Farnsfield (SK6456), Nottinghamshire

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.

Nottinghamshire Local History Council Collection (1960, K.Carding)

Mrs. Kate Carding (Auth.)
Memories of a Villager [Plough Monday Play at Farnsfield, Notts.]
Nottinghamshire Local History Council Collection, Received 15th Mar.1960, Ref.DD/121/1/27, 31pp.

Entry to an essay competition on old village life at Farnsfield, Notts. It ends on the last two pages with the following;

"But for us when children the High Light was the Plough Monday Play - ones first sight of costume acting. Seven or more characters - all men - including Tom Fool, Threshing Blade, The Lady Bright & Gay, Doctor, Soldier, etc.

Tom Fool entered first and begged audience then followed a quarrel, fight, a trance, a recovery & dance.

After being given a few coins & refreshed with a jug of foaming ale, the Players filed out into the night chanting -

'Good master & good mistress
You see our fool has gone.
We'll take it in our turn now
To follow him along.
We thank you for Civility
And what you've given us here
We wish you all Prosperity
And another Happy Year.'"

R.A.Harris Collection (1966, Emmons)

Mr. Emmons (Inf.)
*[Plough Monday play from Farnsfield, Notts.]
R.A.Harris Collection, Col. 1966

*Full text of a Plough Monday play from Farnsfield, Notts. The characters are: Tom Fool/Bold Tom/Tommy, Listing Sergeant, Farmer's Man, Lady Bright and Gay, Beelzebub, and Doctor.

The typescript does not give the name of the informant or the date of performance. Roy Harris is unable to find his notes, and it is posssible they disappeared when he moved house from Sandiacre to Cardiff. He says: "All I can remember is that my informant was a Mr Emmons, who was something to do with the local church. I don't think that we met. It was all done by mail, I'm pretty certain about that." (R.A.Harris, Personal Email message, 26th May 2004). Roy later confirmed that Mr.Emmons wrote to him following his appeal for information published in the 'Nottinghamshire Countryside' magazine in 1966.

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, G.Robinson)

Mr. Gerald Robinson (Inf.)
Farnsfield, Notts: Notes on phone call to Mr Gerald Robinson 26/1/81
I.T.Jones Collection, Col. 26th Jan.1981, Ref.K7-1

Notes on phone call to Mr Gerald Robinson. He told that the Farnsfield Residents Association would be performing a play on Friday 30th January 1981 at the Village Hall. They also performed the play in 1977 and 1979. He gave me the address of Mrs Valerie Olifent, secretary of the association, who would know more details.

I.T.Jones Collection (1981, V.Olifent -a)

Mrs. Valerie Olifent (Inf.)
Farnsfield, Notts: Letter to Mrs Valerie Olifent 27/1/81
I.T.Jones Collection, Com. 27th Jan.1981, Ref.K7-2

Transcript of letter to Mrs Olifent, asking for information about the Plough Monday play from Farnsfield.

I.T.Jones Collection (1981, V.Olifent - b)

Mrs. Valerie Olifent (Inf.)
Farnsfield, Notts: Letter from Mrs Olifent 22/2/81 [with text of Plough Monday play]
I.T.Jones Collection, Com. 22nd Feb.1981, Ref.K7-3

Letter from Mrs. Olifent, enclosing a copy of the text of the Farnsfield Plough Monday play which she had typed out from hand written notes in the possession of the late Mr. Richard Emmons. He had told her that he had written down as much as he could remember when he realised that the play was in danger of being lost. He saw the Residents Association perform the play in 1978 and confirmed that it was as he recalled it from previously. Mrs Olifent thinks the play was last performed between the wars.

I.T.Jones Collection (1981, R.Emmons & V.Olifent)

Mr. Richard Emmons (Inf.); Mrs. Valerie Olifent (Inf.)
Farnsfield, Notts: Text of Farnsfield play (Mr Richard Emmons) from Mrs Olifent
I.T.Jones Collection, 22nd Feb.1981, Ref.K7-4

Text of Farnsfield Plough Monday play taken down by Richard Emmons and enclosed with letter from Mrs Olifent dated 22/2/81 (TD00662.) 102 lines of text with characters Tom Fool, Sergeant, Farmer's Man, Lady, Bellseybub, and Doctor

Mansfield Chronicle & Advertiser (1981)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
[Farnsfield, Notts: Mansfield CHAD 5/2/81. Photo of revival cast p.18]
Mansfield Chronicle & Advertiser, 5th Feb.1981, p.18

Cutting with photo captioned:

"The members of the Plough Monday cast which was part of the entertainment at Farnsfield Resident's Association Plough Supper at Farnsfield Village Centre on Friday."

I.T.Jones Collection (1981, M.Couldry)

Mr. Mick Couldry (Intermediary)
Farnsfield, Notts: Notes on phone call to Mick Couldry 25/3/81
I.T.Jones Collection, Col. 25th Mar.1981, Ref.K7-6

Notes on phone call to Mick Couldry, former member of the Owd 'Oss Mummers, asking him if he knew where the Farnsfield and Cuckney texts in the OOM repertoire had come from. He wasn't sure but thought that Cuckney came from Roy Harris and Farnsfield from the papers of the Thoroton Society.

Trader Pictorial [Newark] (2004)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Reviving ancient tradition
Trader Pictorial [Newark], 7th Jan.2004, No.1189, p.2a-6

Large colour photo of the Muskham Pinkies, who had revived the plough boys' play from North Muskham, Notts., also performing at Norwell and Bathley. The original play had ceased at the start of second world war. The caption lists cast members Simon Simcox, Paul Cotter, David Haslam, Ian Harrison and Jeff Hannabuss. The accompanying article mentions the incident of 1597 when the plough boys ran a furrow across the churchyard.

Performances by the Calverton Real Ale and Plough Play Preservation Society are also listed for Calverton, Farnsfield, Epperstone, Lambley, Lowdham, Hoveringham, and Woodborough.

Newark Advertiser (2004a)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
REVIEWS: Plough play revived [North Muskham, Notts.]
Newark Advertiser, 9th Jan.2004, Vol.155, No.7931, p.Arts.10d-f

Article and two colour photos of the revival by the Muskham Pinkies of the ploughboys' play from North Muskham, Notts, also performed at Norwell and Bathley. The original tradition stopped at the start of the second world war. The captions list the following cast members: David Haslam, Dan Harrison, Simon Simcox, Paul Cotter, Keith Baines, Paul Lane, and Jeff Hannabus.

Performances by the Calverton Real Ale and Plough Play Preservation Society are listed for Farnsfield, Epperstone, Lambley, Lowdham, Hoveringham, Woodborough, and Calverton. Morris dancers performing after a Plough Sunday service at Morton, Notts., are also mentioned.

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