East Retford (SK7080), Nottinghamshire

E.Sutton (1913)

Edward Sutton (Auth.)
*"MORRISING" IN NORTH NOTTS [Christmas play from East Retford]
*Nottinghamshire Guardian, 13th Dec.1913

The full text (71 line) of a Christmas Morrising play from East Retford, Notts., from about 1845 to 1850. The play, known as a "Morris", had the characters; Herald [introducer], St. George, Hero/Turk, Doctor and a number of unspecified "attendants".

C.J.Sharp (1914)

Mr. Cecil J. Sharp (Auth.)
*Nottinghamshire Guardian, 3rd Jan.1914

Letter from Cecil Sharp, in response to having been sent a copy of the play from East Retford, Notts., published by E.Sutton (1913). He expounds his theory of the play having come from ancient Greek Tragedy in which the seasons of the year are enacted. This play symbolises the death and rebirth of the Old Year. He also mentions the sword dance play from Ampleforth, Yorks., and plugs his book "Sword Dances of Northern England" Part 3.

T.Ratcliffe (1914)

Thos. Ratcliffe (Auth.)
LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES: No. 28: Mummings and mysteries.
*Nottinghamshire Guardian, 10th Jan.1914

Cites the East Retford mummers' play published by E.Sutton (1913). Gives the speeches for Betsy Beelzebub and Devil Dowt from a Derbys., St. George play. Also briefly describes two other plays from Notts., and Derbys., - "Th' Owd Hoss" and "The Darby Tup"

S.R. (1924)

S. R. (Auth.)
Nottingham Guardian, 7th Jan.1924, No.21151, p.3 b-c

The theories on the origins of Mummers' plays propounded by Cecil Sharpe and R.J.E.Tiddy (1923) are briefly reviewed. There is a detailed description with most of the text of a Selston play (collected by Capt. J.P.Scothorne from boys at Bagthorpe). This includes the characters; Fool, St. George, Slasher, Doctor, Beelzebub and Devil Doubt. Fragments are also quoted from the East Retford play published by E.Sutton (1912) but here only located as "North Notts." The characters given are; Herald, Hero, St. George and Doctor. Mention is also made of relic plays in Nottingham suburbs and also of a plough procession in East Bridgford, Notts.

S.R. (1926)

S. R. (Auth.)
THE MUMMERS' PLAY: More Light on the Origin of Plough Monday Masque
Nottingham Journal, 12th Jan.1926, No.31235, p.4 d-f

The author starts by mentioning the reproduction of Mrs. Chaworth Musters' version of a Plough Monday play [Cropwell, Notts.] in A.H. (1926), and its discussion in E.K.Chambers' (1903) "The Mediaeval Stage". However he clearly disagrees with Chambers' discussion of folk plays. Race recognises two sorts of play, the Christmas St. George play, and the Plough Monday play. The St.George play is the older version, with a plot or structure dating back to pagan times, and a text dating back to the Crusades. The Plough Monday play he considers to be a "2nd edition" produced to extend the actors' touring season. He notes that Robin Hood did not appear in Notts., plays, and that the "Recruiting Sergeant" of Plough Monday plays probably originated with the Napoleonic Wars. He further notes that chapbooks were a source of some plays in the 1870s.

Quotes fragments of Notts., texts from Cropwell, the Selston district, and "North Notts. round Retford", the latter probably taken from E.Sutton (1913).

A.Sharp (1929)

*Arthur Sharp (Auth.)
Nottingham Evening Post, 3rd Jan.1929, No.15762, p.3 f

*Article on "mumming" and its putative ritual origins. A typical play is said to have the characters; St. George, Fool, Slasher, Doctor, Beelzebub and Devil Doubt. "A version that was popular in the Midlands during the last century" had the characters; Herald, Hero, St. George and Doctor. This would appear to refer to E.Sutton's (1912) play from East Retford. Other characters and fragments are given from Chambers (presumably 1903). These include; Father Christmas, Grand Turk/Turkish Knight and Dragon. Other Notts., fragments are also quoted, the plays being current. "The Owd Hoss" or "Hooden Horse" is mentioned from North Notts.

Some doubt as to the correctness of the author. A.Sharp may just be a cited author.

"J.Granby" (1940)

"John Granby" (Auth.)
STAGE PLAYS IN NOTTS CHURCHES: Old Time Feature of All Great Religious Festivals: Various Former "Cycles"
Nottinghamshire Guardian, 12th Oct.1940, No.4978, p.1 a-b

A brief account of the pre-Reformation practice of performing mystery, miracle and similar plays in churches. Brief mention is made of "an old Retford mystery play" published in the Nottinghamshire Guardian (3rd Jan.1914) [not examined by PTM, but probably a reprint of E.Sutton (1912)].

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?"

Retford, Gainsborough & Worksop Times (1985)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Plough play at Clayworth
Retford, Gainsborough & Worksop Times, 11th Jan. 1985, No.6884, p.17 d-f

Photo captioned:- "Clayworth village came alive to the sound of Morris Men, Clog Dancers and Plough Jags who performed a plough play for the third year running...."

Revial by the Broadstone Morris Men of Retford, Notts.

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