Blidworth (SK5855), Nottinghamshire

R.H.Whitworth (1896)

*Rev. R. H. Whitworth (Auth.)
Blidworth Registration and Parish Church Registers [Plough Bullocks play text]
Mansfield: J.Linney, 1896, pp.213-217

This book is a compilation of material originally published in the "Mansfield & North Notts. Advertiser". Although essentially an ecclesiastical work, it includes as an aside the text (93 lines) of a Plough Bullocks' Plough Bullocking play performed at Blidworth, Notts. The characters were; 1st P.B./Bold Tom, 2nd P.B./King George/Sergeant, 3rd P.B., Sweet-heart, Doctor and Beelzebub. There are also sections referring to Robin Hood and to funeral customs.

I.T.Jones Collection (1926, A.H.)

Mr. Jack N. Smith (Inf.)
Blidworth, Notts: Press cutting supplied by Mr Smith
I.T.Jones Collection, Col. 9th Feb.1981

Copy of A.H. (1926) - TD00055 - supplied by Mr. Smith during the visit on 9/2/81.The article contains the text of the play from Cropwell Bishop and the part of the Farmer's Man has been marked in ink on the copy with the name Stan.

F.Collingwood (1933)

Frances Collingwood (Auth.)
Folk Lore of Nottinghamshire
Nottinghamshire Magazine, 1933, Vol.1, No.3, pp.187-188

Despite its general title, half of this article is devoted to Plough Monday plays. Brief descriptions are given of versions from Clayworth, Notts., and Blidworth, Notts., and there is an unlocated photograph of a team of actors. No text is quoted however. The Clayworth play had the characters; Soldier, Old Eezum Squeezum, Clown and Doctor, although sometimes King George or Saint George appeared instead of Soldier, and Beelzebub replaced Eezum Squeezum. The Blidworth "Plough-Bullocking" play had; King George, Doctor and a Pressgang, and is described as being extant. It was collected by Rev. Edward Dunnicliff of Ollerton. Cecil Sharp's theories on the dualistic nature of the play, and their supposed pagan origins are reiterated. The rest of the article discusses the Eakring Ball Game played on Easter Tuesdays, and Maypoles at Wellow, Edwinstowe, Linby, Farnsfield, Stapleford and Nottingham.

Nottingham Journal (1941a)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Tom Fool and Beelzebub: PLOUGH MONDAY PLAYS IN NOTTS.?
Nottingham Journal, 10th Jan.1941, No.35888, p.3c

General article describing plough plays in Nottinghamshire, including the following paragraphs:

"The Notts. villages where the text of such plays is still preserved are Scarrington, Farnsfield, Bothamsall, Lowdham, Cropwell Bishop, Blidworth, Norwell and Thorney."

"The last performance of a play recalled by Mr. E.E.Neale, of the Notts. Rural Community Council, was at Cropwell Bishop in 1938."

The words of the final song at Blidworth are quoted.

E.F.H.D. (1948)

E. F. H. D. (Auth.)
Nottinghamshire Countryside, Jan.1948, Vol.11, No.3, p.5

Final song (with tune) from a "Plough Bullocking" play collected in 1925 from Blidworth, Notts.

F.Collingwood (1933) mentions a play collected from Blidworth by the Rev. E. Dunnicliff, evidently the same person as E.F.H.D.

M.W.Barley (1951)

M. W. Barley (Auth.); E. F. H. D. (Col.)
Plough Plays in Nottinghamshire
Nottinghamshire Countryside, Oct.1951, Vol.13, No.2, pp.1-2

This is a request for information on Plough monday plays. Brief descriptions are given of the sort of information wanted, together with outlines of the possible historical implications of Plough Monday and of the questions it is hoped to answer. The names Plough Boys, or Jacks, or Jags, or Stots, or Bullocks are mentioned. He particularly asks for information on plough trailing, sword dances, and customs from western Notts., similar to those found in Derbys. & Yorks., such as Christmas Mummers, sword dances and Morris dances. In a brief mention of Hobby Horses, he notes the Christmas play of the "Poor Owd 'Oss" from Mansfield in the A.S.Buxton Collection, and other occurrences at Cuckney and Elkesley. He already had information on Plough Monday plays from the Notts. villages of; Blidworth, Mansfield, East Bridgford, Bothamsall, Cropwell, Clayworth, Flintham, Selston, Walesby, Whatton, Worksop, Norwell, Averham, Tollerton, and North Leverton.

