Elkesley (SK6875), Nottinghamshire
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.
M. W. Barley (Auth.); E. F. H. D. (Col.)
Plough Plays in Nottinghamshire
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).
"John Granby" (Auth.)
Local Notes and Queries: PLOUGH MONDAY'S PLAYS.: Part II
12th Jan.1952, No.5565, p.11 b
Crams a lot into three paragraphs. Says that the hobby horse was common on
Plough Monday at Mansfield, Cuckney and Elkesley, Notts., until about 1870.
Summarises M.W.Barley (1951) - again mis-cited as M.W.Bramley. Mentions the
Cropwell/Wiverton play in Chaworth-Musters (1890), recent observances at East
Markham and Weston-on-Trent, and the likelihood of Newstead and Southwell as
good areas to collect. Ends by citing P.Crawford's (1938) "In England Still"
* indicates data that not yet been validated against the original source and/or has yet to be completely indexed.