[Not located], Lincolnshire

H.G.M.Murray-Aynsley (1889)

Madame H. G. M. Murray-Aynsley (Auth.)
DE LA SURVIVANCE DU DRAME Chez le bas peuple en Angleterre [On the Survival of Drama among the Lower Classes of England]
*Revue des Traditions Populaires, 1889, Vol.4, No.12, pp.599-612

This paper in French is divided into four chapters. Chapter I reviews the history of drama, encompassing Indian and Roman drama, as well as Miracle and Morality plays. Chapter II describes the Salisbury Giant, St. Christopher, and the hobby horse Hob Nob.

Chapter III gives the full text (125 lines) of a Plough Monday play from Notts. The location is not given, but was identified by E.K.Chambers (1903) as Cropwell, Notts., and the translation tallies with Chaworth-Musters (1890). The characters are; Thomas le Hardi [Bold Tom], Sergent [Recruiting Sergeant], Ribbenor [Ribboner], Dame [Lady], Threshing Blade, Hopper Joe/Sanky Benny, Laboureur de Ferme [Farmer's Man], Dame Jane/Madame Jeanne, Belzébuth [Beelzebub], and Le Médecin [Doctor].

Chapter IV gives the full text (103 lines) of an unlocated Lincolnshire Plough Monday play. The characters are; Tom le Bouffon/Tommy [Tom Fool], Sergent [Sergeant], Ribbenor [Ribboner], Madame Jeanne/Dame Jeanne [Dame Jane], Dame [Lady Bright and Gay], Esem Esqueesem, Le Médecin [Doctor].

P.H.Ditchfield (1896)

P. H. Ditchfield (Auth.)
Old English Customs Extant at the Present Time: An Account of Local Observances, Festival Customs, and Ancient Ceremonies yet Surviving in Great Britain
London: George Redway, 1896, pp.47-50

*This is an oft quoted book. Pages 47-50 describes Plough Monday customs from Cambridgeshire, Great Gransden, Hunts., Lincs. (Plough-Bullocks), Yorks. (Plough-Stotts), Wyverton Hall, Notts., and London. The Wyverton Hall description comes from Chaworth-Musters (1890), and mentions the characters Hopper Joe, Sergeant, Beelzebub and an Old Woman. The book also includes a number of Mummers' plays from southern England.

K.D. (1897)

K. D. (Auth.)
*Nottinghamshire Weekly Express, 31st Dec.1897

Quotes "a correspondent who had borne a part (cow horn blowing) on many a Plough Monday in Lincolnshire". Describes the plough procession. Ploughmen in clean smock-frocks yoke themselves with ropes to the plough, ribbons and bunches of corn in their hats. "Ungainly jumping which they called dancing." Refers to Morris dancing. "Bessy" carried the money box. "The rubbishy verses they recited are not worth preserving beyond 'God speed the plough'. They "Visited houses and if no food or drink given, the ground before the door or window was ploughed up. "One of the mummers generally wears a fox's skin in the form of a hood." "Bessy formerly wore a bullock’s tail behind under his gown."

P.H.Ditchfield (1901)

P. H. Ditchfield (Auth.)
Old English Customs Extant at the Present Time: An Account of Local Observances, Festival Customs, and Ancient Ceremonies yet Surviving in Great Britain
London: Methuen & Co., 1901, pp.47-50

Reprint of P.H.Ditchfield (1896). Q.v. for abstract.

Nottinghamshire Weekly Express (1906d)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
*Nottinghamshire Weekly Express, 28th Dec.1906

Article on Christmas customs including the following sections:

"There used to be celebrated at Wiverton a notable mummers play, of which we are told that an attenuated version is still observed in the district. A detailed account of this Plough Monday performance will be given shortly, but the point to mention just now is that the full play was revived for the occasion in 1893."

"Christmas mumming - or 'mumping' as they term it - is still done in Lincolnshire; but whether as a survival or a revival we are unable to say - probably it has never become quite obsolete in that fine county."

Nottinghamshire Weekly Express (1907a)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
*Nottinghamshire Weekly Express, 4th Jan.1907

A rambling description of Plough Monday customs, from throughout the country, including Lincs., Yorks., Cambs., Derbys., and Great Gransden, Hunts. Mostly taken from P.H.Ditchfield (1896) and E.K.Chambers (1903), but also includes an anecdote relating to a village "not a hundred miles from Nottingham". Chaworth-Musters (1890) Wyverton Hall, Notts., play is cited "...as given last week". Her correspondence with T.F.Ordish, as reprinted by Dichfield, is extensively quoted.