Appended is the final song of a play from Blidworth, Notts., collected in 1925 by E.F.H.D. This was in fact first published in 1948 (E.F.H.D., 1948).

Nottinghamshire Countryside (1952)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Plough Monday Plays [South Scarle and Calverton, Notts.]
Nottinghamshire Countryside, Jan.1952, Vol.13, No.3, pp.7-8

Describes the response to M.W.Barley's (1951) appeal for information on Plough Monday plays. Three replies are detailed;

The first is the full text of a Plough-bullocking or Morris Dancing play from South Scarle, Notts., sent in by Mr.J.G.Holmes. His letter is printed in full next to a photo of him. The text (116 lines) was collected during a follow up visit and includes detailed descriptions of the costumes. The play was performed before 1882 and featured the characters; Tom Fool/Bold Tom, Farmer's Man, Lady, Recruiting Serjeant, Dame Jane, Beelzebub/Belzie, and Doctor.

[Further recollections of Mr Holmes' childhood in South Scarle are given in J.G.Holmes (1952) - TD00589.]

The second reply from Mrs.F.G.Brooks mentioned Plough Monday at Calverton, Notts. Fragments of text include lines for Eezum Squeezum, and an unnamed character similar to Molly/Sally Mop at Mansfield.

Lastly, Mr. James Holloway described a Harvest Home tradition and song from Blidworth, Notts.

M.W.Barley Collection (1952, J.Holloway)

*Mr. James Holloway (Inf.)
*[Plough Monday Play from Blidworth, Notts.]
*M.W.Barley Collection, Col. 1952, [Ba P 1/2 ?]

*Final song with tune of a Plough Monday play from Blidworth, Notts.

Nottinghamshire Local History Council Collection (1960, A.W.Godfrey)

Arthur William Godfrey (Perf.)
[Plough Monday at Blidworth, Notts.]
Nottinghamshire Local History Council Collection, Written 2nd Jul.1960, Ref.DD/121/1/9, 4pp.

Entry to an essay competition entitled "Memories of a Villager", on old village life at Blidworth, Notts. Much of the essay concerns a Plough Monday play. Mr. Godfrey was born in 1882, and performed the play during 1895 to 1900, when R.H.Whitworth was vicar. Three detailed itineraries are given, as well as the full text of the play (42 lines). The characters were; Character No.1 [introducer], Character No.2/Recruiting Serjeant, Character No.3/Betsy Bellzie Bub, Character No.4/Lady, and Character No.5/Doctor.

Nottinghamshire Local History Council Collection (1960, G.Tansley)

George Tansley (Perf.)
[Plough Monday at Blidworth, Notts.]
Nottinghamshire Local History Council Collection, Received 15 Mar.1960, Ref.DD/121/1/10, 7pp.

Entry to an essay competition entitled "Memories of a Villager", on old village life at Blidworth, Notts. Mr. Tansley was born on the 23rd Nov.1873. Page 1 includes the following;

"January Plough Monday evening when about six of us visited farms and cottages with masks and blackened faces, the first one to enter commenced,

I open the door and enter in.
I seek your favour for to win,
And whether I stand or whether I fall,
I'll act my part to please you all.
If you cannot believe these words I say,
Step in King George and clear the way.

