Barlborough (SK4778), Derbyshire
*[Washington Irving] (Auth.)
*Miscellanies: Abbotsford and Newstead Abbey
*London: Murray, 1835, pp.162-165
This is a somewhat florid yet brief description of Plough Monday at
Newstead Abbey, Notts., and Christmas at Barlborough Hall, Derbys. It is
prominent in that it has been much reprinted and cited by later authors.
The Plough Monday "antics" included some sort of play, involving the recitation
of "...the old ballad of St. George and the Dragon..." This was followed by
"...a set of morrice dancers..." with Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Beelzebub, and
Bessy. The trailing of a "fool plough" is mentioned by way of background
information, but does not appear to be ascribed to any particular location.
The description of Christmas at Barlborough Hall mentions the "Yule Clog" being
put on the fire on Christmas Eve, the wassail bowl and the singing of carols.
"We had mummers and mimers, too, with ballads and traditional dialogues, and the
famous old interlude of the Hobby Horse..." There were also sword dancers.
According to his published letters, Irving stayed at Barlborough Hall at the end
of 1831, making a day trip to Newstead Abbey on the 29th Oct.1831. This was
followed in Jan.1832 with a stay of several weeks at Newstead Abbey. Irving
returned to the U.S.A. in April 1832, and the miscellanies were first published
Nottinghamshire Weekly Express (1892)
LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES: 1,398 - WASHINGTON IRVING'S DESCRIPTION OF "PLOUGH MONDAY" CUSTOMS IN NOTTS.
*Nottinghamshire Weekly Express,
Extract from W.Irving's (1835) account of Plough Monday at Newstead Abbey,
Notts., and Christmas at Barlboro Hall, Derbys. The Plough Monday account
mentions a clown or fool, a leader reciting the old ballad of St.George and the
Dragon, to which the others attempted to act. Morris Dancers followed with the
characters Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Beelzebub and Bessy. Mummers are mentioned
in the Christmas account.
T.Ratcliffe Collection (1915)
*Thomas Ratcliffe (Auth.)
*The owd Hoss [from Whitwell and Barlborough, Derbys.]
*Detailed description of the play of "Th' Owd Hoss", performed in 1895
by farm lads from the Whitwell and Barlborough district, Derbys., and also
performed in Worksop, Notts. The characters included the Horse and Betty or
This information comes from a manuscript in Nottingham Central Library, Local
History Section. It gives the source as "From early 20th mss in possession of
A.Cockburn". Although Thomas Ratcliffe is not named, Anne Cockburn is known to
have done research on a notebook of Ratcliffe's which she had acquired. The
subject matter, and the Worksop also ties in with his other publications.
* indicates data that not yet been validated against the original source and/or has yet to be completely indexed.