; Christmas; Song; Play; Owd Oss; Blacksmith
TDRG Archive, Ref. TD00786;
E.L.Guilford Collection, Ref.M/9912/3
* indicates data that has not yet been validated against the original source and/or has yet to be completely indexed.
Last Updated Mar 2005 by Peter Millington.