Other performers followed, then we struck up singing 'Hurrah Boys for the army, Hurrah for the Red White and Blue,' 'Come my lads come and be a soldier come and take a bob and serve the queen. -

Now my lads it's time to enlist,
Enlist and do not be affraid,
You shall have all kinds of ribbon,
Likewise skirts the pretty maid.

The final

Good Master and good Mistress,
As you sit by your fire.
Remember us poor ploughboys
That plough the mud and mire.
Put what you like in our box
Wishing you all a prosperous new year."

A.Cossons (1962)

Arthur Cossons (Auth.)
Transactions of the Thoroton Society, 1962, Vol.66, pp.67-82

Summarises information contained in entries to an essay competition run by the Nottinghamshire Local History Society in 1960 (see Nottinghamshire Countryside, 1959/1960). The essays entitled "The memories of a villager" were to be based on the entrants' own recollections of Notts., village life. The 66 entries are deposited in the Nottinghamshire Archives Office.

Information is described under the following headings; Agriculture, Crafts Trades Industries, Transport, The Squire, Domestic Life, Customs, Houses, Field Names, Education, Miscellaneous and Material Remains.

The customs mentioned include; Shrove Tuesday customs, Rantanning or Tinpanning, and Mumping on St. Thomas's Day. The competition announcement had particularly asked for information on Plough Monday, and a list is given of 24 places where this was mentioned. Places getting a more detailed mention were plays at Blidworth, Cropwell Butler (where the characters were Tom the Fool, Soldier, Lady Dame Jane, Beelzebub and Doctor), Ranby (Horse's Head and Morris Dancing), and Shelford (Plough trailing).

P.T.Millington Collection (1971, H.Clark)

Mr. Clark (Inf.)
P.T.Millington Collection, Col. 28th May 1971

The full text (38 lines) of a Plough Monday play with songs from Blidworth, Notts. Musical scores are given for the two songs. The characters were First Man/[Introducer], Second Man/Betsy Bellzebub, Third Man/Jack Steel, and Doctor.

P.T.Millington Collection (1971, H.Nixon)

Mr. H. Nixon (Inf.)
P.T.Millington Collection, Col. 28th May 1971

Description of a Plough Boys Night play from Blidworth, Notts., including fragments of text. The actors were called Plough Bullocks, and characters included; First Man, Second Man, Third Man/Betsy Bellzebub, Fourth Man, Fifth Man and Doctor. Note that numbers were used to denote the characters.

P.T.Millington Collection (1971, N.Couldry & R.Manning)

Anon. (Inf.); [Norman Couldry] (Col.); [Roger Manning] (Col.)
P.T.Millington Collection, Com. about 18th May 1971

Transcript of the full text (54 lines) of a Plough Monday play from Blidworth, Notts., written down by the informant. The characters are First Man, Second Man/Betsy Bellsebub, Third Man/Tom Steel, Fourth Man/King Sam, Fifth Man/Doctor.

P.T.Millington Collection (1971, W.Richards)

Mr. W. Richards (Perf.)
P.T.Millington Collection, Col. 28th May 1971

Brief note as follows:-

"Recorded 1971 from Mr. W. Richards of Bromfield, Main Street, Blidworth, (28th May 1971.)

When the Boys Brigade performed the Plough Monday play, they did a dance at the end. There were eight dancers, who used sticks called 'Laxtons.' Figures (Which were only vague recollections,) included a clash of the sticks, the placing of four sticks on the floor in the form of a cross, and also the splitting of the team into two sets of four. One of the dancers wore a busby-type hat. The performers of this 'round' dance, as with ordinary performers of the play were called Plough Bullocks.

Mr. Richards did not perform the dance himself (though he did perform the play), however, he does remember watching practices about 1910-14."