"Wanderer" (1917)

"Wanderer" (Auth.)
PLOUGH MONDAY [Plough Lights and plough trailing]
*Worksop Guardian, 5th Jan. 1917, p.6 b

General article Plough Monday. It talks of plough blessing, Plough Lights, and ploughs being kept in churches before the Reformation. Afterwards this changed to secular plough trailing with a Fool and a Bessy. The gardens of people who did not give little or no money were often ploughed up. Quotes from an unspecified Lincs., source.

Nottinghamshire Guardian (1918)

*[Anon.] (Auth.)
Local Notes and Queries: The Old-Time Ploughmen's Guild: Notts Mumming Play Revived.
*Nottinghamshire Guardian, 16th Feb.1918

Blurb taken from P.H.Ditchfield (1896) about ploughs being trailed round on Plough Monday to support plough lights, and plough up the doorsteps of those who did not contribute. Mentions Lincs., Plough-bullocks, Yorks., Plough-stots and the City of London's Plough Monday banquet. Re-quotes Ditchfield's quotation relating to Mrs. Chaworth-Musters' account of the play at Wyverton Hall, Notts.

E.B. (1919)

E. B. (Auth.)
LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES : Plough Monday in Derbyshire, "Plough Bullocks" in Lincolnshire
*Nottinghamshire Guardian, 11th Jan.1919

Quotations from "A Derbyshire antiquary of the early fifties" relating to 'plough Bullocks' on Plough Monday.

"Quotations from „A Lincolnshire writer of about the same period describing the customs in that county" are very similar to K.D.(1897)

G.Richardson (1925a)

George Richardson (Auth.)
LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES: Plough Monday [Play from Lincs.]
*Nottinghamshire Guardian, 17th Jan.1925, p.2 illus.

Details of Plough Monday from W.Hone (1837), including the woodcut and the quotation about Plough Lights from Blomefield (1775). The first part of the full text (136 lines) of a Plough Boys or Morris Dancers play is given from Lincs. This is concluded in G.Richardson (1925b). The characters are; Tom Fool, Recruiting Sergeant, Ribboner/Recruit, Lady, Threshing Blade, Hopper Joe, Old Dame Jane, Farmer's Man, Beelzebub and Doctor. The ploughing up of lawns in mentioned.

G.Richardson (1925b)

George Richardson (Auth.)
LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES: Old Lincolnshire "Plough Boys" [Play]
*Nottinghamshire Guardian, 23rd Jan.1925

The concluding part of the play text in G.Richardson (1925a). It also mentions a Fool Plough being dragged around by Plough Bullocks and a collection being taken by Bessy in some parts of the Midlands. Another woodcut is reproduced.

A.H. (1926)

A. H. (Auth.)
PLOUGH BULLOCK NIGHT: A Merry Old Village Custom of Bygone Days
Nottingham Journal, 8th Jan 1926, No.31232, p.4 d-f

Mention of Plough Bullocks in records of the Old Mansfield Society, evidently meaning A.S.Buxton (1922/23). Also gives the usual general guff about plough trailing and the ploughing up of doorsteps in Notts., Lincs., and Leics., and about plough lights, taken from W.Hone (1837) by way of Chaworth-Musters (1890).

The full text is reprinted of the play from Cropwell, Notts., published by Mrs. Chaworth-Musters. This gives the characters as; Tom Fool/Bold Tom/Tommy, Recruiting Sergeant, Ribboner, Lady, Threshing Blade, Hopper Joe/Sanky-Benny, Farmer's Man, Dame Jane, Beelzebub and Doctor.

P.Herring (1926)

Paul Herring (Auth.)
Nottinghamshire Guardian, 9th Jan.1926, No.4208, p.1 a-b,e-f

This extensive feature article describes Plough Monday activities of Plough Bullocks, Guisers and Plough-licks in Notts., the East Midlands and Norfolk using information derived from published sources.

A Notts. Plough Bullocks' play is described, with textual fragments, and the characters; [an Introducer], St. George, Turkish Knight, Doctor, Old Squire, Beelzebub. This seems to be taken from C.Brown (1891) and W.Hone (1837).

Plough Bullocks collecting money in Nottingham are mentioned.

S.R.Hole's (1902) account of morris dancers at Caunton, Notts. is extensively quoted. including the play with characters; Robin Hood, Little John, Maid Marion and Fool.

A description of the trailing of a Fool Plough, with its attendant dancers and Bessy, also seems to be taken from W.Hone (1837).

