Laxton (SK7266), Nottinghamshire

A.S.Buxton Collection (No Date - e)

*[Anon.] (Inf.)
*A Notts Harvest Home
*A.S.Buxton Collection, No Date, Black & red notebook, p.21

*Two verses of a Harvest Home song, sung in Notts.:

Mr he is a good man
in letting us ride on his harvest dam
Well mown, well sown
We've got our harvest home at last,
Never thrown over nor yet stuck fast,
We've got our harvest home at last,
Hip, Hip hooray.
Mr he is a good man
For letting us ride in his harvest dam,
He gives us beer, he gives us ale,
I hope his heart will never fail,
God bless these horses that trail us
They've had many a weary bone
They've torn their cloathes rent their skin
All for to get this harvest in.
Hip, Hip hooray.

It is possible that this is a copy of the Harvest Home song in the E.L.Guilford Collection, Ref.M/9910/8, that may come from Laxton, Notts. (See TD00796).

E.L.Guilford Collection (1922, C.B.Collinson)

C. B. Collinson (Auth.)
[Christmas Play at Laxton, Notts.]
E.L.Guilford Collection, Written 7th Jul.1922, Ref.M/9910/9

Letter concerning a Christmas play at Laxton, Notts., and about prehistoric debris being turned up in the fields. The relevant part of the letter reads;

"At Laxton there were just the last 'flickerings' of the Christmas play of St. George and the Doctor & Little Devil Doubt which 2 or 3 boys used to enact at Xmas time, but they had a very poor version of doggeral - and very short. I think it possible one might get their version thro' Mr. Willis the Schoolmaster. I am sure he would give you any information if you wrote to him. There was also a remnant of the Pagan Harvest Home Festival. The children made a Quern [?] Baby I think they called it - a straw doll - on the last cart home - which they greeted with cheers - and I think used to throw at!"

E.L.Guilford Collection (1922, F.Willis)

F. Willis (Col.)
E.L.Guilford Collection, Com. 22nd Jul.1922, Ref.M/9910/1-7, 10

*Letter from the schoolmaster F.Willis and a manuscript full text (200 lines) of a Plough Monday play from Laxton, Notts. The characters are: Tom Fool/Bold Tom/Tommy, Farmers Boy or Man/The Turk, Lady Bright and Gay, Recruiting Sergeant, King George, Doctor, and Sankey Benny. There are full descriptions of the costumes.

There is also a description of Laxton Harvest Home.

E.L.Guilford Collection (1922)

*[Anon.] (Inf.)
*[Song Sung at a Notts. Harvest Home]
*E.L.Guilford Collection, 1922(?), Ref.M/9910/08

*A manuscript giving the words of the song sung during the Harvest Home at an unidentified location in Notts.

The other papers included under Ref.M99 10 all relate to Laxton, and are dated 1922. This song may therefore also be from there. If so, it could have come from either of the informants in the other papers - C.B.Collinson (see TD00517) or Frank Willis (see TD00767).

It is possible that the Harvest Home song in the A.S.Buxton Collection is a copy of this song (see TD00794).

M.W.Barley Collection (1937, J.W.Price)

*Mr. J. W. Price (Inf.)
*[Plough Monday p;lay from Laxton, Notts.]
*M.W.Barley Collection, Dated 1937

*Full text of a Plough Monday play from Laxton, Notts. The characters were; Tom Fool, King George, Prince of Orange, Doctor, Dame Jane/Jenny and Beelzebub.

M.W.Barley Collection (1953, Rose)

*Mr. Rose (Inf.)
*[Plough Monday Play from Laxton, Notts.]
*M.W.Barley Collection, Col. Jun.1953

*Additional information on characters - particularly Hopper Joe - in the Plough Monday play from Laxton, Notts., of 1937. [See M.W.Barley Collection (1937, J.W.Price)].

B.A.Wood et al (1983)

Brian Wood (Ed.); Charles Watkins (Ed.); Cathleen Wood (Ed.)
LIFE AT LAXTON c.1880-1903: The Childhood Memories of EDITH HICKSON [including Plough Monday]
Nottingham: University of Nottingham, 1983, 0-902031-89-9, pp.58-60

This book includes a lengthy description of a Plough Monday play performed at Laxton, Notts., by ploughboys. The characters were; King George/Saint George, Dragon, Doctor, Beelzebub, Tom Fool and a "dancing couple". Odd lines are quoted as well as the verse of the final song.

Nottinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes (1989)

Nottinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes (Comp.)
The Nottinghamshire Village Book: Compiled by the Nottinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes from notes and illustrations sent by Institutes in the County [Includes notes on Plough Monday, Bullguysers and other customs]
Newbury: Countryside Books, & Newark, NFWI, 1989, 1-85306-057-7, 191pp.

This book is compilation of short pieces on about 148 Notts., villages giving descriptions, histories and reminiscences. There are numerous mentions of customs, legends and ghosts. The following are of particular interest.

Caunton (p.41) quotes S.R.Hole's (1901) description of the Rang-Tang.

From Kirklington (pp.98-99) we have;

"Plough Monday was always kept on the second Monday in January when the farmworkers of the village went the rounds of the village and acted a play in every house where they were invited. They were given mince pies and ale or money. The exit lines of the play were:

'We are the country plough lads
That go from door to door
Good Master and Good Mistress
As you sit by your fire
Remember us good plough lads
That work through mud and mire
So bring us out a good pork pie
And a jug of your best beer
We wish you all good night
And another Happy Year'"

At Laxton (p.106) it states; "On the first Monday in January, Plough Monday, ancient Mummer plays were enacted, a tradition which has sadly disappeared."

A frontispiece signed D.A.Shaw (p.8) illustrates "Plough Sunday at Tithby", and the text says;

"Despite attuning to the needs of the present day, old customs and rites are not forgotten and are practised. One farmer breeds and works Suffolk Punches, another farmer maintains a herd of Highland cattle, and on Plough Sunday the plough is still brought into Holy Trinity Church to be blessed." (p.163)

There is a good description from Underwood with Bagthorpe (p.167);

"Mummer's plays were a feature of life in the area until the Second World War. Dressed in bizarre costumes and with blackened faces, local youths with a pretended show of force, would gatecrash Christmas gatherings in houses and pubs to re-enact the age-old story of the triumph of life over death in Nature, the origins of which go back beyond pre-Christian times. Over the centuries the performances had become pure knock-about farce. However, there existed an instinctive respect for their antiquity and no door was ever barred against the Bullguysers. Unfortunately, to safeguard the blackout in the war years, the police had to insist that the Mummers should play no more and another age-old custom was lost."

From Woodborough (pp.86-87), several speeches are quoted from a Plough Monday play, seeming to comprise a complete but brief text (18 lines). Characters mentioned are Easom Squeesom, Big Belly Ben, a Soldier and Doctor.

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