Mansfield Chronicle & Advertiser (1980)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
*Revival of Blidworth Plough Play
*Mansfield Chronicle & Advertiser, 17th Jan. 1980

Photo of a "plough bullocking" play from Blidworth, Notts., revived by members of Main Street Methodist Church in 1980. A brief history of the custom covers plough lights and malicious ploughing, the performers were called "plough bullocks" or "plough stots". The characters of the play included; Tom Fool, Dame Jane, Beelzebub and Recruiting Sergeant. It had last been performed just before the outbreak of World War II.

I.T.Jones Collection (1980, J.N.Smith - c)

Mr. Jack Smith (Inf.)
Blidworth, Notts: Transcript of tape of radio interview and performance in 1980 supplied by Mr Smith
I.T.Jones Collection, Recorded 1980, Ref.K5-5

Tape supplied by Mr Smith during the visit on 9/2/81 and handwritten transcript. Tape contains the following:

a) Interview with Jack Smith and Bill Richards by Radio Nottingham reporter broadcast on a Tuesday morning in 1980 – presumably 1st or 8th January

b) Recording from the Blidworth Methodist Church Hall on the following Saturday evening including an introduction from Jack Smith and a performance of the Blidworth Plough Bullocking play. Mr Smith recalls that the last time he saw the play was just before the last war. Characters in the recording included Tom Fool, Recruiting Sergeant, Old Man, Lady, Dame Jane, Plough Man, Doctor and Betsy Beelzebub

The words of the play are very similar to those in the text supplied by Mr.Smith, including the Ploughman's part that had been written in by hand.

I.T.Jones (1981b)

I. T. Jones (Auth.)
The Owd Oss Mummers: PLOUGH MONDAY
The Bramley, Apr.1981, No.68, p.6e-f

Follow up letter regarding an appeal for information on Plough Monday in the Jan.1981 issue (I.T.Jones, 1981a). Mr. Steemson provided words of a play performed in Oxton until the 1890s. Mr. Ralph Brooke had the scrap book compiled by Miss L.F.Milner containing the play performed in Kirklington up to the First War. Mrs. Olifent and Mr. Robinson provided the play performed between the wars in Farnsfield, and recently revived at annual Plough Monday suppers. Mr. Jack Smith (via his daughter Mrs. Marshall) gave details of the Plough Bullocking play that he and others had revived in 1980 in Blidworth. This had been performed right up to the Second World War. Mr. Ernest Parkin remembered his father's Plough Bullocking in Edingley about 1891. Further locations mentioned where Plough Monday had been celebrated, but for not detailed information was available were Averham, Kneesall, Norwell and Southwell. The author had also obtained a copy of a Caunton text performed until about 1945.

I.T.Jones Collection (1981, Marshall)

Mrs. Marshall (Intermediary)
Blidworth, Notts: Notes on phone call from Mrs Marshall, Southwell 7/2/81
I.T.Jones Collection, Col. 7th Feb.1981, Ref.K5-1

Notes on phone call from Mrs Marshall, giving contact details for her father Mr. Jack Smith as a contact re the Blidworth play.

I.T.Jones Collection (1981, J.N.Smith - a)

Mr. Jack N. Smith (Inf.)
Blidworth, Notts: Notes on visit to Jack Smith, Blidworth 9/2/81
I.T.Jones Collection, Col. 9th Feb.1981, Ref.K5-2

Notes on visit to Mr Jack Smith, a retired teacher in his late 60's. In the 1950's he collected a version of the Blidworth play from Bill Godfrey for a schools exhibition in Mansfield Woodhouse. The play was performed up to the 1940's. In 1980 the play was put on in the Methodist Church in Blidworth with men mainly in their 60's who had done the play in their youth. The play was basically that collected from Mr. Godfrey with additions from the performers. Mr Smith gave me a tape of a Radio Nottingham interview for 1980, a copy of their script and a copy of A.H. (1926) with annotations.