Finally there is a brief account of the plough boys' daily life, taken from Gervase Markham's (1653) "Farewell to husbandry", and J.Prior's novel "Forest Folk"

[I recollect having seen the actual newspaper containing this article at one time, and thought I saw two illustrations taken from W.Hone (1837). However, these are lacking from the clippings in Notts. County Library's folklore box. On the other hand these illustrations are included with clippings of M.W.M. (1926a & 1926b) where they appear to be a little out of context. I suspect a mix up.]

"Old Timer" (1929)

"Old Timer" (Auth.)
*Nottinghamshire Guardian, 19th Jan.1929

"The first Monday after Twelfth Day, was until recent times kept as a rustic festival throughout the entire country, and called Plough Monday, the reference being to the resumption of ploughing and farm labour after the long Christmas holidays.

A plough was dressed up with ribbons, and called 'the Fool Plough.' It was drawn by farm labourers also dressed up and in some cases ochred and ruddled. In Notts they were known as 'plough bullocks,' and in Lincolnshire there was a good deal of cowhorn blowing. Merry mummers sometimes performed a traditional play, and never failed to go round with the traditional money-box.

According to old authorities, the money so collected was in ancient times used to maintain a 'ploughman's light' in the village church. But in time the procession degenerated and when it died out on the outskirts of Nottingham about 50 years ago, it was merely a pretext for collecting money for a 'booze up' at the nearest public-house. The so-called 'plough bullocks' rubbed their faces with soot and went round with lanterns and sticks looking more like foot-pads than mummers"

Nottinghamshire Guardian (1930a)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
*Nottinghamshire Guardian, 4th Jan.1930

Description of Plough Monday in Lincolnshire. Most of the text is very similar to K.D. (1897)

E.B. (1932)

E. B. (Auth.)
*Nottinghamshire Guardian, 12th Mar.1932

*Description of plays and plough trailing from Wiverton Hall, Notts., Lincs., Leics., and Northants. Taken from T.F.Ordish (1893)

Nottinghamshire Guardian (1942b)

*[Unknown] (Auth.)
*[Appeal for information on Plough Monday]
*Nottinghamshire Guardian, 7th Jan.1942

*This is an appeal for information. The Doubleday Index has an incomplete clipping. This reads;

"Sir, - I am doing some work on the history and customs of Plough Monday. I was staying in Nottinghamshire some years ago, when I picked up one or two interesting points from county people whom I met, but as I have now lost touch with them, I should be most grateful if some of your readers can tell me amy Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire or Lincolnshire observances of the festival which has been recorded within the last 20 years."

S.R. (1947)

S. R. (Auth.)
Nottinghamshire Guardian, 18th Jan.1947, No.5305, p.3 c-e

A review of the origins of Mummers' Plays and Plough Monday Plays. Race regards as fanciful the idea that the Mummers' Plays were a survival from pagan times, on grounds of lack of evidence. Although it may have originated in the 18th century, it really became popular in the early 19th century, under the influence of such books such as "Hone's Year Book for 1826". Chapbooks were an important factor later in the century. He cites a chapbook published in Belper in 1846, and chapbooks published by Heywoods of Manchester in the 1860s to 1880s. The Plough Monday play evolved from the Mummers' Play in the mid 19th century. He cites E.K.Chambers' (1933) feeling that the Plough Monday plays were confined to Lincs., and adjacent districts.

Texts from Clayworth (R.J.E.Tiddy, 1923) and Cropwell (Chaworth Musters, 1890) are compared. The characters for the Clayworth play are given as; Bold Tom, Recruiting Sergeant, Farmer's Man, Lady Bright and Gay, old Eazum Squeezum and the Doctor. The Cropwell characters are given as; Tom the Fool, Recruiting Sergeant, Ribboner, Doctor, Lady, Beelzebub, Dame Jane and the Farmer's Men. The text from Chaworth Musters (1890) is also compared with another text from Cropwell Bishop collected later by Race (S.Race Collection, 1924, E.R.Granger). In the latter play, the Lady had been lost, and Beelzebub had been replaced by Easem Squeasem. Other plays mentioned include a team from Harby, Leics., which used to visit Cropwell Bishop regularly, and a Retford troupe in the 19th century, one of whose members wore an animal's head.

Race concludes by posing the question, "Why should the observance of Plough Monday be so general in the countryside, and its play confined to an area comparatively small?"

M.W.Barley (1953)

M. W. Barley (Auth.)
Journal of the English Folk Dance & Song Society, Dec.1953, Vol.7, No.2, pp.68-95

This is the most important single paper ever written on East Midlands folk drama. Starting from the base of E.K.Chambers (1933) "English Folk Play", he discusses 41 additional texts and other information from Lincs., Notts., Leics. and Rutland. The approach is very methodical and academically sound - as one would expect from a trained archaeologist.