I.T.Jones Collection (1981, J.N.Smith - b)

Mr. Jack Smith (Inf.)
Blidworth, Notts: Text of Blidworth play supplied by Mr Smith
I.T.Jones Collection, Col. 9th Feb. 1981, Ref.K5-3

Text of Blidworth play supplied by Mr Smith during the visit on 9/2/81. 134 lines of typed text with the characters Tom Fool, Recruiting Sergeant, Old man, Lady, Dame Jane, Betsy Beelzebub and Doctor. The part of Ploughman with 8 lines of text identical to that of the Farmer's Man in A.H.(1926) has been added by hand.

I.T.Jones Collection (1981, J.N.Smith - d)

Mr. Jack Smith (Inf.)
Blidworth, Notts: Letter to Mr Smith 25/2/81
I.T.Jones Collection, Com. 25th Feb.1981, Ref.K5-6

Transcript of letter of thanks to Mr Smith sent with copy of the text of the Blidworth play found in the Buxton collection.

I.T.Jones Collection (1982, I.T.Jones & A.Cockburn)

Mr. Idwal Jones (Col.); Miss Ann Cockburn (Col.)
Radio Nottingham Phone-In: Tape and Notes
I.T.Jones Collection, Com. 8th Jan.1982, Ref.L1-1

Tape and notes of a live phone-in on Radio Nottingham on Plough Monday 8/1/82 with the topic Plough Monday and Folk Customs. In the studio were Anne Cockburn and Idwal Jones with the interviewer Ms.Freddie Gaunt

Tape Counter (10 = ca.35 seconds):

93-114: Introduction and discussion in studio

180-196: Discussion in studio on the ancient society of horsemen

196-242: Discussion in studio on mummers plays and IJ singing the Owd 'Oss song.

242-294: Fred Buckley phoning in re the Plough Monday play in Blidworth.

294-347: Ethel Glossop phoning in re the Plough Monday play in Cotgrave.

375-425: Charles from Long Eaton phoning in re customs in Norfolk relating to the ancient society of horsemen.

425-432: Announcement about the Calverton Plough Boys performing in Oxton and Epperstone on 9th and 10th January 1982.

437-472: IJ singing the version of Good Master and Good Mistress used by the Owd 'Oss Mummers and discussion in studio.

472-505: George from Nuthall phoning in re guising in Brinsley and Underwood.

505-535: Gerry Fearnley phoning in re an Old Horse play in Bulwell.

535-551: Studio discussion on New Year customs.

551-572: Ann Frett phoning in re play from Scotland.

572-575: Closing remarks.

I.T.Jones Collection (1982, F.Buckley)

Mr. Fred Buckley (Inf.)
Radio Nottingham Phone-In: Fred Buckley
I.T.Jones Collection, Com. 8th Jan.1982, Ref.L1-2

Fred Buckley aged 70 rang the phone-in to talk about the Plough Monday play in Blidworth. There had been a performance at the Wesleyan Chapel in Blidworth in 1981 and a video had been made. He took the doctor’s part when he was in it years ago. On the radio he sang part of the Recruiting Sergeant’s part and the closing song.

E.Bryson (1984)

Emrys Bryson (Auth.)
It's devil of a lark for Plough Monday! [Play revival at Calverton, Notts.]
*Evening Post [Nottingham], 5th Jan.1984, p.6 a-d

Article with on the Calverton, Notts. Plough Monday play revival side, calling themselves the Calverton Real Ale and Plough Play Preservation Society (CRAPPPS). Their play, based on a Blidworth version, featured the characters; Tom Fool, Recruiting Sergeant, Farmer's Man, Lady Bright and Gay, Dame Jane, Doctor, Ribboner, Threshing Blade, Sankey Benny and Beelzebub. Detailed itineraries are given, covering Calverton, Blidworth, Epperstone, Woodborough, Lambley, Lowdham and Oxton. A photo of the 1979 play shows four characters collecting money from the audience. Background information on Plough Monday mentions Plough-Lights and Plough Trailing by Plough Bullocks. There is a quotation from the Gentleman's Magazine for 1672 relating to malicious ploughing.

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