There is an excellent review of early records of Plough Monday, Plough Lights and related customs from various archives. He draws particular attention to the cast of a play from Donington, Lincs. Concerning the much studied play from Revesby, Lincs., he adds that Sir Joseph Banks, the famous botanist, must have had some involvement. This is followed by details of a number of large households who were visited by Plough Monday teams. He compares the early nineteenth Century Lincs., plays published by C.R.Baskervill (1924) and modern plays from the same areas, noting marked differences in the "wooing" scenes. Comparative details are enumerated of; rewards received by the teams, malicious ploughing, trailed ploughs, and costumes. Regarding music, Barley notes the lack of recorded tunes, but is able to give three variants (including one from South Scarle, Notts.) There is brief description of the vestiges of dances present, and of Hobby Horses in North Lincs. He extensively discusses regional variations in the plays, noting differences in characters and lines, much in the manner of E.K.Chambers.

The Appendix lists around 70 records of plays. There is also a distribution map. The list does not include a number of references in the text, and these too are not to be found in the Barley's collection. Notts., examples are; Averham, Orston, and Sutton-on-Trent.

It was very commendable that Barley did not attempt to speculate on the origins of the plays, except for an unsuccessful search for possible links with Denmark. It is unforgivable therefore that P.D.Kennedy felt obliged to add a massive and patronising footnote giving the E.F.D.S.S. Establishment doctrine about the supposed ritual and symbolical origins of the plays.

M.W.Barley Collection (1954a)

Anon. (Inf.)
E. Bridgford [Plough Boys Itinerary]
M.W.Barley Collection, Col. 8th Jan.1954, Ref.Ba P 1/20

"At 5.0 pm. Plough Boys assembled at Smithy in village. There they dressed up, blacked faces from soot of forge. Go across to Straws Shop, then to his house. He was a big pig breeder. Ham cheese, pork pie, mince pies. After Straws House, then rest of village.

On other nights they did Carcolston, Newton, Shelford, Kneeton.

Beelzebub dressed in the largest hoop available, then sack & stuffing.

Money given to church in each village. This was about 1910. All this from Upton Park Keeper, Newark. His father was a waggoner.

Mr. Henry Bateman (aged 91 in 1954) used to train the team.

Lincs. men hired out in E. Bridgford would be in the team.

Remarks on Jan 8 1954."

M.W.Barley (1954)

M. W. Barley (Auth.)
Journal of the English Folk Dance & Song Society, Dec.1954, Vol.7, No.3, p.184

Supplementing his 1953 paper (see TD00015), Barley states:

"The Donington document (pp.70-71): It is quite plain that this refers not to a Plough play, but possibly to a Mystery, as Miss Alford and Miss Dean-Smith have remarked.

Tunes (pp.77-78): In addition to the wassail song the Tollerton Plough play includes a song sung by the Recruiting Sergeant, 'Come all you lads that's bound for listing...'

Morris dancers (p.79, lines 8-9 and p.86, n.5): It appears that it might be wrong to regard the Lincolnshire instances of Plough Boys calling themselves Morris dancers as merely the result of popular confusion. 'Morris dancers' made their last appearance at Burgh le Marsh at Christmas, 1886 (MS. History of Burgh le Marsh by C.Brears, p.48, Nottingham University Library). Mr. Aram of Helpringham, Lincs., has stated that 'the Morris dancers went round with the Plough Boys; they used broomsticks to dance with'. I understand the Mrs. Barbara Lowe intends to deal with this and other similar evidence in a study of the early Morris. (Editor's note: See page 186 of this Journal)."

M.W.Barley (1955)

M. W. Barley (Auth.)
Journal of the English Folk Dance & Song Society, Dec.1955, Vol.7, No.4, pp.249-252

This supplement to M.W.Barley (1953) gives an additional list of sources for East Midlands Plough Monday plays, Morris Dancers and plough trailing customs. These cover; 4 Leics. villages, 12 Lincs. villages, 8 Notts. villages, and Oakham, Rutland. There are also extracts on costumes from the manuscripts of Mabel Peacock

I.Jones (1983)

Idwal Jones (Auth.)
Roomer, 1983, Vol.3, No.6, pp.41-43

Article discussing Retford & Gainsborough Times (1881), (1882) and (1887a) and information unearthed about two Plough Monday incidents that were brought before Petty Sessions and one that resulted in an inquest.

* indicates data that not yet been validated against the original source and/or has yet to be completely indexed.